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Falling, All Over Again #Niagara #FTSF

Returning to the edge, overlooking the mighty Niagara Falls is like returning home.

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The boats are somewhere, there, down below me. They move silently along, at the base of the roaring waters, both boats on the Canadian and the US sides. Ours is now called Hornblower and what used to be the Maid of the Mist in Canada is still what they call it in our neighbouring country, or so I am told.

I always loved the myth of the
Maid of the Mist (backstory not widely known),
even if I grew up fearing the actual vessel and all boats like it.

We went on it, some of my earliest memories, but enough was enough and I was afraid. I didn’t want to have to don the plastic raincoat and board that thing, going so close to such a fiersome force. I’d had enough of that.

Then, as I grew, we’d return to Niagara Falls often, and my family would tease me:

“What do you think Kerr…want to go on the Maid of the Mist?”

Ha ha, and the joke went on like that for years, right along with my fear of boats of all shapes and sizes.

Well, ownership of the boat tour company changed hands in recent years, but I was determined to tackle my fear, as I entered my thirties and was determined to live like I hadn’t been living, which meant proving to myself I could step foot on that boat again.

I did it, but my favourite myth of the Indian princess who was going to be forced to marry a much older Indian chief, though she was revolted by him, well that story haunted me and still does.

Legend had it, she fled her situation and ended up hearing a far away voice on the air, calling her toward the waters at the top of the Niagara River. So, she followed its irresistible call and it led her into the river and over the Falls she went, to join the Thunder Gods behind Niagara.

I was captivated and am glad I did tackle my fears a few years back, and then I was recently listening to an educational podcast called
The Secret Life of Canada
and it spoke of the history of the Niagara region and some of the culturally insensitive stereotypical stories white people have told and retold about Natives, how wrong that was, how offensive.

The story of that Indian maiden will stick with me, but I am always willing to learn about how to be a better human being, more sensitive and empathetic. We’ve replaced Indian for Indigenous in the language here in Canada and we must work for a better country, for everyone.

I now stand, happily, at the railing above and look down on those silent tour boats, but I will admit that I feel drawn to that place, whenever I am nearby, and hear the thundering sound.

Even if I end up an even older version of a maid myself, I am not about to follow those invisible booming forces to an unfortunate, tragic end. Though I do disclose that I feel a strong tug on my back, every time I move to walk away from Niagara Falls.

Today is
Finish the Sentence Friday
once more.

And the
fourth Friday of the month (May)
edition says to share a photo and the story behind it.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Poetry, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday

Men and Beasts, #SoCS

I am glued to the news, but pushing myself to move.

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It’s France, Britain, and the United States and Canada is staying as the peace maker, as always, offering to help, but not directly with war tactics.

The centre of it all is the war in Syria, that’s been going on for six or seven years now, with no real end in sight.

The name #45 has given Syria’s leader is
“MONSTER”
and, if he is gassing civilians, he is just that.

I don’t know any of these “leaders” of these countries. I don’t know their hearts or their true intentions. I wish a lot of things, just me and my simple-minded self.

I wish the best for Syrian civilians, those left there, at risk, and also those who’ve come here to Canada and migrated other places. It must be so hard to see your home in such turmoil.

I wish Russia would stay out of that country, but they seem to think they’re helping. They claim any poisoning, to former spies in Britain or to people in Syria, is not them, a hoax, a lie, a distraction, a plot.

Lies. Lies. Lies. Which governments aren’t lying?

Why are all these, seemingly mostly men, doing this? They blame, shame, claim. It’s lame.

Clowns. Beasts. Monsters among men.

I want to shake them all. Where does it end?

I feel like I am living in the first season of Downton Abbey, after the no return event, assassination that began World War I in 1914.

According to Google:

The direct cause of WWI was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. However historians feel that a number of factors contributed to the rivalry between the Great powers that allowed war on such a wide-scale to break out. Apr 20, 2016

One country erupts, or perhaps two countries clash, and, eventually, other countries get involved, take sides, and suddenly the edge of the cliff is underfoot.

In a university library, I was turning the pages of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s personal journals the other day, carefully as I could. I read her words, what living through the 1914-1918 years was like. It was horrid, even from the safety of Canada. We, sheltered from direct danger and conflict, watch with morbid fascination, but with relief and my guilt, that at least it’s not me and my loved ones in any immediate threat.

I turned to the page (November 11, 1918) and she spoke of the end of the war, after herself being glued to the news of the times. She didn’t know another world war was to come. I don’t know now.

I am rather excited about this though, speaking of monsters:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-WGaZaojFc

This movie, “Mary Shelley,” is a snapshot of the times, when Frankenstein was written. It’s about feminism, sexism, and in today’s Me Too moment, a girl of Shelley’s age, getting involved with Percy Shelley is a scandalous, wrong thing. Then, it was what it was.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45115/art-thou-pale-for-weariness

She fought to prove she could be just as good as the men, coming up with a truly classical ghost story, as it was. So much more because science and us humans, we wonder about defeating death and the limits of science in an unknown world.

Though, I ask myself and my literary/literal mind, just who are the monsters anyway?

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Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Writing

Stripper Girl

CNF is challenging enough, but when it’s about ancestors and family history it adds a whole new layer of challenge. This subject sticks with me as I try to construct my own familial literature.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

A guest post from Melissa Ballard:

Family history. Why would anyone waste their time with it?

In the summer of 1993, I agreed to do just a bit of ancestral research, at the request of my great-uncle. I was quickly lured into the mysteries of century-old handwriting, sepia-toned photographs, and the personal details in local newspapers from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

I began to write essays about my ancestors, who were much more interesting than I’d thought. My publication record for these pieces is scant, but I persist. At first, I had to go to libraries or historical societies and do battle with microfilm machines. Now I can do most of my research online, from my home office.

So when the newspaper database I use added two decades of issues from Muncie, Indiana, I set aside some time to search. I already knew a line of my…

View original post 598 more words

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TToT: Not Permanence But Flux, #Thundersnow #AWrinkleInTime #WomensHistoryMonth #10Thankful

March weather patterns have introduced me to something known as
thundersnow
as an occurrence of the season.

Oh March…silly month.

This week’s thankful post I want to dedicate to women and those who’ve made my life with kidney disease as good as it is now.

Even if I think, locally and in politics, women lost, again, to men. Still, I am thankful for ten other things, at least.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful I got to know my uncle.

Before my list of intelligent, strong, and brave women can commence, I must pay tribute here to an one-of-a-kind man.

I wouldn’t start off a post like this normally, in any other case, but my uncle died at the start of the week, after suffering a stroke and I wanted to acknowledge him in my TToT list.

He was my father’s older sister’s partner and he was like no one else I’ve ever met.

He invited my family and I into his home, not knowing us, and let us return several times. We grew closer and always enjoyed catching up.

He is gone and it’s the end of an era. RIP Uncle Jim.

I’m thankful for audio described Downton Abbey episodes.

Lots of strong women in that series, even and especially for the time they were living in, even as fictional characters that represented many women who were real.

I’m thankful everything I took from the show helped me take some necessary and tough steps in my own life.

From 1925, to remembering a hard decision made this day back in 2011 to 2018 and all.

I’m thankful for the progress made since 1964 in Canada.

I’m thankful for a history lesson brought to life and with powerful true words from the author.

She battled depression, rejection, and sexism, only to write Anne of Green Gables and nineteen other novels in her lifetime.

https://www.lmmontgomery.ca/laura-robinsons-reflections-lm-montgomery-heritage-minute

Whether it’s the early 20th century, in the UK or in Canada, it couldn’t have been so easy to speak out about women’s rights. For Lucy Maud Montgomery, she had a lot up against her and yet she created a totally feminist character in Anne Shirley and in dozens of other strong female characters throughout her career as an author is a testament to who she was.

I’m also thankful, then, for female writers and scholars in today’s world, those who have written extensively on the women of history, here in Canada and beyond.

I’m thankful for a Canadian female from the country’s history books (or should be and now will be) appearing on the $10 bill.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/viola-desmond-10-unveiled-1.4567290

I’m thankful for the females winning big at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards.

Margaret Atwood won an award for the mini series Alias Grace being adapted to television. The new Anne program won an award for best television drama series.

I love/loved both.

I’m thankful for a powerful female voice from a friend.

Watching ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is a political act – CNN

And I’m thankful, Sade is back with a new song for the soundtrack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7b8hitvfoE

Sade is one of my favourite women and artist/performers.

Happy International Women’s Day and Happy Women’s History Month to all the strong women, in my life, in my world – past and present, real and fictional.

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TToT: Mother Nature and Cloud Iridescence, #10Thankful

It was a diamond winter day in February — clear, cold, hard, brilliant. The sharp blue sky shone, the white fields and hills glittered, the fringe of icicles around the eaves…sparkled. Keen was the frost and crisp the snow over our world; and we young fry…were all agog to enjoy life. 

—THE STORY GIRL
🎨 Peder Mørk Mønsted

New month, new slate. Here we go.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a nice dinner out with my sister and my brothers.

We went, to celebrate February’s arrival, my upcoming birthday, and my brother-in-law’s birthday in a few weeks.

A few drinks and a free celebration dessert made it a lovely evening. I could relax, finally, for a few hours at least.

I’m thankful when my niece hands me a banana.

It was a plastic toy, but still. The gesture shows she is growing up, soon to be taking her first steps.

I’m thankful when my friend the travel agent helps me figure out some pricing for a trip to BC.

It is for the Canadian Federation of the Blind’s annual spring convention.

At least three of us are going. We will make sure to get in some travel/tourism stuff in there as well.

I am determined to stand by the ocean.

Also, to meet people in person, who I’ve spoken to by phone for months, it will be nice to make their acquaintances, and I hope to speak in front of the entire convention on my project to put descriptive audio services in movie theatres.

I’m thankful for a visit with my neighbour and my brother.

My brother got a ride back here, planning to jam with his band friends in my basement that night. So, I’d previously made a plan to visit with my neighbour in the afternoon and so the three of us had a nice talk.

I’m thankful my neighbour cared to give me some tea to help me sleep with my cold.

She said she could give me apple cider vinegar to gurgle, which she swears takes care of a sore throat for her within hours/a day or two. She said it may taste bad, but it works. Luckily, for me, my throat issues were behind me. Sure, I barely had a voice, but the soreness was gone. It was a stuffy head and I don’t sleep well at the best of times.

She is taking care of me, however she can.

I’m thankful my cold cleared up like it did, when it did, and I hope it stays away for a few weeks at least.

I have an appointment next week to get a new artificial eye made. It requires an entire day of fitting and resizing and taking my current artificial eye in and out, in and out. Not my favourite thing.

With a cold, tearing up constantly, it wouldn’t make the experience any easier.

I’m thankful for my sister’s help with time card/invoice spread sheets/graphs.

To request payment for the contract work I am doing, writing an introduction for a paper on braille, I must fill out a chart thing.

My computer’s voiceover program does read graphs, but I tend to try too hard to visualize them and have to work with what I hear.

I am practicing with my braille display to get a better idea, but just hearing numbers and columns is confusing.

My sister deals with these things, all the time, for her tax business work. She helps me get paid and I am grateful.

I’m thankful my niece is still small enough to fall asleep on my shoulder.

My sister was at the store and my niece had worn herself out, crawling round and around my house, going for mops, crawling behind the couch, and getting into trouble of all kinds.

Eventually though, she started to whimper, for her mother I’d imagined. I picked her up and paced with her in my arms, listening to music and singing gently. Soon she was asleep on my shoulder.

I tried to sit down gently in the chair, trying hard not to wake her, and the position I ended up in was not so good for my neck.

I tried to shift, but she was in a position in my lap and I didn’t want to disturb her. It was totally worth it.

I used to do this with my niece and nephews in the past few years. This may be my last chance, for a long while, to hold a sleeping baby. That saddened me and I held her all the closer for it.

I am thankful for what Britain did to fight off Hitler in World War II.

I went to see The Darkest Hour and I was moved, in many different ways. Churchill’s oratory skill was brilliant and his determination to protect England was challenged at every step, until he was honest and got feedback from the British people. He had little help from the United States at that time, May of 1940. Still, he was honest about the fact that they were on their own and there was no option but to fight to the end.

My feelings on peace vs war, it’s complicated, but I try to understand how things were/are, when making a judgment call on what should/must be done.

If Hitler had conquered the island nation of Great Britain, he could have and likely would’ve moved on to England’s child of sorts, Canada.

I’m thankful it’s February.

I am fickle with my feelings on turning thirty-four on Saturday. It depends on the day or the moment I think about it.

Still, January wasn’t the best of months. Though February also means my niece’s first birthday and her growing up, I am still looking forward to celebrate. The cake my sister has ordered from my cousin, the cake maker, sounds pretty cool.

Spectacular moment “rare rainbow cloud” appears in skies above Brazilian tourist spot – THE SUN

Hello February. You’ve arrived, Finally!

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Silence Is Acceptance, #MeToo #HolocaustMemorialDay #JusJoJan

There are many things I would like to speak about, on an ongoing basis. Listening to stories of survivors of the Holocaust, their strength and bravery in speaking on such horrid things, makes me feel like not enough is said as of yet, from all of us and that we all must say something.

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There are a lot of things going on, past and present, that I’d like to
address
and then something stops me from saying anything at all. Fear, but of what?

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

I am stuck on the Holocaust and I have been for a long long time. I take breaks from thinking about it, to preserve my sanity, but ultimately this historical event creeps back into my thoughts. I am lucky I can take those breaks. I didn’t experience it, though I know many who did have gone on to live perfectly wonderful lives. It feels haunting, even if I often wonder how I’d have moved on if it had happened to me.

I want to speak on things, to write about them, to make sure people don’t forget. Mistakes are repeated. Humans are doomed to repeat what once was. We can’t seem to help ourselves.

If I speak up on such things, I am told I worry too much, as if I am supposed to forget that if I had lived during the time of World War II I would be considered a waste, as one of the disabled.

Yes, if I’d lived in Europe during that time, if I lived anywhere back then, and even if I lived here, years ago, kidney disease would have killed me.

Morbid, perhaps. Speaking up, or addressing the things that haunt my mind, this unsticks those cobwebs from the furthest corners of my brain.

I am lucky to have an address and a roof over my head, even if my heat does keep crapping out on me. I am lucky to be living in 2018 and celebrating that I was born after the inventions of dialysis and organ transplantation.

I saw Nazis marching in North America, I hear that Poland just made it illegal to mention Poland’s involvement during the Holocaust, and I wonder what to say, what I can say about these furious subjects.

I see people are saying things aren’t so bad, and they aren’t really, but they are for some people and they could be, any day, for more of us. We need to stay vigilant and on guard to halt dangers from reoccurring.

Sexual misconduct and resignations as a result are happening in Canada, in Ontario politics now too. Forget presidents and porn stars. This is not so hard to get, is it?

The men who complain this is going too far, that they can’t even talk to women now, make me want to bang my own head against the wall repeatedly.

Pop culture. Politics. Personal space. Is it really so hard for men to not act inappropriately with women and young girls? Really? Reeeeeeally?

It is maddening. I want to keep addressing all these things, to make people get along, and to practice tolerance and compassion. What is it going to take?

TELL ME!!!

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Ode to the Mashed Potato Music, #TheCranberries #RIP #SongLyricSunday

Like a pile of warm mashed potatoes, as odd as that sounds – my mom makes them and my grandmother made them once too. Your voice has always been there,

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as a steadfast and loyal
place and space of comfort.

I think I need to start making a list, keeping track of all the songs I’ve chosen for this thing. Can’t remember if I’ve done this one already, as I have shared multiple songs by The Cranberries here.

Oh well. She is gone and I am sad and I find solace in the sound of her voice. Comfort, very much needed this week.

***

Understand the things I say
Don’t turn away from me,
‘Cause I’ve spent half my life out there
You wouldn’t disagree.
Do you see me? Do you see?
Do you like me?
Do you like me standing there?
Do you notice? Do you know?
Do you see me?
Do you see me?

Does anyone care?

Unhappiness
Where’s when I was young,
And we didn’t give a damn,
‘Cause we were raised,
To see life as fun
And take it if we can.
My mother, my mom,
She hold me, she hold me
When I was out there.
My father, my father,
He liked me, oh, he liked me.

Does anyone care?

Understand what I’ve become,
It wasn’t my design.
And people everywhere think something
Better than I am.
But I miss you, I miss,
‘Cause I liked it,
‘Cause I liked it when I was out there.
Do you know this? Do you know
You did not find me?
You did not find. Does anyone care?

Unhappiness
Where’s when I was young,
And we didn’t give a damn,
‘Cause we were raised,
To see life as fun
And take it if we can.
My mother, my mom,
She hold me, she hold me
When I was out there.
My father, my father,
He liked me, oh, he liked me.

Does anyone care?

[9x]

LYRICS

***

I’m sure we grew up with somewhat different lives, from Ireland to Canada, but it feels like a similar familial comfort once existing there.

You wonder sometimes, when the world gets rough, does anyone care?

Of course, someone cares. Of course, but the question still gets asked.

Many people focus on her pension for the “dooodooodooos” in their songs. Depending on my mood, I found this mildly irritating to lovely, but her voice could and did do more, go further, into intense and haunting tones and cries of something, something I can’t quite recognize.

I chose this song because family are a comfort. I know it’s not like that for everyone and nobody’s perfect, but where else can such security and comfort come from than that?

To her family and to mine. That’s where the comfort lies.

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