1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer

On Holding On and On Letting Go, #SongLyricSunday

I listen to music to help fight off the madness.

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I never mean it to sound like I diminish the experiences of mental illness and other conditions and concerns, but the madness threatens us all, in one way or another.

Song Lyric Sunday

I didn’t realize, until these last few years, just how it might feel. I can at least glimpse the feeling, the state of being, or however I’m likely misspeaking on its reality.

Still, I try to decide, to help fight these feelings inside of me and from world events and at the state of things, if I can trust the holding onto of others or if that’s only a temporary life raft.

It feels a little like Jack and Rose, in Titanic (which was released nearly ten years before I ever heard this song I believe. The young lovers only have each other to hold onto and the ship’s going down, no matter what they do.

***

Michael Jackson (Feat. Carlos Santana)

He gives another smile, tries to understand her side
To show that he cares
She can’t stay in the room
She’s consumed with everything that’s been goin’ on
She says
Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand

Everything will be alright, he assures her
But she doesn’t hear a word that he say
Preoccupied, she’s afraid
Afraid what they’ve been doing’s not right
He doesn’t know what to say, so he prays
Whatever, whatever, whatever

Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
Whatever happens, don’t you let go of my hand
Don’t let go of my hand
Don’t let go of my hand

He’s working day and night, thinks he’ll make her happy
Forgetting all the dreams that he had
He doesn’t realize it’s not the end of the world
It doesn’t have to be that bad
She tried to explain, “It’s you that makes me happy,”
Whatever, whatever, whatever

Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
See, whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
See, whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
See, whatever happens, don’t you let go of my hand
See, don’t you do it baby
I said yeah
Don’t you let go baby
See, you
Don’t you do it
Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
Whatever happens, don’t let go of my hand
Whatever happens, don’t you let go of my hand
Don’t you let go baby
Don’t you, don’t you let go
I said yeah
Can I get how it feels baby
Don’t you let go baby
Yeah
Oh

Whatever happens, just don’t let go of, my hand.

LYRICS

***

This song played, on repeat, on my new tiny, red iPod ten years or so ago it was now. I found it and could not let go, never getting enough of its sound, and it feels like it illustrates a world gone mad.

I can feel the urgency, desperation, and intensity in every note. Utter madness.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday

To Boycott Or Not To Boycott? #FireandFury #SoCS #JusJoJan

Does boycotting a place work?

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No, seriously…I wanna know.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday/Just Jot It January

Tim Hortons is the place to get your coffee in Canada and I believe the US even has them, possibly along the border of our two countries. I seem to recall, when watching some US television networks through cable, that there was a commercial for the company, but its called Tim Hortons, Coffee and Bake Shop or some such thing.

So, the minimum wage hike that went into effect here at the start of 2018 has everyone in the province of Ontario talking, and now the story spreading across Canada because it isn’t only concerning Ontario, not at all.

Minimum wage, up to $14 or something, and still to rise to $15 in the future. Good for those working certain jobs, but apparently bad for those companies (Tim Hortons) who have to pay more.

The real trouble started when Tim Hortons started cutting back on other benefits their employees did have, supposedly to make up for this change.

There are two sides: the side of those supporting those workers and those workers themselves I guess and the companies and those who have always said rising minimum wage will break us as a province and as a country.

I know very little about the economy and never have. I try to read and listen to the news, but it’s hard enough keeping up with all going on in the world. I don’t have a mind for the study of our economy, (economics). I know it’s good and important knowledge to have, I know that, but I can barely figure out my own affairs, budgeting and bills and the money I’ve started to make, still so new to it all.

Trying to figure out how the province and Canada as a country runs is beyond my capabilities.

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So, though Canadians have seemed obsessed with Tim Hortons coffee for longer than I can remember, some are calling for that to change.

It’s not about a greedy corporation at all, some say, because this wage hike issue is put on each individual franchise.

I don’t run one of those either. I don’t know and hardly feel like I should speak.

I got my coffee from McDonald’s today, but that isn’t anything all that new. I simply prefer it and I don’t like being told I have to follow the crowd and be like all other Canadians who can’t go without my Tim Hortons fix.

I tend to look at the subject of corporate greed as a thing that happens. I see minimum wage as affecting real human beings, people who need understanding, but so do all humans I guess, even those who run the giant corporations and companies.

As a writer and creative, one who wouldn’t be all that good at matters of crunching numbers and running a business, I see things from the human perspective. Not to say all creative people are that way. I only know what side I end up falling on, though I try to see any issue from more than just one side whenever and wherever possible.

I don’t know if boycotting the company in question is the answer here, or ever, but that’s what Canada is talking about this week. Well, like other countries nearby, it’s that and Fire and Fury too. Rumour has it that even demand for the book is growing here in Canada. I can’t say I’ll read it, but I think the whole thing is wildly bizarre, and yet unsurprising to say the least.

Fire and fury is a good way to sum up how hyped everyone seems to be. I do feel all the greed that does exist, more than ever from those who make the most money, but I can’t claim I know what I’m talking about on what Canada’s economy has done in the past or will do in the future.

I bet the woman who runs
these prompts
likely has some thoughts on all this.

Linda is to thank for me not feeling totally lost at the start of a new year, as a writer, and she, as a fellow Canadian, might know more about Canada’s economics than I do.

Either way, I thank her for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, all the weeks of the year, and for Just Jot It January, for the first month of each brand new one.

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Bumps Under Fingers #WorldBrailleDay #JusJoJan

January 4th is Louis Braille’s birthday, French inventor of the braille code.

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I think two of the best qualities any person can have are passion and compassion. I believe we’re all passionate about something.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

I am passionate about braille literacy, as an extension of literacy as a whole.

Braille is hard to learn for many people who lose their vision later in life. I’ve known braille since I started to slowly learn it in my first five-seven years.

I am practically allergic to math and numbers. I am deeply passionate about words and braille.

In this world of technology, there is less and less push for blind people today to need to learn braille at all. That, to me, would be like never learning to read. Though many prefer to listen to the talking programs on computers and phones, I still wouldn’t trade that for the feeling of those bumps beneath my fingertips.

Thank you, Louis Braille, for what you did so long ago.

This first-Thursday-of-the-month JusJoJan post comes from
Rosemary Carlson, Writer
with her prompt word-of-the-day: passionate.

What is it you’re passionate about?

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My 2018 Resolution For Us All, #JusJoJan

New Year, new month, and it’s time for another yearly, month-long instalment of Just Jot It January.

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I am doing this again, to help motivate me and get me going into a new year.

Last year at this time I did pop in and out for this, but I was preoccupied, full of thoughts of a week-long trip to a writing workshop in Mexico at the end of the month. I was excited and afraid and everything in between.

Just Jot It January #JusJoJan

I think we should all make it our 2018 New Year’s resolution to have less drama in our lives, but of course, as soon as you call it a resolution, people won’t see it through anyway.

And how can we expect such a thing from people, especially young people, when it is all over the place with those running our world?

Well, anyway, I believe it would make a big difference and so I am putting the idea out there for consideration, nearly pleading even.

Am I nuts, the only one who thinks of drama as something we should strive for less of?

I know family can get complicated and this time of year can be heavy with emotion, but it is a bad habit that doesn’t just remain around the holidays. It tends to extend into daily life, for some, and it can turn toxic. I know nobody’s life is free from it, but it would be nice if we could work harder to eliminate it, for children, even as we try to shield them as best we can.

I wish this for everyone as 2018 dawns.

For the first prompt of January, 2018:

But I Smile Anyway with “drama”
as the word of the day.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Silver, Gold, and That’s So Weird – Go Train Phenomenon, #10Thankful

To drink from the fountain
Of the little you know about love and god

—Sarah Slean

I can’t see silver and gold anymore, but at least Canada still has net neutrality.

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Photo caption: Max and Auntie Kerry. My favourite picture, though I cannot see it.

I have been watching many of the holiday programs in the run-up to Christmas: Home Alone, Rudolph, and an old Frosty classic.

My jolly holiday spirit has been waxing and waning this year, all depending on the day, which is why I am still here with my third Christmas season with Ten Things, keeping the gratitude going and written for the record.

It’s funny, that the Christmas song I ended last week’s TToT post with (all about the kind of snow we get here in Canada) and then that is the one Christmas song Sarah Slean chose to perform at her concert that night, the one I am happy to report I got to enjoy. This leads me to my first thankful for this last week before Christmas finally arrives.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the weather holding back, if not the bitter cold, at least the blowing snow.

I live over an hour from Toronto and where most of the concerts are. I am thankful the weather cooperated and that I had family willing to make that trip, to drive me to see Sarah Slean and her band live.

December in Ontario, Canada can be unpredictable, but though it was so bitter cold, I was eventually warm inside the intimate venue, with some lovely music and a good friend.

I’m thankful for a truly uplifting early Christmas gift of a concert, with a friend and fellow writer.

Sarah sang beautifully, with a woman who doubled as backup and cello. She also had a guy on the drums, violins, and viola players. Slean herself, as well as being lead singer, played piano.

She even forgot the first line of her big single (Sarah) and had to stop the music and shout out for the lyrics. It was a sign that nobody’s perfect and we all forget things and make a mistake, if you can even call it that. We are all human. It happens. She has been writing songs for something like twenty years and her audience of all us fans were understanding.

Sarah spoke, in between songs, about the shelter she volunteers at in Toronto and the people she’s met there. The concert was raising money for food for Christmas for
St. Felix Centre on Facebook.

She spoke of the snap judgments we are all guilty of making in our daily lives, using one of many hashtags during the evening (#GOTrainPhenomenon) for what happened the night it was just her and one scary looking man on a GO Train. When you’re trapped on a moving vehicle, you have nowhere to run and hide, which can open your eyes in unexpected ways.

She considers herself something of a #SongWitch for what happens to her when a set of lyrics and piece of music come to her and become something special.

Her lyrics are heartbreakingly beautiful and wise.

Sarah Slean – Perfect Sky

I’m thankful my friend and guest (her birthday being the next day) and I could talk, even during intermission, and her spirit could be lifted just as mine was.

We struggle with writing, at times, but we shared our experiences, back and forth. I know we inspired each other to never give up and to continue on this path we’re both on.

It was different songs that spoke to the two of us, but all that matters is we got something special and unique out of it.

Mine was the first song Sarah sang, about there never being a perfect sky and right away I was listening. She had my attention for sure. I am often afraid I will one day no longer even see what sky is, but the message about not waiting for some perfection that will never come was duly noted.

For my friend, it was a song about finding the right words and that endless search to say exactly what it is any of us wants to say.

I’m thankful for more speaking up and activism from a powerful advocate and friend, after an unexpected piece of news.

I went to the Sarah Slean show, happy to avoid hearing the news of the vote in Alabama that I’d been hearing, frankly, too much about.

What happened in that state was and is a smaller scale example of the disbelief I have for who is POTUS right now. It is all so nonsensical and disgusting. I feel like I live in some kind of upside-down world, on a daily basis, even from my semi-regular life here in Canada at this time.

It’s a sign that sure things shouldn’t be assumed/presumed or counted on. It felt like all those who mocked anyone for their confidence in Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, like it was such a sure thing in 2016, were given a taste of their own medicine here in 2017. Cockiness is not such a good attitude to have when it comes to these things.

Enough people, the right people weren’t having it and I will let Kerra speak on the rest.

How black women saved Alabama — and democracy (CNN Opinion)

I am so proud to know her and that she has found this place for her opinions on the fate of her birth country.

I’m thankful for people to check on me when I’ve had a bad day and couldn’t be found.

I stay in touch with someone, as I am on my own a lot, and then I have my bad days when the pain makes me want to sleep and shut out the world.

I appreciate being left to this sometimes, but I know I am always being watched over and protected.

Whether it’s family or neighbour, it is a nice thing to know.

I’m thankful for a pleasant and successful final National Foundation of the Blind Peer Advisor conference call before the holidays.

We are a team in many ways. We support each other in our limitless pursuits. It’s a good group.

We speak, by phone, one Thursday evening each month. This was our evening to hear about holiday plans and traditions. Still, I am the only peer advisor from Canada in the group. One woman calls from Australia.

Maybe we will all meet in person one day.

I’m thankful for such fun kids in my life.

It was a wonderful pre-Christmas Saturday with my niece and nephew.

My niece has herself a dollhouse, which is actually for a family of bunny rabbits. My nephew played with his big sister and her rabbit family.

I sometimes like to join in their games. Other times, I love to just watch and listen as they play. They fight, like siblings often do, but they love to play together too. It’s super sweet to witness the fun they have with each other.

I’m thankful for Chippy.

I believe that is his name, their Elf On The Shelf, who shows up somewhere new every morning leading up to Christmas.

My niece and nephew enjoy looking for him in a new spot every morning, like hanging from a light, as he was the day we were there.

I guess, I don’t really know the rules, as this wasn’t a thing when I was growing up. Still, they seem to love it. It is one of the special holiday traditions they have as a family.

I’m thankful for such smart kids in my life, asking questions.

My brother had the new Blue Planet oceans shows all downloaded and my niece was all into learning about sharks. She could become a scientist (marine biologist perhaps) or an artist. That’s what is so amazing about her. Her future, with all that curiosity and intelligence, is wide open.

My nephew is settling in at school his first year and making friends. He is so inquisitive and full of life. He makes me smile, the sweetest little soul.

They asked questions and seemed to begin to understand, more and more, about what blindness means in their aunt and their uncle.

I am glad we could share a love for marine documentaries and colours.

I’m thankful for old champaign still tasting good.

Thanks for the hospitality goes out to my brother and sister-in-law, for the snacks, and the holiday cheer.

S…A…N…T…A
S…A…N…T…A
S…A…N…T…a
And Santa is his name-o!

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TToT: Shrill Robots and Thumb Slam, #10Thankful

“I dreamed I saw a great wave climbing over green lands and above the hills. I stood upon the brink. It was utterly dark in the abyss before my feet. A light shown behind me, but I could not turn. I could only stand there, waiting.”

—Lord of the Rings

I was recently brought back to my love of LOTR and this quote jumped out at me when I heard it again. I feel this way a lot now.

People tell me not to be scared, but I can’t help it. I can take up violin and yoga and other things, to keep focused on the positive, but I feel this quote intensely and I wish people would stop trying to make me feel something that has taken root and is, for better or for worse, how I feel.

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It’s nearly Christmas and I am making my way through these last few weeks before it arrives upon us. The news around the world, this week, was not much improved from previous ones.

Here in Canada, in the last week or so…
a young man was only trying to stand up for someone else
and he lost his life.

Then, another man and his family were targeted,
in a racially motivated attack,
by a man with a bat in a WAL-MART parking lot.

And this was just in Ontario mind you.

So, I sometimes start off my weekly TToT post sharing my fears and concerns and the things that feel so out of my control and which are so often wildly unfair about the world.

Then I list what I am thankful for, to help me get through the week and focus on the beautiful things and the magic to be found all around me.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a quick reply/acceptance.

From last week’s TToT…the audio piece I did with my brother will be included in the holiday marathon radio show.

The man in charge asked how to pronounce our last name. He isn’t the first to ask that. He also asked how we’d like to be billed and the question was a new one, hadn’t been asked that way before.

Whose name should go first?

I am thankful for more writing support/discussion with those who know and understand.

My two writer friends, I originally found on Facebook, are such a pleasure to spend a few hours with.

We talk writing and I found out one of them wrote a children’s book about Helen Keller.

The other is a knowledgeable scientist/science writer.

I learn so much from them, have learned so much, in this last year since we first met.

I am thankful for a pleasant holiday mall experience.

I found a bright and friendly deer.

I found my favourite holiday scent, vanilla bean. I got myself some hand soap, shower gel, and body spray.

I found a few gifts in my favourite store, that which is full of mostly books, but not all.

I went in for books and came out with a super soft blanket. Still, I hope bookstores never disappear like Blockbuster has.

Santa was, of course, also there.

My Grownup Letter For Santa

I am thankful for my writing group on a bad day.

My internet was causing me problems and I was stressed out by the events of the world. I needed to escape to “The Elsewhere Region” for a few hours.

These people are clever, creative, and fun. It cheered me up in a major way, just being in their presence.

I am thankful for a most pleasant surprise gift from the heart.

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Anything coloured or any sort of writing/drawing tool makes me sad, as someone who once lived for colours and drawing colourful pictures.

Still, it was a sweet gesture and a bit of an inside joke/had to know the giver, to fully get how meaningful it really was.

Mine is yellow and you can write on just about anything with it. It’s gel and smells like heaven in crayon form.

I am thankful for an enjoyable lunch with a new friend.

On a limited amount of time, a lunch break, I found it hard to both eat and be able to say all the things I wanted to say.

She started out as my travel agent when I went to Mexico, but we formed a kind of special connection since then.

I trust her now, as I plan out future travels in the years to come.

I am thankful for my violin teacher’s invite to an all strings concert.

I knew little about baroque music and I still don’t.

I would have recorded the actual concert I attended, but I was advised against it.

Oddly Shaped Pearl

I researched the word and found out that is what Baroque means.

I am thankful for a new possible public writing spot.

Burnt Brick Cafe

I am thankful for my mom’s delicate and detailed Christmas care.

Clever, original, and inventive.

She decorates my home, even though I can’t see much. I don’t put in the work and she comes over and makes the place feel like Christmas.

This year she only made the pine branches she had look the shape of a Christmas tree, but soft pine this time. I see the bright white lights she adds and then comes the star.

No photo can capture it, but the star wouldn’t stay up on such a soft pine branched tree and so she used one of my old white canes. She put it up the back and this was enough to steady the star on top.

I am constantly in awe at the things she comes up with. It’s always been that way, as long as I can remember.

That’s my mom alright, all three of those, the exact definition of ingenious.

I am thankful for a second favourite Christmas gift.

My sister loves Pinterest and found a Harry Potter quote, printed it out and framed it for me.

This has been the week of surprises, let’s call them semi Christmas presents, both I was not expecting.

As for another Christmas present I was given early, Canada and all the snow might want to put a damper on that one tonight.

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV4F2yfEt9o&app=desktop

Just not on this day/night…okay? Please! I wanted to go to Toronto.

More on that next week, if I actually get there that is.

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Oddly Shaped Pearl, #BaroqueMusic #SoCS

I hear the flock of Canada geese out my open bedroom window. They fly along, a gathering in the air, and it sounds to me like they are all having delightful conversation with each other as they fly along. It’s a honking that I hear as a chattering of all the geese gossip that’s relevant in any goose’s world.

I know I shouldn’t technically have my window open in December, but I need to feel the chilly air and to hear those gossiping geese, gathering gliding along through the sky.

I need to find those things that bring me peace, or else I’d have no choice but to turn to liquor to distract myself from so many things that gouge out my gut.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

Wildfires springing up, madly in California, is just the latest place where the fire burns. Those poor horses, caught up in the inferno. Global warming…does it play a part?

Middle East peace…is it forever ellusive?

Fake news is all around us, many believe. I’m starting to greatly dislike religion and what the religious do in its name. Fake news there too?

At this time of year, a time of holiday cheer, I fear…I fear so many things for this world.

Old wooden floors creak and soft carpet underfoot. I have been in a church only twice this year, in the giant one in Mexico and now on the outskirts of the university. Will I go for three, a Christmas Eve church service?

Will I find peace there again?

And then I sit and listen, in those hard church pews I’d forgotten were so hard, to strings, strings, and more strings: violins, violas, cellos, bass, and harpsichord.

I am tense and the first half feels as hard to take in, as hard as bench under me. Then, intermission over with, they begin again and I am at peace, hard bench fading away and I rise to this occasion of experiencing some most eloquent baroque period music.

I have nothing against the horns section or woodwinds. I used to play the clarinet. Strings are where my heart lies though.

I am at attention, as violins speak to violas, back and forth is the chatter, like the geese and their horn section. Like a musical debate of things going on.

Fast or slow. Intense. Dark. Light and airy. I float along or grab on for the ride. I slide along those strings that whisk me away somewhere, somewhere where liquor is not the answer to fixing that gouge in my gut.

Music is. Music is eloquence. Music is my liquor.

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