1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Podcast, Shows and Events, Spotlight Sunday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 13 – Pell-mell Claptrap (feat. Erik Burggraaf) #Podcast #Friendship #Disability #Advocacy #Accessibility

He knows all the best words, like those in the title, from his love of reading. He likes to drop them into everyday conversations, catching us (always) off guard. He’s one-of-a-kind and he has a lot to say over beers with friends.

Right around our two-year anniversary of the start of this whole thing, after one chaotic summer, we got to interview a good friend of twenty years and an ally in the work to challenge stereotypes about those of us living with disabilities.

In
Part I,
we discuss friendship, how we met, and the fun we’ve had throughout the years. It’s the more lighthearted part of #13. (Guide dogs, mice, and Toronto adventures.)

So much to say, we had to break the interview up into two parts.

In
Part II,
we hear from Erik in his role as (Executive/Chairman of the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of the Blind).

He has high hopes and big dreams/plans for the CFB, both hear in Ontario and nationally. At the heart of it all though, he is fighting for a better tomorrow, starting now, for all of us who believe society holds the low expectations for its blind citizens that must not continue.

He’s our twenty-year pal and his passion for the things he cares about is contagious. Here’s to the next twenty years.

Also, check us out on
our Facebook page
for more.

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Memoir and Reflections, Song Lyric Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer

All Of My Life, #SongLyricSunday

“There’s too much I need to remember. And there’s too much I need to say.”

—Phil Collins

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That’s how I feel, on this final day of September, 2018 and so off I go, into October.

This song makes me feel sad. It makes me long for something. It makes me wish for something, though I don’t know what:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6hqjzPQA4M

As the final months of the year approach, October first and then November, before December rounds things off, I think of my parents because they both have birthdays in the next two months.

This song, especially, makes me think about my father. He is responsible for my love of Phil Collins in the first place and I’m grateful for that, for him.

***

All of my life,
I’ve been searching
For the words to say how I feel.
I’d spend my time thinking too much
And leave too little to say what I mean
But I’ve tried to understand the best I can
All of my life.

All of my life,
I’ve been saying sorry
For the things I know I should have done
All the things I could have said come back to me
Sometimes I wish that it had just begun
Seems I’m always that little too late
All of my life

Set ’em up,
I’ll take a drink with you
Pull up a chair,
I think I’ll stay
Set ’em up, cos I’m going nowhere
There’s too much I need to remember, and there’s too much I need to say

All of my life,
I’ve been looking
But it’s hard to find the way
Just reaching past the goal in front of me
While what’s important just slips away
And it doesn’t come back but I’ll be looking
All of my life

Set ’em up…
I’ll take a drink with you
Pull up a chair,
I think I’ll stay
Set ’em up, cos I’m going nowhere
There’s too much I need to remember, and there’s too much I need to say, ah yeah

(Guitar solo)

All of my life, there have been regrets
That I didn’t do all I could
Making records upstairs, while he watched TV
I didn’t spend the time I should
It’s a memory I will live with
All of my life.

(sax solo)

LYRICS

***

I’ve been away on vacation for a few weeks, but now I’m back and on this
Song Lyric Sunday,
I immediately thought of this song when I heard the prompt word.

I’m searching for something, for someone, some place, still looking, and I wonder if I won’t be doing that all of my life long.

But, also, don’t you just love the saxophone in this one?

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Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Walking the Ocean Floor and Not Quite Believing It, #BucketList #PhotoShareFriday #FTSF

Where to start? How to begin? Hmm. Expect more stories from my travels, in the weeks ahead.

I’ve been absent from this blogging stuff for a while, but I’ve had travel as my reason for said absence.

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I was out east, here in Canada, throughout the Maritimes when I was two. Of course, no memories of the trip. So, I simply had to return.

This is me (thirty-two years later) and I’m waiting on old photos of my first trip to these parts, which my mom probably has tucked away somewhere.

This is me, using my white cane as a detection tool, to explore and reach out, further than my arm ever could. I feel the rocky ground underfoot and I can’t quite believe the tides of this bay bring in and then take out such a volume of sea water. Where I stand, rock having been cut into by the tides that have always and will continue to come and go.

No matter what crap goes on in the world, human caused crap, nature kicks ass and I’m reminded of that. I ponder, as I walk, about those who could visit such a spot of wonder and not be awed by its power. Sad.

I feel the structure of rock and the indents made and the seaweed clinging to it. I will be gone, long before the mighty tide returns here, but somehow I wish I could stay. It shapes these rocks, just like life has shaped me, from a two-year-old to the woman I am today.

This photo is at
Hopewell Rocks
and I’m loving walking along the ocean floor – Atlantic Ocean and my unforgettable visit to the
Bay of Fundy,
in stunning Atlantic Canada.

This is my contribution for
Photo Share Friday
with
Finish the Sentence Friday
and the gang.

And I wish all things travel to those (like myself) who seek it out.

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Blogging, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, The Insightful Wanderer

Solidify, #SoCS

Round and round the seasons go.

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Okay, well there’s four seasons, which technically makes it feel more like a square than a circle, but I’ve always felt, myself, like a square peg that’s trying, always, to fit into a circular hole.

I like circular things: cookies, pizzas, etc.

Years come and go and my life, sometimes I feel like I’m going in circles, round and round.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

Okay, so this is my first time back doing this Saturday blogging prompt in a while and I might be a little rusty at writing down my thoughts, stream of consciousness style, with a word to write from.

I just have to use the word, but I started with it as itself, as even a part of another word.

Ground. Around. Surrounded.

I enter September, gladly and enthusiastically, waiting for something to happen.

Years ago, this month filled me with dread. I never looked forward to school picking back up after a carefree summer vacation, like some kids you’d ask. Some were, at least, looking forward to seeing their friends and all that, but I was feeling the unsteadiness of the new and different that a new year of school brings.

Just as I’d found my footing, solid ground underneath, I’d be thrown for a loop and have to start over again.

That’s life, the starting over, as I’ve done dozens of times since I last set foot in a classroom. There is, I admit, that familiar sense of terror and now I feel such relief, that this month can remain my favourite transition into my most favourite month, rather than new everything, new grade, new teacher, new set of challenges with learning and keeping up and passing tests.

Socially, I could never quite find my footing, falling to my knees, to the ground for support, wishing I were smarter, friendlier, cooler like all the other kids were. Nothing to hold onto when I’d grab.

Constant interruptions meant I couldn’t count on much, trust in anything really. Since that first grade (kindergarten) where the September calendar was red and green, construction paper apple cutouts, right until I just couldn’t stay there any longer.

Now, I see school again, in my mind and I am there to learn, to make my life better. Along with that, back comes all that stress and I run from that possibility, trying to find meaning and purpose without any further education.

It goes round and round and round inside my head. I can do more, be more, learn more. I could.

For now, I look forward to the month where I eat nothing but apples. I remember those construction paper apples and I hold the real thing in my hand.

Paula reds they’re called. Semi sweet perfection.

When, again, this month of starting over comes round, I meet it with all the hype it promises me.

My niece and nephews are starting school (third grade/first/senior K) and I know they feel nerves too, at the challenges (educationally and socially) that I felt before them. I am so proud. They have so much room to learn and to grow and I nervously await this first day of school, for each of them, though I know they will be awesome.

It’s the daily lunches and the packing the backpacks. For their parents, along with so many others, it is a bunch of feelings, watching them go off again, slowly or fast, becoming their own well rounded human beings.

Critical thinking skills. Socialization. Mathematics. Spelling. Reading. Science. History.

Problem solving. Teamwork. Independent learning skill.

I forget what it is that kids are learning now. I hope it will take them where they’ll eventually want to end up.

I have lots of regrets, and yet I haven’t given up on myself. I am a student of the kind of life long learning my active mind craves, though my body struggles to keep up.

I don’t miss the moment to moment stressors of an educational environment. I don’t miss waking up early to catch that bus. I may feel like I’ve missed it since then, some school years sticking out prominently in my memory, but overall feeling like I didn’t quite fit.

I had an education that I’m grateful for though. I was where I needed to be. I learned valuable things that have stuck with me.

Now I continue to struggle to find my place, where my square-shaped peg fits into the circular. Like we see when a small child tries, learning newly, how to fit a plastic shape into its appropriate slot. We have the urge to rush it, them, when really they need to learn it – and they will.

I must give myself that same room to figure things out. I must learn to be more patient. I don’t like to be rushed, by myself or by anyone else. Also, I am the most impatient of all.

I like to think of the ground, in autumn, starting to harden, to eventually freeze. Most people wish summer would not end. Me, I welcome the change eagerly. I look so forward to this September, like I haven’t in several years. Things are happening, and maybe I am on my way to being, not circular or square, but more well rounded and round and round and round we go again.

I don’t end up saying anything really profound in these, but that’s not the point of them and, as a writer, I have missed that.

As I try to focus on the few writing assignments I currently have, I do desire this stream of consciousness freedom. Though at the back of my mind I try to come to some sort of conclusion to things.

That girl, sitting at that school desk, she didn’t know she’d ever refer to herself as a freelance writer, a writer of any sort. Success, the kind we’re taught about as pupils, may be hard to achieve once we’re on our own. I know it continues to be for me.

So, yes, I don’t know if I have a point, what that might be and don’t know if I’d recognize it if I came to it.

I imagine I could go on doing this, rambling word after rambling word, without the fear of being graded or marked down somehow.

I could.

For the work I’m now doing with the Canadian Federation of the Blind, I do wish I’d been taught more about what’s going on and how the world works. History is important, don’t get me wrong, but how now do I approach my local politicians? How do I stand for myself? How do I speak on my own behalf?

The hamster wheel goes round and round inside my brain. All I’ve ever been taught doesn’t seem nearly enough to make a dent in the problems I see going on around me.

In my head, I run an endless track of ideas and possibilities and what if’s.

Again, it’s September, and I try to fit myself (the square that I am) into that circular hole, be more round. Feel the ground underfoot.

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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday

An Anniversary Memory, #FTSF

Grandma loved relaxing in the hot tub when she came to visit.

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I had it installed, hoping the ability to sit in the soothing waters might help my chronic pain. Grandma and I both had chronic pain and we helped each other through it.

The soothing waters were nice enough, especially on a chilly night, but she seemed to get more out of it than I did. The heat was hard on my headaches, but helpful for most of the rest of my sore body.

At the end of July I think of my grandma because she was taken, on this date back in 2005, suddenly from our lives. The photo was taken, little more than a month earlier, on her anniversary with my grandpa. They’d been married for fifty-five years.

Never again would I get to sit with her here, seen in the photo above.

I miss all of my now long departed grandparents, but Grandma, I miss you, on this
Finish the Sentence Friday,
hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee and
Kenya from Sporadically Yours,
all of us sharing a photo and a story to go along with it.

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Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, TGIF, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TravelWriting

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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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS

For The Love Of… #FTSF #SoCS

My oma lived through World War II and food shortages. She knew something about the feeling of hunger. I don’t know her exact relationship with food, how close she came to starvation, but I do know it had an impact.

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This means she was always feeding us, how many show love, and she loved us all (her family) through food alright.

Chocolate. Pancakes with Ketchup. I loved her salads.

I’ll admit, I like that empty feeling, when my stomach grumbles a little, as I somehow feel I am controlling my body. I have had a fickle and brought relationship with food and I don’t see that easing up much as I get older.

I guess that does link to feeling hollow in other areas of one’s life. I have never known the fear of going hungry, have often times had more than my share, a plentiful amount of food around me.

I struggled with food smells, when I was in the midst of kidney failure and the mouth watering aroma of bacon, a favourite of so many, made me want to vomit.

Now I still carry around with me a definite sensitivity to food smells. I don’t want my past with food or that of a loved one to bleed into the feelings of emotional emptiness or a hollowed out feeling of loneliness, one that only stuffing my face can quench.

I want food to be something enjoyable. I want to appreciate each and every flavour I come across. I know the problems with food and a lack of it that much of the world faces. I know I have had it good in comparison.

It’s
Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS
on a Sunday.

Also, I’m linking up (on a double stream of consciousness weekend) with Kristi from
Finding Ninee
and Kenya G. from
Sporadically Yours,
on the subject of food and feeling empty vs (/) hollow.

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