1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer

The Licking of the Flames, #SongLyricSunday

Storms and slides. Mud, water, fire, wind, snow. Oh, the entire world, burning uncontrollably.

The natural world is a powerful force and it cares little for what we mere mortals think or want.

Song Lyric Sunday, #SongLyricSunday

In Ontario (the province where I live) and out east in Nova Scotia there have been two awful house fires in the news the last few weeks, killing multiple adults and children.

Sometimes it is human error and sometimes there is no-one to blame, though blame is rather off point.

We humans like to spread it all around, but where does it get us?

I hear all of these disasters, going on all around, and I remain untouched where I reside, but my mind races and can’t keep pace with world events.

Then there are those fires that some start, metaphorically, to distract and divide and destroy.

***

Hearts are worn in these dark ages
You’re not alone in this story’s pages
The light has fallen amongst the living and the dying
And I’ll try to hold it in, yeah I’ll try to hold it in
[
Chorus] The world’s on fire
and It’s more than I can handle
I’ll tap into the water (Try and bring my share)
I try to bring more More than I can handle (Bring it to the table) Bring what I am able

I watch the heavens but I find no calling
Something I can do to change what’s coming
Stay close to me while the sky is falling
Don’t wanna be left alone, don’t wanna be alone
[
Chorus]

Hearts break, hearts mend Love still hurts
Visions clash, planes crash Still there’s talk of
Saving souls, still the cold Is closing in on us
We part the veil on our killer sun
Stray from the straight line on this short run
The more we take, the less we become
The fortune of one that means less for some
[
Chorus X2]

LYRICS

***

It feels as though the whole world is on fire, more and more these days, alarm bells going off on all sides, in all directions.

I stand, somehow avoiding the licking of the flames directly – for now anyway.

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TToT: The Fog Can Be Pink Sometimes – Plucks and Strums, #Blues #10Thankful

Bomb cyclones, bombshell tell-all’s, and a night out at the symphony. Oh My!

And Dolores O’Riordan is dead.

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote one of these, not since the start of the new year and my niece’s birthday post.

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My family at Christmas.

It’s only halfway into the first month of this year and I am already exhausted.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for Dolores’s voice and lyrics and music.

I am deeply saddened, but I am thankful. I can’t believe she is gone. I’ve loved The Cranberries since I was eleven or twelve years old.

I’ve been on the verge of tears, giving in to it a few of those times, ever since I heard.

I don’t know all of what to say exactly, but I’m sure it will come to me.

I am thankful for the cello and a feature celloist.

Such a deep and rich sound, such a melancholy sound to the cello.

He was making his debut. He was amazing. He even strummed and plucked the strings of his cello along with the fast-paced classical stuff. What a solo with a terrific orchestra to accompany you.

I am thankful for an invite to my very first symphony.

I felt like the least sophisticated in that place and I was definitely the youngest.

Ah well…no accounting for my generation’s lack of taste. It was a first time for me, as classical isn’t necessarily my thing, but I am glad I went.

I am thankful I got to see the newest Star Wars with my brother and my sister.

We, the three of us, went between Christmas and New Year’s.

I was pressed to my seat the whole time, with every new twist and turn of the plot. I realize the giant debate for true fans of this franchise. For me, I like the story, as it stands. I like Adam Driver in his role as villain.

One really frigid December night, my older siblings and I ventured out to check it out, and I’m glad we did. I owe my brother, for his description skill, until I can make it so every theatre, even in my little city, has audio description to offer.

I am thankful I have a temporary replacement braille display.

I can read my own words and the words of other people. I can feel it, under my fingers. I am back, up and running, at full steam ahead.

I am thankful I have parents who are perfectly willing to take me to pick up a shipment at the border.

There was an issue with a temporary replacement for my braille reader and my options weren’t looking good for resolving it.

I had to drive a bit of a distance to sort it out and I am lucky I have family willing to make that drive, over an hour, so I could have the package in hand.

Now I can get back to editing and reading, for however long it takes for my own machine to be fixed.

I am thankful for my sister’s knowledge of hooking up a new router.

Things with the Internet have been lacking around here lately. I went, on a hunch over Christmas, and found and purchased a new router, thanks to my brother’s recommendation.

It came in the mail and I wouldn’t have known how to hook it up myself. Thankfully, my sister took time from her busy life and came and got it done for me.

I hope to get back to yoga over Skype again soon, without the connection failing continuously.

I am thankful for not a no.

Sometimes, the postponing of a for sure acceptance to a writing pitch is nice. Some people may not enjoy the extra time, not knowing, either way. I think I needed it, this week anyway.

I am thankful for an organization of interested people to stand up for ourselves throughout Canada and the US’s Foundations/Federations of the Blind.

Canadian Federation of the Blind

I have no need to put down all that the CNIB has done for me in my life, but for the first time, it feels nice to know I am given a say in making things better.

I end this week’s shorter than usual and (at times often depressing TToT) with an uplifting song from The Cranberries, one of their later albums. In it, she speaks of not analyzing every little thing and I often need that reminder.

I am thankful for this lingering piece of optimism, even in sadness.

Thank you, Dolores, from the bottom of my heart. RIP to the powerful voice and the woman who possessed it.

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Favourite Things

Things, at the start of 2018, are changing up bit with the
FTSF crew.

My word for 2018 is “stoker,” which also means to stir things up, so I am all for this. I admit, I often have a difficult time with change of most kinds, but I am really trying. Still, though the list may have changed and has grown over my lifetime, here is my list of ten favourite things:

Favourite Thing Ten – Water

I love the roar and rush and rumble of waterfalls. It’s the trickling of a stream, brook, or creek. Or, the increasing and then the decreasing of a wave that’s coming and then going, washing in and back out again, leaving ripples in its wake. It’s the blue, green, rocky, sandy bottom of a lake or ocean. It’s my favourite metaphor for life, both the good and the bad of it, the scary and the sublime. Its power and its purity. It’s clear and clean, or heavy with mineral count. It is the refreshment in a glass or the lapping at my feet, pouring down my throat (to filter through my kidney) or threatening to wash me away.

Favourite Thing Nine – Marine Life

These are the creatures that swim, float, glide, or drift. They range from the smallest crustaceans to the largest squid/octopus, jellyfish, ray, or whale. It lives down on the sandy floor, at the deepest depths, or skimming and skidding along its sunlit surface. It is hunt or be hunted, all while storms rage, boats speed on by, nets drift and dangle, and waves carry it all along, currents deciding the course. It’s gills and blowholes and claws and fins and tentacles. It’s all the colours of rainbows in skies above. It’s camouflaging in all shades and underwater backgrounds.

Favourite Thing Eight – Space

It’s my earliest adventure, escape dream. It’s the dark, still, and the silence. It’s the circles and the rings and the orbit. It’s the blue of ice and the yellow/orange of fire from stars and swirling gases that envelop giant planets. It’s massive red spots as storms and dozens of Arctics stacked on one another, all the way out to the outer ranges of the galaxy. It’s yellow, blue and green and white, and red, and black that’s more than night is or will ever be. It’s infinite. It’s out there, somewhere.

Favourite Thing Seven – The Four Seasons

It’s the northern hemisphere and North America, central, southwestern. It is broken up into quarters of a year, here in (north more than south) of Canada. It is the smell of snow, the cold breath of it on my skin, and the feeling of invigoration. It’s the silence of the snow, the rustle of the warm breeze in the trees. It’s the intense heat and the brightness and burning from the sun, the kind to make any exposed skin surface feel like it’s on fire. It’s the birds of every temp, born to brave it or fly away from it, flocking back again. It’s the Canada geese, flying south and coming back home after long wait of months passed. It’s the early darkness, short days, green of new growth and rebirth. It’s the sprinklers and the mowers and the bikes. It’s the rustle and the crunch and the shuffle of dried out leaves. It’s the rain and the mist and the sleet and the snow, wet, soggy, heavy, and slush under boots and shoes. It’s the puddles after the rain and the icy spots before the thaw.

Favourite Thing Six – String Instruments

I love playing with a bow instead of a pick or a reed. I love the melancholy and the heartbreak of such a sound. I love the feeling, the shape of my own personal violin. The wooden body and the strings, stretched by pegs. It’s the deep melody of the cello and my newness, inability to tell difference between violin and viola still. It’s the power of the bow in my right hand, my chin and chest holding up my instrument, while my left arm, hand, fingers hold the neck and both sides of my brain try to figure out how to work separate and yet together, all at once, to produce more than the sound of a tortured animal and more of the notes and the scales I struggle to get straight in my own ear.

Favourite Thing Five – Art

I loved the visual and the sculpting, with lines, shape, colour, word, image, and sound. I love how creativity flows from each of us like unique perfume, like the individuality of every snowflake that falls from the cold sky.

Favourite Thing Four – The Purring of a Cat

I gently place my two fingers on my cat’s throat as he purrs. I feel it reverberate through his whole body as he settles down against my legs. He makes my chronic pain bearable, on the most unbearable of all days.

Favourite Thing Three – Literature

I love how it can be an act of courage, of hope, of truth. I love how, in essence, it sweeps me up and away. I love how it is about all of us and none of us and each of us, individually, on a personal level, still stretching out to infinity and some far off, far flung lands.

Favourite Thing Two – Travel

I can do it on foot, by car, train, bus, boat, or plane. Or, I can do it, go there in my mind, anytime., even as my sight fades and my memory and yearning grow stronger. I love the people and the places and the things. I love how stepping foot somewhere new or old, on returning or first approaching, that I am someone new, on my own, personal journey of discovery and upon discovering.

Favourite Thing Number One – Niece/Nephew Voices and Laughter

It sounds so grown up or only days from becoming words. I love the sweetness of the high pitched and the similar giggling of siblings. I love that it can turn, from sad to joyful in a single second of exuberant speed. I love the ring of it, the jangle of it, and the shimmering, swinging, swooping crystal clarity it brings, on all sides, expanding the walls of my heart as an aunt.

So there it is, my top ten list, not affiliated with David Letterman’s old show. Sure, some things are more to-the-point than others. I can go from the highly specific to the wide expanse of a thing, perhaps giving me the chance to write fifty favourite things, condensed down into ten, abstract or less so, as I hate to choose.

Check out some of
Finding Ninee’s
favourites too.

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I’m No Smuggler, #JusJoJan

I didn’t feel any sort of an ominous, heavy weight in the room until I was told of the real situation at hand.

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The men behind the desk had guns strapped to their sides and wore bullet-proof vests, or so I was told, a voice whispering in my ear.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Oh, there was still some lingering aggravation on my part, but by that point I was going along with the program. I would soon have my package.

I’d been aggravated for weeks, on account that my braille display (electronic braille machine) had stopped working after only one year’s use. I wasn’t particularly hard on it and I’d done nothing to damage it, unlike my dear departed first Mac laptop.

The line of braille is little metal dots, poking up, and then, one day, some on the left side just decided they no longer wanted to do their job. This made reading the first few words of each line nearly impossible. What a way to aggravate me.

I waited and finally I phoned the necessary number and requested a repair. Mine would be sent back, across the border, and a temporary replacement would be sent to me in the meantime.

Quite the switch. Still, I didn’t anticipate any problems until I was notified that the delivery service could not deliver it to me.

I needed to fill out, print out forms and take them to Canada Customs for clearance.

It was a whole thing, for a time there, but now that I have the loaner here, all that aggravation feels so far away.

I can, once more, read articles and essays, thanks to the magic of Bluetooth and my iPhone.

I can write and read back what I’ve written. I can spellcheck my writing and edit my own work.

It’s so nice to have all that aggravation behind me, for now, and I am thankful I held my temper and frustration/aggravation in front of those customs guys with the guns – only for precaution of course.

Easy gentlemen. I’m no smuggler.

End of the week prompt word for Just Jot It January
This, That, and the Other
with “aggravate/aggravation”.

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Jolt, #JusJoJan

Caffeine doesn’t give me a jolt. That is not why I sit in a relatively newly opened cafe, on a cold January day.

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It’s the chilled air of January in Canada that gives me that jolt, as I go on a downtown wallet hunt. Thankfully, I left it at a cousin’s hair salon.

I look through the lens of my writing. I visit this cafe to find a next great writing spot, a place where creativity may blossom and bloom, but I must learn my surroundings first.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Coffee, like everything else, seems to have a light and a dark. Huh. Hmm.

A bitter sip and my attention is on the super laid back atmosphere of this local joint, rather than remember the more bitter moments, those ones I am moved to write stories about.

This place doesn’t seem to live up to my deeply held expectations of what a writing spot should be. I view the rustic feel of cafes in my past, on my travels, in Ottawa and in Whitehorse and somehow Woodstock isn’t like those.

I am not in Ottawa. I’m no longer in Whitehorse. I am back in my hometown and in the middle of the cold of winter.

My writing is in freefall as I see it. I still hope to land somewhere solid.

I may land and be jolted by the rocky ground. I can’t tell at this early stage of a new year.

People just expect me to be on some kind of roll with my writing, as I ended off the previous year. I can’t say either way.

Coffee near my laptop scares me.

Maybe they won’t mind me coming in there and writing, without buying something. If they come to my table, I might request a drink or a snack.

So typical of me though, to only ask when asked, to wait to be spoken to, instead of doing the speaking on my own.

I stated my declaration: “stoker” will be my word for 2018 and that means having opinions and making them known.

Not to wait to be heard, to take a stand on what’s important. All the coffee in the world, the jolt it provides, may never be enough.

Most people can agree on coffee, if nothing else, and this prompt word is brought to us
by teleportingweena,
for the 9th day of January.

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Ketchup On Pancakes: Episode 8 – Farewell 2017 (By the Fireside) #Siblings #Podcast

Here we are, back again!

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It’s 2018 and we’re sitting, warming ourselves by the crackling fire in our latest and first episode of the Ketchup On Pancakes podcast of this new year.

Won’t you join us? It’s bound to make you smile.

Episode 8 – Farewell 2017…By The Fireside (Ketchup On Pancakes)

Last year was “beyond expectations” great for both of us and we, at Ketchup On Pancakes, have high hopes for the coming one.

Also, thanks to the mysterious fire stoker, fanning the flames behind us as we talk, I’ve decided to make “stoker” my word for 2018 and I vow to stoke the fires, like our stoker, to help keep the warmth and the glow in the world going.

Also, do check out the audio story we created. It’s a holiday story perhaps, but it also takes us back to a simpler time and maybe it will do the same for you too, at any old time of year.

E.T. & A Slinky (recorded for Jon Solomon’s 25-hour holiday radio marathon)

Are you fan of the film about the lovable alien? Did you have a slinky growing up?

Also, please feel free to follow
Ketchup On Pancakes on Facebook,
for mostly regular updates on all things podcasting and related subjects, specifically when we post a new episode.

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That’s Gonna Leave A Mark, #JusJoJan

Whether washable
or indelible,
markers of any kind – just give some to me!

The permanence and impermanence of so many things.

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I could jot down my thoughts, in the spirit of
Just Jot It January
and then go off and take out my bright scented markers, but yesterday was one of those bad eye days.

We’ll see.

Am I losing my remaining sight?

If that’s what’s happening, will it be forever permanent? And, if it were, that wouldn’t be the end of the world, would it? I’m sure I’d survive, but it would leave an indelible impression. It already has.

I ask myself these questions. I miss my markers. A recent Facebook video from Newfoundland, all about the colours of that magical far-off place, made me think I still haven’t let what once was go.

As for my markers, people tell me to draw, to take them out and draw whatever, anyway. Don’t let my lack of seeing what I once did stop me.

Easy for them to say, I say often to myself, about so many things. Note: Must limit such statements of self pity.

I don’t know how the marks some make on the world will ever be erased. Some things, markers and actions, are permanent and other times, it can all be washed away, as if life were one giant dry erase board.

Thanks, Ruth from Image and Words, for such a lovely choice of prompt words. For how you see it, life that is.

Visit her blog at the first link provided in this post. Or, in other words – (or indelible).

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