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TToT: Stoking The Fires and Fanning The Flames, #WorldKindnessDay #Armistice100 #TToT

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

—Mary Oliver

I may have used this quote in one of these already, but I like it so much and am using it again.

On Remembrance Day, here in Canada, I pause for silent reflection. Then, I get pissed off.

I’m supposed to feel gratitude and I do, but I look at all the sacrifice and I can’t help seeing waste. Of course, we wouldn’t have the peace we now have if it weren’t for the actions of so many, but I am angry and can’t feel grateful that mankind continues to get itself into ugly, awful wars.

We teach our children to share, to play nice, and to work it out. Yet, adults repeatedly let greed and lack of compassion and a sense of entitlement for what they may have get the better of them. Nationalism is dangerous, while patriotism even gets stuck in my throat sometimes. I am thankful for peace and for Canada, but I see the wider world in pictures, clearly with borders and laws and still I look for more common decency in the face of the things we all deal with.

I’ve been away from
Ten Things of Thankful
for a month at least. I am returning, on this day in particular, because I am still thankful for so much.

Remembrance Day makes me more mad than anything, overshadowing my gratitude. I take peace for granted too, in my own way. I am sick and tired of conflicts and battles because there’s endless suffering and a long lasting mark is left on nations and on their people.

It’s still going on. Maybe not at a world level at this moment, but there’s no guarantee that things won’t worsen into more widespread destruction.

Saying all that…

I’m thankful for all the kindnesses I’m seeing. I’m thankful for those putting out the fires and those celebrating and highlighting peace.

Armistice Day: moving events mark 100 years since end of first world war – as it happened

I am thankful for the live performances, those willing to play their music on stage, and discovering new music.

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

These are Moscow Apartment and they are a young duo, two amazing musical girls from Toronto who are so musically accomplished at such a young age. I was so impressed.

Teenagers. I can still relate and empathize so much with that time of life, even as I approach my 35th birthday this February.

I am thankful for
Women’s Travel Fest
and my trip to New York in March. The prospect gives me something to look forward to in the new year.

It will be a challenge for me, traveling to New York City for this conference, but I need to keep on taking chances and going on adventures. I can sometimes get so down on the things I don’t have and focusing on things I do have makes it tolerable.

I’m thankful for my sister, who helps me go jean shopping and writing up invoices for my freelance writing work.

I am thankful for a six-week storytelling workshop. It’s getting me out of my comfort zone.

I’m thankful for a
fantasticly fun friend
on our latest podcast episode.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to talk about the issues of
accessibility, equality, and advocacy
on the radio.

So there’s so much going on and I’m just barely catching up, but I always swore this TToT was a positive thing in my life, getting me focusing on the good things. I wanted to return and I wish I hadn’t been gone for so long.

I’m thankful for this gratitude journal of sorts and everyone who has ever run it or participated in it.

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

RIP Stan Lee.

“It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”

—L.M. Montgomery

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TToT: Pink, Blue, and Violet Too – Celtified! #10Thankful

When you’re tired and you find you can’t sleep,
Hear the song of the wise willow tree.
Feel the breeze kiss her leaves,
So soft and so sweet:
When you’re tired and you find you can’t sleep.

—Willow Lullaby

I was taken by surprise when I, again, discovered music, from here in Canada and known as Cassie and Maggie MacDonald. They were from Nova Scotia and visiting Ontario recently.

I’d like to learn/improve violin (even try playing fiddle in my imagination) and also how to speak Celtic. When I was in Ireland I only left knowing one phrase: Pog mo thoin

Strip the Willow Set … Blue Willow … The Willow Lullaby … Down in the Willow Garden…

See a pattern with the song titles forming here?

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the work my brother puts into our podcast together.

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: British C or B Columbia

I am thankful for a beautiful live fiddle concert.

I was tapping my foot along with the faster songs and then slow ones like Willow Lullaby had me solemn.

Thank you to those who suggested/brought me along to the show and to Cassie and Maggie and their interesting between-song stories, excellent sisterly talents, and the folk music and lyrics I am now listening to on Apple Music, on repeat.

Let No Man Steal Your Thyme

This phrase was one of the songs they did and I was caught curious about its meaning. After listening to their version of the song, (Maiden’s Lament), I decided the part about thyme representing a young woman’s virginity was somewhat off-putting, but I rather focus on the empowering message not to waste precious time with someone or something negative or unhealthy because life is short.

I’m thankful for little bottles of champaign.

On a hot day, in a busy bar, I ordered a bottle and drank straight from it. A glass was included, but I’d rather not, which makes me unsophisticated, not allowing the bubbles to breathe. Still, it was easier without and I don’t know enough to taste any difference.

I’m thankful for an excellent fiddle album from a musician with the same name as mine.

Look up Kerry Fitzgerald if you have a streaming service, and even if you don’t. She is from near me, though she tours all over. This album is Fiddle Beatz and the mix of her fiddle (violin music) and electronics, plus parts of her own voice make it awesome.

I’m thankful for a surprise email about organ donation.

Someone I met recently took the time to pick up the card, fill it out, and mail it off. She told me it is because she met me that she saw this through, that my brother and I put a relatable human face to the issue.

And now…a short TToT intermission halfway through.

***

So sleep with the sweetest of dreams;
May you dance in the light of moonbeams.
And sing, “Hey Diddle Diddle,” with the cat and his fiddle:
Sleep with the sweetest of dreams.

***

I’m thankful for something cold to drink on a hot day’s walk home.

I am thankful for Apple Music.

I am thankful for a new Lily Allen album.

Lost My Mind – Lily Allen

I am thankful for indoor plumbing.

I can’t tell you just how much.

I am thankful for first local strawberries of the season.

Strawberries, thyme, and the willow tree.

When you find you can’t sleep the night through,
And your worries, they come back to you:
Rest your head on the pillow,
Of leaves from the willow:
If you find you can’t sleep the night through.

—Willow Lullaby

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TToT: American Robin In Canadian Snow – Gnomes In The Shadows, #EarthDay #WorldBookDay #10Thankful

The snow was not quite all gone from the park; a little dingy bank of it yet lay under the pines of the harbor road, screened from the influence of April suns. It kept the harbor road muddy, and chilled the evening air. But grass was growing green in sheltered spots and Gilbert had found some pale, sweet arbutus in a hidden corner.

—ANNE OF THE ISLAND

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Canada comes together over tragic hockey team bus accidents one minute and we seem to be on the verge of splitting up, as a country because of oil and pipelines, the next. Okay, so I may be a bit dramatic here, but it’s how it all feels to me, in my more dramatic moments.

Now we’re, I hope, coming back together in support, as one, as the news of the van attack on a popular street in Toronto spread today, but who really knows.

I’m missing these, this exercise in gratitude, now and then lately, but I’m thankful still.

Ten Things of Thankful

It is World Book Day and I am thankful for books, old and new.

I got to visit the collection and exhibit of Lucy Maud Montgomery and I sat, for a long time, with an old journal she once wrote in, pasted photos and newspaper and magazine clips into.

I want to go back again and again and again, to find out what her life was like from different years, multiple decades, but I need someone else with me to read Montgomery’s words, and I hate to bother people like that.

I’m thankful for Logan, and people like him.

The kid was no longer a kid, which was how he’d gone out and been able to sign his donor card, to become an organ donor.

It wasn’t made a reality until harsh reality hit.

Still, I want to hug every one of him, people like him, who make such a final sacrifice as that one.

I’m thankful I could celebrate a birthday, attend the party I’d been invited for, even with the lousy freezing rain stuff we were getting that weekend, as a lousy farewell to winter.

My neighbour is someone I look up to, for many reasons, but because she is in her early seventies and she is starting over, on her own. She is doing it all, living life on her own terms, while she knows very well how precious life is.

She took the step I don’t take and decided to throw herself a birthday party, but the weather was horrible, and most people stayed at home. I am glad I live right across the driveway and could come over in thirty seconds.

She’d gone to all the work to make a table full of food. She bought beer, wine, and even coolers.

Happy Birthday CH!

I’m thankful for a “not normal” diagnosis.

I know, from personal experience, how “wonderful” it is to hear a doctor say that about you.

I was worried for a loved one, when that scary “C” word was being used, but the news was not quite that. Keeping an eye on things, for now, but I could breathe a sigh of relief, at least for the moment.

Not normal, huh? … … Um, yay?

I’m thankful for another wonderful meet up with my two writer friends.

These two ladies are such a wonderful pair to get to catch up with now and then. They are both at such different places in life, than each other and than myself, but we all love to write. We support that in one another. I learn from them. I am helped out by them. We, all three, cheer one another on and root for each other.

I’m so glad we met.

I’m thankful for warmer weather, as this is supposed to be spring after all.

I’m thankful for the sounds of spring heard out my window.

I’m thankful I got the chance to be interviewed about a subject that is of great importance in my life.

We hear about mother hood a lot, with so many writing websites being about motherhood. We hear about those women who struggle with infertility. I have seen that pain. I am in that group, the one that doesn’t have children, and I see how complicated the reasons for that can be.

It’s still a painful subject, like I should just get over it and move on, and though I focus on other things going on in my life, it still hurts.

I was approached to be interviewed, by a woman who has been working on a book about women, all around the world, who aren’t mothers. I like that I can speak about this and that she found me and asked me to take part.

Not sure where it will lead, but I’ve now met another lovely sounding woman. So many tough and awesome women in this world, you’d never otherwise know about.

I’m thankful for our first guests on the podcast this month.

The Earth Tongue Wiggled (feat. Liam & Crystal of Wildlife Gardening) – Ketchup On Pancakes

For the April episode, we thought a couple with the greenest of thumbs would be perfect. They talk all things green and growing, if you enjoy some gardening with your spring weather.

They are both funny, creative, compassionate souls and I am proud to call them family.

I’m thankful for a rap song about fungi.

No Sunlight

Nine people lost their lives today, when all they were doing was trying to get out and enjoy one of the first really lovely spring days of the year. RIP to those poor souls.

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Men and Beasts, #SoCS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clowns. Beasts. Monsters among men.

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

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

According to Google:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TToT: The Mercurial April of 2018 – Foreshadowing Farce, #10Thankful

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

—Maya Angelou

This week, all of Canada is mourning loss of life, young and promising players, in a horrific bus crash in Saskatchewan.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful that all of Canada has come together in a time of grief.

A GoFundMe page has been set up, which has already raised over 4 million dollars for families and survivors, and Justin Trudeau visited the injured. With all the bad in the world, even in moments of shock and loss, I feel better to sense a coming together of my country, from coast to coast to coast.

‘Hockey stands with you’: Condolences, support pour in for Humboldt Broncos | CBC Sports

I am thankful that hockey is what it is, means what it means to so many Canadians, even if not always especially and specifically for me.

From small town teams to the NHL, support to those (on and off the team affected) has been swift and strong.

https://ca.gofundme.com/funds-for-humboldt-broncos

I’m thankful for an angel who is going to leave something behind in tragedy, to be able to at least help someone go on, in good health again.

Lethbridge hockey player’s organs to be donated after fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash | CBC News

I read that one of the young men recently signed his donor card. This is a tough subject, but as the sister of someone who five years ago received a kidney from another person lost, I know the other side, that the side of organ donation.

I don’t have a clue about the tragic side of having to let go like that, but to know a gift is being given, I can’t pretend I don’t recall that relief I felt for my brother’s sake and for my own.

I don’t know what else to say. It’s one of the hardest things any person could experience, I’m sure. Still, I had to speak up about it, to include it in this list.

I’m thankful for beautiful art that remains after death.

One of the fifteen killed was not only a hockey player, but he could make brilliant music on the piano. (See performance link above.)

I will start and end this TToT post, speaking of music, but as things must and do go on…

I’m thankful I got a sudden call that a cancelation came up for me to get a physical therapy appointment finally.

I’ve been waiting for this call for over a year now.

I’m thankful the therapist took the time to go through my lengthy medical history with me.

It took up her whole allotted hour. We didn’t even have time to get to any stretches.

I’m thankful she plans to educate herself, to read up on my rare syndrome, before our next appointment.

I am thankful for the smooth and textured needs of two new bracelets.

Some are smooth, but other parts are made up of lava stone. They have tiny grooves in them and you’re supposed to drip the smallest drop of essential oil on them. Then, I can have a gentle and soothing touch of scent against the skin of my wrist, wherever I go.

My cousin, who runs a hair salon, also sells handmade items, such as jewelry and things. I like to shop, supporting local makers.

I’m thankful I got to attend my violin teacher’s masters recital.

I met her family after and they, along with her friends and other students/teachers, were all so proud of her, including this one student of hers in particular.

So many people, all there to support her. She has worked at it nearly all of her life. Her skill has taken years to develop. I will miss her and everything she’s done for me, once she moves on for further education, but this show was outstanding.

I was in a mood all that day, before her show that night. I don’t know what it was or why. I kind of wonder if it wasn’t me, feeling anxious and nervous, for her sake. I get more nervous for others more than for myself, if possible, when someone I know or care about is going to be tested or performing in front of people, like when my brother plays guitar.

This time, I am not sure, maybe it was just a bad day. Then, when I sat down, the song she played on her violin seemed to calm me, changing my mood and reducing my anxiety. The song was something I’d really never heard before. It was abrupt and anxious sounding, but it seemed to put, into music, the exact feelings I’d been experiencing. It took it all down several notches and I felt like it expressed precisely how I’d felt.

I’m thankful for not only a piece of music that speaks to me, but also a passage in a book.

This one is from A Wrinkle In Time. I read it and it brought together the elements of my own head, the themes that have been with me most of my life, something deep inside, of which I’ve put into my own song lyrics in the past. I’ve even dreamt this sensation:

“This movement, she felt, must be the turning of the earth, rotating on’ its axis, traveling its elliptic course about the sun. And this feeling of moving with the earth was somewhat like the feeling of being in the ocean, out in the ocean beyond this rising and falling of the breakers, lying on the moving water, pulsing gently with the swells, and feeling the gentle, inexorable tug of the moon.”

From the moon to the sea…RIP to those lost and deepest condolences to all those who’ve lost loved ones.

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Shades of the Unwell, #SongLyricSunday

I lived in a kind of shadow world, most of my twenties.

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The chronic pain I was living with had covered me over, casting a shadow over my days:

Chronic pain makes you feel invisible, or at least it did me. Shadows flitting, everything fleeting.

I was left to watch them dance across my walls and ceiling at night, wondering what any of it was even for, if I even mattered or had a purpose at all.

What was the point of sleep? Was there even any reason for me to get up in the morning?

***

All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something
Hold on
Feeling like I’m headed for a breakdown
And I don’t know why

[Chorus]
But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be…me

I’m talking to myself in public
Dodging glances on the train
And I know, I know they’ve all been talking about me
I can hear them whisper
And it makes me think there must be something wrong with me
Out of all the hours thinking
Somehow I’ve lost my mind

[Chorus]
But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be

I’ve been talking in my sleep
Pretty soon they’ll come to get me
Yeah, they’re taking me away

[Chorus]
But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be
Yeah, how I used to be
How I used to be
Well, I’m just a little unwell
How I used to be
How I used to be
I’m just a little unwell

LYRICS

***

I wanted people to see me for who I was, who I had been, or could be. I worried nobody would see my value in the world any longer, that they wouldn’t stick around long enough to see me as more than how unwell I felt.

This week’s lyrics (the Matchbox 20 song I’ve chosen) are all about
shadows
and the tricks they play on the mind.

I still don’t sleep all that well, even though I feel again like I have a purpose, though the timing of this post takes me back to those shadow filled long nights of my twenties again.

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Purple and Green, #FTSF #SoCS

Are you acquainted with “Steve” by any chance?

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He’s making science news today, here in Canada and the north, in a big, expansive way.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day: green beer, green rivers even. Everything is turned the colour green. Over the skies in Alberta, I believe, it is purple dancing in the night though, not the usual green of Northern Lights, ones I won’t likely ever see, like the colour green I miss and still try to hold onto inside my head.

I don’t care for all the revelry of this day, the kind that makes people let loose and get out of control even, arrests made, but it’s a celebration and I don’t fight that. I do believe some people don’t need much of an excuse to act ridiculous. I may be no wildly outgoing partier, but I love Ireland and I’d celebrate its existence any old time.

The colours seen in the sky are named Steve and I find that curious. Steve sounds like an Irish name to me.

My favourite character in Downton Abbey is Irish, the chauffeur Tom Branson. He is one of the best in that series.

I am away from all the noise today, no drinking for me, but I can practically hear the laughter from here, of a day where people let it all out. It’s green and I like green, green Ireland. What could be better?

Another
Stream of Consciousness Saturday
and a humorous
stream of consciousness
Finish the Sentence Friday proceeding it.

With Kristi and co-host
Kenya G. Johnson of Sporatically Yours
to make the stream of consciousness pairing complete.

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