1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Heedless, #Travel #History #Canada150 #JusJoJan

So here we are.

Just Jot It January is back!

Though I am starting my #JusJoJan a little late this year, but really, what else is new?

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Today it’s brought to you by:

No Facilities

I rang in 2017 in the best way possible. I had a great 2016 personally. I have high hopes for the coming months…personally.

But, of course, the warnings are out there, as ever and as always.

There have been warnings to not get too far ahead of myself with the guy soon to be US leader.

In 2016 I wrote about my fears and the bad feeling I had several times and this hasn’t changed, even grown somewhat, but I can’t stop it all. If I had my way, things wouldn’t feel quite so grim, but my own deeds and heeding of people’s warnings is where I have some semblance of control. Perhaps they have a point. Who knows.

Who am I to say?

I have chosen not to say his name on my blog, this so-called “leader”, if I can help it. In the Harry Potter books, I do recall there being something about “a fear of the name only increasing fear of the thing itself”. –
*clears throat*
Or something like that.
Well, I can’t help it if I am worried about the state of our world at the moment, but if there is any small possibility the attention I’ve brought to it could ever be contributing, even so slightly to the situation we’re now in and the direction things could be headed, I choose to focus on what’s good and gentle and positive in this world going forward.

There are some warnings I will heed and other ones I can’t promise I always will.

We are warned about travel, with all the terrorist attacks across the world these days. People may be more afraid than ever to venture out, but I can’t let that stop me in my tracks or I might not get started back up again.

Whatever history may have wrought, the future does not need to reflect that. We here in Canada can choose acceptance and inclusiveness over rejection caused by fear and misinformation when a fellow human being needs a little help. I wish to believe all the warnings some continue to offer up about refugees are being blown out of proportion, that human decency is universal and does not belong to one religion or part of the world with any exclusive right of ownership.

I’ve received warnings all my life, but in other ways my unique situation has allowed me to take my own chances on things, often years later than many others, but still I eventually get there.

It’s vital that we do pay attention, now more than ever, to the warnings we receive. There are precautions we can take, but I am determined to take the leap, to not let fear rule me anymore, not until absolutely necessary.

Take a chance and explore a new place, speak to someone new. Who knows. You might not end up regretting it. You might even learn something new, something you’d never considered before.

I might … I’m telling this very thing to myself as I take a giant step into the unknown of this new year in progress.

I am not so lost as I was last year at this moment. My future is just as wide open and undefined, but I don’t nearly feel as frozen in one spot by it all.

I won’t be clinging on quite so tightly to my blog and this month-long blogging exercise this time around, rather dropping in on certain days throughout January, just to check in. It is still an excellent way to discover other writers and their blogs. That is why I will be back. My month is simply a lot more booked up than it was last year.

I wish for us all to be vigilant when necessary, to heed warnings when we must, but to be mindful that too many warnings will paralyze us all.

Do not be afraid to live a little. I don’t intend to be. Perhaps, for certain reasons this year might appear to bring with it a sense of recklessness in my life, but I choose to take a more positive view of my 2017 year.

One for the books.

Right Canada?

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Book Reviews, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, The Insightful Wanderer, Writing

A Review of Barbara Hurd’s Listening to the Savage: River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies

I listened, to hear things as they are. So many amazing books out there. Rivers lead to the ocean. Listen closely.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

41zGDljwFgL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBy Alexis Paige

About half-way through Barbara Hurd’s latest essay collection, Listening to the Savage: River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies, I find myself splayed across a granite boulder in the middle of the small river that runs through my backyard in rural Vermont. Obviously, I am listening for crayfish. An avid river watcher, I confess that until reading this beautiful, brilliant book, I had not considered the role of river listener, or river monitor as Hurd calls herself, pointing out that monitor derives from the Latin monere, which means to warn or advise—even to remind or teach, according to my old Latin dictionary. From my back porch, I often eye the river’s movements, its patterns, its shimmer and light; I watch for deer, wild turkeys, ospreys, foxes, bald eagles, and the occasional Great Blue Heron. Recently, in the shallows near the yard, a few kids appeared, pants hiked…

View original post 1,586 more words

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

My favourite Word of All, #SoCS #SongLyricSunday

I want to walk amongst you, the many shelves and shelves of you. Bookstore or library. Doesn’t matter which.

I want to write you and read you and hold you in my hand. I want to flip through you, feeling your pages slide through my fingers.

Hard-cover. Paperback. I love you both.

I want to disappear behind stacks and stacks of you. I want to live among your silent stories, stories which come alive when read.

I want to vanish into you, to go on the adventures you hold.

I want to book a trip, a hotel, in Hawaii or San Fransisco or Iceland or New Zealand. On a beach somewhere, I want to read a book as the waves come rolling in and back out again.

I want to read with my eyes, but I settle for reading you with my fingers or else I must listen to audio books instead.

I want to write my own version of you. I will do some day.

Books. Glorious books. I open one and, yes, I rest it against my face, taking in the scent of so many past memories. The pages of you hold so much, everything I love about you.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

with my favourite word

BOOK!

And, in honour of getting this post in at the last hour of Saturday and nearing the start of

Song Lyric Sunday with Helen Espinosa,

I end this post with a classic (50 years old):

PAperback Writer – The Beatles

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Vermilion Hearts and Lucky Clovers – May Day! May Day! #10Thankful

I learned a new word this week. Want to know what it was?

OPSIMATH

Are you one? Am I?

Is she one?

Immediately, upon seeing the letters “math” made me think it had something to do with mathematics. I had already discounted myself.

As it turns out, the word actually has nothing whatsoever to do with my favourite numerical subject.

Read on…

Opsimath, noun: One who learns late in life.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For the chance to learn a new word every once and a while.

In this particular instance, thank you goes to Stephen Fry for the latest.

And to one of his literary heros: Oscar Wilde of course.

That is where I learned the word “Vermilion”, which I originally thought meant something having to do with vermin, but glad it actually means a shade of my favourite colour: red.

For “April Showers” which round out the month, giving way to the promise of “May Flowers”.

I was told of a new one, a wild flower called a “May Apple” and I love the name.

I’d include a photo, if this dying old laptop would allow it.

For the perfect weather.

At this time of year, I can step out my door and the air carries the scent and the freshness of multiple seasons.

I can be out without shoes on and not freeze, but yet the breeze still hasn’t become humid with summer. There’s still the faintest glimpse of crisper fall memory, winter frostiness.

All seasons combine into one perfect feeling on the air.

That I met the “Ten Things” group, almost exactly one year ago.

For a retelling or a continuation of one of the most beloved stories by one of them.

ALMIRA STORY

I’m really loving this one.

For the opportunity to be a member of a special group.

They are a gathering of talented writers and I am lucky to count myself as one of them.

In this place there are fascinating literary travel writing discussions.

Interesting topics come up and I’m getting the chance to learn so much from so many varied perspectives.

That the celebration of a very special one-year-old’s birthday was enjoyed this week.

I was the lucky one to get to be there for the first several months of her life.

I was sorry to have to miss the chance to actually celebrate with her and her mother. I spoke to my friend, who now lives on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a rough time, lately, partly because I miss them both so much, but I am grateful for everything that precious little girl has brought into the lives of all who love her.

For my first “Wilde”, as this week I read my first Oscar Wilde novel.

The man sure could weave an odd tale. I would say that “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was not at all what I was expecting when I started it, but I’m glad I read it.

That April is over.

The month had its good points, but it wasn’t an easy month overall.

This is a hard time of year for me, for several reasons, and there’s really no guarantee May and beyond will turn out any easier, but I have a lot to look ahead to.

That although this laptop has pretty much had it, as I discovered officially earlier in the week, that at least, while I figure out my next move, I have more time for violin practice and reading all those books (Wilde and otherwise) that I put off for my writing and blogging.

🙂

All about those silver linings, am I right?

Which rounds out my thankfuls this week.

None of these guys could be called “opsimath”.

“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

–Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

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Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Piece of Cake, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Woman In Black Blouse Holding Black Bow – Shadow Bowing, #10Thankful

“I can never read all the books I want; I can never be all the people I want and live all the lives I want. I can never train myself on all the skills I want. And why do I want? I want to live and feel all the shades, tones and variations of mental and physical experience possible in my life. And I am horribly limited.”

–Sylvia Plath, “The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath”

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Caption: Woman in black shirt smiling and standing.)

There is an App for the visually impaired where you can take a photo of anything you are in need of describing and send it away and, within seconds, an answer is given by someone somewhere who has viewed it and explained it to the best of their ability. Well, that’s the first reply given when I asked what the above photo showed. The second I used for the title of this week’s TToT because I thought it strangely eerie.

🙂

Have you heard of “shadow bowing”?

That is what I am doing. Supposedly, (as YouTube is a totally reliable source on this), I’m quite sure – if you want to practice moving your violin’s bow in a perfectly straight line, you take an empty toilet paper roll and work at moving the bow through it, over and over again. Well, let’s just say, I thought it worth a try, yet highly amusing at the same time.

The week started out badly. It wasn’t a great week at all, to be frank, but I still think I can come up with 10 things to be thankful for. Come along with me and let’s see if I can.

🙂

I made a decision, as February and its extra day came and went and March began, that I will cut back from the daily blogging I’ve been doing since the start of 2016, and will cut back to only weekends and these blogging hops and link ups I so enjoy.

I will use my weekdays to focus on my violin and writing for other places, specifically the memoir I’ve wanted to write since I was fourteen years old.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For rare disease awareness.

I shared, back when it first came out, an article I wrote which was published on The Mighty:

Rare Disease Day, 2016: Even Rarer Than A Leap Year

Well, the official day of recognition was on a leap year this time round, making it extra special.

For a song that inspires me.

Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado

I was shown this one by a friend, but although I could tell just by listening that there was depth and significance in the words, the music, and in the visuals, I could not see what was taking place in the video for the song.

Well, my friend explained what happens throughout. I could tell it was important, with the sound of the train at the beginning, but I now listen to this every night before I go to bed. It reminds me that we all have our struggles and our burdens to shoulder. I want to write my story, to tell of my particular tale, while this song plays on repeat in the background in my head.

Check it out if you have a moment. It’s beautiful.

For books and their creators.

As the quote at the start of this post shows, I love books for so many things. I will never be all the things I want to be, but books get me a lot closer.

This week was World Book Day.

I found myself in my nephew’s room, one day in the middle of the week, and my mom began reading “What Pet Should I Get?”, unaware that its author was celebrating a birthday on that exact same day. I celebrate Dr. Seuss and the genus he was with words.

He was highly skilled with them, words that is. He was able to stand out, reach children, and as I would love to write a children’s book someday, I try to study his brilliance, hoping always that something of it may rub off on me.

For a much needed laugh or two to brighten up a rough week. I love the coming together of a child’s imagination and the acting talents to bring it to my screen.

I did not watch anything surrounding Academy Awards mania, but I think this is better than any of the movies that actually got nominated for a trophy.

🙂

I was riveted by both these performances.

Kid Theater with Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies)

Hanks deserves the award for that, don’t you agree? Possibly even Jimmy. If you need to smile, watch only this one Oscar performance.

For a hot shower to help with head and limb pain.

For another chance to share my writing, as part of a wonderfully important blogger series:

#BeReal – KERRY KIJEWSKI

I was glad to get some of my feelings out and on the page in a supportive environment like Hasty’s blog.

For new car smell.

I don’t know exactly what that fragrance consists of, so feel free to enlighten me, but I know it is in the materials of a newish car and it doesn’t last forever – just like most things in life.

🙂

Whatever it emanates from, it brings back nostalgic feelings that are indefinable, but warmly welcome.

For my first actual violin recital.

Not playing. Oh hell no!

🙂

Just attending, but it was highly inspiring and motivating.

I write about the experience here:

Flower of the Night

For the chance to work creatively with my musically talented brother.

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Caption: Smiling man playing violin.

🙂

This was the explanation we received for the photo of my brother holding my violin.

He is a guitar player mainly. He and I decided we would try to write a song together. He has written the music and now I am faced with the new challenge of listening to it, letting the music move through me, and feeling the words and letting them come to me.

I try to lighten the mood because I have written lots of things, but never song lyrics. It’s a bit like poetry and I always doubted my skill with that. I hope it is something I can do. The challenge to myself is a tough one. I just think it would be neat to do that with him.

For beautiful pieces of writing, from such creative and talented bloggers and writers. This lovely memoir post I just had to share.

Where Is Home – Yvonne Spence

Several months back I came across multiple beautifully written blog posts and shared them here, stating my intention to share a couple that were particularly influential on me, here on the TToT every week.

Well, I didn’t follow through, but better to do it when inspiration strikes.

Home – Phillip Phillips

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

–Dr. Seuss, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

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My Bittersweet Love Affair With Books, #LoIsInDaBl

Today is set aside for

BOOKS WE LOVE

and is known as

TEASER TUESDAY.

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I’ve shown this photo before, but it really sums up my one true love.

I want to live in a bookstore, in a library, but being surrounded by books also makes me feel partly empty. I can’t read them. I need to scan them electronically or go to EBooks or braille.

I am happy to do this. I have an entire electronic device still full of books someone once found for me. I couldn’t likely get through all of those in one hundred years, but something also stops me from making even a dent.

So much, so many worlds and characters and ideas, so many words to be found.

Nothing can compare to holding a book, even one I can’t see to read, in my hands.

Dusty Old Books

The musty smell of the pages is divine.

I rub my fingers over the bumps on the pages on my Harry Potter book collection. I could read them over and over. It’s a love that is pure and will never end. One thing I can count on.

I’m not reading a particular book at this moment. I can’t seem to settle on one a lot of the time, even knowing how many there are out there. I often still feel removed from all the books I love, like I can’t just pick them up, read any book I want, at any moment. It’s a painfully wonderful feeling, that I have the power to read and yet I lack the ability to in many cases. It’s one of those bittersweet love affairs.

Women and Books

I have written about and reviewed several books on this blog in the past two years.

There was the two-parter review of Go Set A Watchman I wrote last summer:

Jean Louise the Silent, Part One

&

Part Two.

There were a few posts I devoted to my love of Harry Potter:

To The First Time I Read Harry Potter

&

Colour, Light, and Magic

Those last three things are things books are to me.

Never As Good As The First Time – Sade

I can easily see the similarity between the first time experiencing the thrill of new love with someone and the first time to read a book that will become a favourite. There is a rush and a feeling you can never get back, no matter how you will always love or can ever hope to again. It will remain a wistful memory and something that will forever be both sad and nostalgic and that’s just how it is.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Kerry's Causes

Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story, #1000Speak

Some people who say they’re sorry aren’t and don’t feel genuinely sorry and some who feel truly sorry never say it, or get the chance to even try.

There may be a quote like this somewhere out there already, but, if there is, I don’t recall and, I swear, these words are my own. Chances are it isn’t stated nearly as poetically as how I’ve written it here anyway.

🙂

If it already exists, I am sorry and I really do mean that, but in this case I came up with it in my own words and from my own heart.

I am speaking of being sorry. I apologize a lot more than some people, perhaps a lot of people, but I know I am not the only one. It is said that women are forever apologizing for things, (big things or little things) whether warranted or not, and there is such a thing as too much being sorry, overkill.

This will all make sense, by the end of this post, I nearly certainly promise you that.

January’s #1000Speak topic is “Forgiveness”. Oh, the things I had to say about that, I told myself, upon hearing of the subject matter.

Spoiler alert (full disclosure, before I continue): I don’t have many answers and I don’t even have much of a handle on the monster that is holding a grudge or laying blame.

I know what you’re thinking, what so many self-help experts would shout out loud – anger, grudges, and blame only hurt the one doing the holding and the laying, that it is a much healthier thing to just let it all go and that getting on with life, being happy, these are the best forms of revenge. I don’t even like that way of putting it though, to be honest. Using the word “revenge” is still holding onto negative thought process and talk.

I don’t want to take out my anger on people or to take revenge on anyone, especially those who I have loved, at one time or another. Those are the ones you usually blame for things or can’t forgive for something.

Well, to begin with, I am working on forgiveness toward those who ever decided to title it “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” here in North America.

I do not love those people, never did, because I have never met them. I do love those books though.

Forgiveness is necessary for so many things, as this first example shows.

😉

My real list of those I have had to work to forgive is as follows:

–To a world of ignorant people, unwilling to look past disability and my blindness, to give me a chance and to get to know who I really am.

–To the doctor(s) who didn’t take me seriously enough when I told them I was feeling unwell, (when I was in renal failure or in chronic pain).

–To the schoolboard/administration who didn’t think I was smart enough. Or who used my blindness as the reason why I wasn’t keeping up, when I was really very ill from an entirely separate medical condition.

–To my high school boyfriend who used me to figure out the problems with his own life.

–To a friend who did not care.

–To an ex boyfriend who hurt me when he left.

If I was affected by these things in the past, I cant say for sure if I have forgiven completely. If I am still angry, I don’t want to be. Is it as simple as letting that anger go? Really? If it were, why wouldn’t I have done it by now?

What’s the real answer to that question?

Must mean I don’t want to let it go, right? I don’t know about that.

Certain times in my life have affected me, so profoundly, that even years later I think back on them and cringe a little. They often feel like a tiny little wound, one where when I brush up against them (when I let my mind go there) I feel just a little sting of regret or sadness or disappointment.

How do I ever completely heal these wounds?

I move on. I move forward. I get on with life. I have survived it all and I am still here. That offers endless comfort to me, but it doesn’t erase the experiences and the memories.

Forgive and forget. I often wonder about this line from the self-help field as well.

Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out which one I am left with at the end of the day.

I know the person I have the hardest time forgiving is myself. I try, once more, I really do try. I know blaming myself for things I couldn’t have known better of back then or ways in which I may still be punishing myself now is not helping me.

I don’t know how much, if at all, anybody from my past thinks about me now. How wrapped up in myself must I be to even think they think of it at all, when so much of life is a one-sided argument happening inside our own heads.

If someone had nothing but the best intentions, I know they didn’t set out to hurt me, hurt me bad enough where I am still talking about it now. I acknowledge what good and decent people I have known. I am glad I’ve had certain people in my life, as a part of my history. I don’t wish them any ill will.

I gave my five-year-old niece a necklace for Christmas. It was a snowflake with the words “Let It Go” from the movie “Frozen” on it.

This I liked right away, on finding it in the store. I wanted her to have it, just as I want her to have the skill, the ability to forgive and to let go of anger and hurt, whenever and wherever possible. I don’t think it brings much else but suffering and I want her to know less of that than I’ve known. I want her to have a life with less regret and disappointments.

I hope I am not an angry person, but sometimes I’m not really sure deep down. I don’t ever want the level of anger (a perfectly common human emotion) to balance out the love and the kindness I feel and show to the world, but I try to remind myself that I must start with me first.

Give yourself a break, I remind myself, when the bad feelings surface. Life is much too short.

That is true.

I am always sorry for things and I don’t know if this is something I need to work on or not. I need to learn to forgive a world where disability and blindness is still not understood as well as it should be. I need to learn to realize that other people are fighting their own battles within themselves and that, if they’ve hurt me in some way, it’s not normally an intentional act. They were doing the best they could too, just like I am.

The hardest part is imagining what could have been or what will never be. Doesn’t mean there’s no hope that it could have all been worth it in the end.

With the death of a “Harry Potter” film star last week I have been watching a marathon of the movies and there was the scene about “The Unforgivable Curses).

They are “so named because they are unforgivable” and it got me thinking.

If you think that there are those things that shouldn’t be forgiven, I am just lucky that I can’t say that about my own life.

And whether you believe even the worst and most unforgivable deeds and actions towards others can still be forgiven, if only for the sake of the one who was wronged, so that person can find peace – well, I guess we’ll all just have to agree to disagree on that.

The only way I can look at it is that we can only know what this life and its most painful parts are like for ourselves, no one else. We can try to see things from another’s point-of-view. Maybe that will help and maybe it won’t, but we can at least try, right?

Around the 20th of every month

1000 Voices

explores topics like forgiveness and compassion, when a group of bloggers and writers do their part to spread all manner of good things, as a breath of fresh air with all the negativity and bad vibes in the world.

This month’s group and their thoughtful stories have given me a lot to think about, as usual.

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