1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Shows and Events, SoCS, The Blind Reviewer

Thoughts and Prayers Lead to Nothing But Fury, #Review #SoCS

If I were to add one word to the beginning of this week’s
Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt,
it would be “free”.

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the latest from documentary film maker Michael Moore is a clever spin on a previous doc he’d made in the early 2000’s – from 9/11 to 11/9. Not even #45 could have planned it better.

Moore highlights the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the mass school shootings in Parkland, Florida.

Scenes of protests all over his country, from marching for women’s rights to those of teachers.

A West Virginia politician goes as far to say that America has never been “GREAT”.

As far as democracy is concerned, those countries who shout the loudest about possessing it, rarely really do, rarely ever did. Women couldn’t always vote. African-Americans couldn’t always vote.

It is a hard look at not just one side of the political isle or the other. I came out of it thinking less of Barack Obama than I used to, with his stunt of asking for a glass of water to drink, in front of so many wounded and sick and traumatized citizens of Flint.

Was that a stunt? Did it happen like that? Did the media not showcase it? Or did I just choose not to hear about it at the time?

I can hear about any stupid thing a politician does and make up my own mind. I don’t ever want to be ruled by any one man or woman, anyone governing over me. My freedom is worth fighting for, but not by all the violent wars this world’s ever fought.

I know any group of people can lose their freedom, just like that. If it can happen to one, it can happen to another, it can happen to me and those I love.

A prosecutor of Nazi war criminals is interviewed and he speaks of the peril we’re all under, when children are separated from their parents, anywhere. Anyone who has seen what he’s seen, who has asked a Nazi how they could take part in the murder of 90,000 human beings, just to be told that they were told by their leader that those human beings were a threat – and I choose to listen to this spokesperson for history and what it has to teach us.

Nobody wanted an entire film of just #45 and I am at the top of that list. I couldn’t stand to hear his ugly sneering voice for two hours. No way!

I do remember where I was that night (November 9, 2016) and how it felt. I was making a podcast and I wasn’t one of the many Moore shows clips of, laughing off the prospect of a DT presidency. I don’t like to say “I told you all so,” but I think it when I hear the silly, derisive laughter, all those who laughed it off as a big joke. The joke becomes our reality before we know it.

The man is a symptom of the bigger disease, a rotten symptom like gangrene, I grant you, but a symptom all the same.

Money. Power. Greed. All ugly.

Since this film was made, more current events have taken place in the US, with nomination for the highest court in their land. This is setting off women, the #MeToo movement, like nothing else in a while. Women are sick of the status quo, just as survivors and the rest of us after a mass shooting are sick of “thoughts and prayers”. I haven’t even suffered from serious sexual assault or abuse in my life and I am furious about the misogyny that exists everywhere we look.

I am in Canada and we have our own set of problems, but I know how close Michigan is to where I live. The poisoning of a community’s water supply happened there, is still going on, and I think what class or race can mean, in terms of whether you are heard or taken care of or ridden off entirely.

I know Michael Moore puts a spin on his subject matter when he makes one of his classic documentaries. I go into it with an open mind. I have to admit though, it’s scenes like the one where he tries to make a citizen’s arrest of the Michigan governor, asks a representative of said governor to take a drink of a glass of Flint water, and going as far as hosing down the governor’s mansion with poisoned Flint water that are the things I love about the outrageous filmmaker. He has the freedom to take such actions, to make such films, and he keeps right on exercising that freedom.

I have the freedom to write these words, now, but will I always?

As long as voices like MM exist; yet, (not putting all our hopes on one filmmaker/man/woman/politician is probably best) and it’s when we all act that we hold onto the freedoms we hold so dear.

You may think I’m being dramatic, but as long as freedom is still my own, I can draw the comparisons between Hitler and Trump, from the 1930’s to now because history is a tool with which to evaluate where we are in the present moment.

I ask myself, time and time again, how a society of intelligence and culture like that of Germany at the time could have let it happen. It’s not such a mystery and yet I can’t wrap my mind around the answer.

I am choosing, with my own free will, to learn these lessons, before it is too late. It is already (too late) for so so many, those who lost their own freedom long ago. I still hold some of mine and I am grateful for that. I am awake, wide awake and I am grateful for any piece of media which shines a light on the problems that exist.

He ends his film with the sound of a pained and passionate female voice, one I’d heard at the time and winced at the fury I heard bubbling just below the surface of her words. Watch out world.

So forget thoughts and prayers. We women are at the front of the line when it comes to defending our freedom and no longer hiding our fury.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, FTSF, Kerry's Causes, Shows and Events, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Socialize, Strategize, Summer Social #Equality #Disability #FTSF

This photo is a section of people who showed up for an event I put on, in a park, at a handy picnic spot.

The weather that day was perfect. The food was enjoyed by all. Everyone seemed to be having themselves a wonderful time. I hadn’t ever really put on an event like that before. My brother (treasurer) did most of the work, sent out invites and got people to show up. We wouldn’t have had the 31 people attending if it weren’t for the work he did and the time he put in.

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lawn chair group photo of
Sarah, Brian, Jennifer, Kelly, Steven, Lisa, Sienna, Susan, Rob, Fred, Markus, Robin, Patrick, Emily and Darling

Great group of people having some great conversations.

I had meant to include this photo in a post the other day, here on my blog, and then I did what often happens to me. The first photo and the second photo were the same photo, not this photo, and multiple family/readers pointed it out.

Thank you because I can’t see which photo I’m posting.

As summer comes to an end, we from the Ontario chapter of the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
were so pleased our first summer social was so well received.

Of
box forts
and happy summer days we won’t ever forget on this
Finish the Sentence Friday
(photo edition).

In spite of the fact that I am blind, can’t see photos, and neither can most in the photo I’m sharing.

Thing we have to learn in the CFB is what we’re hoping to share with the wider world. We, as the blind must speak up and out, for our rights. Yet, this world of ours (as much as anyone’s) is most of all a sighted one.

Tricky stuff. Sometimes, the blind just wanna have fun.

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TToT: Level of Loose Lip Loggers, #10Thankful

“You can cast the first stone. You can break my bones. But you’re never gonna break…never gonna break my faith.”

—Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige

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Caption: my friend Anita and I – so glad she could come to our first CFB bbq.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for no rain on the day of an important picnic/bbq for my cause.

We at the Canadian Federation of the Blind of Ontario were putting on our first ever summer social.

I am thankful for the perfect park where we held the event.

I am thankful I could meet such a diverse group, of old friends and new ones.

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Caption: large group shot of some of our guests.

I am thankful for the help from my family. They are always supportive and always present.

I am thankful for friends who offer rides, help fetching supplies, capturing the special moments of the day, and to help us raise a bit of money to begin something more, just by showing up that afternoon.

I am extremely thankful that the day went off without a hitch.

Some days are a snapshot in time, of a beautiful gathering coming together. I sometimes lose my faith, and then something happens to help me find a little more to be getting along with again.

I am thankful for the 31 who attended our event and then the breaking off of smaller groups, from the bigger, that same evening and the next morning (for breakfast at a lovely spot) and the morning after that.

We discussed policies and plans. We discussed dreams and goals yet to reach.

I am thankful my brother and I could get our 13th podcast episode recorded, with likely something like three full hours of discussion, on transformative times gone by and the change we want to see for those who are blind in Canada.

We talk with the one who started the ball rolling on an Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of the Blind, our good friend and former roommate.

I am thankful for this literary film.

For a major Downton Abbey fan like myself, this one is a treasure.

I’d heard of it, come across the trailer online, and I knew, right away, it would be my kind of film.

It was the perfect way to end one wildly successful weekend.

So much work to do. Sometimes, I need a little time with a good movie on Netflix, a bunch of tears shed – a satisfying few hours spent.

And I am thankful for the first of the freshest apples of the season.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iazIjFT9ZI

A legend with a powerful voice is gone and this one song was the one that affects me most. She has affected many others, such as
this writer.

RIP Aretha.

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TToT: Time, Place, and Space – Lost On Spot, #FamilyReunion #LaParada #Panorama #10Thankful

“It helps, too, to dream big, to make plans for future projects that are beyond the scope of my current experience, to make connections with other people who work in the arts, to apply for grants, send out stories, throw bottles into the sea. Make space for more opportunities to unfold. Here’s a fun thing to try: write a letter to yourself, addressing yourself like you would a dear friend. What advice would you give yourself? Can you name all the things about yourself that you like, that give you strength and courage? What questions would a good friend ask you? (I did this at the beginning of June, and reading over my “Dear Carrie” letter now, I recognize that it has helped shape my summer in positive ways.)”

–Carrie Snyder

I read this blog post and wanted all of it. I want to think good things about myself and write it all down. I want to know art and other artists. I like the bottle in the sea idea.

I have been slacking, not keeping up reading other thankful posts. I have let myself down, in a couple ways this summer, but then I’ve taken on so much that is new and thrilling too.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for feedback that is hard, sometimes/at times more than others, to hear.

I know I am learning from it. I know I need to hear it. I know it is part of the deal, of being a writer.

I’m thankful for a surprise offer.

It came at just the right moment, right after the difficult-to-hear feedback. It was a strange contrast of a day.

I was unable to trust in it, at first, because I still don’t expect good things to come my way much in life. (Bad habit/trap to fall into.)

I could sure use offers like this one to come along, once-in-a-while. It was from a well-known company, with a healthy budget and reputation. I was discovered, just by having my words, in existence, out there in the world.

I should be able to brag, but still I am uncertain whether or not to speak details of the thing in question, while contract is still being worked on and leading up to the release date.

Still, I had to include it here, in this list, this week. I won’t ever forget that contrasting day of offers, for feedback and for growth and opportunity. I only need to make sure I get it right.

I’m thankful for friends/writers who offer me a bit of encouragement when I’m starting to doubt.

Editors are unknown and unfamiliar to me, but then that means their job isn’t to make me feel better about myself or to buck me up. I know, logically, that isn’t their responsibility, but yet I probably still am looking for that, somewhere, deep down. Working on it.

Friends, those who know the world of writing (creatively or business wise) are the ones who are there, when I need them the most, to remind me that I am a writer, still learning and growing, but yet not at all without merit.

It’s just nice to hear it. I am indebted to both editors and writers/writer friends/friends and family, for the contrast.

I’m thankful I got to check out a live radio studio.

Radio Western (94.9 CHRW)

I was in there, going and observing the action live, while my brother put on his Friday music show. I told him, on air and off, that witnessing him in that environment made him seem a whole lot cooler.

I was there to celebrate his year on air (48th episode or so) and to talk about the summer social we have coming up, for our work with and as the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
and also, to get any listeners, familiar with his show, familiar with him and I together. (Keep reading to find out why that is.))

I’m thankful the woman who runs it wants to give us a chance.

She has offered us a weekly half-hour talkshow. We are doing it (based on our podcast/Canadian Federation of the Blind) as a theme. We will talk about disability, accessibility, and equality/equity. We will be current (have call-ins/live guests).

She has also offered to air already recorded episodes of
Ketchup On Pancakes
and so that’s why we don’t want to do a total copied version of our already-existing podcast together. That is about family/creativity/humour, not strictly about disability issues.

It isn’t mainstream radio as most people think of it, known by everyone, but a university radio station supports the arts and local talent, as well as community. It will be more of a reach than we’ve so far had, be broadcasting us to more of an audience than we’ve had as of yet.

And so, we are (soon-to-be) available to people, driving in their cars, across London, Ontario and beyond. Also, we are available, online and on Rogers (channel 943).

Now, all we need to do is come up with a catchy name for our talkshow that captures what we are about. We have a little less than one month to do this. Sometimes names and titles are easy to come up with and other times, not so much.

I’m thankful I got to see a talented singer/performer live.

She is a local girl, someone I’ve known from a writing group, full of talent, and full of life. She is animated and energetic. She is many things I wish I could be, but have no stamina to be for long.

She is multi-talented creatively. She went to school for musical theatre and she ended up singing some opera (in English/German/Italian I believe). She had to practice, in front of friends, family, and local community, to attend nationally, after having gone to perform in provincials.

She sang about men and about eating children. She sang and had two young men performing, so she could take a break. It was inspiring and fun.

I’m thankful for a long awaited family reunion.

We used to see each other (my mom’s side of the family) at Christmas every year. Then, with every passing year, our group increased in size. Then, both my grandparents passed away, (2005-2010) and we would’ve needed to rent a hall for our gatherings. The decision was made at that time, to stop holding holiday celebrations, and we’ve seen a lot less of each other in the years since. Some of us see each other more than others.

It was a beautiful day. I tried to enjoy the day. I don’t do well in big groups, even when it’s family. These are people I have known, more or less, all my life. Some came along in the nearly 35 years since I was born.

Cousins have children and some didn’t or couldn’t make it. The children don’t know me. Some of the adults don’t know me anymore and I don’t feel as if I know them now.

Still, family is important. There are connections (no matter the time that’s passed us by or the place/life’s circumstances that have occurred). I know we’ve all changed. We’re not the same people we once were. I know there’s a set of roots there, those that run deep. I wanted to reconnect. I can’t make that kind of connection happen again, not with the wave of my hand or by snapping my fingers.

It was nice we did it. I do hope we can make it happen every so often. I wish some things were different, but we share a common thread of where we’ve all come from, no matter where we might now be or where we end up.

The food was good and the kids had fun. It was on my uncle’s farm, where I grew up staying, for summer holidays, as a child. I was never a farm girl, but my mother had been, like her mother and father before her, and my cousins were, though I did grow up a country girl who would eventually move into town.

It ended up the perfect spot for a summertime family reunion.

I’m thankful for my August birthday boys.

I’m thankful I met these talented writers in Mexico and that I get to go on another journey with them, if only by reading their wonderful words:

Go on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina with Angela Lang

or else…

wander through time/space/place with Kristin Vukovic

These two writers, along with the rest that P publishes, make me want to keep working to become a better writer myself.

I’m thankful for
this literary travel journal
they are both featured in, and for “Lost,” the most recent issue.

It is full, with each and every new issue that gets released, with the best writers around.

It is soon to celebrate its two-year anniversary. Happy Anniversary Panorama!

Your name continues to thrill me to no end. The bigger picture indeed.

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TToT: The Fog and the Red Balloon – Oh Bother! #ChristopherRobin #10Thankful

“People say nothing is impossible. But I do nothing everyday.”

—Winnie the Pooh

I like this guy’s thoughts on life and even laziness, because we’re all a little bit lazy sometimes.

This is my weekly edition of…and addition to the
Ten Things of Thankful
and also, a sort of movie review too.

From after one world war to after the next.

From
THIS
to
this!

Christopher Robin: What to do? What to do? What to do?

Winnie the Pooh: What to do indeed.

I’m thankful for five years with an awesome little boy.

We were eagerly awaiting his arrival on that August day. He just inched by being a July baby, and into this new month.

Going from the memory of holding that baby boy, so warm and sleeping soundly. To the fun and spunky kid he is today.

I am drawn to his happy energy and his pure enjoyment of everything he learns and every new thing he loves. A day with Max is my favourite thing.

I’m thankful for Winnie the Pooh and his Canadian origin.

90 weird and wonderful facts about Winnie-the-Pooh – CBC Books

I’m thankful for drive-in movie night.

It takes you back to another time. The short previews they played between the films were clearly from the fifties or sixties. They had that different time’s sound to them. Some were a little creepier than others, honestly, but I loved to feel such nostalgia.

I’m thankful for a cool night for an outdoor movie and for relatively few biting bugs.

I’m thankful for the Pooh philosophy.

I’m thankful for this kind of exposure of oneself, explored through writing.

Walking

The fear of nakedness, not always, necessarily of the literal kind, but really of the vulnerability it requires, to expose the parts of yourself that are the most difficult to share, with someone else.

I’m thankful for red balloons.

I’m thankful for Winnie the Pooh, who’s kind of like Yoda to me.

I’m thankful that I could escape into Pooh’s world and out of my adult one, which is really what this movie is about.

Christopher Robin has a demanding job, a wife and a daughter, who’s childhood he’s missing out on. He has left his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood behind him long ago, to go to school and become an adult with lots of responsibilities that cloud his perspective, a fog of things really.

Now he has forgotten what friendship and true loyalty are. He’s lost sight of his priorities, the ones that really matter. Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eor, Piglet, Rabbit, and Owl need his help and he needs theirs by the end.

The entry door to the world of Pooh and friends, kind of like the entry into the land of Narnia, is an attractive idea to me. It’s what makes such stories so compelling.

I was surprised to hear of a lot of bad reviews for Christopher Robin. I did not recognize the voices of Piglet and Rabbit and Owl and the kangaroos so much, but the new voice of Eeyore is done by Brad Garrett. The guy who has been voicing Pooh and Tigger for years now is nearly as good as the original Disney voice, my favourite snake (Sterling Holloway) from The Jungle Book.

I so needed Pooh’s simplicity of thought, which makes him one of the best philosophers I know of, to start out this new month of birthdays, reunions, and summer social events.

“I always get to where I’m going, by walking away from where I’ve been.”

—Winnie the Pooh

Great advice. Thanks Pooh.

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TToT: Living The Life We Want – So Slam That! #NFB18 #10Thankful

It was my first Independence Day in the US (independence being the key word there) and I had an unexpected and unpredicted time away. I owe it all to the CFB, sponsoring me to see what the US’s national convention is all about.

The difference between what exists in the US and what we’ve got here in Canada was hard to miss while I was in Florida all week.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful to be representing Ontario in this national magazine.

July 2018 Issue of The Blind Canadian

I’m thankful for this travel agent.

ANITA PATON – THE TRAVEL AGENT NEXT DOOR

She’s awesome!

I’m thankful for UPS volunteers.

It is a convention, held once a year, and this one had nearly 2500 attendees who used a white cane or a guide dog. All of us were trying to get the hang of a large hotel and conference/convention centre and having UPS volunteers around, to give us a bit of direction now and then was a big big help.

I was so overwhelmed, my first time attending, that sometimes I’d get panicky and have to stop and take a few deep breaths and refocus. I could continue on from there.

I’m thankful for the experience at this convention because it fostered further confidence and independence.

Convention 2018 Agenda

I’m thankful I got to meet a friend, in person finally, whom I’d been speaking with for years online.

He was great to talk to in person. Thanks, Timothy, for the coffee and the dinner and the company. You brought a bit of calm in the storm that that week felt like at times, so wound up, rushing on all around me.

I’m thankful for a still night on a closed pool deck.

Florida was so muggy that I didn’t mind getting to spend almost all my time in freezing cold convention halls. It was not so bad though, when the sun was down.

I’m thankful I didn’t have to change into my dress in a restroom stall.

I had to get it right, being back in the States and in Florida again (my fourth time) that they there were referring to washrooms as restrooms.

We had the banquet on our final night there and I didn’t want to have my dress on all day, through the final business hours. We weren’t staying on site, so I could have gone back to change at some point, but really there just wasn’t time.

So, thankfully, the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
president generously granted me her room and better bathroom to change in.

I’m thankful for a final, early morning solo swim.

We’d been so busy, all week long, that I finally had to wake up earlier than everyone, on our final morning, and go down as soon as the pool opened, at six.

A security guard had to help me find the door out, from the lobby, but once out I had my pick from the lounge chairs and I used my white cane to get the layout of the pool deck.

My chair was straight out from the bar of the stairs into the pool. Once I was in the water, I slowly made my way around and discovered the shape and the depth.

It was just what I needed and totally worth the waking up so early part.

I’m thankful for an inspiring speech in this room. A table full of fun people. A delicious salad and platter of desserts.

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I’m thankful for a flight, gone by too fast.

Life’s full of metaphors, including lift off and landing, and living in the moment are all important.

Here’s to living the life you/we want.

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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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