Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: On Boxing Day, Boxes, and More Christmas Wrapping On Its Way #BoxingDay #10Thankful

1vMAQBQ.jpg

Photo caption: Christmas Eve 2017 photo with my neighbour.

I’m sitting tight today, between December 24/25th and our family’s second Christmas tomorrow, on this Boxing Day of 2017 and I have plenty to be thankful for.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for another six months with my kidney.

Creatinine was up, from its usual seventy, into the eighties and, of course, even with this slight increase I worry somewhat.

The doctor tells me I am doing well for twenty years on and that he has no reason to be concerned at this time. I take this and hold it close as a win, for now.

It’s a bit of a tentative thankful, but it is genuine. Best I can do.

I am thankful for lunch with my friend from across the ocean.

She is a senior resident OBGYN in Cork, Ireland. She has a life there, with her two-year-old daughter.

I am happy to hear of their lives and am grateful that they come back at Christmas.

We went shopping and out for a nice lunch. I learned about her daughter’s two best friends and their daily routines. Busy girls.

It’s just nice, however briefly they are here, that we can return to our familiarity with each other, no matter how long it’s been, how long a year has felt in between last seeing one another.

I hope her daughter, as she grows, will soon feel that too. I am just honoured to be Aunt Kerry to another amazing child, if not by blood, relation, than by bestowment through lifelong friendship..

Friendship, I’ve learned over the years is never guaranteed in life, but sometimes it is meant to be, with an extra pinch of additional effort.

I am thankful for a quick fix to my heat.

I woke up, on Wednesday morning, to no heat at all. By the evening, I was curled up to warm up, but heat had been restored throughout the vents in my home.

I had a friend to take me out and a neighbour offering a warm place to retreat into if necessary. I was never in danger of freezing.

I worried the workers would be busy this time of year, but I was on a list, and it was short.

The problem had something to do with the pressure switch. That’s all I retained from the explanation. It required a pickup of the part, or delivery really, and Bam! Done!

And I had just been paid for a writing job and it felt good to be able to pay my own repair bill.

I am thankful for a pre-Christmas musical dedication and episode of my brother’s radio show.

Sure, Christmas may be over officially, but why not check these songs out. Some are dedicated to snow too, and Hannukah.

Chin Music (Holiday 2017 Edition) – CHRW Radio Western

I heard the song he played, for me, and I proceeded to dance/flail around my living room to it. Good workout and a reminder that Christmas isn’t so easy, for everyone, all of the time.

Bah Humbug is too strong for me, thankfully.

I am thankful for a Christmas visit and generous gifts from my 2017 neighbour.

Wine and Dutch wafer cookies made with honey.

She gave me a bracelet and necklace, with my birthstone and a heart, and other charms.

I appreciate her in my life, starting this year, and a dear one for years to come.

I am thankful for the love of earth and the natural world in a family creation.

Picked up a mossy world, with a gnome riding a turtle for my dining room’s table’s centre.

My cousin was selling them at the Saturday morning market. They find glass jars and other things, like mine which was an old fish tank or possibly a cookie jar at one time. Then they add moss and other things, creating its own little world in a jar.

xhczTSp.jpg

I am thankful for a Christmas Eve morning visit with my friend and her daughter.

A two-year-old into Peppa Pig and I found the perfect Christmas surprise: Peppa Pig’s pizza parlour.

She loved it and warmed up as the visit progressed.

I am thankful we were played and up in the first hour.

http://keepingscoreathome.com/?p=3284

The audio story I wrote and recorded with my brother was aired on the 25-hour Christmas Eve/Day marathon, on a little college radio station in New Jersey.

Jon plays lesser known seasonal songs and a story from a listener, one per hour. He has been doing this for years now and has loyal yearly listener/fans like my brother. It was one of our goals, since he listened and familiarized me with the show last Christmas. We made a plan to send in a contribution from the two of us and we got it done.

It was odd hearing it on that show, but a nice way to finish off 2017 on a high note.

I am thankful for another Christmas Eve to watch A Christmas Carol with my father.

Humbug!

It came on TV at nine and at first, in colour, but my father would rather black and white. I can’t blame him and he found it on another channel.

Again, the past and present and future, and I learn and reflect on my life and on the world.

I am thankful my neighbour could join us for Christmas Eve this year.

She made her signature Caesar salad and served it in wooden bowls she brought back from Costa Rica.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKkzbbLYPuI

Onward to Second Christmas. Hobbits have “second breakfast” and the Kijewski family has “second Christmas”.

Standard
Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Podcast, RIP, Special Occasions

Episode 4 – Farewell 2016…By The Fireside #KetchupOnPancakes #Podcast

KFC for the holidays.

T40d7Wz.jpg

We had KFC, no fried chicken involved.

KFC stands, for us from here on out, for Kijewski Family Christmas. My older brother came up with the initials to describe last week and I love it.

Actually, we had turkey and lasagna and cupcakes and even pancakes with Ketchup on them.

Farewell 2016…By The Fireside!

We wanted to test ourselves a little at Ketchup On Pancakes, to see how fast we could put a podcast together. Just a little experiment, a test for future episodes.

We started this one on Boxing Day and finished it up by the end of the week. I wanted to share it here before the official closing to the year 2016 but the days around New Year’s Eve got a little busy.

So, if you are recovering from the affects of last night’s celebrations still, why not sit back and listen to us reflect on the year that was 2016 and join in with our little chat by the fireside. We even had someone stoking the fire for us.

🙂

We’re on Facebook as well,
at facebook.com/ketchuponpancakes.

Onward into 2017 and even more podcasts to come. I look forward to seeing how we improve things going into the new year.

CHEERS!

Standard
Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Hearts and Sunshine – Music To My Ears, #10Thankful

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

–From “Little Gidding” by T. S. Eliot

sophscupcakes-2016-01-3-00-59.jpg

Last week I wrote my TToT list, like I’ve done for nearly every week, for months now. I found ten things to be thankful for, as always, but I did preface my list with a list of three things I had to complain about. Christmas wasn’t all merriment and joy for me.

Christmas Through Your Eyes

But then there’s this, there’s them. This song I include because I know how much I still have to be thankful for, not least the way the children in my life help me see certain things in a new light.

If I can’t see Christmas lights like I used to, or colours so bright, I am grateful for the little children who teach me to appreciate the beauty of the world.

My niece’s birthday cupcakes had designs of rainbows, hearts, and sunshines on them. These are the things she loves to draw lately. They are what make me feel like there is just a tiny bit of me inside of her, as those are the things I loved to draw when I was her age, back when I could see enough and loved colouring and bright colours.

I see myself in her sometimes, the little girl I once was, and I feel a little less afraid. Thanks goes to my cousin for the amazing cupcakes, as always.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For a second Christmas. A do-over if you will, with three amazing little people and the best family a girl could ask for.

Of course, there was nothing really wrong with the first one. I finally got to give my nephew the talking oven I’d been dying to give him and he loved it. Best part of Christmas Eve.

🙂

However, then I fell asleep with a headache, missing out on watching A Christmas Carol with my father, our little December 25th tradition.

Christmas number two was three days, after Boxing Day, with my brother and his wife and their two children. We all get together, at my parent’s house, and do Christmas on our own time.

For a spur-of-the-moment Sunday night trip to the movies, (to see the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens), with my two brothers.

I loved it. It was an awesome escape from reality for a couple hours.

I was not born yet, to witness the craze of the first Star Wars, back in 1977, so I probably don’t have the same attachment to what it was like when it first came out in theatres.

All I know is I liked the characters, the action, and the fact that I saw it all unfolding with my brothers. A few weeks ago now I wasn’t seeing any movie with Brian. Now here we all were.

For another excellent movie narration, by an expert in the art of movie describing.

🙂

I really need to write a letter. I really see no reason, in 2015/16, that all movie theatres don’t have audio descriptive track for the visually impaired.

I know it’s a small town movie theatre, with few people in need, but there are still some, me included. With all the technology we have, it’s possible, and I shouldn’t have to worry about what movie to go to, not feeling I can’t see a specific film, say if I were on a date.

My older brother is well practiced, after being the one to do it for my younger brother and me since we were little, but most people don’t know how to describe a movie. It isn’t something to come naturally to most people.

For my brother’s home electronics knowledge.

I haven’t had much in home audio for a while now. When my ex left, I told him I didn’t need the flat screen television, and that he should take it, that I could get by with an old television for the time.

This meant that the surround sound system I’d purchased, when we started dating, was sitting unused, but since I was the one who bought it, I kept it. I assumed I would use it again, at some juncture.

Well, I finally have the chance. I required help to set it up again. My brother came over and got it working for me.

For Canadian healthcare and a card to access it.

I resisted having to get the new, updated card, for as long as I possibly could. Finally, I couldn’t resist any longer and got my photo taken, waiting for the card to arrive in the mail.

Well, it came the other day and I know I am lucky to live in Canada, to have the access to all the medical attention I might ever need, of which I very likely will at some point. That little card is my ticket.

For my brother, who continues to become his old self, a little more everyday and for the beautiful music he still makes.

brianchristmas-2016-01-3-00-59.jpg

His language and memory are growing stronger all the time and I have him back. I’d feared that I’d lost him forever, in the way that he might never again be who he was. I was afraid we wouldn’t continue to have the connection we’ve always shared, that we could no longer have the talks we used to have. It’s a Christmas miracle. I don’t care what anyone else says.

At one point, during Christmas Part Two, my uncle came over with a guitar and his recorder. The two of them started to play and we all started to cry.

It was the best sound in the world, hearing my brother play the guitar, when we weren’t sure he ever would again.

Grenade

The above song doesn’t fit the scene, but I will forever think of it when I remember this next thankful on my list.

For the birth of a beautiful little girl, her existence, and the sunshine she’s brought to my family’s lives for these last five years.

I will never forget the night of New Year’s Eve, 2010 and celebrating, alone, in the kitchen of the house I was living in at the time.

It was just me, pizza, and wine, toasting the birth of my brother’s first child, my parent’s first grandchild, and my introduction into the best title ever: of Auntie Kerry. I couldn’t wait to get back to my family, to meet my niece for the very first time.

She has made the world a much brighter place, these last five years. She is smart and funny. She is so sharp. She keeps us all on our toes. We are constantly surprised by what she knows and what she thinks and what she says.

For one more perfect visit with my friend and her baby girl.

It was a chance to ring in 2016 with Chinese food, chocolate cake, and The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story.

🙂

For the fun of watching said unauthorized story with my old friend. She explained the wild outfits of the early 90s and the ways the actors playing the 90210 characters did or did not look like the real people they were said to be portraying.

It was highly amusing and entertaining. It was a surprise discovery, as we were looking around the television for something else to watch, other than all the to-be-expected New Year’s Eve countdown specials. We had fun, while my friend’s baby girl slept nearby. She wasn’t really old enough to watch, but my friend and I had fun discussing our memories of those days of 90210. It was my favourite show and this unauthorized movie was a fun way to spend the last few hours of one of the best years in recent memory.

Plus, in the morning I got to keep a sweet little girl company, while her mother got dressed, had something to eat, and packed up to leave.

They are gone now, back to Ireland, and I will miss them very much, but I got to have one last visit with them both. I will never forget that.

Unforgettable

RIP Natalie Cole

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

–Elton John

Standard
IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, SoCS, Special Occasions

Gimme Gimme Gimme, #SoCS #optoutside

Squashed in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/11/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-2815/

It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday!!!

SoCS

A retailer I hadn’t heard of before, REI, wasn’t open and taking part in the craziness that is Black Friday.

It encouraged people to opt out of the whole thing and spend the day outside instead.

Interesting.

#optoutside

I am not a fan of Black Friday.

Here in Canada Thanksgiving was last month, but I see what a big deal this weekend is to the US: food, football, and family.

But that’s not all.

It reminds me of Christmas and Boxing Day, but all of it’s become too much about things and stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family’s Thanksgiving in Canada in October, but I prefer to associate Thanksgiving with harvest, rather than with buying stuff.

I mean, there’s my mom’s fabulous stuffing that her mother made before her. It’s a favourite of the whole family.

I just don’t understand, although I love stuff just as much as the next person, but it’s probably a North American thing, more is better with both food and material goods. Stuff yourself and then go buy lots of stuff, for cheap deal prices.

I know what people might say, that the media just takes the few bad incidents that did probably happen and blow it way out of proportion, but I saw at least the example of people getting crazy and punching each other out at retailers in Kentucky, Oregon, Texas I think it was. Over a television or a pair of shoes? Really?

There was the rumour that at least one of those was a skit, a hoax, put on by Jimmy Kimmel. Allegedly.

Canadian dollar being better this year meant fewer Canadians made the trip to the US to shop, but some still went. Some make a day or more out of it, a tradition I guess.

Hmmm. Long lines. No thanks. Just to get a deal. I don’t need anything that badly.

I was like any other child, loving Christmas and presents. I know this time of year, gift giving and receiving is a huge part of the festivities, but I can’t quite reconcile that all with the good will and things we’re supposed to feel. It’s nice to get or give a gift, but the whole commercialization is a little too much to take sometimes. I am not sick of Christmas music, by the end of it all, but I am sick of the stores, which could be my mother’s dislike of shopping taking hold of me, somewhere in there.

Black Friday makes money for retailers, even with the deals, but it got me thinking about what would happen if all retailers did what REI did and closed. What if people had no choice, the hash tag told them all to “optoutside”?

Nature or electronics. Tough one.

People pushing and shoving for a bargain.

Sure, there are exceptions to this rule and it’s not all bad, but the Black Friday thing is pretty out-of-control by this point. Of course, a lot of people shop online. Best Buy Canada’s website crashed in the morning yesterday. That’s how many people are on those sites, hunting for deals on stuff.

Then there’s Cyber Monday, followed by Giving Tuesday.

Of course, we must make up for all the consumerism with a day to give back to our favourite causes and those who are less fortunate.

I personally like the campaign to give a book to a child, promoting literacy, but there’s always going to be that one fight for a television that will make the news.

Standard
Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Memoir Monday, RIP

Carpe Diem

At first, with the immediacy of social media these days, we must let the sources and updates build up and hold truth before a rumour of a star’s death is to be fully believed.

Robin Williams had a big influence on the comedic distraction of my childhood. I loved him as Genie in Aladdin and just recently revisited his performance when I watched that childhood Disney classic again, after more than fifteen years, with my young niece. That was such a fun part for him to play and he would be forever imprinted in the imaginations of children like me everywhere.

As a child I also loved Mrs. Doubtfire. It was just the sort of family film that I gravitated toward. The scene at the end of the movie where he speaks as his old maid alter ego, about family in all its guises still being family, still profoundly affects me to this very day.

Mrs. Doubtfire: final scene.

I last saw it on Boxing Day.

I loved going to the movies and my friend and I saw Jumanji together, (my favourite Glossette Raisins in hand) and the over-the-top jungle scenery and animals blew me away. His role in that film was a very under-rated children’s epic adventure story. I was thrilled when I got the film on video for Christmas when I was eleven and I even got the board game to go along with it.

In this clip he is his usual wild and wacky self while promoting the release of the movie.

Jay Leno interview.

Of course I am not old enough to know his early roles (the biggest being Mork from Mork & Mindy). His last attempt at a sitcom seemed to be welcomed with relatively positive reactions, but I never did get hooked. To me he was and always would be a movie actor.

Each time a celebrity dies I already, in a sort of morbid curiosity, start to wonder which of them will be the next headline. They die like everyone else and often in tragic ways, but this sort of thing happens to the rest of us as well and the widespread headlines only serve as reminders of the suffering that many people experience.

This summer I’ve already written about such things in my own family and I can’t not write here when these things happen once more. I see them as the most appropriate time to explore what’s really going on with people. Suicide happens at any age.

He was the ultimate picture of the dark and the light battling for supremacy. Often, it is known, that comedians are the most dark deep down and in their pasts and their private lives. I happen to believe that comedy, laughter, and humour are the only antidotes for Sadness, despair and depression. Without the latter there would not be the former, but they each only serve to highlight the other in sheer contrast.

Never Had a Friend Like Me

This song is in your-face and attention-grabbing, just like Williams always was. HE couldn’t seem to be serious in his many interviews over the years. He seemed crazy and out-of-control through that television screen…to me.

I ask myself tonight: What kind of a friend was he? What kind of father was he? In Jumanji the young boy says to him:

“You’re afraid. It’s okay to be afraid.”

Just what was Robin Williams afraid of?

These are the questions I’d ask when I’d see the man in the media and realize he couldn’t possibly always keep that kind of energy up. He must have been all sorts of things off camera that people didn’t see.

Reports of suicide as cause of death are still being confirmed, but reports aren’t often wrong about these things. The most obvious explanation is probably the correct one, even now. Which one of us is going to be surprised at this conclusion? His depression was widely known. He battled drug addiction and alcoholism throughout his life.

He was a Stand-up who, like many comedians, was shy as a child and used the stage and screen to bring himself out of that shyness. HE went to Juilliard with life-long friend Christopher Reeve. He won an Academy award. All of this gave him credibility.

His role in Hook made him beloved. He seemed, a lot of the time, to be a big kid and perfect to act as a character in a world where you never had to grow up. He could be utterly creepy in movies such as Insomnia and One Hour Photo…both of which my brother introduced to me. Great movie roles such as the psychiatrist in Good Will Hunting and radio personality in Good Morning Vietnam showed his true acting brilliance. He made me smile as a barely competent Russian doctor in the movie Nine Months. He had a gift for improvisation and imitation.

I never did see Dead Poets Society, but it sounds like one I would probably enjoy. Any literary themed movie is one I aim to watch, but up until now I suppose I didn’t have it at the front of my mind or at the top of my to-watch list.

On reading up on all the internet traffic since the death announcement I came across a scene from the movie where the Latin expression I have always loved is discussed. I am titling this sad blog post Carpe Diem because it is fitting.

Carpe Diem

Williams seems to philosophize and reflect on the expression while simultaneously putting the fear into his young students about making the most of life before it’s too late…a lesson we often forget ourselves.

This is something I strongly subscribe to in my own life and, especially lately, have been striving for. None of us usually know how much time we have left. Sadly Williams probably knew by the end, if he made that decision to end it all.

I choose to speak, on this occasion, about what I believe is the important take-away. I know how many people suffer in silence or who are desperate for help to be led out of the darkness they are lost in. Sometimes there is no answer that will satisfactorily appease everyone involved or looking in.

Seize the day or one of these days it will be too late.
RIP Robin.

Standard