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TToT: Looking Off Somewhere I Can’t Go #10Thankful

One need not be a Chamber – to be Haunted –
one need not be a House –
The brain has Corridors – surpassing
Material Place –

Ourself behind ourself, concealed ‘
Should startle most –
Assassin hid in our apartment
Be Horror’s least. 

– Emily Dickinson

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I am holding my niece in her Halloween costume.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for my little butterfly.

(See above photo.)

She has gotten her first few teeth.

No more is her favourite thing, chewing on my fingers, no longer is this such a harmless distraction.

Fly Little Butterfly, Fly!

I am thankful I am a print published author.

ISSUE 4: WINTER 2017 – MisadventuresMag

I have previously been printed in an anthology, but this time I was paid. Last time it was for charity.

I just heard it is going to be available in Barnes & Noble stores and so I will be off on a hunt to find it.

It may not be my own book, but I am excited to discover it’s a magazine that a bookstore carries.

I am thankful for the parcel arriving in my mailbox.

This package contained four copies of the magazine and my cheque.

Not bad, compared to in the past.

I am thankful I could share my news and book with someone, a friend, over a latte.

I was a few minutes late for meeting her. I was late because I just found the parcel in my mail and so I hope she understood.

She was happy to receive one of my four copies of the mag.

I am thankful for more stretching and meditating.

I am thankful for extra writing group time, in a new location, for November’s National Novel Writing Month month.

It has been arranged, in addition to meeting in the library twice a month, that we writers who are attempting NaNoWriMo can use a room in Woodstock Museum, every Saturday, for two hours for the entire month.

This feels like an extended writer’s group, but I don’t read and I get to bring my laptop.

Sometimes there are even snacks.

I am thankful for my loved ones being free from war.

I feel a lot of mixed feelings when a day to remember, like November 11th comes along, and really any time. War is not as simple as bravery and heroism.

But I am heartbroken to hear there is violence that will not rest, in any part of the world. I am glad my nieces and nephews don’t have to grow up around such traumas and horrors, but being aware of it all sometimes weighs me down.

That’s precisely what the above stretches and meditation are needed for. They lift me up.

I am thankful for some good food, especially the bread buns, to support a worthy cause.

I am no athlete, but I think it’s pretty cool what she’s attempting to accomplish. Unfortunately, it always takes money.

The Paralympics (Special Olympics as some like to call it) is, I guess needed, but it is still a neat thing, so important, to show the world that people with disabilities can and do participate in sports too.

Emily Trains for Winter Paralympics

She held a fundraiser and I just couldn’t get enough of the bread buns.

My brother and his friend won door prizes.

I wish her luck in reaching such an excellent athletic goal.

I am thankful for a piece that was just published, after several months since its original acceptance.

SeeingYukon Through Blind Eyes – Passport2017

As Canada enters its next 150 years, I wanted too start off telling the story of a place I will forever love and about the vastness of our country.

I wanted to start off on the right foot and hopefully the next period of Canada can be better.

I am thankful a movie I couldn’t find in theatres is now playing nearby.

I hope to see it soon and will give a review of it when I do.

Before I go…are you aware of the Japanese concept of ma by any chance?

The Japanese concept of ma.

Well, I wasn’t either, until a few days ago. I don’t feel I have quite grasped its meaning, but it feels important to me. It feels meaningful to my life somehow.

“it’s the presence of absence, the gap where the moonlight sifts through.
TheDark Feels Different in November – The Paris Review
It’s the hollow where ghosts gather, the pause in conversation.”

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TToT: Blood Red Sun In A Smoky Sky – Lucky and Thankful, #FridayThe13th #Podcast #10Thankful

Okay,, I did it again. What week is this, exactly, that I came late to the party and linked up last? I keep this as a priority, but it does end up falling down a point…or five.

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Birthday photos come a week later, first of my time holding my niece, by the swing set she is too young to enjoy just yet. I am still thinking birthdays…my parents and a friend and so on.

But forest fires continue to burn on the west coast and far away there is violence, such that I cannot imagine, and here I sit, writing another list of what I am thankful for in this life.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the best spaghetti dinner ever.

My brother made it. spaghetti has been a favourite food in my family for a long time, since our traditional spaghetti dinner, every Christmas Eve when I was young.

Now my brother makes it so well, as he’s been perfecting it. We went another way with the food in the title of our podcast (the one I was there to make when this meal was made) but, if I could have come up with a clever enough name using spaghetti, I would have.

He now takes care, not to eat sauce from a can, but to make it with vegetables and spices, allowing it to simmer.

vVp01jN.jpg

My brother has perfected spaghetti and my sister has perfected cupcakes.

I am thankful for the birth and birthday of a lifelong friend.

We’ve been friends since we were ten. She was one of the few kids to approach me, on that first day at a new school. I had felt like a bit of a sideshow then, but our friendship grew into so much more.

I think of her now, so far away and on a path I never could have guessed at, and I smile and put my hand to my heart.

I am thankful for a long chat with a writer friend.

She writes about science. She is a scientist who loves to write, I suppose it would be better to say.

We talked for a long time, about everything concerning writing, as we are both trying to make it, using our skills, on our own.

Though our lives are vastly different from one another, our thoughts often come back to the same thing, something involving the art and the struggle of being a writer.

I am thankful for a gift of Gummy Bears.

I was working on a piece, on deadline, and someone knew it.

They sent me a treat, even if it was just a picture of that treat, a virtual treat as it were.

Still, to know they were thinking of me, there in that moment, was a nice thing, plain and simply.

I am thankful for superstitions like the famous Friday the 13th.

They have given me something to write about and to think about. They have caused me to challenge what I think and what I believe.

I am thankful for a visit with my neighbour where she helped me figure out how to take action in a few areas of my life.

She is good at narrowing an issue or a particular problem down. She keeps me thinking ahead and on task. Checking in on me periodically has helped a great deal since knowing her.

I am thankful for a delicious lunch/latte with another writing friend.

The wrap and the latte were just the thing for a Friday, as tired as I felt. I like hearing her take on things and I hope to be an ear to listen with for her, someone she knows she can trust.

I am thankful for a challenging violin lesson and yoga session, both within two days.

New poses to strengthen. New parts to repeat and drill into my thick head.

It is all a challenge, but a giant breath of fresh air too.

I am thankful for a friend’s writing getting published and read this week.

Kerra makes her opinions known on CNN.

She is speaking up, speaking out, and writing.

THE PRICE OF REDEMPTION – Panorama Journal

I am thankful we got a 60 minute episode of Ketchup On Pancakes recorded and up on our SoundCloud page.

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 6 – Mom and More

When I think of my mom, I think of growing things, like flowers.

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Apparently, so do others.

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Ketchup On Pancakes: Episode 6 – Mom and More, #Thanksgiving #Travel #SiriusXM

It’s October!

Blowing out the candles and mya is in the shot too.
XYrBQ1R.jpg

Fall is my favourite month, this year my mom turned sixty, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving, and Halloween rounds off these thirty-one days.

Our 6th episode of the podcast is out and we dedicate it to our mother and discuss travel (Iceland), writing (SiriusXM, Canada), and Brian’s show on university radio (Friday’s from 11:00 to 1:30).

Episode 6 – Mom and More

We hope you’ll listen and feel free to visit our
Ketchup On Pancakes Facebook page
to share your thoughts and like the page while you are there.

Happy October to you all and thanks for listening.

Links to projects mentioned:

https://www.nativetraveler.com/blog-main/2017/9/20

https://chrwradio.ca

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TToT: Quaint Drinking Village with a Fishing Problem – Green Light Night, #10Thankful

Can’t stay long. Deadlines looming. I’m frankly terrified that I’ve taken on something too big for me to handle, but I was reminded of something important and so I write down what I am grateful for this week and then I get back to work.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for cheques in the mail.

It’s a bit of a wait this way, but getting paid is a nice thought.

I’m thankful for a hug from my little niece in a particularly stressful moment.

I was taking on big things and my mind was racing. Just hugging her was peaceful.

I did, however, tell her my advice was to stay little, not to grow up.

I’m thankful for the support of a neighbour with an ear to listen to all I’ve got going on.

She cheers me on and was helping me think about my timing, scheduling, as if she were my life coach.

I could likely use one.

I’m thankful my headache has eased.

I tried to cry about a television show, instead of from my pain. Some distractions work better than others.

There’s a definite gratitude when that particular intense pain dissipates and I feel the lack of it.

One of the greatest feelings that I wish would last, but I’ll take it while it’s given to me.

I’m thankful for family who help me out when I am dealing with such bad pain episodes.

Just knowing all of them are there, from the smallest to the biggest among them, it shows me I can get through anything.

I am thankful for this show, put together by Liz, all about travel for the blind.

No Limits Travel For The Blind – Native Traveler (SiriusXM)

My brother did an awesome job at the audio production, bringing it to life.

The other guests that follow my feature piece are great too. I am definitely going to look into taking a trip with
Travel Eyes
for future world exploration.

I’m thankful for helpful advice about how if something weren’t scary, it wouldn’t likely be nearly as worth doing.

Thanks, Jordan Rosenfeld, for this excellent advice.

I don’t know how exactly it happened. I think it started with the pitches I sent out and received acceptances for.

So, I wrote and was published, which lead me to believe I should pitch even more places, even ones I’d feared I wasn’t quite ready for.

Well, somehow, here I am anyway.

And now what?

I’m thankful for the Great Lakes.

Other than not being in salt water, I’d hardly know the difference between being in a lake or the ocean.

I am just glad these bodies of water are so close by.

You go into that water and you’d never know how hot it’s been the last week or more, even though autumn has now arrived.

I’m thankful for the sand and other things that cause me discomfort.

Like travel, there is joy in being at a natural wonder of the planet. And, yet, no sooner do I step onto that sand than I am thinking about getting home and into a warm shower so I can wash it all away.

These times and the yucky feelings sand brings up in me, at the feel of the gritty stuff between my toes, this is helping teach me that life carries lots of big and little discomforts, from sandy beaches to awful headaches.

I can handle that. Handy lesson, I must say.

I’m thankful for a good meal in Port Stanley.

Fish from Lake Erie and homemade fries.

I had both pepperoni and chicken on my pizza, along with green peppers.

Port Stanley Attractions

Nice spot to end the day at.

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TToT: The Bridge Between What Is and What’s Hoped For – Making Waiting Worthy, #10Thankful

“She promised herself she would see the world, and so she did.”

-Virginia Woolf

Sometimes I fear, as I write piece after piece about my first solo travel experience for interested and curious editors, that I will never again get the chance.

I took the Woolf quote from my writing mentor’s email signature because I feel like I could be that quote, if only…

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful that I can call my sister anytime and hear my little niece babbling happily in the background.

She is old enough now that my sister can put her down on the floor, with some toys, and then get some stuff done around the house while my niece entertains herself a little.

I don’t have to go far to see them in person, but sometimes, in the moment, I am dealing with something hard and hearing that little girl chatting away happily is the only thing that can make a difference in my mood.

She is just that precious.

I’m thankful for a lovely home visit with my friend because downtown was so incredibly busy.

It was a warm day again and the downtown area was busy with Thursday market and other things.

So, instead, we went through a drive through and took coffees back to my air conditioned house.

I’m thankful for a return into the world of yoga.

My instructor got rather busy at the end of summer, but we are starting again, now that fall has nearly arrived.

My balance wasn’t bad, but I still fight shaky arms.

The end-of-session silent meditation time was my favourite part, again, though this time I had a harder time blocking out everything I have had on my mind lately.

Other than a few Skype difficulties, it was not bad for having missed multiple weeks.

I’m thankful for a surprise acceptance email in the evening.

Different editors work varied hours, but normally I don’t expect to hear from them after eight in the evening.

This one was such a pleasant surprise and a great opportunity.

I’m thankful for living light.

Bioluminescence

I can’t really see it anymore, but I still watch any documentary I can get my hands on about the sea. It’s just amazing what animals are programmed to do.

Oh, to have become a marine biologist, free to study such miracles all the time.

I’m thankful I could book an eye appointment.

I haven’t been to see my retinal specialist since March of 2014 and I was worried I might need a referral to get back in there.

I am sort of worried about my eyesight, feeling it slipping away, and it’s about time I get some peace of mind, if possible.

I have been seeing this specialist for over twenty years, ever since a mysterious virus attacked my left eye and started in on my right. This doctor was understanding and patient and did his best to save my little remaining vision.

Now I need to hear he sees nothing wrong and that maybe there is hope. Though I bet he won’t see anything and I will feel even worse about what my gut is telling me is going on.

I still am grateful to have this doctor and he may just have a comforting word, said in his soft, soothing voice.

I’m thankful for seconds.

At the market, a bag of my favourite September apples costs quite a lot, but if you are willing to settle for the apples that didn’t quite make the cut during inspection, the price goes down considerably.

I have inspected many of these apples that weren’t quite good enough, finding nothing wrong. It’s not like they are covered in worm holes and mushy bruises.

They are still the apples I love. I am happy to take the ones nobody else wanted.

I’m thankful for my writer mentors and friends and their belief in me and my writing.

Just knowing such wildly talented writers believe in me, that they consider my writing so highly, this means everything to me.

That they describe my latest freelance writing successes in this way: “well deserved catapult to glory”.

I especially love that the piece referred to in this case was published in
Catapult
and I can’t believe my piece is visible on their main page.

On those days when I am feeling down about a pitch rejection or not hearing back from a short story contest I’d entered, their faith in me is just the thing to make me reconsider my own talent, as something I am working on constantly and am meant to do.

I’m thankful for a complimentary email to brighten up my weekend.

The one travel publication I received an acceptance for last week read something I got published (the Catapult piece I included here in the last TToT) and they emailed me, the editor, to say how much they enjoyed reading it and are even more sure about my participation in their literary journal.

It was just the thing to brighten up my dismal weekend.

I’m thankful for unexpected acts of kindness.

As my friend and I were going through the drive through to get our coffee, the worker at the window asked if we wanted to purchase a smile cookie to support a good cause.

VON Sakura House – residential hospice of Oxford County

I said why not, as it is for a good cause, and then we drove to the next window.

It turns out, the car ahead of ours offered to pay for our cookie and I suddenly felt warmer than the day could cause. It was a warm feeling of gratitude and for the kindness that still exists in my town and in the world.

And, speaking of lifting quotes from others…

The title for this TToT post I got the idea for from
Lisa
and from
Christine Carter’s book
all about self care and healing.

These ladies have a point, in that I am not dealing with any disaster. My brother’s accident a few years ago, that was a disaster for the family.

My week was far from disastrous and I am thankful for that.

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TToT: Stormy Skies Over Soft Summer Sunlight – Where’s the yellow? #10Thankful

“Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

—The Little Prince

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I like alliteration in my titles and I like this time of year. I am busy during the days and try not to think too much, about those things that keep me up at night.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful my family and I are safe and far from natural disasters and that my friends are safe too.

Here in Ontario we get tornados sometimes, but we aren’t out west where the fires are, nor are we by the coast where the flooding happens.

Then I woke to the notification of a strong earthquake in Mexico and I feared for my friends living there.

Mexico is big enough that those I care about weren’t touched, but these natural disasters seem to be everywhere lately.

Just not here. Our weather has been beautiful, if not a little cool for this time of year, but I am loving it.

I’m thankful for such a fun and energizing writing group.

A pack of three crayons (red/blue/green) were brought in for the mystery object, those packs you find at a restaurant, to keep the kids entertained. Well, I love crayons, but many of us in the group wondered and commented on the lack of a yellow crayon.

Our group was larger than usual and I liked the energy each person added. I was entirely entertained, myself, by everyone in that room.

The stories were diverse and all about crayons. Ah, the life of a crayon.

There were two new people there and they were both J names. This, somehow, had its own influence on someone’s story. I hope they both come back.

I’m thankful my brother had his adventure and made it safely home from Iceland.

I’m thankful he returned to his radio show.

He is getting better and more comfortable, every time he does it.

I’m thankful for a another Saturday family day.

The guys went to a baseball game and us girls and Max stayed home.

There were family photos taken out in the back yard.

I’m thankful Saturday family day spilled over to Sunday.

It was a lovely afternoon spent sitting in a circle in the yard, with beers, wine, and snacks.

My family are some of the most interesting people I know.

I’m thankful a piece I’ve been working on (from pitch to publication) is finally out, starting all the way back last May.

Lost, and Then Found Once More: On Traveling Alone without Sight – Catapult

Read to the end and the part about the drumsticks.

This is a prelude to my audio piece for SiriusXM.

I’m thankful for two more “acceptances” and for the fear that’s accompanying both.

I wasn’t expecting it, in a way, and I am back to square one. I must come up with a piece of writing that they will want to publish. I worry about not coming up with anything and instead letting them and myself down.

The excitement is there too though. I am honoured, after ending last week with a rejection email to a pitch, to hear anything at all to start off a new one.

I’m thankful to have an available store full of food to shop in.

As I meandered through the isles, the shelves, and the freezer section and prepared foods, I know not everyone has such choice right there in front of them. It felt like a lot, but it is an abundance I am thankful for.

I’m thankful for pumpkin spiced latte.

Enough said.

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TToT: Shiny Keys and Bucket Technology – Namaste, #Yoga #Radio #10Thankful

‘”Bully for baby syrups!”

‘”Pray, don’t let us disturb the concert with our sleeping.”

‘”Jerk us out a little more chin-music!”

‘”There’s no place like home with a baby in it.”

—Bram Stoker’s “Chin Music”

I wander through a bookstore and I feel the unfairness of blindness.

I sit in a mall and detect the repeating motion of shoppers passing by in front of me, but I wish I could see more than a blur like I used to.

WyOm9ep.jpg

What a week. Full of the good and the not-so-good things and I am once again driven to list my thankfuls because sometimes blindness really sucks.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful I got an acceptance to a pitch within twelve hours.

It’s a nice feeling. It doesn’t always happen so fast. It was a nice start to the week.

I’m thankful I am being given the chance to write about the affect the Yukon had on me.

This is for a Canadian website/App and the editor said she is pleased to have a piece to publish, different from the usual story of seeing the Northern Lights.

They are a marvel, of course, but I am glad I can offer an alternative viewpoint of a place that is more than just one spectacular visual sight.

I’m thankful for essays I read that make me think and put a new spin on the essay form.

The Medicated Writer by David Ebenbach

I’m thankful for another lovely coffee/raspberry lemonade chat with a friend to distract me from my thoughts.

The news out of the US all week was non stop and ridiculous. I was feeling highly anxious, waiting to hear back about my piece for Hippocampus, and I needed a break from all that.

The place was busy because Ontario’s premier was visiting our town, but things emptied after we were there for an hour or so.

We talked about travel, family, and writing.

I explained to her what it’s like to walk into a crowded coffee shop and try and navigate my way through it. She is like many people who are driven to offer help when they see a blind person. I understand and take them up on that help often. It was just nice to explain how it works because she, like most people, don’t give it all much thought until they hear how it is firsthand.

I’m thankful for the calming yoga session and conversation with the teacher.

I’d heard of
NAMASTE
before, but she ended our now weekly session by saying it and explaining why she does.

It is one more thing I feel kind of silly saying back, but we all like to end with something.

I do love the peaceful end to yoga where I stretch out, blocking out all thoughts, other than that I can put up a barrier to the worst of them, while I focus by staring up at my light and listening to the hiss of my laptop which tells me my teacher is still there.

I’m thankful my brother had a successful first radio show.

CHRW Radio Western

He has unique taste in music, with a musical mind, and he finally gets the chance to share some of that with others.

When people ask me the type of music he does listen to/play, I do struggle to describe it in a single word. It is a lot of things, though not what you’re likely to ever come across on the radio.

He has opened my eyes up to a whole world of music that exists, even though very few people ever find it. Like writers and writing, there is so much beautiful music out there that never gets the chance to be heard by most of us. His passion for giving the unknown musicians a turn seems important to me.

He has named his show
Chin Music
and I think it suits.

I’m thankful for a violin lesson where practice and repetition were points brought home once more.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Rinse. Dry. Repeat. It’s the only way.

I’m thankful for the chance to get somewhere on my own and feel proud of it.

I appreciate the help I receive, for many reasons, as new travel by myself can be stressful and intimidating, but it is also good for me sometimes. The only way I will ever begin to feel any less intimidated is if I practice, kind of like with the violin.

When you can’t see, obviously public transportation is the best way to get somewhere. Then, I like to have an idea in my head of the directions I will be going. I need to see it in my mind and it requires massive amounts of concentration.

No matter the anxiety or the physical pain, the sense of accomplishment at the end is awesome.

I’m thankful I made the final decision to not stay home and instead take someone up on an invitation to meet new people and work on my terrible social skills.

I am terribly shy in new situations. I felt unwell and considered turning down the invitation, but I am glad I went.

I was the only girl there, but it turned out to be an enjoyable hangout on a spacious porch, listening to music, and having a few drinks on a beautiful July night.

It’s just too bad I need a few beers to lighten up. I stop worrying about where I am and I relax. This is fine for one night, now and again, but just attending instead of hiding out by myself helps too.

If I’d gone home, I would have kept thinking about what’s in the news, what a week it had been, and I needed to get away from all that.

I met new people, including someone who came here from Mexico to go to school in Canada. Opening up one’s social circle is a good thing.

I’m thankful for a lovely family day in Toronto.

V5R5k4G.jpg

We met in a mall, couldn’t take the subway because the line was closed down, so had to all pile in the van and drive downtown Toronto. It took a while, but what a perfect day, too hot even.

So we got to spend a few hours somewhere cool, with lots to see, and around so much life.

I am conflicted on aquariums, worrying always if the creatures are happy swimming in those tanks. I wish I could ask those sharks, rays, and other fish.

If my nephew learns to love and respect sea creatures and the ocean, I will be happy.

Like standing at Niagara Falls, anywhere with all that water and marine life is where I can stand and tune out all the hoards of tourists and people. I could have stood beside that shark tank forever.

Then we came back out into the warm day and passed jubilant baseball fans. The Blue Jays were losing and then came back with a grand slam at the end of the game, the second in a week. The Toronto streets are full of energetic shouts whenever their team wins.

Then we had dinner at my favourite Toronto restaurant: The Pickle Barrel. Delicious beet and chicken salad, mango bellini, and brownie cheesecake for dessert.

Mmm.

As I’m heading home, at the end of the day, I can’t see the sky or the incredible sunset and so I feel the unfairness of blindness.

When I Grow Up – Jennifer O’Connor

Namaste.

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