1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Daylight Savings and Snowdrops, #10Thankful #PledgeForParity #WorldKidneyDay

“”They tried to bury us. They did not know we were seeds.”

–Mexican Proverb

snowdropcloseup-2016-03-13-09-57.jpg

Spring is close now, an additional hour of light.

THE SNOWDROP – HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN

The flowers are appearing. Growth is possible.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For an excellent spotlight interview on the American program 60 Minutes with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Not sure how many people saw it, but I was watching, and I was proud and thankful to have him speaking for my country.

He spoke about being born into a politically royal family, his feelings on boxing and how it’s all about risking being knocked down but then getting right back up again, and he was asked what Canadians would like from our neighbours, what we’d like the US to know.

Oh boy! This was the interviewer’s attempt to start something and some Americans were very definitely offended and showed it on Twitter.

Justin Trudeau on 60 Minutes: Twitter Pulls No Punches For New PM

But I thought it was funny when an image on screen of Justin’s Father, with his supposed wife and mother to his children, actually turned out to be a shot of Pierre on a date with Kim Cattrall. Thought Americans at least were familiar with “Sex and the City”.

🙂

For the ability to be there when my sister needed me.

I want to be available to watch my nephew when she is at work, whenever possible. He’s learning, growing, changing so fast.

The other day, when she walked out the door, he stood there and clung to me for what felt like ages and ages. It was as if, without words, he was reassuring himself it would be okay…that his mother was gone but that he still had me. I never wanted that moment to end and wished it could have gone on longer than it did.

For snow drops.

There are flowers all over the place, starting to spring up.

😉

Then, the other day my mother (lover of all growing things) placed a small flower, on its stem, in my palm. It felt droopy, and I was then informed it was called a “snowdrop”:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galanthus

I personally would have named it a snow-flop, but I liked the name and the transitional image of winter evolving into spring again.

For IWD2016

International Women’s Day 2016 – Pledge For Parity

I was trying to cut back a little on blogging during the week,

(Cracks in the Ceiling)

but I felt I had to write on March 8th, to say my piece, my peaceful piece.

🙂

Speaking of recognizing female voices…

Sophia Bush Speaks Her Mind On Feminism

For the discovery of a new song and artist.

She came on the local college radio station and I immediately liked the song, its signature Electropop sound.

I looked into her further later and discovered I knew one of her songs already, but I found a new favourite.

Halsey is another young and emerging artist, like Lorde for example, but she has a definite Ellie sound to her.

I am happy to have found another like Ellie Goulding, but a change from Goulding too because sometimes certain memories that go along with a specific singer or voice can still hold painful recollections. I’ve found a new voice to focus on for a while, even though I will always love Ellie in a way nobody else can top.

For bookstores.

I love standing in them. I love being surrounded by my favourite things, books, but I can only be in them for a short time before the fact that I am unable to simply reach out, grab a book, and start to read will wash over me and I will realize my limitations. It is at this point that I am thankful and grateful, but I must flee because the urge to burst into tears becomes a difficult one to hold back.

For World Kidney Day

Exactly twenty years ago was when I was first diagnosed with kidney failure. It was March, 1996, and finally my family doc sent me to a paediatric specialist, who immediately confirmed what my blood tests already showed. I was very sick and needed dialysis within a few months.

That was a scary time and, even all these years later, I will never forget what it felt like to be so ill.

For the option of doing dialysis to treat end-stage renal failure, like the kind I was in twenty years ago.

I am lucky to have a kidney from my father, for nineteen years now, and I was lucky, at that time, that there was such thing as dialysis as a treatment for kidney failure. Other organ failure did not and does not have just such a stabilizing treatment option, which is no cure, but is better than nothing, better than the alternative. I am lucky to be here.

For a successful visit in Washington, D.C. between the first families of the US and Canada.

The two men (Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama) they are a lot alike, see the world similarly.

No matter what else is going on with the US and their elections for a new president for November, now, in Washington, I liked to see peace, lighthearted humour, and harmonious relations between our two countries.

Trudeau might just be starting his time in office, while Obama and his rational good sense is on the way out, but I just liked the week that was. It made a nice “bookend” to the interview that started my week off right.

Finally, for the fact that I seem to be able to escape many people’s issue with losing that hour last night.

I had a nasty headache, sure, but I really don’t think I can blame that on Daylight Savings.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night from the pain, but I usually don’t detect a problem in my sleep pattern.

I am choosing to give this whole Daylight Saving thing the benefit of the doubt because I get headaches all the time, and I have a feeling I can place the blame squarely on something else entirely.

As I finished off my weekend and welcomed the lost hour and its additional light to come, my head began to pound. This song and all the signs of spring promise better days ahead.

Haunting – Halsey

In this song Halsey speaks of “diving in deep” and the song ends off with her, or it sounds like she is under water, scuba diving. It’s awesome!

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Beyond the Reach, #MindfulMonday #LoIsInDaBl

“You’re twenty…something years old. It’s time to get over birthdays.”

–Don Draper, Mad Men

Oh really Don? I will be thirty-two.

🙂

On what was practically my Birthday Eve I could not sleep. I was finding it hard to turn off my brain long enough to drift off. I went from watching Friends, to Stephen Fry Live: More Fool Me, to Mad Men. I had so many thoughts swirling around in my head, so much inspiration in the words and lessons and themes, and I wanted to say everything, right then and there, but my body and also my mind craved rest and a few hours of reprieve from the onslaught.

I wondered if all the modern conveniences of things like NetFlix actually make it worse for insomniacs like myself. As much as I enjoyed all three of these distractions, I kept thinking about what it means to grow ever older with each passing year, with all the modern connections and conveniences at our collective fingertips.

Don’t know if you are familiar with Mad Men, but Don and Peggy are in the office, after hours, mostly alone. In my opinion, upon re-watching this particular episode, it seems to me to be the most pivotal turning point of their relationship, both professional and personal. It’s brilliant really, in all of its stripped-down rawness.

It’s easy to watch a show about what life was like in the 60s, to look at my own life fifty years later.

The whole episode is based, like many of them are, around an actual true historical event that took place, in this case being some all important boxing match, not unlike Super Bowl 50 of 2016 that just took place.

And then, as I first listened to the NetFlix special, the one-man show put on by the brilliant Stephen Fry, for the 2014 release of his memoir, I thought still more about time, reflection,

and MINDFULNESS.

Fry is a brilliant brilliant man. He is full of stories of his eventful life. Some made me laugh and some made me think. I did not grow up in Britain and thus I had no clue about his fame with another well-known and talented Brit, in the 80s and 90s, as I was a Canadian child who did not see British television programming all that often.

My first intro to one half of this dynamic duo was Hugh Laurie in his role in the early 2000s, as the perpetually grouchy and complicated Dr. Gregory House.

Then I learned of my favourite Harry Potter audio books being narrated, over in the UK, by someone named Stephen Fry.

Fry has stories to tell, about his long-time friendship and career with Hugh, one memorable New Year’s Day tea with Prince Charles (Charlie) and Princess Diana, and his childhood and discovery of the work of Oscar Wilde.

His time working on The Hobbit movies in New Zealand with Peter Jackson and his connection to Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling make him someone of great interest to me already, but also because his knowledge of literature and his gift for linguistics and storytelling make him a man I am to be in awe of.

He begins his one-man show by going through a list of countries that showed him on screens in their cinemas, offering up some little anecdote or story of each country as he goes along. He speaks with sagacity of how the world is connected today, in ways both he and Wilde never could have imagined, and how we’re all so different yet the same all at once. I can’t help but to love him for his creativity and his genius. I want to listen to his words of wisdom and know I, too, will be alright.

I want to not let each passing birthday make me bitter or hard. I want to take Don Draper’s words and put them in the proper perspective, although the episode I reference here includes moments of pure disgustingness, with a business/personal rival attempting to defecate on his desk and even after Don proceeds to vomit horribly, from all the liquor he consumes throughout the show. These moments juxtapose nicely with those of deep, honest truth and sadness between the characters.

Don tells Peggy: “No use crying over fish in the sea.”

At one point Peggy (on turning twenty-six) is told by a colleague’s wife that “twenty-six is still “very” young), as the wife is referring to Peggy’s still good chances that she can find a man, settle down, and have a baby, but is that what Peggy wants?

It made me think about the phrase, most common for women of multiple generations now: having it all.

I don’t have it all. You might even say I don’t have any of it (husband/children/career) at this time. Not by a long shot. What are we supposed to want, at what age, and how do we learn to live with what we may never get?

Men don’t have to deal with this in the same way as women have and continue to have to. I don’t have to face some of the things Fry has had to face, but I feel I understand what it’s like to feel different in some way. I hope to use language and literature to help me in some of the same ways Fry has used it during his lifetime, to help make sense of the biggest parts of life, things I can hardly fathom otherwise.

To believe in something bigger than ourselves is to be mindful.

And thus I present the App I have found, that I love, that helps me stay grateful and mindful, that I have been using to keep track of songs and lyrics for Love Is In Da Blog and for my own love of music.

“Shazam!”

It allows you to take a couple seconds of a recording of any song you come across in your daily wanderings and it will tell you exactly who is singing/performing. Next it keeps a record of any of these songs, which has allowed me to return to so much music I love, anytime I want. It’s a right handy little thing.

Try Everything – Shakira

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Bigger Than Sheezus

Wednesday once more and it is time for the final instalment of a series of sorts I’ve been writing all month long, focusing on strong female voices in such areas as:

Music,

The Media and Culture,

and

literature.

I decided to include this final mid-week post on more female star-power and strength.

I returned, last month, after two years to the Toronto waterfront and The Sound Academy.

Lily allen recently came out with her third studio album: “Sheezus”. Following her debut of “Alright, Still…” and my favourite, her sophomore record, the cleverly titled: “It’s Not Me It’s You”.

Finally, after being a fan for about five years, I was getting to see her perform my favourite songs live.

I didn’t mind the overpowering smell of pot in the line outside, standing room only, or continually having strangers rubbing up against my butt because Lily Allen is one-of-a-kind and worth seeing.

It isn’t often that I come away from a performance, loving not only that performance, but loving too the new discovery I’ve found, but on this particular night Lily’s opening act was one of those rare times. I’d never heard of Lolawolf before, but her song “What Love Is” caught my attention immediately and I definitely recommend her to anyone reading this. Look her up here:

LOLAWOLF on Facebook.

***

Who’d Have Known:

And even though it’s moving forward, there’s just the right amount of awkward. And today you accidentally called me baby.

***

Lily Allen did a nice mixture of songs from all three of her albums, including some of my favourites. She included her first big single “Smile” and songs from “It’s Not Me It’s You” such as my favourites (in part) shown above and below.

***

22

It’s sad but it’s true how society says her life is already over. There’s nothing to do and there’s nothing to say. Until the man of her dreams comes along, picks her up, and puts her over his shoulder. Seems so unlikely in this day and age.

***

Lily Allen sang about the things young women were experiencing in their own lives. She sang about cheating and sex, drugs and fame, family trouble and society’s unrealistic expectations put on young people, women specifically.

Her newest album came out right around the time of her concert and so I was unfamiliar with it, other than the few singles I listened to on YouTube beforehand. Sometimes I prefer doing this. The show takes on a whole new vibe this way.

I miss out on such things as the visually eye-catching or, in Allen’s case, the ultra strange elements to the live performance. I was told something about multi-coloured flashing lighted baby bottles, yellow and pink and blue, behind her on stage.

This I don’t pretend to understand the meaning of. And she didn’t agree to an interview with me, so I could not find out the origin of this.

🙂

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she is, on returning to the spotlight, a different person from when she left it last.

She took a break of several years, from making records and mostly stayed hidden. She suffered at least one miscarriage, from what I read, but now she has returned and she has grown a lot it seems.

She is a wife and a mother of two children. She no longer sings about a life of dating and single girl status strictly.

the first thing I noticed as I stood and listened to her sing and speak to the audience in between songs (about taking her kids up the CN Tower earlier that day) was that she seemed happy and maybe not as angry as she once was. Relationships are complicated and being young isn’t easy. I found a connection and felt understood, in a way, when I listened to her singing about her own struggles.

It’s her songs about the helplessness of the end of a relationship that I first clung to when listening to her latest album. That feeling of wanting to scream and hold on for dear life, all while knowing it just wasn’t meant to be.

***

Take My Place:

How can life be so unfair? I can’t breathe in fact I’m choking on the air. It’s all over. I can see it in your eyes. Hold my hand. Don’t ever leave my side.

If I could then I would scream. I’d wipe the tears up off my face. Wake me up if it’s a dream. This is more than I can take. I’d give everything I own, if someone else would take my place. Would someone else please take my place?

***

OR the fear that the worst moments, days, weeks, or months of your life could replay themselves all over again, like a bad broken record or a bad dream. Such a relatable feeling I had not felt in a long long time.
This is what the most powerful of lyrics can do, at least for me and of which I have always experienced when listening to Lily Allen’s music.

***

Holding Onto Nothing:

Oh I’ve been there before. No I won’t go back. Couldn’t take anymore. I’m not going back. Going back. Going back.

***

She isn’t afraid to curse in her songs. She is constantly standing up for things and I admire her for that.

Her voice is an important one, I believe, for today’s modern female artist and she sings on issues such as feminism in a way that is hard to ignore.

***

Hard Out Here:

We’ve never had it so good. Uh huh we’re out of the woods. And if you can’t detect the sarcasm you’ve misunderstood.

***

Her cover of Keane’s “Somewhere Only We know” is, in my opinion (like Lights and her rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song). Better than the original. I may be alone on this, but again one of my favourite female artists is taking a well-known song and making it their own. Allen sings this ballad in a slowed down version that is both sad and wistful.

She sings songs about the pressure to be perfect, the constant need to be validated by a man, and the pain that these things can cause when self-esteem is low or when life seems impossible when fearing loneliness.

How a successful, capable, tough girl like her could bee feeling all these things and more makes her highly relatable.

In “Miserable Without Your Love” She seems to have all the control or toughness in the world and it can all be hiding something else.

She sings in a way that it seems like some things should be challenged. Or the question asked, is it all really worth it?

In the song: “Life For Me”, there is a sound reminiscent of Paul Simon’s hit album Graceland, heard unmistakably in the plunky-sounding guitar.

In songs like this one she sings about motherhood and family life. Even when you finally find happiness and love, the bad days and the stressful moments can still make you feel like you are drowning.

***

I’m not complaining but last night I hardly slept at all. Well actually yes I am complaining.

***

Her frank honest delivery of the lyrics and the feelings that inspired them is refreshing in a world of culture shock and vanity. Her dry sense of humour comes out so clearly even through the song.

She aims to show that nothing is perfect.

Again, on this new album she alludes to, not only the hard time of being a parent, but again returning with: “Who Do You Love”, that her relationship with her own parent isn’t all that easy or simple either.

She speaks on all the insincerity out there in the entertainment world in such songs as: “Insincerely Yours” and the title track:

“Sheezus”.

Here she lists some female artists by name: Rihanna, Katy Perry, Beyonce, Lorde, and Lady Gaga.

It seems the competition for female singers and performers is tough and relentless. In this title track her apprehension of stepping back into this world with her new album’s release, after some of the changes she’s seemingly gone through with marriage and motherhood is a scary thing for her. She seems to challenge whether or not it’s all really worth the aggravation of trying to keep up.

I would say the biggest difference in this one is that she is happy. Sure, not all her songs are cheerful and lighthearted, but the overall impression I got both from her life show and from the record itself is that she is a happy woman now. There is none of that early twenties upheaval and uncertainty of the dating world and of the partying and the feeling of being lost, that young women so often get stuck in.

Her anger is still burning bright on some key issues as I’ve mentioned, but she can not hide it. She never seems to hide it, remaining as transparent as ever.

In a way this takes away from the true Lily Allen spirit that I guess I’ve often responded to because she is known for her angrier lyrics at times. She doesn’t seem to take any crap from anyone and I don’t believe this will ever change. Her British charm is all a part of this attitude.

***

Sheezus:

Been here before. So unprepared. Not going to lie though. I’m kind of scared.

Laced up my gloves. I’m going in. Don’t let my kids watch me when I get in the ring.

I’ll take the hits. Roll with the punches. I’ll get back up. It’s not as if I’ve never done this. But then again, the game is changing. Can’t just come back, jump on the mic, and do the same thing.

There goes the bell. I know that sound. I guess it’s time for me to go another round. Now wish me luck. I’m going to need it. I’ll see you on the other side if I’m still breathing.

***

All boxing metaphors aside, these feelings of trying to fit in could be applicable to almost any situation.

As for Lily, it’s clear she is wary of putting herself back under the microscope of fame, but she does it. She is back to competing with the other female stars of the day.

She sings about the love she has found and the guy she has found it with, up front about what fierce pride she has in him, challenging any other girl to try anything to mess with that. Here again her tough persona shows itself. She may be happy, but she is still Lilly: cheeky and wise-cracking. I pity any girl who would mess with her. She doesn’t seem like the type of person to hesitate in kicking some ass if the occasion called for it.

She seems to be struggling, at times, with balancing being a wife and mother with her life in the world of fame.

She still holds all the same insecurities that any mother has after pregnancies and giving birth. Being thin in this thin obsessed culture is a concern facing her too, not being any more immune from these stresses than anyone else.

She even mentions the very WordPress I post this on, with a song about technology, social media, the bloggiasphere. Words can be written and posted by any old person hiding behind a screen and keyboard. Empathy not required.

Songs on this album range from strange to suggestive, from silly to sad.

She can convey all of this through her voice and her lyrics like no one else I’ve heard in recent years.
Whether it’s the affect she puts on her voice or the simple simplicity of the sound that is so uniquely her own.

I’ve listened to the deluxe edition of “Sheezus” over and over now, to take something away from each lyric every time I hear it.

As I stood out on the dock just feet from Sound Academy, I rested against the railing, looking out into the the night and over the water. Lake Ontario and the city beside me, the CN Tower out there somewhere nearby. I had gone from a psychiatric hospital to the docks all in one day, but more about that in a future post.

Lily Allen: you’ve done it again girl.

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