Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake

Late and Possibly Even Lost My Invitation #JusJoJan

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

FIGIXDa.png

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Standard
Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Poetry, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

That Magic Number #FlashbackFriday #JusJoJan

I have written every day (excluding Wednesday’s and Saturday’s) for
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
2020 and now I come to it:

ZVavT2k.png

I write to start my year off because I don’t have a clue what else I’m doing really.

I wonder what’s next for me, what sorts of
change
might be in my future, these next eleven or twelve months, but do I really want to know?

They say it’s inevitable anyway. Still, I am scared. Not of life in general. No, I’ve learned to be open to it all.

It’s when I’m going along and I get a call. Was I too cocky?

A sudden rising in my blood levels, the kind the nephrologists test for, the kind I’ve learned to watch too, as well as my family members do.

I’ve been at 70-80 or somewhere there about, for over twenty years now. I’ve been stable, no matter whether or not the rest of my life has felt that way.

Now I fear the kind of changes that could come, if that number were to keep rising, rising up above 100 and counting.

It’s an alteration within my blood that the doctors look at. I sit here, listening to a poet reading her poems to me, writing down words and phrases that strike me especially and I think, as she describes her medical history using words: muscles, veins, blood

She refers to her body being explored by Miss Frizzle and her school bus full of curious children and I think of my creatinine.

I can’t touch it, leaving the blood safe inside me, in my veins, but I don’t wish to explore it further. I want to leave it to a twice-a-year thing, no closer than that.

I don’t write poetry like Alana, but I think in terms of it.

I scare myself, hopefully, for no reason. A recheck and it will all be good again, go back down to the level I brag on.

My weekend is slightly ruined though, as I weight. Nothing I can do. Don’t worry too much, I tell myself, others might say. No point anyway.

I think of that girl I was, once so sick, my brain unable to do math. A zero on the test. It was time for dialysis to remove all that toxic sludge from my body.

I am not that girl now, a woman approaching middle age. I want to go out now and experience it all. So grateful for the fact of dialysis, but I run from any thoughts of being stuck to machines multiple times every week.

I want to walk along the Thames, to go back out west, to tackle my
bucket list
without restraints.

Of course, money is my biggest, but those machines threaten to hold me down.

I feel the mark on my chest where the tube once hung, connecting to tubes that carried my blood to be cleansed. Family stayed by my side, friends sat and we talked. I dreamed of one day visiting Ireland and Prince Edward Island and more with my grandparents, my family, a partner maybe.

Now I want to run from that little girl, into my future, but I know it will all come full circle.

I hear/read about the future of organ donation, of artificial kidneys, but I don’t hold my breath.

I think of lists with my name on them and rising blood levels and I want to sleep.

It’s in the waking that the thoughts come rushing back.

So many changes lately: people in my life leaving, missteps and moves questioned, and now…here I sit and I wonder over that magic number over the weekend.

It will all be okay. It will all be okay. It will, it will.

I don’t tell my brother, one who can best understand the fear that comes creeping back in. He’s on the west coast right now and I don’t want to bother him or disturb the freedom and lack of worries while he’s out there. And so I burden you, blog, with this one, for now.

Breathe Kerry, just breathe.

Standard
Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections

Mrs. P Sorted Through It #JusJoJan

It’s when my braille translation program got all messed up and what came out from the braille printer made absolutely no sense.

3xrHX4K.png

It was strange to call her Mrs. P at school suddenly. I’d gone for years thinking of her as my friend’s mother. She’d pick us up, make us dinner, and drop us off. All of a sudden, she’s my educator, teacher’s assistant, and I just don’t call her anything at all.

She was the first to use the word
gobbledygook
and I have been a fan of that word ever since.

High school seems so long ago now, like an entire lifetime ago, but I’ve seen a lot of gobbledygook since the early 2000’s.

It all gets muddled with so many voices, spurting out nonsense and opinions all over the place and my headaches persist.

What I’m saying here now is more of the same. I can gobbledygook it with the best of them though.

When most people run their fingers or move their eyes along a line of braille they get only gobbledygook. When I do it, the world opens up to me beneath my fingertips.

I relied a lot on my friend’s mom/educational assistant to sort through so much nonsensical jargon so I could learn what I needed to learn.

Thank you, Mrs. P and
Jim,
for bringing this word to my/our collective minds.

Standard
Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Ice Cubes, Cough Candies, and Skulls #JusJoJan

My bracelets are my fidget spinners.

mcBVyzs.png

I don’t know a lot about the names of different stones and minerals and jewels.

I wear my rubber
Bold Blind Beauty
band around my left arm to remind me that I can be bold, blind, and beautiful too.

When I did some public speaking the other day, I wore my wrap around blue beaded bracelet I got from a woman at
Women’s Travel Fest
last year.

I now have two bracelets with bigger assorted beads I wear on my right wrist and I think one of those beads might be
jade,
though don’t quote me on that.

I got one of these in Mexico back in 2017 from
this man!

It has flower beads, beads that feel like giant marbles, one bead shaped like a heart, one that makes me think of a cough candy, and a few small skull beads which is a cultural thing from that country.

My newest beaded bracelet was made by a girl I met out west last year. I wanted to support her artistic entrepreneurship and, I have to say, the bracelet she made me is lovely.

It has a pattern, two beads that feel like a different type of cough candy, and one centre bead shaped like a cube. Or, as I like to say, one of those ice cubes that come out of the ice machine at a hotel.

The sound these beads on these bracelets on my right hand make sounds like the jingling that always accompanied Lady Mary on the Downton Abbey series.

They are my good luck charms, peace and meditation, and memories of my travels.

Thanks,
MB,
for this prompt that posed more of a challenge than some.

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Podcast, Spotlight Saturday

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 18 – Farewell 2019…By The Fireside #Family #Humour #Creativity #Podcast

It’s 2020 already and we glance around in surprise that we’ve made it here.

In the last year or so, we traveled, we made music, and we learned lessons about love.

Check out
Episode 18
of the podcast.

We managed to produce only two episodes of
Ketchup On Pancakes
in 2019, so busy with
Outlook
and other things, but we say farewell to all that made up the year beyond the podcast that started it all.

We at KOP, along with our trusty fire stoker, wish you the best in 2020.

Standard
Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake

Farewell Glow #JusJoJan

I had my final hair cut from a cousin of mine today. She has been doing my hair for nearly fifteen years and, first world problems I know, but it isn’t only the hair.

BhHCpyg.png

It’s really a
mix
of feelings and emotions because I trusted her, as family I’ve grown up with, to style my hair like I trust my sister to help me choose clothes.

Unable to see my face in the mirror (my hair) or how I look in a certain sweater or pair of jeans means I appreciate any help I can get.

I don’t say this to sound like poor me, the blind woman, because I work hard to fight the problems pity for blind people causes in society.

It’s just nice to have those I totally trust to do their best to help me out in these certain areas because, though I no longer see it all, I still like the things many women like like clothes or my nails done or a new haircut.

My cousin is moving, with her husband and kids, across the country and I am happy for her. I know a lot of people don’t understand why she felt the need to leave everything, her business and family and the only place she’s ever known as home, but I understand doing something that others don’t get. It means doing what you feel you must, something that your heart is telling you, all while other people shrug their shoulders and raise an eyebrow in confusion because they don’t see what you are seeing.

I do wish the best for her and her family on this new part of their journey together, but I will miss having her nearby. She is my main connection to the rest of the family I see, less and less, now that we’re all older.

Her salon smelled lovely, she’d often had relaxing music playing and would offer coffee or tea while I’d wait, and I always enjoyed the feel of the way she would straighten my hair.

All my best to them. I just gotta work at accepting change when it comes because that’s not going to be the last change I’ll have to face. It wasn’t the first and won’t be the last.

Standard
Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Writing A Wrong, #JusJoJan

A bunch of holes, punched into a piece of paper – what is it?

FZ8sL0q.png

As it was once done, braille still can be written with the slate and stylus, a piece of metal or plastic with lines of the six cells that make up braille.

A piece of paper is slipped inside the slate, lined up, so the stylus can
poke
holes in the appropriate spots to make all the individual braille letter combinations.

I know it sounds confusing and complicated to people upon hearing this, but it is how I’ve known to read and write since I was a child.

Handy when writing postcards when traveling, though they are less common than when I was younger.

It makes that simple thump thump thump sound as I press the stylus into the correct spot in the small six dot space, which lets me know I am right where I mean to be. One centimetre off and the letter I meant to write has a wrong dot in it.

Though I no longer use the slate and stylus method, as I prefer the speed of Perkins brailers or, nowadays, my electronic/Bluetooth braille display.

Sure, technology truly is amazing and has made literacy for the blind more efficient, but without the basic yet brilliant invention of braille to begin with, the world would be without the beauty of braille for all these years.

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Poetry, RIP, Special Occasions, TGIF, The Insightful Wanderer, TToT

TToT: An Ode and Lament For “No Need to Argue” #FlashbackFriday #10Thankful

Had they but courage equal to desire?

William Butler Yeats – Poetry Foundation

It’s around that time: celebrating The Cranberries biggest and best of all their albums – No Need to Argue, 1994.

First off, I just like that message, being someone who never liked to argue much at all myself.

It’s not only one big time radio single that’s on offer here, but a lovely and haunting collection of songs, that moves me from start to finish.

From family ties to Ireland’s well-known Troubles to a tribute to a long-since-passed Irish poet.

During the later half of the 90’s, I’d place the tape in my walkman, crank the volume in my headphones, and drown out the world, a world of medical tests and uncertain outcomes. Not all my childhood was about, but a big big part of it and this album was a piece of that.

And it all started with my sister (thanks) and an Irish boy on our school bus.

RIP again, Dolores, and a great owing of gratitude to the entire band for this album.

What album (not song) has been there, done this sort of thing in your life? Albums are often neglected pieces of art as a whole.

Ode and Lament (From my 20th anniversary post for this album.)

I’m back for another round of
Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful
and this week I am thankful for more than ten things, but for every song on this memorable album and for those who made it – those still alive and those no longer with us.

I think of that quote from the top of this post and hearing her murmur those words of W.B. Yeats (in that song on the album) and I often wonder if my courage is equal to my desire for so many things.

Her haunted voice will forever ring inside my head.

Had they but courage equal to desire?

Had I? Have I?

Standard
Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday

Be Seated, Please #SoCS

Grab yourself a cup of coffee, find your favourite piece of furniture, and be seated.

MBMsSZR.png

There’s the one with the hard yet smooth arms and the scratchy cushions.

Or the yellow one with square cushions in Oma’s basement that was surprisingly comfortable for naps.

And then the one that survived a tornado, many decades old and ripped, but well loved. And then the one with the knitted afghan covering its surface.

Some, sofa beds, that pull out and some that do not.

Chesterfield: a town in England or a word I’ll always connect with my grandparents from a different generation. Sofa. Loveseat, like a bike I can ride, built for only two.

I slept many a time on such a small space, but more small for others than for me as I never did grow tall, like all those whose feet would hang off and dangle.

The long ones or the L-shaped ones or the sectional in my brother’s living room that the kids are always being warned not to jump on.

Or the one I spent sick day after sick day on, when some thought I was faking sick to get out of school, because nobody could or should miss that many days of sixth grade.

I did jump off that one, landing on an ankle, spraining it – injury coming before illness.

All those bowls of salty chicken noodle soup I ate there, listening to soap operas through the stereo speakers. All the awful days of nausea and fatigue I just couldn’t fight and all the surgeries recovered from, on either side of the L.

The velvety one, bought at yard sale, meant for college. Ending up in Toronto, sleeping on the separate segments it came in, waking up in the night to one sliding away from the other to reveal a crack down to the floor.

Heavy, wooden frame and a bed into sitting position, a futon doesn’t really count as one, but I thought (at eighteen) it was cool I could have both couch and bed in my own bedroom that I had always had to share with my older sister.

The set I purchased as new furniture with my sister after buying a house, that came with armchair of same fake leather and three glass coffee tables. I’m no longer that weak, unwell little girl, but a grown woman on her own.

Tears in the material and it was first to go. I still have that armchair though.

He found me a colleague’s no longer needed set, including loveseat, of green fabric I believe it was. Scratched up said colleague’s truck, used to move said furniture, but the loveseat still sits here today, as part of my current mismatch of living room furnishings. The loveseat is my dog’s place now, and he’s always unsure just what to do when someone comes over and dares sit on it.

And, finally, I start a short story (eventually to go into an anthology and my first story in print) about my current
couch
that I hope will last for a while yet, even with the origin so unforgettable.

Recliners on each end, but feeling more like the seats from the minivan we had growing up than a living room couch. We did used to detach the middle van seat and leave it in the garage or down in our basement, to make room for hauling things or kids (back when seat belts were less mandatory).

Now the one I bought it with is no longer around, the splitting of things during the breakup, but I kept this minivan seat couch. It already has small holes all over it and I hoped, when I got him, that my cat wouldn’t scratch it and destroy it before its time.

You know, Lumos, you can just jump up onto it instead of digging your claws into it and climbing up.

People sit here, where I so often write, and leave with cat hair all over them, but I love my couch.

And so, once more, I find safety and comfort on my couch. So I must wrap up this post because now all I can think to write that involves this week’s prompt word is a children’s show that played in paediatric hospitals, when I was often in them (stuck playing the waiting game rather than Hungry Hungry Hippos): a show about a big, comfy couch (I forget the name of that show). Blaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Interviews, Memoir and Reflections, Podcast, Spotlight Sunday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 17 – Lifelong, Long Life (on location at The Potters’) #Plethora #VIPs #Podcast #Pottercast #QuadrupleL

OH BOY! OH MAN!

Lifelong, Long Life (on location at The Potters’)

Almost July, but check out our plethora of moments in time, a review of our connective quadruple L, as June is Pottercast month on
Ketchup On Pancakes
and he remembers all.

Join us…as we gather around for a conversation about and filled with family, memories, creativity, and humour…lots of humour.

After all, what really makes a family anyway?

We, the VIP’s (visually impaired persons), get together to take a walk along memory lane and we do it, live from the Potter’s reck room.

Standard