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Summer In Progress, #TGIF #FTSF

Well now – summer, 2018 is halfway gone. I know. I know how loathed I am by people when I point that fact out, but tis true.

Q: What did I learn this summer so far?

A: Don’t visit Florida in July. Far too humid.

It was
the summer of
Orlando, Florida.

It was the summer of
National Federation of the Blind conventions,
jitters of the first-timers, and memories made.

A group of members left Canada (from the Canadian version of the NFB) and spent a 4th of July (Independence Day) in one of the states of the union. From a distance, fireworks could be heard, after one of the many downpours came and went just as quickly.

My summer really started on that cloudy Wednesday.

It’s been the summer of seminars, speeches, and banquets, which included one free palm read.

An early morning solo swim, where the night before the pool deck, dark and silent, held a certain charm of its own.

Airplanes and the world’s quickest flight home.

My summer has now included a chest cold and a shattered iPhone screen, tire driven over, when I did not secure it safely inside my purse, but I now listen more closely to the rhythm of my heart.

Halfway through the summer and another FTSF with host Kristi and co-host
Kenya G. Johnson
of Sporadically Yours.

Next up: autumn, my favourite of all seasons, though this summer hasn’t been half bad.

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TToT: Anniversaries and Possibilities – Desert Roses and Rain, #BloodMoon #LunarEclipse #10Thankful

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”

― Sarah Dessen

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I’ve been thinking of the concept of time lately. I’ve been thinking about the timing of life’s greatest surprises.

I’ve been thinking, the last few days, of the girl I was (in my early twenties) when I lost my grandmother and the person I am today (in my mid thirties) – because of her and thanks to so many others.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful to them all.

My family have lost both my cousin and my grandmother in the month of July and we never forget.

I’m thankful for the time I had with my grandma and that I can remember her on this day and every other.

When we lost first my cousin, followed almost precisely one year later by my grandmother, I was adrift in my twenties and things wouldn’t become clearer for several years.

When I think of how much I miss those loved ones and the person I was when they were still here, I wish to turn back time, but then I stop, pause and ponder, and my present and future beckon.

I’m thankful for moving writing like this.

Orange by Susan Block – The Citron Review

I’m thankful for the hope that much waited for political change can bring.

From my standpoint, born in Canada, Ive recently been lucky to hear stories, firsthand, from another’s place in the world.

As much as I worry about where we are, I know there’s a big big world out there, one still fighting hard for something better.

I’m thankful for music.

Listening to music helps me sort out my feelings. It has recently become energizing and lyrics and feelings music provokes, this awakens me to the possibilities.

I’m thankful for a blood moon and a lunar eclipse, even if I can’t see all of that.

Our Favorite Photos of the ‘Blood Moon’ Eclipse – National Geographic

Do I wish I could see these? Yes, I do.

But I can still see the moon and I can feel the power it has over the earth and everything on it. The way it moves the tides is a powerful example.

I can love the fact that it is “blood,” “orange,” or “Red” and I don’t stop, won’t stop imagining what that looks like.

I’m thankful for my ability to cry.

When I heard the news, I cried, letting my hot stinging tears trickle from my eyes, onto my pillow and down into my hair.

Whether it’s from a sudden great loss or a rush of extraordinary emotion in the face of something real, crying (even a little) reminds me that I am loved, of my ability to love, simply to feel alive.

I’m thankful for the feeling that I’m flying.

Desert Rose – Sting

I’m thankful for the desert.

I know very little of this climate, up close, other than the sands I stood on on my Yukon trip last year.

Carcross Desert – Atlas Obscura

Not exactly the same as in this song I realize.

Whether Sting is singing about the desert or rain – from the sands to the ocean deep, as in my favourite IMAX movies.

I remember the first time I heard the above song. I was in high school and my friend’s mother had picked us up at the movies. We were driving in her van and Desert Rose came on the radio. I was blown away, as there was nothing else really like it on the radio in Canada and I felt like I was being transported, somewhere far far from my home.

I’m thankful for the rain.

Last time it was fire and this time it is rain.

“Ever since I met you on a cloudy “Wednesday,” I can’t believe how much I love the rain.”

(Lyric from a Chantal Kreviazuk song, which I’ve altered only slightly.)

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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: A Tapestry of Blue – There Goes June, #10Thankful

“When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.” ~Chinese Proverb

This weekend, I have been here, celebrating Canada Day with family and we have the perfect spot for it, right near all the action of the day’s events.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for our Ontario speeches being posted on Youtube.

I’m thankful to finally be taking an online creative writing class with a writer I admire.

Sonya Huber

I’m thankful for a walk through a downtown, town square, Thursday market.

I could smell fresh fruit/vegetables, garlic and spices, breads, soaps and we stopped, to sit and plunge our hands into the cool water of the fountain.

I’m thankful for fresh cherries.

I’m thankful for three/four person calls.

I’m thankful to live in a country, Canada, with accepting strong parents.

151 reasons why it’s better to be Canadian

I hadn’t even known about reason 118 until reading this.

I’m thankful to be someone’s go-to and trustworthy reader/editor, to look something over.

I’m thankful for a week of peas.

I’m thankful to be a part of a group of people, working for the same goal, even if this means calls to discuss the financial realities.

I’m thankful for a new Florence + the Machine album.

So long June.

I’m not thankful for this heat wave, but that’s why I’m leaving, for a cooler climate.

Wa! Wa! Ha! Ha! Just kidding. It’s Florida.

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TToT: Man Who Ate The World and Other Losses – Dive In and Go Deep, #10Thankful

Well, that didn’t go well – not well at all. A big bust you could say.

Trade war looms as Trump and adviser lob insults and accusations at Trudeau – The Globe and Mail

Britain. France. Germany. Italy. Japan. All their support is welcome, but all good intentions aside, none of them must share a border with a foolish reality TV personality, one whose spokespeople said openly Canada and Justin Trudeau were mocked to look tough for the most serious meeting any president could ever be having.

If I ever wanted #45 to succeed in something, it was now, when the world could possibly end up exploding into nuclear war. The rest of it, if we in Canada had to swallow his insults for that purpose alone, I’d say we could gladly take that on. I fear we haven’t heard the last of it though.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for marking June 5th, transplant anniversary, with a dinner with my dad to celebrate 21 years.

I have my father and I have a working kidney. Makes me the luckiest woman around, I’d say.

All one needs – one of each. Top notch.

I’m thankful for an inspired writing prompt to make us all write better at my writing group.

“Love was a hallowing man with a home and only I knew that.”

And the stories just sort of spun loose from there, from all of us, getting us to write in styles we weren’t often known for amongst that room of our creative peers.

I’m thankful for a delicious vanilla latte and catch up with a friend.

I’m thankful for biscotti.

I’m thankful for the right and access to vote.

The accessibility issue is a different story, but not nearly so bad as it could be. These are the times I wonder if I have the right to complain, to think I should try for betterment.

It was a braille sleeve that the voting card slides into and braille and raised numbers for each party’s offering for my riding, not that I claim to understand all the lingo. So, I was with someone I trusted, to help make sure the card was lined up properly and to let me know the order the names were going with the numbers. I learned later alphabetical. Should have known.

So, I counted down, to the correct number, and made my X in the small cut-out circle provided.

Now, all the strong wording was that Ontario’s possible next provincial leader, if chosen PC/Conservative Party, would basically be giving Ontario its very own copy of the guy put into the Whitehouse. Enough to scare anyone.

Was that all they were trying to do? (Whom I’m not really sure.)

And thus I was lucky to live in Ontario, Canada, where I could vote, where my blindness didn’t prevent me from voting, my right in a democratic society. And some of you will not have known much about this, but the PC was voted in, and he is the brother of deceased Toronto mayer, known around the world a few years back, Rob Ford, who even made it onto the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

What have we gotten ourselves into, I wonder? Is he a #45 wannabe?

He sure feels like it, but as we don’t do anything really to anywhere near as dramatic of a degree as our neighbours to the south, I don’t know if he’s going to be as bad as all that. (See my opening for this week’s post.)

As switching from one party to another often goes, in politics, the Liberal Party had a lot of years to run Ontario and now it’s someone else’s turn. I just hope all the scare tactics were playing on mine and other people’s greatest fears, though sometimes my dramatic side feels totally justified.

I’m thankful for the ocean, on World Oceans Day and every day.

The morning after Thursday’s election, I was feeling low about everything, when it seemed the party to beat had started to seem like the NDP, but no big surprise, as my negative side kept whispering in my head. All I wished for was to be by the ocean.

I’m thankful for Dr. Sylvia A. Earle and her mission.

Mission Blue

I’m thankful for my sister helping me shop for what looks/feels good on me, even without being able to see any of it from my end.

It is the strangest thing, to go by fabric and texture and shape, rather than how a colour looks or how it looks on the body. Again, I’ve learned that yellow isn’t my colour. Shame really.

I’m thankful for documentaries about puffins, grey seals, and the coast of Ireland.

The Parts Unknown host visiting the closest thing to Ireland, this side of the Atlantic.

And travel storytellers like the one that was lost for good.

Anthony Bourdain and the Missing Piece – Longreads

RIP to Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

Anthony Bourdain became one of #MeToo’s strongest allies – The Lily

Earle said to “dive in and go deep” and that’s the way Bourdain seemed to live his life, right up until the end.

“Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life—and travel—leaves marks on you.”

—Anthony Bourdain

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Up and Up, #SongLyricSunday

I’d say, I am mostly, a closeted Miley Cyrus fan.

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However, I couldn’t resist this metaphor, this week:

I’m not ashamed to admit it. May have even used this one before. Must keep better records of the songs I use, as I soon forget.

***

I can almost see it.
That dream I’m dreaming,
But there’s a voice inside my head saying,
“You’ll never reach it.”
Every step I’m takin’
Every move I make feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin’
But I, I gotta keep tryin’
Gotta keep my head held high

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down,
But no, I’m not breaking
I may not know it,
But these are the moments
That I’m gonna remember most, yeah
Just gotta keep goin’,
And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on,
‘Cause…

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb
Yeah

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Somebody’s gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waitin’ on the other side
It’s the climb
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Keep on movin’
Keep climbin’
Keep the faith, baby
It’s all about—it’s all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith, whoa, whoa, oh.

LYRICS

***

I am not climbing any actual mountains, not in the near future anyway, but I’ve always loved the symbolism of a mountain, for the uphill struggles of living that it represents.

For this week’s
Song Lyric Sunday,
I wanted to acknowledge
a metaphor
and that struggle.

As this has been a particularly horrible week, for celebrity suicides, I know the struggle of depression and the dark times. It hangs around, as the summer ramps up and up.

I feel the resistance of life. I keep taking one step after another, knowing what my dreams are, but finding it hard (most days) to find enough strength to keep a completely positive face.

Some give up and end it all. Then we flail around, in our attempts to help, even when we realize the lateness of the hour.

Some climb actual mountains. I may prefer the sea, but the mountain does stand for something, as cheesy as that sounds. Like those I came upon during my Yukon visit last year, in my many imaginings that I would start an actual climb up one of them, to possibly reach the the summit and discover what’s on the other side of the struggle.

More struggle, even more. Well damn. *sigh*

I wouldn’t look at a mountain as something that’s simply “in my way,” but more as an obstacle that I must look at as being put there for a reason of its own.

Certainly, and yet – I keep on climbing.

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KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 12 – British C Or B Columbia #Travel #TBT #Family #Podcast

We’re so far keeping up with our goal of recording one episode a month in 2018 – we’re getting this one in, just under the wire, as May turns to June.

Episode 12: British C or B Columbia – KETCHUP ON PANCAKES

Travel is one of our favourite topics and this one takes us back to our trip to western Canada at the start of the month.

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Sound clips included, to bring us back and you along with us, and we end with a Throwback Thursday and an odd Niagara Falls memory of sibling silliness.

Check out our podcast page
over on Facebook
and give us a like.

British Columbia – Vancouver and Victoria are some of the most splendid spots in Canada and we invite you to come along on the journey. Come stand in the Pacific Ocean, ride the Vancouver Sky Train, and then return to Ontario and stand with me, at the railing of Niagara Falls.

Adventure is just around the corner, the next bend up ahead.

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