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

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

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

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

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

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the best spaghetti dinner ever.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am thankful for a gift of Gummy Bears.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kerra makes her opinions known on CNN.

She is speaking up, speaking out, and writing.

THE PRICE OF REDEMPTION – Panorama Journal

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

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 6 – Mom and More

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

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Apparently, so do others.

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Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Song Lyric Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Anytime Is A Good Time To Get Up And Go, #Travel #SongLyricSunday

My favourite subject, in the whole world, and it involves the world in a big way.

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And it’s finally the topic for this week’s
Song Lyric Sunday
and now I must choose.

Ooh, here’s one that applies and inspires.

I’ve had a good life, full of plenty of travel and adventures. I love songs, like this one by One Republic, that drive me to have more, to do more travel.

***

Woke up in London yesterday
Found myself in the city near Piccadilly
Don’t really know how I got here
I got some pictures on my phone
New names and numbers that I don’t know
Address to places like Abbey Road
Day turns to night, night turns to whatever we want
We’re young enough to say
Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life
Say oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight
Like this city is on fire tonight
This could really be a good life
A good, good life
To my friends in New York, I say hello
My friends in L.A. they don’t know
Where I’ve been for the past few years or so
Paris to China to Colorado
Sometimes there’s airplanes I can’t jump out
Sometimes there’s bullshit that don’t work now
We all got our stories but please tell me-e-e-e
What there is to complain about
When you’re happy like a fool
Let it take you over
When everything is out
You gotta take it in
Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life
Say oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight
Like this city is on fire tonight
This could really be a good life
A good, good life
Hopelessly
I feel like there might be something that I’ll miss
Hopelessly
I feel like the window closes oh so quick
Hopelessly
I’m taking a mental picture of you now
‘Cause hopelessly
The hope is we have so much to feel good about
Oh this has gotta be the good life
This has gotta be the good life
This could really be a good life, good life
Say oh, got this feeling that you can’t fight
Like this city is on fire tonight
This could really be a good life
A good, good life
Oh yeah
Good, good lifeGood life
Ooh
Listen
To my friends in New York, I say hello
My friends in L.A. they don’t know
Where I’ve been for the past few years or so
Paris to China to Colorado
Sometimes there’s airplanes I can’t jump out
Sometimes there’s bullshit that don’t work now
We all got our stories but please tell me-e-e-e
What there is to complain about

LYRICS

***

I sometimes worry I won’t possibly get the chance to see and experience all the places I want to explore. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to travel more frequently. I think, well there is not enough time, but I have had a good life and I am not done seeing, experiencing what traveling has to offer.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, SoCS, Special Occasions

Mothers Are Saviours, #SoCS

Safe to say: Happy Birthday Mom!

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The idea came from a cousin when I couldn’t think of anything good enough on my own.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

How perfectly coincidental that the big 60 falls on a stream of consciousness day.

So many people care and wanted to be included in my present to my mom, and I am not done yet.

Whether birthday card greeting or nostalgia and memory, it isn’t hard to find positive things to say about her. The things flow from her, through her, if you’ve even just barely met her. I didn’t think the challenge I was putting out there was so hard.

Some people doubt their ability to use their words for self expression and toward another. They feel my expectation, perhaps, but I only wanted them to feel safe enough in saying whatever came to mind when they thought of my mom and the woman they all know and love.

Even those closest to her might have struggled, but that is just because the feelings are a little too close for comfort and, in having to put into words just what she means to them, it may have felt uncomfortable in the moment. I thought it, thought her, worth the immediate feelings of uncertainty as one sat down to write.

I wanted her to know how safe she made me feel, as her daughter, and how she has saved me, dozens and hundreds of times, from my biggest fears and from myself and the world at large.

Anyone can and soon does feel safe in talking to her, in opening up to her. That’s her gift to the rest of us who have the privilege of her in our world.

All the times I felt so sick, so much pain, and like nobody believed it, she saved me and made me feel safe again..

She was surprised by her gift and more is being added, even just today in fact.

A mother should want to do it, protect their children/grandchildren, and she does. My mother for the save.

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TToT: “Threw the Tears Unseen” – Diamond Dust, #10Thankful

“We should continue all the time to look out for those who have less, to stand for those who can’t, to reach out across differences, to use our land intelligently, to open our borders and welcome those who seek harbour, and never, ever cease to be curious, ask questions and to explore and search.”

—Julie Payette, Canada’s 29th Governor-General

I may try to keep this short and sweet again, with all the nonsense and horrors happening lately. Sometimes, when I am feeling tense I write a lot and sometimes I don’t. This week, I don’t.

Tom Petty’s song is about perseverance. He says it all already. I am determined to be thankful, but I’d rather let Petty and Payette say what I am thinking. They do it so well.

I am feeling the weight of the world, but I won’t give in to that feeling for long. Promise.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful the heat wave from last week finally broke and fall has taken its place.

Today is back up a bit, but tolerable. I am loving the fresher air I’ve been smelling, even if I was already complaining about being cold.

Yeah, I know I know, but that’s just how it goes. I am still grateful my favourite season has arrived.

I am thankful for a good idea for something special.

I am bad at birthday gifts and things most of the time. I owe my cousin for the idea for something meaningful for my mom’s upcoming 60th.

More to come on this next week.

I am thankful for my new darker hair colour.

Also, pic coming next week.

I am thankful for one opportunity that leads to the next and the next and so on.

This is true with my writing and in every area of life really.

It’s what makes life exciting and such an adventure, that you never really know what could be coming, on the horizon.

I am thankful I got through writing the rough draft.

I really really stressed myself out for this piece. I worried I’d taken on something I wasn’t actually ready for and I began to panic that I couldn’t do it.

I even started to think that the writing was the hardest part, but I don’t honestly think that:
This is
the hardest part.

I did it and now I wait to hear from those who will edit it. I can relax, for the moment, but this is the kind of challenge I know will make me stronger, and hopefully, a better writer.

I’m thankful Canada has a new Governor General.

“Reconciliation must succeed,” Julie Payette says as new Governor-General

She speaks six languages, plays the piano, and has been to space.

She is the kind of intelligent and capable person we need and I am grateful to live in Canada and to learn about her and have her as a voice for the country.

I am thankful nobody was killed thanks to a madman who attempted a terrorist attack, it is believed, out west in Edmonton, Alberta.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/terrorism-charges-edmonton-attacks-1.4316450

He has been arrested and has been charged. There are no official terrorism charges at this time, so I don’t really know. If he was trying to terrorize people with his car and with a knife, it worked, but not for long.

I do hope Edmonton, Alberta, and Canada won’t let this guy win and won’t turn on each other. We remain much stronger if we fight that human instinct and choose the human instinct to come together.

I am thankful guns aren’t everywhere here.

I won’t share a link just now, though I am sure it isn’t hard to know what story I was thinking of here, because I have seen enough of those already.

Oh, wait…I found one. Take a look.

Again, I am glad to live here and only want the best for my US friends and the country that we share our border with.

I am thankful for desolate places.

The second instalment of the BBC’s Planet Earth series is out on Netflix.

With all the chaos we humans create, it is nice to hear about and imagine such places, out there somewhere, still untouched.

I hope this continues, somehow.

I’m thankful for a song introduction.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jweT1wzqYGU

Free fall. Speaking of falling…free falling.

RIP Tom

“And for a long time yet, led by some wondrous power, I am fated to journey hand in hand with my strange heroes and to survey the surging immensity of life, to survey it through the laughter that all can see and through the tears unseen and unknown by anyone.”

—Nicolai Gogol, “Dead Souls” (1842)

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Whether With Or Without You, SongLyricSunday

I got the idea for the artist from another participant.

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I think the lyrics in my song choice fit the prompt
for today’s Song Lyric Sunday
and here it is:

This is about love, self love, loving myself, oneself, ourselves.

I am sweet. I am smart. I am articulate. I am fun. I am humorous. I am interesting and well-rounded. I am kind. I am insightful and intuitive. I am empathetic.

***

that I would be good
even if I did nothing
that I would be good
even if I got the thumbs down
that I would be good
if I got and stayed sick
that I would be good
even if I gained ten pounds

that I would be fine
even if I went bankrupt
that I would be good
if I lost my hair and my youth
that I would be great
if I was no longer queen
that I would be grand if I was not all knowing

that I would be loved
even when I numb myself
that I would be good
even when I am overwhelmed
that I would be loved
even when I was fuming
that I would be good
even if I was clingy

that I would be good
even if I lost sanity
that I would be good
whether with or without you

(Flute solo.)

LYRICS

***

These lyrics can be referring to society, with or without a particular family member, friend, a specific partner from the past, or just a partner in general.

Either way, this song has helped me think more, to realize how important it is to learn to love “me”, no matter who else comes or goes or stays from/in my life.

It’s not always smooth sailing on any of those fronts, but it is worth the work. I am a pretty great person and, deep down, I know it more than I know most things frankly.

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TToT: Quaint Drinking Village with a Fishing Problem – Green Light Night, #10Thankful

Can’t stay long. Deadlines looming. I’m frankly terrified that I’ve taken on something too big for me to handle, but I was reminded of something important and so I write down what I am grateful for this week and then I get back to work.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for cheques in the mail.

It’s a bit of a wait this way, but getting paid is a nice thought.

I’m thankful for a hug from my little niece in a particularly stressful moment.

I was taking on big things and my mind was racing. Just hugging her was peaceful.

I did, however, tell her my advice was to stay little, not to grow up.

I’m thankful for the support of a neighbour with an ear to listen to all I’ve got going on.

She cheers me on and was helping me think about my timing, scheduling, as if she were my life coach.

I could likely use one.

I’m thankful my headache has eased.

I tried to cry about a television show, instead of from my pain. Some distractions work better than others.

There’s a definite gratitude when that particular intense pain dissipates and I feel the lack of it.

One of the greatest feelings that I wish would last, but I’ll take it while it’s given to me.

I’m thankful for family who help me out when I am dealing with such bad pain episodes.

Just knowing all of them are there, from the smallest to the biggest among them, it shows me I can get through anything.

I am thankful for this show, put together by Liz, all about travel for the blind.

No Limits Travel For The Blind – Native Traveler (SiriusXM)

My brother did an awesome job at the audio production, bringing it to life.

The other guests that follow my feature piece are great too. I am definitely going to look into taking a trip with
Travel Eyes
for future world exploration.

I’m thankful for helpful advice about how if something weren’t scary, it wouldn’t likely be nearly as worth doing.

Thanks, Jordan Rosenfeld, for this excellent advice.

I don’t know how exactly it happened. I think it started with the pitches I sent out and received acceptances for.

So, I wrote and was published, which lead me to believe I should pitch even more places, even ones I’d feared I wasn’t quite ready for.

Well, somehow, here I am anyway.

And now what?

I’m thankful for the Great Lakes.

Other than not being in salt water, I’d hardly know the difference between being in a lake or the ocean.

I am just glad these bodies of water are so close by.

You go into that water and you’d never know how hot it’s been the last week or more, even though autumn has now arrived.

I’m thankful for the sand and other things that cause me discomfort.

Like travel, there is joy in being at a natural wonder of the planet. And, yet, no sooner do I step onto that sand than I am thinking about getting home and into a warm shower so I can wash it all away.

These times and the yucky feelings sand brings up in me, at the feel of the gritty stuff between my toes, this is helping teach me that life carries lots of big and little discomforts, from sandy beaches to awful headaches.

I can handle that. Handy lesson, I must say.

I’m thankful for a good meal in Port Stanley.

Fish from Lake Erie and homemade fries.

I had both pepperoni and chicken on my pizza, along with green peppers.

Port Stanley Attractions

Nice spot to end the day at.

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TToT: The Bridge Between What Is and What’s Hoped For – Making Waiting Worthy, #10Thankful

“She promised herself she would see the world, and so she did.”

-Virginia Woolf

Sometimes I fear, as I write piece after piece about my first solo travel experience for interested and curious editors, that I will never again get the chance.

I took the Woolf quote from my writing mentor’s email signature because I feel like I could be that quote, if only…

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful that I can call my sister anytime and hear my little niece babbling happily in the background.

She is old enough now that my sister can put her down on the floor, with some toys, and then get some stuff done around the house while my niece entertains herself a little.

I don’t have to go far to see them in person, but sometimes, in the moment, I am dealing with something hard and hearing that little girl chatting away happily is the only thing that can make a difference in my mood.

She is just that precious.

I’m thankful for a lovely home visit with my friend because downtown was so incredibly busy.

It was a warm day again and the downtown area was busy with Thursday market and other things.

So, instead, we went through a drive through and took coffees back to my air conditioned house.

I’m thankful for a return into the world of yoga.

My instructor got rather busy at the end of summer, but we are starting again, now that fall has nearly arrived.

My balance wasn’t bad, but I still fight shaky arms.

The end-of-session silent meditation time was my favourite part, again, though this time I had a harder time blocking out everything I have had on my mind lately.

Other than a few Skype difficulties, it was not bad for having missed multiple weeks.

I’m thankful for a surprise acceptance email in the evening.

Different editors work varied hours, but normally I don’t expect to hear from them after eight in the evening.

This one was such a pleasant surprise and a great opportunity.

I’m thankful for living light.

Bioluminescence

I can’t really see it anymore, but I still watch any documentary I can get my hands on about the sea. It’s just amazing what animals are programmed to do.

Oh, to have become a marine biologist, free to study such miracles all the time.

I’m thankful I could book an eye appointment.

I haven’t been to see my retinal specialist since March of 2014 and I was worried I might need a referral to get back in there.

I am sort of worried about my eyesight, feeling it slipping away, and it’s about time I get some peace of mind, if possible.

I have been seeing this specialist for over twenty years, ever since a mysterious virus attacked my left eye and started in on my right. This doctor was understanding and patient and did his best to save my little remaining vision.

Now I need to hear he sees nothing wrong and that maybe there is hope. Though I bet he won’t see anything and I will feel even worse about what my gut is telling me is going on.

I still am grateful to have this doctor and he may just have a comforting word, said in his soft, soothing voice.

I’m thankful for seconds.

At the market, a bag of my favourite September apples costs quite a lot, but if you are willing to settle for the apples that didn’t quite make the cut during inspection, the price goes down considerably.

I have inspected many of these apples that weren’t quite good enough, finding nothing wrong. It’s not like they are covered in worm holes and mushy bruises.

They are still the apples I love. I am happy to take the ones nobody else wanted.

I’m thankful for my writer mentors and friends and their belief in me and my writing.

Just knowing such wildly talented writers believe in me, that they consider my writing so highly, this means everything to me.

That they describe my latest freelance writing successes in this way: “well deserved catapult to glory”.

I especially love that the piece referred to in this case was published in
Catapult
and I can’t believe my piece is visible on their main page.

On those days when I am feeling down about a pitch rejection or not hearing back from a short story contest I’d entered, their faith in me is just the thing to make me reconsider my own talent, as something I am working on constantly and am meant to do.

I’m thankful for a complimentary email to brighten up my weekend.

The one travel publication I received an acceptance for last week read something I got published (the Catapult piece I included here in the last TToT) and they emailed me, the editor, to say how much they enjoyed reading it and are even more sure about my participation in their literary journal.

It was just the thing to brighten up my dismal weekend.

I’m thankful for unexpected acts of kindness.

As my friend and I were going through the drive through to get our coffee, the worker at the window asked if we wanted to purchase a smile cookie to support a good cause.

VON Sakura House – residential hospice of Oxford County

I said why not, as it is for a good cause, and then we drove to the next window.

It turns out, the car ahead of ours offered to pay for our cookie and I suddenly felt warmer than the day could cause. It was a warm feeling of gratitude and for the kindness that still exists in my town and in the world.

And, speaking of lifting quotes from others…

The title for this TToT post I got the idea for from
Lisa
and from
Christine Carter’s book
all about self care and healing.

These ladies have a point, in that I am not dealing with any disaster. My brother’s accident a few years ago, that was a disaster for the family.

My week was far from disastrous and I am thankful for that.

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