Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel

So So Close, #JusJoJan

Hmm. Let me think.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Sure, I spent all that time coming up with over one hundred things I am thankful for just the other day, but coming up with the opposite is no problem, now that today is a new one.

New beginnings. New start. Starts and stalls and stops.

I can be restrained about it though. I won’t list quite so many things I am ungrateful about. I really still am grateful for everything I listed the other day. Promise. I am lucky to be me, right now especially, but since I am here…might as well jot down a few thoughts, after the day that just was.

I am keeping an open mind and heart. I am trying to let more of life roll off my back, as I am about to embark on one of those rare adventures in life.

If I had nothing today to write about especially, nothing to complain about, I would simply move along, right past this prompt in particular. Today was one of those tricky days though, and it just so happens that a complaint was what my day was all about, though I am still grateful for a brother who is happy to help me out. I can listen back to all this music, ready on my laptop, for my entertainment needs as I am soon to be on my way. He did that, made that possible.

I can receive and send email on my new phone. Yes, I had no choice. Not new, as far as the newest phones on the market, but new to me. After several years, even a slight upgrade is new.

It requires a lot of updating contacts and other prep crap. I can not complain because I have a portable electronic device to carry with me everywhere, to keep my family apprised of my whereabouts. They appreciate that too.

Sure, okay so I have a few little complaints. My contacts were updated, but not the names. It’s funny how we get so used to not needing to remember people’s actual phone numbers anymore. So, all these numbers in my phone, but ah…to whom do they belong?

Complaint number one.

Then there’s the fact that both myself and my brother received new braille displays that are meant to work with Bluetooth, with our phones. First, he tried to help me and he screwed himself in the process. My braille display can’t seem to recognize my phone, or is it the other way around? I don’t even know anymore. Long long longest of days.

I could complain that I don’t feel one hundred percent physically, but I could be grateful I have a doctor who is thorough and consistent and reliable and kind. She is doing her best to make sure I feel as well as possible for my adventure. She just feels bad she hasn’t been able to help me feel better still.

I could make a complaint that technology is awful, as it looks like my braille display won’t work, in time for my adventure, to work with my phone. Or, I could just be thankful it still works with my laptop. I need to be able to use it to read my writing out loud and that I can still do.

So, my brother is persistent too. He would and could work on something all day and night, until he had it figured out. So, did my silly newish phone do an update to the latest OS in the night, without my knowledge and permission, and could that be the reason it no longer recognized the braille display it recognized just a few days ago?

I don’t know all these answers. I don’t, unfortunately, have the time to get to the bottom of it all this week. I have things still to do to be ready for my adventure.

I have a complaint, sure, but I am trying to look on the brightest of bright sides. I don’t have to look very far for that, not today.

Thanks Willow,
Linda,
and Shan Jeniah’s Lovely Chaos,
for a place to register a formal complaint about technology and life in general.

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Book Reviews, Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel

Happy Holidays and Traditional Thankfuls, #FTSF #TGIF #10Thankful

One of my favourite Christmas time traditions growing up was to go for a drive on a snowy night to check out all the houses and their lights, coloured or all white. Didn’t matter, not at one time.

This holiday season I still feel grateful for so many things, including the lights of Christmas. It is not so easy to spot houses covered in lights anymore, but I am still thankful. Having traditions at this time of year helps to brighten my mood as the end of another year draws to a close.

And what a year it was.

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I am unable to really see this photo now, but sounds nice anyway. Trees. Lights. Snowflakes softly drifting down.

December is here once more. I have a tree-like situation in my living room, lights outside on my house, and snow is starting here in my part of Canada, but all over really.

I am thankful for where I live.

I am thankful because I know Canada isn’t the greatest country in the world, but it is pretty great still. I am happy to see Justin Trudeau using social media, as is how it’s done these days, but he uses it without malice or ugly undertones.

The still current U.S. VP Joe Biden visited Canada this week and spoke to the Prime Minister and the representatives of the provinces, about climate change. It is close to many Canadian’s hearts and on many of our minds, the arctic, pipeline concerns, effects of oil on animal species, and severe weather patterns with melting sea ice. It isn’t so easy to ignore, but I know it isn’t easy to figure out either.

I know a lot of people who live here hate the cold and the snow of the long winter months Canada is so well-known for, but I can’t think of anything better than a still, silent, and snowy night.

I am thankful to have a mother who loves decorating for the holidays and she sets everything up for me, now that I am on my own.

Last year, around this time, our family found ourselves in a frightening situation, likely the most frightening we’d ever experienced, which is saying a whole lot.

It wasn’t so easy and somehow didn’t feel quite so important to decorate for Christmas, while we waited to see what my brother would be like when he woke from a sudden head injury.

Of course, as soon as the shock wore off and things began to look up, family and holidays were once more the priority and felt right to celebrate.

None of us, nobody in fact wants to spend Christmas in a hospital, but they are so nice to have when needed.

I am thankful that I can still see Christmas lights.

Who knows…next year this time…five years from now…ten and beyond. I’m living in the now and enjoying what I have while I have it.

I am thankful for the recognition that is still extremely necessary and is brought into focus on December 3rd, every single year.

International Day For Persons With Disabilities 2016

I am thankful for set plans made this week.

It feels good to see the plans forming officially. It will be here before we know it…before I know it. Preparing. I can and I will do this.

I am thankful for the help I’ve received so I can be comfortable with my stuff I will be taking with me, my ability to read and write, and to just fit in and be another member of the class.

I am thankful for the guidance from my writing mentor, a wonderfully helpful local travel agent, my parents, and all the family members who have been so supportive of me wanting to take on a new adventure in 2017.

I’m thankful for some of the fascinating reading material I’ve received already, reading material about one place in particular where we’ll be during the writing workshop.

I am reading New York Times articles about a place of art and that goes by the name, translated from Spanish, to mean “House of Frogs” I believe. Better than “House of Scorpions” as I am a little more nervous at the thought, ever since I read “The Pearl” in high school.

The Pearl by John Steinbeck

I’m thankful that I sold two more copies of the anthology where my story can be found, from 2015.

After The Scars – A Second Chances Anthology (Goodreads)

One minute, it went from the reading material from off of my shelf, to use for scanner practice, and then suddenly two copies were being requested. A lovely surprise.

In the last month or two I’ve gotten my anthology possibly sent and traveled all the way to Australia and now a copy will surely live at a school for the blind that I did not attend, but I know lots of people who did.

I thought I would combine the TToT this week (after missing last) with Kristi’s
Finish the Sentence Friday.

I will be writing my own brand of a 2016 summary, but I thought I would celebrate a little first.

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, Special Occasions

Train Wreckss, #SoCS #Halloween #GilmoreGirls

Ho, ho, ho!

  1. Okay, so wrong holiday there. I am looking past a lot of things happening right now. I’m fast forwarding two whole months.

Just over a week left until Halloween and lots to be
HORRIFIED
about I figure.

This afternoon, on my way to a pumpkin patch, but the day looks to be cold and windy, not quite as pleasant as last year’s adventure. Should have some fun with family anyway.

It’s not really the horror of all things Halloween that’s got me so on edge and taking it out on stream of consciousness writing as an art form, more like a form of therapy.

I tried to get into the spirit of the season, by watching
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
last night, but couldn’t get into it.

This clown thing that’s been making the news for a while is scary enough. I’ve never been a fan of clowns.

Nothing against the ones who live to dress up and make children laugh. Not my style.

I think our options for entertainment have grown in the past several years, technology a big part of that, resulting in less need for clown entertainment, but not all will agree with me. Some still prefer just such classics.

When I was in kindergarten, I had a little friend and his mother was a clown. She did kid parties and had a candy floss machine. How cool was it to have a friend with a mother who had constant access to that sweet treat?

Well, something happened after I lost touch with that boy and I grew up. I started to fear clowns.

I was in hospital a lot when I was twelve. The Shriners even have a hospital. Clowns were an easy way to cheer up seriously ill children. This meant one could often find a clown wandering around any children’s hospital I happened to be at, going from room to room on a paediatric ward, trying to help the boys and girls forget about how sick they were and the needles and surgeries, just for a little while, with magic tricks and songs and friendly, lighthearted chatter.

I confess, my trick was to pretend to be asleep in my hospital bed when I got word that a clown was on the way. This only worked when someone could tell me, as one thing I disliked was how clowns were often silent until they were right up on you.

Sounds like a predatory action and it wasn’t. Any clowns I met during my months of hospital visits were nothing but well intentioned. It was I who was growing more and more uncomfortable.

I have never liked makeup and so Halloween only held excitement for me because of the candy. I didn’t want thick makeup on my face and I didn’t like to think of it as a part of a clown’s costume either. The only clown I liked, by this time, was the Jewish clown on The Simpsons.

As I’ve lost more sight, makeup never held any real interest, as a woman. I know it isn’t the case, but now that I can’t really make out faces, whenever I imagine makeup on a woman, I think of thick, dark, clown makeup.

As I learned of terrifying clowns in the horror genre, like Stephen King for instance, I liked clowns all thee less.

This whole thing is ruling social media at the moment. I try my best not to imagine a creepy clown in the woods. Better left for fiction, but when I heard it had started in certain US states, I said, “thank God that isn’t happening here in Canada.”

Well, it has spread, as many things on social media will do. It’s here in Canada, in my town even. I say if I were harassed by one of those guys I would use my white cane to jab jab. Maybe a kick to the crotch. I don’t advocate real violence, but getting up in anyone’s personal space is not cool.

I think people can be a little odd or possibly more than that. I also think once certain folk realized this silly thing would get them some attention, just such a behaviour was far too tempting to pass up. People are on edge now. Someone could get hurt. Will this whole bit of nonsense stop once October 31st has passed us by?

I try not to bring a whole lot of attention to it. Besides, there is a horror a lot more worrisome anyway, but that one we must wait for Halloween to be over before we face it.

I spent a lot of energy talking about the horrors of the US election in my post last week. So, I will not go too far down that rabbit hole this week. Already, much too much of my week/month/year has been spent thinking/talking about the horrible predicament they are in, but of which we in the rest of the world are not immune to.

I focus on the candy of this season and I look forward to the remainder of 2016 because it’s been a life changing one for me, in several ways, more of which I will write about as the end of the year approaches.

Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. Happy thoughts.

I am tired of feeling this anxious. I want to focus on the things I’ve got to look forward to.

Though, I have wondered lately about hope.

After a few more challenging times practicing my violin lately, I’ve started to fear that I have no hope of getting better.

I hope I will persevere through the trying times, because I never believed learning to play an instrument like this would be easy at age thirty-two. I don’t sound like a horror when I play, but I do struggle to remember everything and not get discouraged beyond repair. This is still something I love and am determined to get good at, or at least better than I am right now.

All you usually hear are those reactions when people hear I even wanted to start, at my age, to learn one of the more advanced musical instruments. They don’t see things as I go along, as I keep practicing and fight my doubt in my abilities. Most people aren’t around for the tough times. I may sound more horrible than a tormented cat or a screechy something or other, but I know what it sounds like when the correct strings are played and the exact notes are found. I still have hope.

And so, all threat of clowns aside.

(Halloween or November 8th included)

😉

I just want to get past Halloween without meeting up with one of those guys. Always have my white cane on hand though, and I will make my intentions perfectly clear before acting in my own defence.

🙂

Then, November 8th will come and go. Can’t wait for that fun day.

After that comes American Thanksgiving and the event I am really looking forward to, something to help me relax after these months of stress.

The new Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix.

After that Christmas and the start of a new and exciting year.

BRING IT ON!

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Feminism, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Poetry, TToT

TToT: Where Rugged Coasts and Grassy Hills Collide – Don’t Look Back, #10Thankful

“the beautiful spring came; and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”

–Harriet Ann Jacobs

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What a week! (Read on to find out why…)

Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys

I remember not thinking this so much as it was in progress, but now that I am looking back on it, I have felt pure exhaustion, for some reason.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For my first official violin lesson.

I didn’t know if a whole hour would be too much for me. Playing violin is going to be a physical tax on my body, as I have a lot of pain, a lot of the time, but this is like going to the gym, for me, in a way. Sounds less taxing, but it isn’t much less, not really.

I have been just teaching myself, along with a few instructions from my uncle, so now it’s time to learn proper technique. It will be a slow process, a progress that takes time to build on.

I think of it like using an iPhone when you can’t see. At first, when I tried my brother’s phone, it all seemed tricky and difficult. But once I got a feel for it, where on the screen I could locate specific App’s or where on the keyboard to place my fingertip, if I wanted an A instead of a Q. Once you develop the sense memory required, like my new teacher says, it will come to you.

For my new violin teacher.

She has been playing the violin since she was four and teaching it since she was fourteen. I guess that means she is qualified to teach me.

🙂

She is outgoing and a willing participant in teaching violin to someone she can’t just show by doing. She must show me, most times, by hand or with verbal instruction, but she has been eager from the beginning. I am thankful and appreciative for the enthusiasm she has shown thus far.

For my brother’s faith in me, in asking me in the first place, to write the lyrics for his final assignment in his Music Industry Arts program.

The song is called “Don’t Look Back” and I hoped it would convey a feeling, but I don’t think many will pick it out from my words.

People’s first impulse is to think most songs are about love, but although this one could be, it’s about losing something else entirely, something valuable.

I was afraid I couldn’t write lyrics. I did it. The week started with only vague ideas and unclear groupings of words. It ended with a song, still in rough draft, but on its way to becoming a thing of beauty. This is because my brother had faith and put the lyric creation in my hands. I just hope he is pleased with the results. I know, after listening to what he’s come up with so far, that I am more than pleased.

For a slimmed-down Writer’s Circle.

Things come up and people get busy. I myself have missed a Wednesday or two, for my brother’s accident or for a bad night of my own. I understood.

It was just the three of us: Bernie, Theo, and myself this time. That’s okay. It was nice to have a smaller group once, but I missed a few other members who weren’t there.

There seemed to be a lot more silliness and a little less serious writing. Good times though. I brought a mystery object. It was a little bear with a heart shaped locket with my photo and my dad’s photo from my kidney transplant. Theo even took pics of it, to show someone, to go along with the wild talking bear story he came up with.

For Ireland.

I love the Ireland commercial narrated by Liam Neeson. His beautiful Irish accent is perfect for it.

sheepcoastline-2016-03-21-00-08.jpg

I know about the beer and the celebrating, as I have had a bit of that St. Patrick’s Day fun here in Canada, but no green beer can compare to the real place.

For one incredible, once-in-a-lifetime adventure in my favourite place in the world.

Luck of the Irish

It was my dream to visit Ireland and I had a blast with friends, old and new.

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I crossed this bridge with my travel companions, in front and behind me, and I made it to the other side.

She Travels Without Sight: Crossing Ireland’s Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Blind

I speak more about the experience in the above interview with an awesome travel blog.

I am thankful for that experience and that it taught me that sometimes, in life, you’ve just got to go for it.

For Irish music and Irish musicians.

Only When I Sleep – The Corrs

Of course, as much as I love that one, my favourite Irish group is, without a doubt…

God Be With You – The Cranberries

God I love Ireland and The Cranberries too.

🙂

I wrote a post to mark the twenty year anniversary of the release of my all-time favourite of their albums.

Ode and Lament: Ode to “No Need To Argue”

I am forever thankful that this album came along. It taught me about Irish history, about Irish poets, and oh so much more.

As I rode the tour bus along the winding highway I heard a familiar sound coming out of the bus’s PA speaker. It was a song by The Cranberries and then our guide announced we would be stopping at the grave site of W.B. Yeats.

I was blown away by the peaceful feeling I got from that spot. I thought back on that song and the words about the “Lake Isle of Innisfree”.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

World Poetry Day is in March after all.

For another chance to showcase a man, through an interview I conducted, who sets a brilliant example for the males of the world and the website willing to give me that opportunity.

Shining a Light on Preventing Abuse Against Women-an Interview with Garry Atkinson – Good Men Project

Thank you Jeremy McKeen and Garry Atkinson.

For the first day of spring.

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I like this photo, or what I’m told of it anyway, because although it is officially spring here in the northern hemisphere today, it is cold and snowing in some parts. I liked the image of spring flowers and snowflakes in the air.

For all the things that bring me happiness.

Music Makes Me Happy, #1000Speak #InternationalDayOfHappiness

So, as I said, what a week! What a week of music and of the growth promised by the colour green.

So Cold In Ireland – The Cranberries

For spring, music, Ireland, even when they are cold.

😉

For all these things and more.

Yeats’ Grave – The Cranberries

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

–William Butler Yeats

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Fiction Friday, TGIF, Writing

Words With Friends

I have no idea what I’m walking into, but I stride forward, into my favourite place: the library.

Of course it would be my favourite place. It is a building full of books. I would live there if I could, but I don’t think those in charge would really appreciate that.

I don’t know what took me this long. Why did I take this long to check this out? There had to be others around me who loved to write and I wanted to gather with them. And so I have.

I am always apprehensive going into a new situation, but this is stacked with a whole new set of expectations. This time, I’m supposed to share my writing, to open up that part of me.

Oh, of course I do it all the time here, now, and I don’t know what took me so long to do that either, but here I am.

This, however, is something entirely different. This time, I am not hiding behind a computer, waiting for the comments or likes to trickle in. This time, I am face-to-face with those who also love to write, or else they wouldn’t be here. This time I can’t hide.

I approach the checkout desk where people are taking out library books and I ask for directions to the room where the writer’s group meets.

I have been in this building many times before, for years and ever since the library from the old church of my childhood became the new location. This, though, is new to me. I was not aware of this room, just off the main area.

I find it with little problem, even with signs and people in my path. The room is to the left and they are inside, waiting for me, or new members like me.

I made sure to come on time, but I like the room almost immediately.

Someone shows me to a chair. I can’t remember who it was now. It’s all a blur of frazzled nerves. I’m doing this and I hope it is everything I’ve ever imagined a writing group would be. How unfair to put oh so many expectations on these poor fellow lovers of the written word.

There is someone across the table and people sitting over to my right. They appear to be engaged in some casual conversations when I appear on the scene, but they welcome me warmly. I can be one of them if I put my best foot forward.

My best foot is my coming-out-of-my-shyness-shell foot. I will put it out alright. If not here, where?

This is the time to drop that silly shyness and give it my all. They seem to agree.

There is someone on the other side of the room, bustling around and making tea. The guy to my right speaks with an English accent, which I can make out through a cracked voice, the ends of a sore throat. He still talks enthusiastically and seems to be one of the first members of the group. He is friendly and has a sense of humour, which I notice right then and there.

I hear my name. Someone recognizes me. She works at the library and runs the group, but she does not stay for the whole thing, instead overseeing it and taking hot drink orders. She speaks with a soft voice, the perfect library voice I suppose. She has met me through my sister, my brother-in-law, and I strain to remember when, although I knew she worked here.

The guy sitting across the way appears to be a new comer like I am. This makes me relate to him then and there. He has come from out of town.

I am still taking time to get an idea of who is here. I wasn’t sure what the cross section of people at a writer’s group could be. Age. Male or female ratio. From different backgrounds.

As people take their seats and we push tables together, I try not to shuffle and fidget more than is necessary, but in new situations I tend to do both to excess. I try to focus on the cues I can get from the people now sitting around me.

National Novel Writing month is discussed. I think I should speak up and say that I did it once, but not this year. I was sure showing up here for the first time in the month of November would mean NaNoWriMo would be a common topic of discussion, but I had no idea if everyone else would be doing it, as a writer’s group would be the place to bring it up.

I have come equipped with my laptop and earphones. Oh, how I wish I could go the old fashion route and write with a pencil or pen and a notebook. I would have picked out a special notebook for the occasion. It would have been red and the pages would have smelled like books, like paper smells.

I wonder how this is all going to work. I can’t write by hand and so how will I join in and share my writing at the end?

Do we even share?

Do we just bring in writing we do at home, for it to be shared and commented on?

So…many…questions.

Something is happening. I am talking and speaking up and out. Finally, it’s a whole room and its full of those who only want to talk about the writing they love, like I do. There is nothing else I’d rather talk about.

There is tea for the one with the lost voice and ginger cookies from a local bakery being passed around the table.

I decline, hopefully in a polite manner, a cup of anything hot. I even offer up the story of my disgrace from last spring and the ensuing events leading up to me, using a generously provided laptop in a pinch. I am new here and the nerves still could cause a problem. I wouldn’t want to knock my cup over, in a move to open my laptop, as I hear the guy sitting beside me has a laptop too and I seem to have the worst luck. I would hate for that to “spill” over to anybody else.

He asks me if I spend a lot of time in Waterloo. I hesitate and ask for confirmation that he is, indeed, speaking to me and not someone else. I am bad for that because I have gotten it wrong before and I hate that sensation of embarrassment, even though the feeling of discomfort is one I still end up feeling either way.

I tell him he must be thinking of someone else, but it is a strange, deja vu sort of moment. I liked that it happened here. I seem to get mistaken for someone else, in the most interesting moments and in the strangest situations. I wonder who that other girl is that I keep getting mistaken for. Could make a cool story sometime.

Next there’s talk of a mystery object. This, I hadn’t expected, but I like where this is going.

A model of a dragon is being passed around, painted by the one with barely a voice, when he was a teenager.

People compliment him on the painting he did of the creature and it is passed to me.

I take it in hand, ever so cautiously, and I feel the wings and the head. I ask for a physical description of it, mostly its colour. It is small and intricately detailed. I try hard to detect every bump and groove with my fingertips.

The maker or someone else mentions Lord of the Rings. He painted models, or meant to, from LOTR, the sort of thing you might expect a teen boy to do after school.

I like to be developing a picture of everyone here, even if it’s bits at a time. We could give rambling explanations of ourselves, going around the table, but instead we simply state our names.

It is hard it first, taking me a while to learn which name belongs to each and every one of these lovers of words, but I will get there.

NAme tags are made, the spelling of my name is wrongly guessed at, but this isn’t uncommon. I like to have this discussion. How long will people require a glance at another’s tag, before the name to the face will come right to mind?

This is a group of barely ten. I like this number. It’s not such a large group that I feel lost in a crowd, but not so small as I imagined, making a writing group less a group and more a few people.

So I guess we are writing now, or after much of the conversation dwindles. Our group leader brings up dialogue and character development in a story. I announce, perhaps over confidently that I have specifically been complimented on my dialogue, by a trusted friend whom I gave my NaNo project to when I’d finished the month. This speaking up thing I seem to be doing feels good, although still rather foreign to me.

Now the pressure is mounting. The talk grows quieter and less frequent and it’s time to write, right?

So I need to write about a dragon?

Okay. Here goes nothing.

I like the noise of the guy’s fingers: click click click. He is writing, then pausing to think, I suppose. I do the same.

I try not to fear him being able to glance over and read the few words I’ve managed to write. I guess I have some self absorption that writers are prone to. We are all hoping to produce something we can share when time’s up. We all likely think about sharing of ideas vs stealing them.

I take in the smell of ginger and the sound of keyboard keys clicking and I just write.

It slowly dawns on me again. Oh yeah, dragon, dragon, dragon. Don’t forget to write about the dragon.

I don’t write fantasy. I can’t write like Tolkien. That’s not my thing. Or is it?

I pick a locale and two characters and I write a scene for them. The dragon is coming up.

Time is up. The silence is broken by people’s uncertainty at what they’ve just put down, on paper or on screen. Will it be good enough?

Well, that’s what I am thinking, but maybe they aren’t. But wait…how will I participate?

I volunteer to just let my VoiceOver speak my story to the room, as a joke. I don’t want to be different, and I’m glad I didn’t not bring my laptop, or I would have been sitting there and twiddling my thumbs while everyone else wrote, but now how do I read what I’ve written for comments and reactions?

Others read their stories. They are all fantasy themed. They all involve real live dragons, but I did not go that direction. Maybe I should have, but instead I enjoy their little tales of discovery, intrigue, and adventure.

I listen to their reading styles and the inflections they place in the words. I try again not to move around, if possible, as this is a sign of boredom. I want to respect all these people who share, as I want to learn from them and to earn their attention when it’s my turn to share.

When it comes to me I don’t want to miss out entirely, so I go ahead and describe what I wrote. I receive a few comments and nods of approval at my subject matter, as I’d chosen to write more modern and contemporary, about an antique shop, one of my favourite settings for a story.

I talk about my one character not knowing what he’s exactly looking for, when his girlfriend asks, but his declaring that he’ll know it when he sees it.

This part seems to get people’s attention. I am happy they believe that I wrote what I’m saying I wrote and that my relaying of that writing is coherent.

Now that I know what actually goes on during one of these things, I must revise my plan and go with my braille display, as long as there is a plug nearby and I can bring a cord long enough to reach. I can write my stories in there and be able to read them back in the moment, along with the rest. My first idea to bring what I’d written from last time falls flat in my own estimation because I don’t want to be always behind a week. I want to be in the moment with this room and these people.

The guy beside me informs me there is an available spot to plug in my device and that he too may require it at some point. My laptop has held up this time, but I know its battery life is limited.

My laptop’s voice was an interesting bit of discussion this time. It has resulted in talk of a Gilbert Gottfried reading of Fifty Shades of Grey somewhere out there online. I had never before compared VoiceOver to Gilbert, but it makes sense.

I wonder what they will think when I walk in next time, with my Braille Sense over my shoulder, like a purse. I’m already looking forward to next time. I love this. I’ve found my tribe. I did not want to get my hopes up about this whole thing, but the real thing did actually surpass my expectations, in unexpected and interesting ways, some of which I’ve mentioned here.

I feared they wouldn’t like me, that I would feel out of place, as I do in a lot of places, but here I have this one thing in common with these people.

I don’t play Words With Friends, but I like the name of the game.

I don’t know what might come of being a member of a writer’s group, whether we become friends or not, but I like to hold back on any expectations I may harbour and just be in the moment, in that room, with those who love words as much as I do.

Paperback Writer

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Interviews, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Turn Back the Time and Think Inside the Box – Booooo! #10Thankful

The 3 types of terror: The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs, it’s when the lights go out and something green and slimy splatters against your arm. The Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up and walking around, it’s when the lights go out and something with claws grabs you by the arm. And the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It’s when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there’s nothing there…

–Stephen King

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Who’s afraid of spiders?

😉

Who likes to be scared?

I watched a scary movie, but waited until after Halloween was over, as if somehow this made me safer. I believe it was the third and worst one, according to King, the king of the horror genre.

Bela Lugosi’s Dead – Bauhaus

Happy Halloween

I know. I know. I am aware that Halloween is done and over with, that it is the start to a brand new month, and Christmas merchandise is beginning its reveal in stores, but just stay with me a minute or two, or as long as it takes you to check out this edition of the TToT.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Since this is about the week that just was, there is a clear Halloweenish theme to it, but this includes lots of chocolate and candy talk and a reminder added to the title, to remind everyone to turn clocks back one hour, if they haven’t already.

🙂

If so, what are you waiting for? Did you forget? That would explain why things seemed off all day.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For the chance to be featured early in the week.

After The Scars: Featured Writer’s Series

I was interviewed about my story on the new website that has been launched for the anthology I am in.

For a chocolate adventure – the best kind in my opinion.

Chocolatea

A friend and I went for a drive to a nearby town and to try out the chocolate shop I’d been told about.

I hoped it would be better than the one here that my mom, sister, and I tried during the summer.

This place was all made-in-house, but there was sugar this time. I am one of the many hooked on sugar, I can admit it.

So good I think they would make excellent Christmas gifts – and, just in case the name isn’t obvious, they also sell tea.

For raspberries and laughter.

My friend’s little girl now blows raspberries. They are cute and all, except, maybe, when she decides to keep her mother awake for an hour with them at 3 A.M.

The giggles are new, to me, this week upon seeing her. It’s the best noise in the world. Enough said.

For my “second chance” to be featured this week, about or with my writing.

😉

First it was for The Second Chances Anthology and then for 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

The #1000Speak blog asked me to write the guest blog for this week on their website and I thank them for the opportunity.

For Halloween candy.

Sure, it’s just candy, but something about the size of the chocolate bars, makes me think I am in the clear because I am eating less, but I realize, after Halloween is over, the trick that was just played on me.

Well, anyway, it makes it fun and it brings back many memories.

My siblings and I used to all gather on the wreck room carpet at the end of the night, dump out all our candy, and share and trade with one another. My father would stand by to snatch his favourite chocolate when we weren’t looking.

🙂

Just kidding. He asked first, most times. )Parental Tax)

For the humorous side of this horror filled holiday.

#HalloweenFail

Without that, I would find it harder to handle the scarier elements. I need a good mixture.

Halloween Impressions

For little trick-or-treaters, or not so little, as the case may be.

Yes, from the smallest to the very big. The small ones are sweet, but some kids find it hard to give up free candy.

When should kids stop? We were debating this question.

Some of them say the funniest things. The little ones are often so polite. The rain fell for a while, but they were troopers.

For not having my house get toilet papered or egged in some sort of a retaliation

We gave too much away at the start, which left us rationing by the end. We eventually had no choice and had to close the door, but a handful of kids kept coming. They very well could have been pissed and returned aiming for blood, or aiming with eggs as the case may be.

As a matter-of-fact, I am thankful I have never been toilet papered or egged in this house. I do live near a school and park. Could be the perfect target for punks, if they wanted to.

For my favourite little trick-or-treater of all

My friend returned, this time with her little pumpkin.

This particular jack-o’-lantern is only six months old. This means she has no teeth yet and can’t eat candy or chocolate.

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She sure tried her hardest. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo of the evidence left behind, but she chewed on that Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup for quite a while. It didn’t end quite like she’d hoped, but she had fun trying.

That was one heavily drooled upon package of mushed up chocolate.

I Walked with a Zombie – REM Version

I, myself, did not walk with any such thing. I would say zombies are some of the worst creatures there are, even though people have gone crazy for a show about them. I get totally creeped out. Even Brad Pitt wasn’t enough to make them tolerable to me.

Thanks to my brother (music expert extraordinaire that he is) for the strange and unfamiliar Halloween themed song selections.

And, to the departed Mr. Lugosi, you will always hold the place of Dracula and no disrespect meant Sir.

RIP

Well, another Halloween over and I still didn’t manage to finish reading Dracula. So, here’s a quote from Dracula’s literary horror rival instead.

“So much has been done, exclaimed the soul of Frankenstein–far more, will I achieve; treading in the steps already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers, and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.”

–from “Frankenstein” By Mary Shelley

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Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, TToT, Writing

TToT: My Week of Zen

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road can take you there.”
–Lewis Carroll

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Politics is on everybody’s minds lately. There is enough going on, as I have to listen to nothing but, here in Canada, but at least it’s only for the next two months. It’s the US that will be going on about this insane popularity contest, masquerading as something deeper, that might actually change our collective futures, for more than a year still to come.

I probably sound very negative about it all. This is precisely why I am focusing on the things that bring me to a place of zen with this week’s:

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL.

Pardon me if I might seem like I’ve recycled a few thankfuls today, from weeks gone by, but I have put a new spin on the ones I’ve already used.

Not for cool summer weather or the central air I love so much, but for the fact that one leads to not needing the other. I am glad, where others may not agree, at the cooler temperatures. When I need it, I am thankful for AC. This first thankful for the week is now awarded to the lack of humidity, requiring the use of AC, which saves me on the cost, keeping my electric bills lower.

For summer vacations and road trips, may they be a relaxing week at the cottage or a spontaneous, east coast adventure.

I am just happy my brothers both are getting the chance to enjoy themselves this week, to make lasting memories with family and friend respectably.

I hope my brother has a blast out east and that his time, by the ocean, might bring some peace and tranquility and a bit of zen for himself.

They both work hard and deserve the chance to have a bit of fun.

For the opportunity, the need, and the openness to try something new now and again.

Habitual Chocolate on Facebook

I was over-the-moon when I first heard about a brand new chocolate store in my town. I hoped for a

Lindt Chocolate Canada on Facebook

or a

Rheo Thompson,

but was a bit surprised at what I got instead.

Okay, so it ended up not being my sort of thing. Sure, the chocolate is of the more healthy variety, but really, who wants that?

Well, we were given free samples and told that many people do, but frankly, I don’t see the point.

Dark chocolate is good for you. It is actually beneficial to have a few squares of a chocolate bar, if it is bitter and with no trace of sugary sweetness.

I say it, loud and clear, right there in my About Me page on this very blog. Chocolate, to me, is a delicious anti depressant. It instantly boosts my mood and only milk chocolate will do.

Occasionally, as with this particular trip, a certain kind of dark chocolate, when mixed with something like mint and a good cup of coffee, this can hold its own pleasures. I am glad I went and gave it a shot. The latte was delightful and my nephew found a toy he liked, even if he’d much rather have played with the in-house chocolate-making machinery instead.

You have to make it a “habit” to keep an open mind and experience new things. That’s what I try to do, as often as possible.

For surprise peas.

🙂

Yes, these bring me just as much pleasure and enjoyment as chocolate does.

I believe I’ve mentioned them in this forum before, but I am doing it again.

This time they were a pleasant surprise, as I was always used to early July being the only time, a very short window, when I would get fresh peas to pod. My mom’s garden only had them available for a few weeks and that was it for the year.

With the discovery of my favourite peas at a local market, I was surprised to learn that I have been granted an extension.

They are not only delicious, but they provide a zen-like feeling to me, as the act of podding them offers me a very specific kind of nostalgia and a flash back to another time, and my deceased grandparents. They always picked peas and knew how much I loved them and would always save me a grocery bag full.

For living in Canada.

Sure, our political debates may not have the same sort of hype as our neighbours to the south, but at least I can be grateful for one thing:

No Donald Trump trying to run my country.

He’s a bully, who has probably never admitted he was wrong about anything in his entire life. He’s a spoiled, entitled petulant child, which actually insults all the children I know.

Of course, if he were to become the leader of the United States, that would have some effect on all other countries, including my own. I don’t know what the serious odds are that he could win, but stranger things have happened.

Yes, I can’t believe I am conceding that point, but who would have ever imagined the Terminator would become Governor of California.

🙂

I admit to not watching the debates. I saw things about both sets, but just in the news the next day. Politics is not my thing. So, in lieu of me being the one to run my own country or the world (I know…what a shame), I must learn what I can about those who will have the job and to stay positive.

For smart, witty, and engaging entertainment from The Daily Show’s John Stewart.

He also brought us more talent from the likes of Stephen Colbert and John Oliver.

We will have John’s monologues, on YouTube, for years to come:

BULLSHIT IS EVERYWHERE

It was the news, but from a different perspective. It wasn’t dry and stuffy. It was entertaining, but you never doubted the show did its homework.

I could feel Stewart’s passion and his compassion, in every satirical word he spoke on that show.

For the encouragement I receive from other female writers and bloggers, even if they don’t realize it:

The Key to Publishing Personal Essays – Alana Saltz

and

Announcing new FAQs page: one question, sort of answered

from Obscure CanLit Mama, Carrie Snyder.

These ladies have things I want for myself and they make it look easy, but as I go ahead and read more about them, I learn this is not the case. That helps me deal with the dreaded writer’s jealousy, of which I am certainly not immune, but more than that I know what it’s like to truly admire their work and, for that matter, their hard work.

For the shift forward in accessibility this week, with the Pan Am Games at an end and the start of the Parapan Am Games in Toronto, this was the news I was thrilled to hear:

CN Tower Launches Accessible Wheelchair EdgeWalk Experience with Paralympian Rick Hansen and TORONTO2015 Games on August 7, 2015, TORONTO2015 Parapan Am Games Opening Day

I know CN Tower has had their safety guidelines for the EdgeWalk, but I wasn’t about to accept that I could not walk up there, out around the edge of the CN Tower last year:

Manifesto: Walking on the Edge

I will never forget my walk on the edge of a tower in Toronto and I want that same experience for everyone.

For the pride and the hope.

Canada’s one-and-only Major League team, the Toronto Blue Jays is doing well again. Will it last?

Well, currently they are on a seven or eight game winning streak and are beating the popular New York Yankees.

The memory of the two consecutive World Series wins (92-93) gives Toronto something to strive to find again, the glory of the championship.

For the presence, of two very special boys, these past few years.

Right now, this week, I am right smack dab in the middle of two birthdays for two amazing boys in my life.

I always think of the Elton John song “Your Song”, when I think of the blessings my niece and nephews are to me, but it’s the Ellie Goulding cover that I go to when it comes to my favourite lyric:

“I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words, how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.”

They are two fun, sweet, and smart kids and I am proud to be their Auntie Kerry.

And so with July firmly behind, I am looking ahead into the rest of August. I have a feeling the stakes are going to become higher in the next few weeks, with what is meant to be and I am glad I have these things to be thankful for, whatever that might look like.

So there you have it: my week of zen.

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