Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Memoir Monday, Podcast, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

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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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

Water Or Wine, #SongLyricSunday

I could be sad that everyone else drives and I walk. Or else, I could be glad of the exercise.

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It’s been a while since I participated in
Song Lyric Sunday,
but this week the theme spoke my language and so here I am.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fgT9zGkiLig

This song was introduced to me, back when my brother liked this band, but the lyrics give me motivation to make my life happen – now!

***

Sometimes
I feel the fear of the uncertainty
stinging clear
And I can’t help but ask myself how much I’ll let the fear
take the wheel and steer

It’s driven me before,
and it seems to have a vague
Haunting mass appeal
Lately I’m
beginning to find that I should be the one behind the wheel

Whatever tomorrow brings,
I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings,
I’ll be there, I’ll be there

So if I
decide to waiver my chance to be
one of the hive
Will I choose water over wine
and hold my own and drive,
oh oh It’s driven me before,
and it seems to be the way
That everyone else gets around
Lately, I’m
beginning to find that when I drive myself,
my light is found

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, I’ll be there

Would you choose
water over wine…
hold the wheel and drive?

Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there
With open arms and open eyes, yeah
Whatever tomorrow brings, I’ll be there, I’ll be there

LYRICS

***

I don’t drive (obvious reasons) but I do have control of the direction of my own situation and control over my own happiness.

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Shows and Events, Special Occasions, The Blind Reviewer, TToT

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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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF, Travel, TravelWriting

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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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Travel, TravelWriting, TToT

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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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday

An Anniversary Memory, #FTSF

Grandma loved relaxing in the hot tub when she came to visit.

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I had it installed, hoping the ability to sit in the soothing waters might help my chronic pain. Grandma and I both had chronic pain and we helped each other through it.

The soothing waters were nice enough, especially on a chilly night, but she seemed to get more out of it than I did. The heat was hard on my headaches, but helpful for most of the rest of my sore body.

At the end of July I think of my grandma because she was taken, on this date back in 2005, suddenly from our lives. The photo was taken, little more than a month earlier, on her anniversary with my grandpa. They’d been married for fifty-five years.

Never again would I get to sit with her here, seen in the photo above.

I miss all of my now long departed grandparents, but Grandma, I miss you, on this
Finish the Sentence Friday,
hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee and
Kenya from Sporadically Yours,
all of us sharing a photo and a story to go along with it.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TToT

TToT: Super, Awesome, Lovely, #ProductiveFlourishing #10Thankful

It was a grumpy kind of a week. I doubted myself and felt like I just wasn’t up to the task of each day’s dawning.

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And this is when an exercise of gratitude like this is most needed. So here I am.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a friend who reminded me of this.

How to Pivot Strategically When Change Happens

In life, inevitably there will be changes, but she reminded me to be in the moment while it’s happening.

I’m thankful for her determination to write about truly important things (books) and to fight to be heard amongst all the inane chatter.

Beach Reads For A World In Termoil – CNN Opinion

She is living life her own way.

I’m thankful for a Canadian writer who cares.

Is history repeating in Nicaragua? – The Globe and Mail

I am thankful for fire.

What is a fire? How does it burn? – Carrie Snyder

And the light and the heat it offers.

I’m thankful for an exhausting, challenging, but mostly rewarding violin lesson.

I’m thankful for the surprises of life, when a day has been hard and then comes along a superbly super, awesome, lovely hour or two (or eight) to make it all worthwhile.

I’m thankful for all who have helped to get this
Facebook
page moving, with over one hundred likes in the last week, putting us up over five hundred now.

I’m thankful for a hug from my niece.

Even though thunderstorms blew through and changed our plans for family fun, I got that hug and I wasn’t expecting it.

I’m thankful for balls of fire in the sky.

A sunset, like a shock of fire, even though I can’t see it like everyone else.

I see it in my own super, awesome, lovely way.

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