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TToT: 2020 and Feeling Good As Hell #JusJoJan #10Thankful

Once again, I have been absent from this
Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful
exercise in gratitude and I did mean to join in more, but life got in the way.

I am thankful for
Kristi
and her taking on the TToT and for making a lovely effort to ensure accessibility is as common as possible, even with all the things that are out of her control.

I will go back a few months to start things out – back to 2019.

I am thankful I got to attend an old friend’s wedding back in November.

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It was wonderful having a celebration with good friends and family too. The event wasn’t too big and I danced as much as possible.

I am thankful for a fun few days with friends (both old and new) at Social Media Week Toronto, only a few days after the wedding.

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Caption: Kim, me, Amy, and Victoria

It was a nice getaway to Toronto and it was cold, mid November, but I was mostly thankful for the slight warm up but still cold enough, on my last evening in the city, with the most delicate snowflakes falling as we walked to find some dinner before I had to catch my train home.

I am thankful for the chance to be a guest on a podcast about culture called
Culture-Hacking – “Seeing the World Differently”.

I am thankful for a fun-filled Christmas season with family.

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Caption: I’m with my nieces, watching The Simpsons on the tablet, with the tree in behind us. (Hmm, did I end up posting this photo more than once?)

I am thankful for a speaking gig I had lined up for January.

PROBUS Canada

It was good to get to speak to a room of women from the older generations, to share a bit about my blindness experience, including all the travel I’ve done and some of the obstacles I face, not to mention informing them of the existence of the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
here in Canada in 2020.

That website is where you can go to read the latest issue of The Blind Canadian, November 2019 where I am newly an assistant-editor.

I am thankful I had a meeting with the woman/writer I’m planning to walk the Thames River path with this coming September and with my friend and travel agent who is helping us plan the month long adventure ahead.

I am thankful for this new audio podcast platform.

anchor.fm

We may use it to record and share daily updates as we go and I have started a profile there and have recorded my first two episodes. I will probably make these, as an audio version of my written blog, capturing the months ahead and all the planning and preparing I’ll be doing. It’s a cool site/app I can even add music to my recorded voice and I can do it without having to depend on my audio expert brother all the time. I think this one, it will be nice to be able to do it myself.

And I am thankful, last but certainly not least, for a mostly positive result on a blood level that had jumped in recent weeks for unknown reasons.

I have lived by that number for more than 20 years, creatinine to measure my transplanted kidney’s excellent function. I don’t remember it being more than 70-80 in years and suddenly I received a call that it had jumped up to 110.

On re-test, it did go back down, not down as far as I’d necessarily like it to, but 100 – and I will take that, for now.

I tend to lean into my more negative side with these sorts of things, but the doctor wouldn’t commit to the idea that my kidney is slowly declining. He said, at this stage, it could be that, but maybe 100 is my new baseline level. It happens and there’s no reason, at this time, to think anything further to be the case. I am getting re-tested in April and going back again in June for my once-a-year, usual doctor’s appointment.

But he did seem quite sure I’d be walking in England by September and that nothing renal related would get in the way of that. (Still…one more reason I want to do this walk, to help raise awareness, and to explore the world while I have the chance.)

I am thankful, extra thankful, to that hospital and the transplant outpatient program and the doctors that keep such a good eye on things for me. I am lucky to be living where I am living, as I hear more and more stories of the medical costs in the US that people live with.

To start 2020 somewhere, I was glad to participate in an entire month of blogging with prompts coming from certain participants of the yearly activity, participants such as
Wendy
and the blogger to run the whole thing. Thanks
Linda,
for getting my year started, with writing and blogging and your Just Jot It January #JusJoJan challenge, so I can at least begin somewhere for the year.

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Caption: a Just Jot It January completion badge

I am about to celebrate this blog’s six year anniversary and my thirty-sixth birthday – 2020 and I say “bring it on!”

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Covering My Bases #WeRemember #JusJoJan

Okay, so I am nearing the end of this
Just Jot It January
2020 thing.

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This weekend, instead of writing for #JusJoJan, I was too
busy,
with the planning and the thinking and the dreaming.

Trying not to get too far ahead of myself on life, with recent developments, I zoned out a little here recently.

Thanks,
Saumya,
for this one.

I was making a starting, basic plan for an adventure I’m looking to have later this year. It was distracting, as I try not to get my hopes up too high. I want to make a statement with this one!

I wish to
dazzle
the world with this one.

I long to sparkle, to shine, but not me for my sake. I desire to take a chance, take the leap, assuming upcoming bloodwork doesn’t threaten to ruin everything I’m planning before it even has a chance of going ahead.

I want to be always a surprise and a voice for change. I may surprise in my methods of achieving all this, to some, but the main one I’m looking to surprise is myself…and spectacularly!

Thanks,
Debbie,
for this glittery prompt word.

This date always gets me down, in a way, to more of a melancholic level. I think if it, 2020 being seventy-five years since the freeing of Auschwitz concentration camps.

I know this is the day to celebrate, but it’s such a sombre date, I can’t help feeling a bit blah.

It reminds me of too many things, makes me think too many dark thoughts, though I know there’s a more positive tone to strike here too.

And, so since I am working with what I’ve got, what I’ve got is me. Nobody else can live my life for me, I should learn to count on me more because I’m here now and I’m grateful for that, and then to be gracious to all who agree to join in on the journey, somewhere along that way.

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TToT: Thirty-five For Me and Five For Her Headache, #Blogiversary #10Thankful

Here, I hope to leave something behind when I go. Here, I won’t look back with any shame or regret at what I’ve said, what I’ve written. I am proud to be Her Headache.

I am
thankful
for this blog and all those who’ve found me here and read what I’ve written on these virtual pages, ever since that 2014 February of my thirtieth birthday.

As for how to celebrate my five-year anniversary with this space, I couldn’t quite settle on how to best show my gratitude and my pride on all that this blog has brought to my life.

In the beginning, it all started with me showcasing my
BUCKET LIST
of items I’d wanted to experience.

Since my kidney transplant, twenty-two years ago, I am all about not taking each day for granted and my list was a way of stating my purpose and no longer settling for less out of fear. Things like chronic pain and disability threatened to take away a life worth living, but I fought against that and found this blog as a part of that.

In this last five years, I’ve been lucky to check off several things on the list, though I am enjoying the ups and downs of the journey, as I’ve learned that to be the best part of the whole thing really.

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Still, I can’t stop wondering where life will take me and so here we go with the review of the things I have done and seen in five years that I may not have dreamt I’d do, during the most difficult days in my past:

I am thankful for the teacher I’ve had, for the last three years, since I decided to take a chance to learn to play an instrument in my thirties. Violin was beautiful to me and I wanted to learn to play with a bow, to produce those kinds of heartbreakingly gorgeous sounds I’d heard from the violin for years. I was drawn to it since I gave up on clarinet back in high school. (Too much air needed, blowing into that thing, which was hard on my head, prone to headaches already.)

She is leaving on a new adventure soon and I must face that thing I often dread, “Change”.

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I am thankful for my violin and the progress I’ve made so far, even when I get down on myself for not learning more, faster.

I am thankful for my autumn of 2018 visit to the Maritimes, Canada’s eastern provinces, even my short visit and the limited bit of Nova Scotia I saw. I am thankful I got to place a small item, a token of my appreciation for her gift of iconic literary characters like Anne Shirley in Canada’s cultural landscape, on her gravestone. I got to write a note of my gratitude, from one writer to another, in the guest book in the house Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in. I was brave to finally state, in writing, that I think of myself as a writer, even up next to someone as talented as Montgomery.

I am thankful I got to walk along those Prince Edward Island beaches, the coastline and the smell of the sea. Red Point. The End of the World P.E.I. and the force of the wind at that spot, lighthouse next to a drop down to fearsome ocean roaring down below me.

In these last five years, (not only out east) but I’ve traveled to Mexico, Yukon, British Columbia, and back to Florida for the fourth time.

I am thankful I got to make it to my twenty-year anniversary with my kidney, from my father, and that I got to celebrate that with him and my family and friends, zip lining at my favourite Niagara Falls on the Canada side. I hope to zip line in more places around the world in future.

I am thankful I technically did get my writing available in bookstores, when I wrote a short piece which was included in a print magazine called Misadventures. It was only available in Barnes & Noble, in the US, so a friend went into one and took pictures for me of that magazine on the shelf. I hold that book in my hands and am proud to know I have writing inside of it.

I thought it fitting to make my five-year blogiversary into a TToT post, one of the best things to come out of this blog since 2015 when I discovered other bloggers doing it and I joined their exclusive TToT blogging community.

Thank you, TToT comrads and all of you, for visiting me here. You’re the best.

All jokes aside on the wisdom of getting older, as I turn thirty-five and look back and look ahead, I know the fun is in the journey, not necessarily its destination. Still, I will always write about it all here, or for as long as I am meant to,

Where will I be in five years? And, how will I have gotten there?

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Last Year’s Adventures Make Me Ready For This Year’s #TBT #JusJoJan

My
favourite blog post of last year
was about a trip I’ve always wanted to take, a writer I admire, and the ocean I discovered when I got there.

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I was proud to be approached by
Expedia
to be featured on their site and then I wrote a blog post to go along with that.

As I approach the five-year anniversary of this blog next week, I will always remember when I went to prince Edward Island and New Brunswick and wrote about it.

I look forward to more travel and adventure in 2019 and see all of you back for #JusJoJan in one year’s time.

Thanks Linda.

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Up There and Out There #JusJoJan

I wonder and I wander. I need something to ponder, while pain interferes, some nights, with sleep.

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I read a
magazine
that’s all about
curiosity
and named that too.

***

Curiosity Magazine’s readers are, well, curious. They’re curious about backgrounds, politics, ingredients, and people. They love stories. They ask questions.  They look for local insight. They try to gain perspective. They want to be immersed in a place. They don’t have to be well traveled, but they aim to travel well. At Curiosity Magazine, we want to fill the world with better travelers. Join us.

***

Though I love it, curiously, I don’t strictly call myself a travel writer because I write about plenty more than travel alone.

I am, overall, a
curious
person and travel and adventure are made up of just that at their heart.

It’s the people and the places. It’s the feelings and, sometimes, the fantastical. It’s the traditions and the tourism. It’s the history and the holiday. It’s the wilderness and the wildness. It’s the nature and the natural. It’s the sensations and the stories told by me and by mysteries left untold and still telling.

It makes me say “what?” and “why?” and “for how long?” as I stumble upon more of what’s out there.

It’s the map and the globe and the app and the questions and exclamations in my future. It leaves me thinking endlessly about taking that next step, like the road Tolkien spoke of that’s just outside your door, waiting out there to take life’s travelers away.

That’s why literature makes me think, makes me wonder, makes me meander.

That’s why psychology makes me ask about another’s passions and fascinations.

It’s all up there, in my head and out there, just out of reach and keeping me reaching, arms all outstretched wide.

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Finding The Abbey Felt Like Striking Gold #JusJoJan

All the music and the books and shows that are out there I have yet to know of, I think to myself, as I watch Downton Abbey (for the thirtieth time) as I eagerly wait for the film to come out. FYI: I have months to wait still.

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I like to think of all the explorers and inventors and everything
undiscovered,
going back through history and into the present and the future I have yet to enter myself.

As I am halfway through the first month of 2019 already, I know there’s so much to discover too.

I am an explorer of my year, in my own personal narrative of a life, as I approach turning thirty-five. Sure, I am feeling wary of what might be or might not, but I am ready for the adventure and the exploration of what this year is meant to become.

Yeah, depending on the day and sometimes the hour you ask me in/on, my mood about all this changes. I feel like the start to 2019 is a slow one, but really I can’t complain about that. Life, when much more interesting, isn’t always the better alternative.

I am trying to see what’s next for me and I don’t always look at that as being a positive thing. I know I need to keep hold of the right attitude in this whole self-discovery dance I’m doing. I don’t dance well, but sometimes, you just have to flail around a bit, all four limbs, and not worry so much about what that might look like.

After all, last year at this time, I hadn’t bothered to give Downton a chance yet. How silly thirty-three-year-old me was for that.

Thanks today goes out to
The Haunted Wordsmith
for such a thrilling word. (Love the blog name btw.)

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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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