Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, RIP, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Oh, To Be Like Those Tenacious Weeds – Windows and Mirrors, #10Thankful

The eyes are the window to the soul…mirrors to the soul. So what about when one is no longer real?

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It’s about that time. Soon it will be time to have a new artificial eye made. It’s made me think more about the whole thing again.

August is here and if I make it through the next month I’ll be a happy camper. So much pressure not to mess up and let myself and others down.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the first day of August and a very special birthday.

My nephew turned four and will be starting school next month. Time flies by.

He had a dinosaur themed birthday with his mom, dad, big sister, and grandma.

We will celebrate next weekend. He is always so excited to show us any new toys he’s gotten since we last saw him when we first arrive. His spirit is one of contagious joyfulness.

I’m thankful for a more successful violin lesson where I could stretch my fingers, develop more strength and flexibility in learning a new part.

I’m thankful for a delicious and satisfying late lunch out.

A veggie omelet, Greek salad, and a cold Coke. Mmm. Strange combination maybe, but it hit the spot on such a hot day and after my lesson.

I’m thankful for the reception I got when I brought my old artificial eye into writing group.

I thought it might make for an interesting mystery object for people to try and write about.

Most people were fascinated to see one up close. One was horrified. I understand the reactions because I’ve seen them all before and have had them all myself.

People wrote humorous stories, horror stories, and to-be-continued stories.

I ended up writing a story that I didn’t expect. It seemed to reflect back at me, all the feelings I’ve had about having lost my left eye and had, what most times is this secret thing, until I reveal it to people. Or, unless they are able to notice it first. I don’t know how often.

I’m thankful for the chance to get more comfortable and challenge my old fear of used clothes.

My hair cut at my cousin’s salon ended with my sister helping me pick out some items from the small boutique as part of the facilities offered.

My cousin believes in recycling because she loves fashion and style, but she’s seen how much clothing waste takes place and she searches out the finds to be had in secondhand stores and sells them for low prices to her already loyal customers.

These are nice looking things and they’re often hardly even worn. I have a long standing phobia of secondhand things and I am challenging that still. I did find some great stuff, including a hoodie, tights, and a few tops and tanks to go with them.

I’m thankful for the happy sounds my niece is starting to make more and more as she approaches six months.

She’s growing far too fast for any of us, but with that comes more exciting milestones.

Sitting in my lap this week she was making a lot more sounds while reaching and looking, interacting and reacting.

She has rolled over and I swear she is eager to get moving.

I’m thankful for a successful second radio show where my brother did a lovely thing for a friend.

He dedicated a song to a poor, departed cat who changed my brother’s opinion of cats as a species.

RIP to a friendly cat.

I’m thankful for bowls and towels.

It’s been raining a lot lately and it’s a good thing we’re set to get a new roof put on this house any day now.

There are several leaks at this point, which have been happening for years, but now when it rains I listen for the drip drip sound inside, while listening to the pounding of the heavy rain out my window.

It’s not supposed to rain indoors. I am still lucky to have a roof over my head that keeps me dry, except for when I stand under those few leaks to lay down the towels and bowls and the drips land in my hair, along with a soggy layer of my ceiling.

I’m thankful for my cat stepping on my sore legs and purring that provides pain relief.

I’m thankful for a cool Friday night amongst humid days.

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Getting my TToT in early this week, for a change, doesn’t happen often. I think I just need to work on accepting a lot of life for what and how it is.

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”

—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TravelWriting, TToT

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.

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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.

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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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SoCS, Writing

In The Loop, #SoCS

Life is a series of limbo moments.

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I need to learn to deal better with the never-ending reality of it. I continue to live and write about my summer of writing.

Limbo

I am waiting to hear back from editors, one or another. Just a few more days and I can follow up, right?

I need to focus on all the other writing, completion of assignments in the works, and not think so much about what might/will happen.

This is a hard part of freelance for not just me. I could give up because it is uncomfortable. Go back to, who knows what else.

Or, I could learn extra patience, (which is what the yoga is for). Learning how to become more limber, in mind and body.

If I gave up now, I’d only be trading one type of living in limbo for all the others anyway, for not feeling like I am doing something proactive to take care of myself and be my own person, with something of value to contribute.

Any of what I’m dealing with now sounds majorly better than having to do the actual limbo, so bring on another week of the freelance writing life, still so new to me.

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Happy Hump Day, Writing

What Do You Love More?

I like writing and taking the chances on submitting more than I dislike the alternative. I can deal with the sting. Thanks for the lesson Allison.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Not even her best backbend

Before I was a writer, I was an acrobat. Not the kind that flips through the air–the kind who holds up other smaller, younger acrobats who look better in the same spandex costume. A “base.”

I loved it. I loved being the one who makes sure everyone is ready, calls the move, Hup!, then adjusts while the flyer holds still. Stay straight, tight and trusting. Don’t balance yourself, let me balance you.

I loved that I could lift men bigger than me and women in acrobat class who were also bigger than me and had spent years not letting anyone lift them because they felt “too heavy.” That I could grab someone the right size and move them through a basic routine right away, as long as they did exactly what I said. I got really good at giving directions, verbal cues, nudging with…

View original post 811 more words

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Bucket List, Memoir Monday, Poetry, RIP, TToT

TToT: If You Don’t Control The Narrative, The Narrative Controls You – The Summer Day, #10Thankful

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver “The Summer Day”

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for new pillows.

I’ve been using flat, old, barely there pillows for a long while. It was time for something new.

I decided to go with two different levels of firmness and they look the same. This way, I can switch it up and I learned which one I preferred.

Never underestimate the luxury of a decent pillow.

I am thankful for the laughs we have at my writing group.

We do write, but it was another fun time with the gang. I don’t know if a story is destined to come from this one, not from me this time anyway, but other stories were shared and good times all around.

I am thankful for a surprise gift from my neighbour.

I heard a ticking sound as I sat out on my neighbour’s deck last week. I asked her if it was a clock and she showed me her little sun dial.

Well, she got me one with a sunflower on it. If you put it in the light it moves back and forth. She wanted to congratulate me on getting my writing accepted. It’s nice when someone does something like that, totally unexpectedly.

I am thankful the deal with my essay for Catapult was made official, with contracts and a likely date of publication and everything.

This made my day mid week. The editor wasn’t certain when it would get published, until she suddenly emailed me and said she’d had an opening. I try to stay patient these next four weeks or so and keep in mind that things could change, but this will be exciting when it does happen.

She worked, as my editor, and the final piece that came back had a few changes to the final product, but kept my overall message and voice.

And now there comes my least favourite part: the contracts and paperwork.

I am not complaining, really, but I am no good at all that. Has to be done though. Luckily I have a sister who is better at such things. I will definitely be including her here on the TToT when she helps me with all that here soon.

I am thankful I heard back from Hippocampus and may be getting a short piece published with them soon.

They are on my list of spots where I want to see my writing placed. This one is a small foot in the door, but it’s a step in the right direction at least.

I am thankful for a new yoga teacher who wants to learn from me as much as I learn from her.

She says she is very interested in learning, from me, about the best ways to teach visually impaired and blind students who want to take yoga like me.

There are so many ways to do yoga. I never could have imagined. Of course, like anything, you must be cautious that you don’t push things and cause more pain than that which you were working to help relieve in the first place.

I am highly conscious of this fact. I am taking it slow, but my back has a metal rod in it and might not be able to bend the same way as other people. I don’t want to be careless and make things worse, obviously, but this teacher seems open to suggestion and to not pushing me too hard.

It’s just a different situation for her, to try her best to describe the positions for my arms, legs, and whatever else, by being as specific as possible. Watching her simply isn’t an option for me. This is new to her just as to me.

I am thankful for more and more representation of visually impaired characters on television.

I caught the final episode of the second season of a show, filmed here, near to me, in Toronto:
Private Eyes

What first drew me to checking it out was the fact that it was filmed in such a familiar place and then there was the reappearance of my favourite 90s television star: Jason Priestley

Then I discovered that Priestley’s teenage daughter on the show is visually impaired. She reads braille books, uses a computer that talks, and a white cane to get around. I try to watch her character, to follow how the creators write her visual impairment into the show. I am so glad there was a second season and that she was featured so often.

But I will be keeping a close “EYE” on how she is portrayed. It’s important blind people are shown in reality, even on screen and in fictional environments, because people have enough stereotypes and don’t need any more.

I will miss the show over the next year or so and cross my fingers a third season happens.

I am thankful to have family who can replace a roof now and again.

The rain has been finding ways in. It was in pretty good shape when I moved in, ten or eleven years ago. Now, however, the need is growing.

First step, install new water heater. Next my uncle and cousin will replace it, both house and garage. Apparently the second one badly needs it. Funny, I have no idea what everyone’s getting so bothered by. Though, I won’t even go inside that garage at all. Not my scene.

My neighbour asked if she could paint something on the side she has to look at from her deck, to help cover up the ugly. I had no problem with that.

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Can you guess what this is?

I am thankful for my parents and neighbour and their kind willingness to help me out with my dog who likes to bark.

He is also terribly attached to me.

My parents watch him when my head is particularly bad. They wouldn’t have to do this, to put up with it, but I hear he’s rather calm and good when he’s with them.

Also, my neighbour opens my door and brings him out when I am away, if she is at home, and ties him up on her deck. He usually is happy to sit quietly while she goes about her day.

Although, this last time, something odd occurred. She just happened to stop by (to give me her gift) right as I was leaving. So we thought she could get Dobby on his leash and just take him with her. Big mistake.

I followed them out the door and left a minute later. As I sat in the car, as we pulled out of the driveway, I could hear him still barking.

It turns out that when he sees me and she physically takes him from me (in his mind), he won’t settle down for her. She soon had to put him back inside my house and then come and get him like she usually does. And that time he settled down on her deck once more and laid quiet.

Huh … hmm. What a dog.

I am thankful for songs like this one, songs that have helped me through difficult times.

“One thing: I don’t know why…it doesn’t even matter how hard you try. Keep that in mind, I designed this rhyme, to explain in due time.”

In The End – Linkin Park

“Time is a valuable thing. Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Watch it count down to the end of the day; The clock ticks life away.”

Back around the year 2000 I was in high school and struggling just to keep up. Finally, I couldn’t do it anymore. Daily headaches were making concentrating to do well in my classes supremely hard and nearing impossible. In the end, I took fewer and fewer classes and finally had to quit all together, without graduating. This is not an easy thing for me to speak about, but it’s nagged at me for years ever since and I do plan to finish sometime in my current decade of my thirties.

These lyrics are about getting so far (years and years of school, including missing over 100 days in seventh grade for dialysis and a kidney transplant, almost being held back), but then I ended up catching up in the eighth and graduating, starting high school with my friends and peers, before falling behind all over again. It was a year or so later that things grew worse once more.

“I tried so hard, and got so far. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter. I had to fall, to lose it all. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

It felt for years like no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t matter. I was still behind and stuck and lost. This song brings a tear to my eye, even today, even as I am working to jump start my life and writing and things.

RIP Chester Bennington

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Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, Spotlight Sunday

The Summer of My Dreams, #FTSF

I’m visiting with my old friend and, somehow, we end up running into another, a reunion thought to likely never happen.

Then, yet another old friend meets up with us, we go swimming, and end up in water which starts to become wavy. We try to get out, but a bunch of slippery, soggy dolphin-like creatures begin to drop into the water and I am taken aback, before getting bitten by one of them as I struggle to get onto land again.

I’m back in the old friend’s house, like we’re kids once more, but different somehow.

Then I am with a boyfriend (a lot like an actual ex) who speaks about how it is to date a woman who is blind, as people we pass when we’re out comment. I have a guide dog in there somewhere.

Then we’re at a party, with lots of relatives, and he lets it slip to everyone (without asking me if the time is right) that we’re engaged. This isn’t our celebration. We’re there to celebrate something else…someone else, and the crowd goes silent at this guy’s nerve to ruin the day for others.

If you hadn’t guessed it, these are just some of the things I’ve been dreaming lately. Recently my dreams have been more frequent and seemed a lot clearer. Different somehow. I wonder if a recently started medication has done this. It’s only been since start of summer and here we are at the mid point.

Summertime is half way over, and I have been making it all about my writing.. Really, June was my month for new experiences and fun times I won’t soon forget. Then the really hot temperatures arrive and I sort of hibernate inside my house.

Sure, I’m sitting inside with my laptop, instead of making the most of this warm July weather. Though, I prefer fall. I know most people think me strange for this.

The summer maybe means less to me now because it’s no longer my summer holidays, off from school. Still, the heat gives me headaches, humidity causing me to become slow and foggy, in limbs and head. I make great use of AC and only go out for small bouts of summertime.

I do enjoy hearing the sounds of families walking together passed my house, the noises of the new family out playing together who just moved in across the street. This makes me happy for summer.

I’ve been doing yoga to calm my troubled mind.

Both my nephews were born in the summer and for that I celebrate.

Camping and sitting by the fire, roasting marshmallows. Days at the beach. Pool parties. Baseball. BBQs and ice cream.

Writing isn’t normally on that list of summer fun, but I have been working hard at it, at making some of my dreams come true. I should have three or four pieces out by the time summer comes to an end.

Was it worth missing out on all that?

Well, the summer is not over yet.

Summertime sweet memories made
with Kristi of Finding Ninee for this week’s Finish the Sentence Friday.

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SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer

Collapse, #SoCS

This summer has been writing, mostly all about writing, but I can only write about my Mexico trip in so many ways, from a certain number of angles, before I must leave my house again and experience new things.

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I stare at my ceiling and don’t see a whole lot, kind of like my future sometimes, but mostly because I can’t see. Still, the weight of it sometimes feels like a banging, from below and above and from all around.

Just don’t look up maybe.

I fear it collapsing on top of me while I sleep. Water marks where the pounding rain got through are, in my bad dreams, destabilizing the entire roof over my head.

But when to fix it? How to fix it?

I debate when to do something more about that, just what there is to be done to make any possible upgrades to home and life.

If I stay tucked away inside here, I fear I will eventually be sealing myself off forever.

I fear I will forever be afraid to stay and also…afraid to leave, at the same time.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

And so, the roof repairs will soon begin. There are many more stories for me to tell.

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