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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:

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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.

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Ice Cubes, Cough Candies, and Skulls #JusJoJan

My bracelets are my fidget spinners.

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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.

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TToT: Be Or Not Be, That Is Question – Go! #10Thankful

A birthday is a good time to reflect on all that’s happened since the last one and a chance to let go of whatever might need letting go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TDocib2cAVQ

I am still doing this
Ten Things of Thankful #TToT
exercise, but I am feeling a distance from what used to be something so joyful for me.

I am thankful
Kristi
has been so helpful to make up for the lack of accessibility with InLinz.

I am thankful
Clark
is so skilled in his descriptions of his photos.

I love reading and sharing these TToT posts, but with this InLinz problem, I am left to consider if it’s time to move on…

But no because this is my weekly gratitude journal. It’s where I keep track of things that particular week and I like to include a photo of something that took place, a favourite quote I came across, a link to an article of interest, and a song I may have discovered and want to keep a record of.

I am thankful for the bloggers who did it first, when I happened across them in 2015 and that I am still here, four years later.

I am thankful for my brother, on his birthday weekend, and for the final few days of March.

I am thankful for what we’ve achieved with
Outlook CFB
so far and for Brian’s position at
94.9 CHRW Radio Western
already with his music show every Friday.

Without that, we never would have gotten the idea to do a show, based on the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
and a place to educate and to be visible.

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I am thankful for our family weekend in Niagara Falls and for all the whacky stuff that transpired at that favourite childhood hotel of ours.

I am thankful I participated in my first group exercise class and that I was able to keep up and face my fear of looking ridiculous in front of other people.

I am thankful my father likes to walk and that we can have this new thing together, walking together, as I prepare and train myself for a walk along the Thames.

I am thankful my first paediatric kidney specialist from 96 saw me on the news and reached out via a good, old fashioned letter in the mail. A return to a simpler time.

Or was it just as complicated?

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TToT: March Breaks and Time Straddlers – Design and Procurement #10Thankful

I can’t get the image of all that plastic in that whale’s stomach out of my head. Or the gorilla who was shot and blinded. Or fifty human lives lost in New Zealand last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yks0RggaluY

But then, I am reminded, we live in a world with rainbows.

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“Watch the rain drop.”

I’m thankful for new Cranberries music. She’s dead, and that’s still unbelievably sad, but this song just released is powerful, even more because of how things are.

I am thankful for a good
classic Irish memoir
to read on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. (All twelve braille volumes of it.)

I’m thankful that another news network put a spotlight on the disability issues radio talk show I do with my brother.

Radio Show About Blindness Promotes Accessibility – CTV London

I’m thankful an interesting documentarian/filmmaker was generous enough to give me a few hours of his time, to ask me several thoughtful questions, to get to know my story a little better. I’m discovering, life’s all in the connections that you make.

I’m thankful for an upcoming Niagara Falls weekend trip with my family to celebrate the start of spring.

I’m thankful for my recent weekend away in New York City with my friend and travel agent extraordinaire, just in time for International Women’s Day festivities.

I’m thankful for rooftops, bars/restaurants/nothing but the roof.

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I stand on one, on a cold International Women’s Day in New York City, with my friend Anita.

I’m thankful for fear that I keep facing.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my fears and not feel so alone. On the stage, the presenter (my “writing mentor” was the presenter) spoke about fear in her talk and then called me up, along with two other ladies, to share what we’re afraid of.

I’m thankful for lovely songs and their singers.

Though I don’t mind winter like some do, I am thankful for this first day of spring.

“Everything is new in the spring,” said Anne. “Springs themselves are always so new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its own peculiar sweetness. See how green the grass is around that little pond, and how the willow buds are bursting.”-
L.M Montgomery, Anne of the Island

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TToT: Back in March and Farewell to Luke – GoGo Go #10Thankful

I have been packing for New York City while still in disbelief about the death of Luke Perry, who played Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210, my favourite teen drama of the 90’s.

I’m thankful for all the television he gave me over the years on that show.

I’m thankful I had a memorable time with a house guest back in February.

I’m thankful to be getting ready to travel for an unforgettable weekend in NYC.

I’m thankful Brian and I were featured on the CBC here in London, Ontario.

We did our show (six month anniversary episode) while a video reporter captured us, on film and camera. Then he interviewed us and published the video and the written piece on the CBC website:

Blind brother and sister help others ‘see’ their world – CBC London

I’m thankful the morning show interviewed us about Outlook then too.

Outlook on London Morning

I’m thankful for Canadian healthcare, for the x-ray I received of my knees and big toes. I’ve had pain in both places for a few years now. I wonder if there’s anything to see in those pictures. I’m just glad I didn’t receive a bill for that medical test.

I’m thankful for a delightful salad of fruits and vegetables.

I’m thankful for the snow, while it’s still around, and for the sound it makes when it’s freshly fallen and powdery underfoot.

I’m thankful
Kristi
is willing to help me still be able to take part in the TToT, even though the accessibility has become an issue.

I’m thankful for February’s birthday celebrations and for the last two years, with many more to come, with my niece in our lives.

I’m thankful for March and for lions and lambs.

“Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

RIP Luke.

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TToT: Thirty-five For Me and Five For Her Headache, #Blogiversary #10Thankful

Here, I hope to leave something behind when I go. Here, I won’t look back with any shame or regret at what I’ve said, what I’ve written. I am proud to be Her Headache.

I am
thankful
for this blog and all those who’ve found me here and read what I’ve written on these virtual pages, ever since that 2014 February of my thirtieth birthday.

As for how to celebrate my five-year anniversary with this space, I couldn’t quite settle on how to best show my gratitude and my pride on all that this blog has brought to my life.

In the beginning, it all started with me showcasing my
BUCKET LIST
of items I’d wanted to experience.

Since my kidney transplant, twenty-two years ago, I am all about not taking each day for granted and my list was a way of stating my purpose and no longer settling for less out of fear. Things like chronic pain and disability threatened to take away a life worth living, but I fought against that and found this blog as a part of that.

In this last five years, I’ve been lucky to check off several things on the list, though I am enjoying the ups and downs of the journey, as I’ve learned that to be the best part of the whole thing really.

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Still, I can’t stop wondering where life will take me and so here we go with the review of the things I have done and seen in five years that I may not have dreamt I’d do, during the most difficult days in my past:

I am thankful for the teacher I’ve had, for the last three years, since I decided to take a chance to learn to play an instrument in my thirties. Violin was beautiful to me and I wanted to learn to play with a bow, to produce those kinds of heartbreakingly gorgeous sounds I’d heard from the violin for years. I was drawn to it since I gave up on clarinet back in high school. (Too much air needed, blowing into that thing, which was hard on my head, prone to headaches already.)

She is leaving on a new adventure soon and I must face that thing I often dread, “Change”.

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I am thankful for my violin and the progress I’ve made so far, even when I get down on myself for not learning more, faster.

I am thankful for my autumn of 2018 visit to the Maritimes, Canada’s eastern provinces, even my short visit and the limited bit of Nova Scotia I saw. I am thankful I got to place a small item, a token of my appreciation for her gift of iconic literary characters like Anne Shirley in Canada’s cultural landscape, on her gravestone. I got to write a note of my gratitude, from one writer to another, in the guest book in the house Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in. I was brave to finally state, in writing, that I think of myself as a writer, even up next to someone as talented as Montgomery.

I am thankful I got to walk along those Prince Edward Island beaches, the coastline and the smell of the sea. Red Point. The End of the World P.E.I. and the force of the wind at that spot, lighthouse next to a drop down to fearsome ocean roaring down below me.

In these last five years, (not only out east) but I’ve traveled to Mexico, Yukon, British Columbia, and back to Florida for the fourth time.

I am thankful I got to make it to my twenty-year anniversary with my kidney, from my father, and that I got to celebrate that with him and my family and friends, zip lining at my favourite Niagara Falls on the Canada side. I hope to zip line in more places around the world in future.

I am thankful I technically did get my writing available in bookstores, when I wrote a short piece which was included in a print magazine called Misadventures. It was only available in Barnes & Noble, in the US, so a friend went into one and took pictures for me of that magazine on the shelf. I hold that book in my hands and am proud to know I have writing inside of it.

I thought it fitting to make my five-year blogiversary into a TToT post, one of the best things to come out of this blog since 2015 when I discovered other bloggers doing it and I joined their exclusive TToT blogging community.

Thank you, TToT comrads and all of you, for visiting me here. You’re the best.

All jokes aside on the wisdom of getting older, as I turn thirty-five and look back and look ahead, I know the fun is in the journey, not necessarily its destination. Still, I will always write about it all here, or for as long as I am meant to,

Where will I be in five years? And, how will I have gotten there?

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Last Year’s Adventures Make Me Ready For This Year’s #TBT #JusJoJan

My
favourite blog post of last year
was about a trip I’ve always wanted to take, a writer I admire, and the ocean I discovered when I got there.

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I was proud to be approached by
Expedia
to be featured on their site and then I wrote a blog post to go along with that.

As I approach the five-year anniversary of this blog next week, I will always remember when I went to prince Edward Island and New Brunswick and wrote about it.

I look forward to more travel and adventure in 2019 and see all of you back for #JusJoJan in one year’s time.

Thanks Linda.

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