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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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A Reckoning: 2018 and the next 100 years #Disability #Equality

Today I am giving a friend a platform. Since he no longer has a blog, and I do, I am sharing this here.

***

Today, I’m so angry, I can’t concentrate on my labs. This morning when I checked my email here is what I read:

“With sight loss, everything you have ever known becomes unfamiliar. Your favourite T.V. chair, your reading nook, your computer desk: all become symbols of the quality of life you feel vision loss has robbed you of.

When you donate to CNIB, you help give that quality of life back. You help people learn new ways to enjoy their favourite movie. To read a book. To connect with loved ones.

Friend, your donation today can give families back their life.”

This has been eating away at me for a while now, but I am finally sick of it and I have to say something.

My friends, everything in the quote above is an absolute lie. If you were to dress up as a beggar on weekends and hit people up for money even though you have a good job, it would be no different from what is happening here.

“With sight loss, everything you have ever known becomes unfamiliar.”

Wrong! In fact, just the opposite is usually true. In my experience serving hundreds of people over the years, I have found that familiar things take on special significance and offer tremendous comfort to the newly blind.

This email says that newly blind people resent familiar things, that those become unfamiliar, mocking, threatening, icons of a supposed life we have lost. Get that monkey off your heart strings for a minute and try and think about this logically.

If you undergo a major life change, no matter what that is, wouldn’t you rather be in your familiar home surrounded by your possessions?

This email says that sight robs people of their life, but that isn’t true at all.

I have seen this countless times for myself. A newly blind person is not going to deny themselves their morning coffee just because they went blind. No, they are going to fiddle and futs and do what comes naturally until they get their coffee. They may not be confident of making coffee at a family member’s house, but they aren’t going to go without at home. In fact, something as simple as fixing coffee for a guest can be an outstanding source of pride and self-confidence for someone. There are always variations in situations, experiences, and coping mechanisms, but generally speaking, people take pride and comfort from being surrounded by familiar things.

Losing sight requires a person to develop new skills and use new tools, but it doesn’t rob most people of their life.

Only a very small percentage of us actually commit suicide because of losing sight. Many of us are turned away from daily activities because of the fears, low expectations and preferences of the sighted.

“don’t pour that coffee! It’s hot! you’ll burn yourself.”

We can damage some one’s fragile outlook by so denigrating something they take pride in. The newly blind person pours coffee for himself every day when the sighted person isn’t there, but it’s too much for the sighted person to watch. Thus, something the blind person worked hard to accomplish and may have been looking forward to sharing with the sighted person is diminished because of the low expectation of the sighted person.

Low expectations are the damaging factor here, not blindness.

Promotions like this one add insult to injury by demeaning the actual bereavement process people go through because of something like vision loss. As much as people learn, adapt, and go on to lead full lives, being blind in a world designed by and for the sighted is not without it’s sense of loss, of being singled out in a negative way.

We get through it, not because of money, but because of family and peer support, and the tenacity of the human spirit.

Playing on the natural grieving process of the newly blind to tragify us and scare you into giving money is an insult.

According to
Charity Intelligence
there are an estimated 500,000 blind Canadians, and CNIB provides approximately 560,000 hours of service delivery across canada each year. You can do the math in your head.

That’s just over one service hour per blind Canadian.

The annual budget of CNIB is just under $30,000,000 per year

– 54 cents of every dollar goes to programs.

The top ten earners at CNIB earn approximately $2,000,000 per year collectively, with the president earning $350,000 per year.

I believe this aspect of the pay structure is not reflective of the income experience of most blind Canadians, and I choose to be insulted that this one person makes so much money from the blind while the actual state of the blind continues to be abysmal and expectations continue to be oppressively low.

Can we do better? I think we can.

Is CNIB the answer? Maybe at one time they provided real value, but in my view that value is at an end.

How can the blind achieve dignity, respect, inclusion, equality, and increased quality of life if people who haven’t experienced blindness believe life ends with blindness?

If blindness is an irrevocable, life shattering tragedy, why will a human resources person want to hire someone who is blind?

How can we convince people to design all things inclusively, …that including every one in design benefits every one?

How can we convince people to rent us places to live, include us in social orders other than those specifically for the blind, or let us raise our own children in freedom?

If blind people are viewed as perpetually broken, how will we ever have our ideas, accomplishments, and opinions respected?

How can we lie to people and beg for money and expect to teach those same people that blindness is not hopeless, …that blind people are successful in their own right and deserve equal participation in society?

Please be angry. It is time. As long as we channel that anger properly, it can be a source of passion and determination blind people can use to build a future for ourselves where-in we are included as equals, not tagging along as third class citizens.

It would mean more to me as a blind person, if you would take the money you would have donated to CNIB, buy yourself some beer and pizza, and spend an hour or two a month coming to CFB meetings where we can work together to find sustainable ways of delivering needed services that don’t require us to lie, grovle, and debase ourselves to get the crumbs left over from sighted executives.

The blind community is not made up of deficient and damaged people. We have creators, innovators, educators, technology, legal, medical, and financial professionals, and thousands of hard working talented people who can be successful in their own right with real support, tools, reduced societal barriers, and sustainable services.

The blind community has society, culture, political agendas, philosophies, all intertwined with, having things in common with, connected to but not completely the same as those of the sighted or any other social political group.

Let’s build our own movement large enough to provide a valid alternative the state we have now that sells us at a premium, yet far short of our true abilities.

***

Here is my take!

I was born with vision loss (blind) and so was my brother. We grew up with the CNIB who sent us braille/audio books and where we learned how to properly use a white cane to get around safely.

The CNIB is the organization most people would name if asked, have heard of here in Canada, mostly because it has been around the longest. It is celebrating its 100th birthday next year, but things aren’t the same as they were back in 1918 and that can reflect how things are, here and now in this moment.

I don’t want to just be angry either, to demand without being willing to listen, but I do think there has been a reckoning.

We are all individuals of course and I don’t dare speak for all people with sight loss by any measure. This is only one woman’s opinion, mine, and my friend’s reaction to the status quo.

From what I’ve seen and experienced lately though, the disability community, as a whole, are declaring the intention for more equality and rights. I know some of it rests on our shoulders, and that’s why I believe it is time I used my abilities and talents to make life better for the next one hundred years and beyond.

I do wonder who wrote that bit for the newsletter though.

There are only a few weeks left in 2017, but this next year of 2018 is when I plan on becoming more active, both with the American Foundation and Canadian Federation of the Blind.

American Foundation for the Blind

We need to make more changes and to do that, we need to use our collective voice.

Canadian Federation of the Blind

Signed,

Chair and Secretary of the newly formed Ontario chapter of the CFB

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TToT: Insertion Follows Playback Like Edit Follows Automation – Full Cold Moon, #10Thankful #IDPD2017

“(UN IDPD) serves as an important reminder that globally there are over a billion people with a disability. This year’s theme, “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” is especially relevant to our accessibility efforts…”

—Microsoft

More on IDPD2017 from the WHO.

I know when and how to celebrate and I am learning when to stand up and speak up for the important things – overall, a thankful post brimming with gratitude really.

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Photo caption: sisters watching the decorating of their father’s 62nd birthday cake. Talking/smiling. Happy Birthday Dad! XO

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for this artistic girl.

Making works of art out of the task of cupcake decoration.

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Making something, all her own, and loving it.

I am thankful for this sly guy.

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He likes to hide, but there’s a mischievous spirit just under the surface, behind the hands that sometimes cover his face when he’s playing shy to the camera.

I am thankful for such a smart and curious almost ten-month-old sweetheart.

WsCrqPS.jpg
Photo caption: Cousin hugs.

Her big cousin Soph adores her. It’s sweet to see them interact.

Mya is so interested in everything now. She is so close to walking, as she sees the rest of us doing it and wonders why she hasn’t managed it yet.

She is the happiest baby I’ve seen really. She likes to cuddle, but I can barely keep up with her when she’s on the move, and she’s not even a year old yet. Her mother and I are in no real hurry though.

I am thankful for the missing and missed one at last weekend’s gathering and the kind soul he is.

Old soul is my man Maxwell.

I am thankful he could enjoy his new friend’s birthday party. He got so excited. He was counting down the hours to his first party invitation since starting junior kindergarten in September.

I am thankful for a name given, from a friend, that suited my current state rather perfectly.

**Given what you’ve shared recently, I’d say the cauldron’s selection is a potent one for you. Your Embrace the Darkness name is “Good Night’s Sleep.”**

I had mentioned my sleep/dream issues lately and she generously handed this one to me, gifted me with it as a way to accept and deal.

I am thankful for a visit with one of the few people in my life who understand about living with chronic pain.

She brought me a coffee, doughnut, and a sympathetic ear.

She lives with pain and manages to hold onto her most original sense of humour and I take lessons from her on that front – where I find strength through some good sarcasm now and again, I see she does too.

I am thankful my friend arrives home from Ireland next week for the holidays.

I see her and her daughter just once a year, at this time, and it’s a fascinating way to observe the growing up of any child. They are quite the pair.

A little Christmas shopping with them maybe? I want to get her something memorable, as I only get to see her once a year and it takes her a little time, each time, to warm up to me again. A toy may help, but it can’t be anything too big because it must get back to Ireland.

Lots for them to cram into only a few weeks here back in Canada, with family and friends, but it’s always fun.

I am thankful for such kind and generous parents.

They bring me medication when I go away and forget it at home. They go that extra mile, in so many ways, and are flexible in so many ways too.

They are both unflinchingly generous people.

I am thankful for another job completed and well done, hopefully.

I wrote a memoir piece about our family, from the past, and the early December trips to a giant toy store we’d make as a family.

I turned it into a bit of a back-and-forth with me and Brian. We recorded it and added sounds and a bit of music to the piece.

We are submitting it for consideration on my brother’s favourite holiday Christmas marathon radio show he has listened to for the last three years.

Even the year of his horrible fall, when he was slowly recovering with a brain injury, he listened. The jingle bells accompany the radio guy and he plays some of the most obscure music for the season, to be heard on a New Jersey college station.

In the midst of all the musical pieces, he plays short holiday themed stories, recorded by friends and fans. This year we wanted to be included in that.

We shall see what he thinks when we send it to him.

Adding more…

I am thankful for fresh edits to a piece and that time away so I can come back at it with fresh eyes.

I wrote about the road I took through my Yukon visit and the road I’m traveling down in my life.

I worked on it with one editor and took a few weeks away from it. Coming back now, with fresh eyes, I can consider other editing suggestions and work to make it the best piece it can possibly be.

I just saw a Yukon documentary, playing in theatres for a limited time, and this virtual return to the north of Canada has given me new life to put into the writing.

I appreciate all I learn and how I can improve and grow as a writer, with the guidance of talented people I am lucky enough to get to work for/with.

I am thankful for a movie about the Yukon in my heart since I visited there, even without the DVS working.

It’s funny to have the story, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, but again we ran into issues with the audio description service at the theatre.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover they said they had it. A worker disappeared somewhere and came back with two headsets and wireless boxes.

Once inside the we turned them on. One worked and the other did not. The first worked, but it was describing a story that certainly wasn’t that of the Yukon.

We were offered their apologies and two free movie passes, but that won’t address this issue.

I did enjoy the film, despite all that, but a documentary, at least, has steady narration.

I don’t even think about going to an action movie or one with a lot of adventure, not without the proper assistance from a helpful person sitting next to me.

This is no answer. Perhaps not that many blind people go to movies, anymore or ever, but this must be improved upon.

As for the movie, I nearly came to tears more than once, as it brought back sense memory of my days there and my deep feelings about so much of that wild beautiful part of North America.

I am thankful for the day, December 3rd, to highlight disability, not just in North America, but around the world.

Every day is a day to talk about it, without becoming preachy. I feel this is something I have been called on to do, but it is a rather tricky balancing act.

I watched a Canadian national news broadcast and no mention at all was made nor any story aiming to shed light on some aspect of disability and what IDPD means to so many. I know an hour long news program can’t get to everything, but I think this should have been covered in some way.

I plan to do a lot more of this activism stuff in 2018 and beyond.

I am thankful for the final super moon of 2017 and the fact that, in spite of my worsening eyesight, I could still make it out on the horizon as we drove home.

I am all about horizons these days. Onward and upward, all while still making the effort to enjoy the final weeks of 2017 in the meantime.

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Phoenix Force #SongLyricSunday #IDPD2017

December 3rd is
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
and this year’s theme for IDPD 2017: “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all.”

All this takes courage.

Each year I live through is a lesson in courage.

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But I have hope and this song makes me want to keep fighting to find my courage, through rain and winter cold and into next summer:

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

With each successive year that comes and goes I keep trying and finding my faith in all things, most things anyway.

I am going to see Sarah Slean live next week, as an early Christmas gift. She is a treasure of Canada and our lesser known music scene and on the list of some unfamiliar artists and performers.

***

Sarah, gone are the days of the lonesome dove
So solitary you are tangled in love now
With layers so deep and a reach so wide
You can’t escape it and so,
Goodbye, yeah it hurts like hell
But you could not love him
And not lie to yourself, Sarah.

Sarah, falling apart at the seams this time
You lost your bearings so
Put roots in the earth now and close up the Windows, the rain has come
And tears will follow and so bear down to the Winter cold,
Come this summer this phoenix will unfold.
Just wait and see.

This is not the end.
You will be loved again.

Sarah, be not afraid of the wounded one
Who comes with poems and
To drink from the fountain
Of the little you know about love and god
And letting go but oh,
He’s been to the Shadowlands.
Still you want to love him, want to hold those Hands and hear him say “Sarah…”

This is not the end.
You will be loved again.

This is not the end.
You will be loved again.

Lyrics found here.

***

I have been playing this song on repeat lately, replacing “Sarah” with “Kerry” as I listen.

This week’s
Song Lyric Sunday
is all about courage.

I’ve needed courage to move on from love, to find it again, or to trust in loving myself alone. I’ve needed courage to take a big life step with my dreams of becoming a writer. I’ve needed courage to go on without someone I’ve loved and lost. I’ve needed courage to speak, stand, or even step. I’ve needed courage to travel unknown places.

The courage for survival. Life is about rising and falling and rising once more, rising like the phoenix bird in Harry Potter.

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TToT: Hard Truths And What’s In The News, #10Thankful

“Sitting at my desk at two minutes past five on a Friday afternoon, deep in the season of darkness.” (Landscape orientation) The perspective of a person sitting at a desk, closely enough that the nearest edge of the muted-toffee top does not show.”

–The Wakefield Doctrine

I borrowed this quote from fellow blogger and writer Clark because it perfectly illustrates one unique perspective, a snapshot of one person’s place and time, their own, individual experience.

But the world is full of about 7 billion more, give or take. Thankfulness works best when you are aware of how lucky you are, though then I risk feeling like I am bragging, to someone, about just how good I indeed have things.

Listening to the news is a double-edged sword for me, but I strive to always be aware of the world around me still, never to become a prisoner of my personal life’s circumstance.

Want to be happy? Be grateful.

And so my thankfuls are all tied to the stories of the day/week.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful Canada celebrates Thanksgiving, the way we do, and in October.

http://www.macleans.ca/opinion/the-odd-complicated-history-of-canadian-thanksgiving/

This thankful exercise, here at the TToT, it teaches me to be thankful all year, but I do have a lot of issue with this one holiday, telling me to be thankful, while not being begun or continued in the right way.

I am thankful for real stories of pain and assault getting their chance to be heard.

http://www.macleans.ca/archives/nellie-mcclung-the-currents-of-life-grow-stronger-in-these-terrible-days/

This has gone unacknowledged for far too long. I don’t blame those who’ve experienced it for wanting not to put up with it any longer.

I am thankful for free speech…sigh.

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/7963254–i-never-thought-we-would-get-to-the-point-students-hold-free-speech-rally-at-laurier/

I am not on one side or the other of this matter. I wouldn’t be able to even choose a side for the purposes of a protest. I often wonder if that means I am someone who is unable to take a stand. In the meantime, I just stand there, on the sidelines.

I am a blind woman who sometimes has sensitivities toward ablism and then, in the next breath, wonder if I am being over sensitive. I am also someone who knows the luxury of being born in a country like Canada. I do think free speech can go too far, when it is coming from a place of fear or hate.

I am thankful Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau understands the value of apologizing.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/trudeau-apologizes-to-newfoundland-residential-school-students-excluded-in-past/article37071843/

To show awareness of someone else’s suffering goes a long way and shows empathy. It is an acknowledgement. It is an affirmation.

Of course he won’t satisfy everyone, but he’s making an effort anyway. The gesture is not a hollow one.

I am thankful for a stable government.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-42071488

You might not be sure, sometimes can’t tell, and I have my doubts when I happen to catch a clip of government proceedings, but Canada is not ruled by self-interested or even brutal dictators.

I don’t know the uncertainty of such a thing.

I am thankful for having a safe place to live and that, maybe, more of Canada will soon have the same.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-justin-trudeau-affordable-housing-1.3220479

My privilege showing again, with this one, but the following words are from someone with a vastly different set of life experiences.

All the time, I’m aware when I speak of Canada, that we must admit and be proud of our vulnerability and our ability to want to do better.

Race. Class. It affects real people. Privilege is real.

I am thankful I don’t have an unstable workplace to go to.

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/883375/argentina-submarine-us-navy-plane-object

I have had relatives who’ve had to work in a mine, but a submarine…oh boy.

Both scare the wits out of me, being trapped like that, and so far from and cut off from the rest of the world, in this case, being unable to get back.

I love the ocean, but being in a submarine is near the bottom of the list of places I’d like to be. And, yes, I do see the irony and the pun in this statement.

I am thankful for a fairy tale prince and his family.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42137179?utm_content=bufferbf756&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

I admit it…I have imagined myself in her place, a time or two, though I realize the challenges that must exist.

I do think there is a hype that probably goes too far, but I think any romance in the world is a plus. I need stories like these. Sometimes I wonder if all is how it seems, but I really do get swept up in all the excitement, in spite of myself.

I am thankful for the kick-in-the-butt NaNoWriMo November has given me.

https://nanowrimo.org/pep-talks/roxane-gay

Okay, so I barely reached more than a few thousand words, nowhere near fifty thousand, but it got me to at least start something I’d been talking and thinking about for a long while.

I may have met the goal of National Novel Writing Month when I first attempted it, back in 2013, but once that month was over I never went back to it, to finishing anything. This time, all that matters is that I started it and will keep at it.

And so now there is no turning back on this novel I was born, in a way, to write.

I am thankful to avoid any and all Black Friday or Cyber Monday mania.

https://passport2017.ca/articles/canada-black-friday-bandwagon

I choose to focus on the parts of the holidays that make me the happiest.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDGo72bdKdU

Happy start to the holiday season. I love what Lindsey Stirling does with her violin in this one.

Enjoy.

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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, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

Crossing The Line Between, #SongLyricSunday

I am obsessed with writing, with literature, and with travel.

When does an obsession turn into something dangerous?

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A relief to say, to admit honestly here, to you, that love, though wonderful )while it lasts) and difficult (when it comes to an end) doesn’t make that list.

Song Lyric Sunday, #SongLyricSunday

Obsession can be over another person (inside of or from the outside of a relationship) in love and romance, over a material object, or a place one really wishes to visit, true:

I have, in my time, become obsessed with a specific song I’d just heard. This one is full of passion that I didn’t see as anything more than that, anything bad, as a younger person who loved this song.

Romance. Passion. Nothing more than that.

Right?

***

Listen as the wind blows from across the great divide
voices trapped in yearning, memories trapped in time
the night is my companion, and solitude my guide
would I spend forever here and not be satisfied?

and I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I’ll take your breath away
and after, I’d wipe away the tears
just close your eyes dear

Through this world I’ve stumbled
so many times betrayed
trying to find an honest word to find
the truth enslaved
oh you speak to me in riddles
and you speak to me in rhymes
my body aches to breathe your breath
your words keep me alive

And I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I’ll take your breath away
and after, I’d wipe away the tears
just close your eyes dear

Into this night I wander
it’s morning that I dread
another day of knowing of
the path I fear to tread
oh into the sea of waking dreams
I follow without pride
nothing stands between us here
and I won’t be denied

and I would be the one
to hold you down
kiss you so hard
I’ll take your breath away
and after, I’d wipe away the tears
just close your eyes…

LYRICS

***

WRONG!!!

One line from this song reminds me of the famous scene from Fatal Attraction. Perhaps you know the one I’m referring to, from the lyric I am singling out.

Creepy, but it speaks to an important issue, something song lyrics often does.

I guess, this week’s prompt gives me my chance to speak up on what’s going on the news lately, but on what has been really been happening all along. The topic of obsession can be easily overcome, in time, when it is the latest object in a store window or magazine or online. When it comes to a person, the line can blur, can quickly be crossed from obsession to possession, it’s a different story.

This song is not romantic, as my younger self thought, before I gave the appropriate weight, scope and gravity to all the lyrics. Rather, it is a chilling story of one person’s obsession, wish for possession, of a certain celebrity, but really, of another human being.

Possession

All the stuff Sarah sings about, from the one in the song’s perspective about holding someone down and kissing them so hard, this is the chilling thing.

If it is consensual, if one person wants to be handled this way, there is passion. In the case of this song’s topic of stocking, as a behaviour, there is nothing romantic about it. This song, then, serves as a sort of warning to keep away. Restraining orders aren’t the answer, aren’t always enough, and things can get scary, fast.

Sarah McLachlan had this happen to her, as a famous person, but there are so many variations of the kind of harassment, assault, the criminal acts we’re all hearing so much about from those in power or those who don’t know where to draw the line. We need to keep talking about things like this, not keep it all so hidden and silent.

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TToT: Of Sight Or Vision and of Look Or See #10Thankful

“I suppose that every one of us hopes secretly for immortality; to leave, I mean, a name behind him which will live forever in this world, whatever he may be doing, himself, in the next.”

—A. A. Milne.

A lot of emotional moments this week and in this run-up to the Christmas season. I can feel it, an energy of sorts.

In the meantime though, I’m going to allow myself to coast through the next month or so because I am already feeling the pressure of the coming year, to make it everything this one was…and more.

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My Misadventures issue on store shelf.

So, I have some projects on the go, sure, but I want to enjoy the final weeks of this momentous year before they are gone.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the struggle of writing that keeps me thinking and learning and growing and moving.

This novel thing is harder than I realized, but I don’t stop. I research and learn so I can keep on writing.

I don’t ever really get writer’s block. There is always so much to discover and share.

I have plans and goals to conquer.

I am thankful for perhaps smaller groups but new people still showing up amongst them.

Our writer’s group lost a few this week because of illness and other things, but I walked in and was unexpectedly met by a new voice. A man from New Zealand came to check out what our little writer’s circle was all about.

It helps. I had someone in the group read something I’ve been working on, out loud to everyone, and I received interesting feedback from them and someone new helps with a fresh perspective.

I hope he returns. All the different life experiences in our group can only be a benefit.

I am thankful that I haven’t given up on the violin and my mastery of it.

The challenge continues, won’t go away because it is something one must keep working on. I won’t master playing such an instrument, not in a year and not in two. I know it feels like a long road, but I am working and developing parts of my brain I didn’t know I had.

Seriously, this lesson I felt energized and wiped out, all at once. I think that’s a sign that I am right where I am supposed to be with it.

I am thankful for two Foundation of the Blind meetings in one week.

I started with the US NFB ((National Federation of the Blind) and those few months of being a part of their organization (VisionAware) has given me some idea of what to expect with this new challenge of the Canadian CFB.

I listened in on the AFB call on Tuesday and the CFB on Thursday.

We had a guest speaker at ours. We are working to get a new national system of sharing books and other reading materials in libraries all across Canada and I was super emotional about it.

I love the library, but I feel like I feel when I am in a bookstore. I am surrounded by the things I love most in the world…and yet, I can’t access most of it like everyone else.

I hope I can be a part of changing that, for myself and many others.

I am thankful for a chance to write about my chronic pain journey.

LIVING MY BEST LIFE – A JOURNEY WITH CHRONIC PAIN

I am thankful for friends who can access US bookstores.

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Thanks, Sara, for doing that, since Canada has no Barnes & Noble stores.

She went to a Barnes & Noble and found this.

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Sara, you rock!

I am thankful for movies that aren’t the biggest box-office blockbusters.

Goodbye Christopher Robin

This is one of those not-a-super-hero movies that people might not know about or care to see, but I think we need more like it.

I am thankful for seeing things (like biographical movies) at the moment I am meant to see them.

I love biography because it tells the story of a person’s life. Every person has a story.

I am trying to write a novel about life for everyday people in Europe and such, during the two world wars that dominated the 20th century. It felt like a strange bookend. I think it helped me put some thoughts together though.

I am thankful for a simple fix for my phone from my handy techy brother.

It suddenly froze up on me and went mostly quiet. I need it to talk to me.

So, instead of feeling stuck and being about to take it to an Apple store, my brother thought of another way to reset a phone. I tried it and it worked.

I am thankful for another newly discovered cover to a song I already know and love.

Chasing Cars

“Those three words…are said too much…or not enough.”

—Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol

Which words are they?

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