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TToT: In My Head I’m Swept Away – Collective Arts, #10Thankful

Things are changing. I guess that’s a normal part of life. I wonder when it might be that this concept doesn’t feel so strange to me. I complained that these things are fading away, like this here ten things of thankful exercise, and then I’m the one who has faded away from even attempting it. Since the end of 2016 and the start of 2017 I’ve been preoccupied and all over the place. I still am.

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I liked Lizzi’s attempt at coming up with
fifty
and not just ten, back around Christmas. I thought, since I am on my way to parts unknown very soon, I’d try for somewhere between ten and fifty, to cover for those I’ve missed in recent weeks and the week I’m sure to miss coming up.

January throws me off somewhat, no matter the year.

This is meant to be a bunch of things I’m thankful for from the year that just was and some of what I’ve been thankful for lately. I will set a timer and see how long it takes me to come up with fifty items for this list of mine.

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For the perspective a year can give.

For snow globes.

For winter in Canada.

For the violin.

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For the bow in my hand.

For the strength and muscles needed to play.

For people willing to fight back, stand up, speak out.

For reason, logic, and common sense, which isn’t quite common enough.

For the challenge of learning to adapt and familiarize myself with new things.

For the discomfort that often causes because it helps me grow.

For the variety of sizes in Pesos.

For a Spanish language program I can listen to, shuffled up in my iTunes library.

For the syncing of all info and contacts even.

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For KFC (Kijewski Family Christmas).

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For journals and diaries.

Sophia showing Auntie Kerry her journal.
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For treats made especially available at Christmas.

For all things tactile, like the letter S.

For being exposed to new people.

For a first date.

For the smell of coffee.

For the scent of cinnamon buns when I step foot in the mall.

For people watching, even the way I do it.

For music of all kinds.

For salad.

For the stars and moons of all kinds.

For rainbows.

For sunsets and sunrise.

For mild and frigid.

For the sound snow makes, that crunching, when it is really cold here.

For a female Canadian on our money…the money with braille on it.

For my violin teacher.

For a spa experience.

For a shopping trip with a friend.

For hearing my name coming from the smartest of smart almost-two-year-old little girls, only here for a visit.

For my cat’s strange and sweet behaviours.

For my cat and dog ALMOST ALWAYS getting along.

For travel agents.

For the life lessons from those who push me to require more of myself.

For rice cakes.

For the coolness offered by the frozen food section of a grocery store.

For snow covered country inns.

For buffet breakfasts.

For scrambled eggs.

For podcasts.

For perfecting family pancake recipes with Ketchup.

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For inspired ideas.

For audio technology.

For song lyrics.

For the ability to provide a jam space in my basement for a bunch of talented and creative musicians.

For creativity.

For outdoor concerts.

For personal invites to travel and write and meet others who love both those things.

For family days at the beach.

For giving myself a year to focus on me.

For borders, be they on countries or the sections of a country.

For Netflix docs.

For photos I cannot see.

For governmental programs that help make life easier and more hopeful.

For opportunities for my brother to play his music outside.

For coffee shops.

For intimate and cozy live concert venues.

For Halloween candy.

For wine and pizza.

For manicures.

For new writing opportunities.

For laptops.

For braille.

For hard decisions.

For blogging.

For miracles and magic.

For little puppy/rabbits.

For first days of school.

For the chance to do an interview with an editor/writer I admire.

For peg dope.

For sul ponticello.

For cello music.

For long tones.

For drag and drop audio.

For fireside chats with a train to be heard somewhere far in the distance.

For pasta Tuesdays.

For packing/to-do lists.

For my mother’s talents with a needle and thread.

For doctors who listen.

For medication coverage.

For tolerance.

For pizza with family.

For catching up with an old friend.

For my first violin concert and my second and my third.

For everything in the ocean.

For space and the eight/nine planets.

For morning glories.

For phone booths.

For talented family in the kitchen.

For family sharing food.

For my cat’s soft fur.

For a world full of accents.

For comedians.

For the chance to laugh rather than crying.

For Niagara Falls.

For heated car seats.

For mint filled cookies.

For secondhand clothing.

For the chance to face my fear of secondhand items.

For gavels.

For jokes, knock knock or other.

For rewatching old movies.

For good neighbours.

For unexpected book sales.

For the sound of skating.

I should probably stop here. This is just a start to a list. It goes to show just how much there really is to be thankful for, if you take the time to look, list, and add them up. I topped 100 things in this list and I think I’ve made my point.

I am starting to panic about why I’ll be missing TToT next time. I have so much to be thankful for. I just must learn to trust in all of it.

Bonus Thankful: airplanes and the responsible pilots who fly them.

Mucho Gusto!

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One Dot at a Time {VisionAware post}

Braille is the best!

Adventures in Low Vision

 Photo shows braille lettering on a white page. Welcome, 2017.  Resolution makers, breakers and those who don’t bother, we all face the sparkling promise of the year to come.  It’s invigorating to imagine shedding the dry skin of previous failures or poor choices and to begin with a smooth touch on new goals.

For me 2017 will be another year full of adventures–intentional and otherwise–as I live each day well with low vision. One of the fun challenges I’m doing is learning the braille alphabet. In celebration of World Braille Day as well as Louis Braille’s birthday, VisionAware published my piece, One Dot at a Time, on learning braille as a person with low vision.  Braille will continue to be something I value in 2017 as living well is all about choices and options.

How do you mark the new year? What resolutions or goals have you made for 2017? What do you think about braille?  What choices and options are you grateful for…

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You Bet Your Boots, #SoCS

It’s another
Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS
and I am thinking about yesterday.

I am thinking about eyes and, yes, about a lot of other random words that do and don’t include the letters “y…e…s”.

Not necessarily “yesterday” as in the actual yesterday, which is about to change, as I waited to write this until the very end of my Saturday.

I spent my actual Saturday having fun with family. That is exactly what I needed to remember what is most important and to forget the yesterdays lately, ever since November 8th, 2016.

I thought of the Beatles documentary I saw recently and their song:
Yesterday.

The “yesterday” of the times during the Beatles popular years looked a lot different from my yesterday. The world is made up of the big and the small things that make up both. Times really change a lot and yet, yes/no, they don’t, as it would appear.

I couldn’t believe my eyes, but “yes” I could. The world is not actually any worse than it was yesterday. My eyes didn’t deceive me, though I wouldn’t have a problem wording it that way.

My eyes help me less and less, though most days I don’t notice either way.

The times spent with my niece and nephews involves me and also my brother explaining more and more that we can’t see, that our eyes don’t work. Sometimes one of them tries to make sense of this by stating that “their” eyes work, as if they are trying to make sense of the fact that they can still see and to work it out in their mind.

My niece is oldest and seems to understand. My nephews are a few years younger than her and are still working it all out, but they are getting there. They need to be reminded to let us feel a toy they want to show us, for example, like on this most recent visit when my nephew wanted to show us his lip balm. I should have smelled it anyway. I soon did and it smelled like strawberries.

Yesterday I could play a game with my soon-to-be-six-years-old niece and not have to think too hard about all the things that are hard. She accepts me for me, her aunt, and she puts her small hand into mine and guides me to where she wants me to go in our games.

My eyes made it impossible to watch my nephew’s swimming lesson the other day, but I still wanted to be there.

My eyes made it impossible to read the menu at dinner with my family, but luckily they could read and we knew, pretty much, what we wanted at a restaurant we’ve been to eat at hundreds and hundreds of times before.

My yesterday of sorts had my eyes working better than my today. I can’t change that. I eat pizza with my family and it tastes just as delicious, with or without fully functioning eyes.

Yes, okay, so the world makes little sense to me, more than ever, but it’s not all bad. I can still write stream of consciousness thought and not have to be perfect or say what any one person expects me to say.

Yes, I do like living in Canada and having it become dark so early, as I feel the night has just as much to teach as the daytime.

Yes, I can focus on the good and use a positive word, instead of no no no no no all the time. I can agree that the world is out of sorts and this is a “yes” statement, instead of just being something negative, where “no” is like a shake of the head.

Yes, I have all the Cherry Coke I could possibly need right now and to last me for a long long time. Can you say sugar rush/sugar coma anyone?

Yes, if I’m not careful I will hold down the shift key for not just the first letter, “y” and onto the second letter, “e”. My computer’s voice program sounds it out like “yeeeees”. That’s how I know, but soon I will have actual braille to read from when I write, so my own editing can go more smoothly. I won’t have to rely entirely on those little subtle clues that I made a small blunder.

YEs.

🙂

I realize that this is a small thing, in the grand scheme of things. All the things, all that my eyes cannot see, so my ears pick up on instead.

Yes, I have been somewhat of a “yes girl” in my life, not wanting to say “no” if I can help it. Hearing that word, “no” isn’t always easy, but sometimes we have no choice. Yes doesn’t always give us what we want.

My yesterdays have been a mixed bag of yes’s and no’s and maybe’s because I can’t always make up my mind. I am somewhat famous for that indecision actually.

Yesterday is in the past and my broken eyes can’t look back to see what I may or may not have gotten wrong. Tomorrow is all I can do anything about now.

Yesterday is over and done with now and tomorrow is all we’ve got to work with.

Yes, I will do my best. My yesterdays’ weren’t all that bad really. It’s just easy, with working eyes or without, to see things that are in the past as being worse than what they maybe really were.

Yes, I have a lot to look forward to coming up. Yes, I am looking ahead to these things. Yes, I loved all the yesterday days I have had.

And YEEEES, I absolutely did eat some of my niece and nephew’s old Halloween candy while visiting, but it was mostly the stuff they don’t like, so it’s okay.

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TToT: Wave Form Audio – Drop and Drag, #10Thankful #RoaldDahl100

“Don’t analyze. Don’t analyze. Don’t go that way. Don’t live that way. That would paralyze your evolution.”

Analyze – The Cranberries

I love autumn and am glad when the days cool off from oppressive summer heat waves. Lots of waves. Waves at the beach this past summer. Waves of fear that I am making wrong choices or not making choices out of fear to begin with. There are audio waves too, I’m learning. Letting that wash over me.

September has arrived and I feel a lot of pressure. I feel tense a lot. I feel the turmoil going on everywhere around me, in this giant and complex world. I try to find my place in it. I try to not allow things I have no control over to drive me to even more stress and distraction. Such anxieties are common, universal, and I can get through and keep moving forward.

And so, here I am, I will try not to analyze everything and I am more thankful than ever.

I am thankful for the perfect title for an essay I’m working on.

It was provided by one of my brother’s friends on Facebook.

I know. I know. I need to finish writing the entire essay, but I get inspiration and a direction to my essays if I have the right title to begin with.

This one is just so perfect, so fitting, and then I took his idea and I ran with it.

I am thankful I have started to learn a new song on my violin. It’s a special one, something I’m learning for someone special who’s on the way, before we know it.

This required I start playing a new string, the D string. Up until now I was only playing on half of my strings, E and A, but now I need to learn to move my fingers over just a little more and to hold my bow on a slightly differing angle.

I am thankful to have such a smart niece, one who seems wiser than her nearly six years on this planet and who knows how and when to ask the right questions.

Okay, so she may have done that thing where you answer a question with another question, but when you have something important to ask, I say go for it.

I am thankful that we got the second episode of our podcast all done and recorded.

All we need to do now is a little bit of editing. We were aiming to keep Ketchup On Pancakes at sixty minutes, which episode one just magically seemed to be. This one’s looking more like seventy minutes, but we think we can cut it down a bit more before we release it.

We just need to research more about podcast platforms and how it all works.

I’m thankful, especially, that we got one segment in particular completed.

We decided to read one of the short stories I’d previously written on my blog, as more of a dramatic reading, and you don’t realize how difficult that is until you keep messing up words.

It took about eight or nine takes to get through the small story with the least amount of mistakes throughout. We were both reading from our braille devices and you can actually hear our fingers moving across the dots as they pop up, as we move through the lines. We decided we like that sound in the background.

I am thankful for awareness for pain.

It’s something I don’t talk a lot about on my blog. The stigma and judgments are out there and sometimes I feel like people don’t want to keep hearing about it.

September is Pain Awareness Month and I do believe that anyone living with pain should not have to hide away. I know that must sound contradictory, but I do believe fear of judgment is often what it boils down to.

I am thankful and grateful because I actually have a pretty wonderful support system, where others do not. I do want to bring this silent suffering out into the open.

I have found some things that help and that work to make things bearable, but I thought it worth mentioning at this time.

I am thankful for even more awareness of a different kind.

Whether it’s the awareness of feminist issues or disability awareness, this week I was reminded a lot and heard from those speaking out and up.

Rick Hansen Interview – CBC’s The National

Again, people fight it. They become angry and defensive, on both sides, but if you’ve never experienced something yourself, I would hope there would be compassion and a little understanding for something someone else may have gone through to make them feel they need to say something or do something.

There are some who say they don’t want to identify themselves as feminist. That probably means, once again, they haven’t had many problems with something, be that a woman who has lived a somewhat privileged life and has had no reason to feel the need to fight for something.

I don’t care what you call it. I call it feminism and people freak out. I use the word equality and it’s pointed out that nobody has total equality with everything. I just speak from my unique experiences. I’ve been lucky, but I’ve also felt extremely limited in the world. I am taking steps toward empowerment, but it’s not as easy as it might seem.

I am thankful for a relatively stress free visit to a school for the blind in a city not too far from me.

I did not go there for my education. I went there this week to check out some computer equipment, to see about getting some new technology.

A lot of that is now becoming more accessible with the introduction of Apple products. They don’t require, for the first time, extra software or programs to make things square. It’s all built in.

But there’s still the braille readers and they can be thousands of dollars. Here in Canada, in Ontario where I live, there is a governmental program which helps out with the cost.

I am thankful my nephew made it through his first full week of school.

We ask him if he likes school, if his teacher is nice, and we get mostly “yes” to our questions.

He’s probably wondering why we are so curious. Things are more likely to come out at more random moments, like the rocks from the playground he kept bringing home in his pockets, or the little girls who are likely a few years older than him and who help him with his backpack when it’s time to get off of the bus.

It’s both exciting and anxiety inducing. He’s getting so big. All the children in my life are.

I am thankful for the connection made possible through WhatsApp.

It’s how my friend living over in Ireland sends family back here in Canada photos and videos of her one-year-old daughter.

I am honoured to be added to such an exclusive group. She includes descriptions of the pictures when she sends them so I know what’s going on in them.

Oh, and, Happy Birthday Mr. Dahl, who would’ve turned 100 this week.

My grandfather Roald Dahl, the magician

This article written by his granddaughter in The Guardian made me miss my own grandfather, who never published a book, but who was a magical storyteller himself.

“I will not pretend I wasn’t petrified. I was. But mixed in with the awful fear was a glorious feeling of excitement. Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn’t be exciting if they didn’t.” So says the boy hero of Danny, the champion of the world.

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TToT: Busy Filibustering and Multiple Blooms, #10Thankful #Bloomsday #CityAndColour

“All your friends seem like enemies, when you’re broken down and empty. “So say goodbye to love, and hold your head up high. There’s no need to rush. We’re all just waiting, waiting to die.”

Waiting – City and Colour

Okay, so why are those lyrics so darn relatable?

Kind of depressing lyrics/quote to start things off with, no? Well, keep reading for further context.

Technology update from this week is just more of the same with my mail program. My new computer seems to be unable to function properly because there are so many. VoiceOVer’s favourite thing to say, when it just can’t work well enough to let me even send an email: “Busy…busy…busy…” I’m beginning to hate that word.

😦

Do you ever feel like you’re so far behind and you’ll never catch up, in emails or just life in general?

Well, I feel that way, but I know it’s small in the grand scheme of things, as this week has been full of more heartbreaking headlines and tragedies and some political filibustering too. (Just love that word.)

Once more, I make the effort to find things for which I am intensely thankful.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For a successful video chat connection with my writing mentor.

She helps me narrow in on what I’m doing with my writing. I’m glad the technology allowed us to speak again.

She writes about “multiple blooms” – getting more than one chance in life, to become something or create something worthwhile, to bloom like flowers bloom.

This week, on June 16th, it was Bloomsday, like on every June 16th, going back one hundred years.

Irish writer JAmes Joyce’s Bloomsday explained.

I’ve spent so much energy and time coming down hard on myself because I haven’t read all the things there are out there to read. I haven’t written all I want to write yet. Talking to a mentor helps me realize that’s okay. I work on trying not to look at it like I am far behind in these things. It’s not a race.

So, Bloomsday is a day to celebrate James Joyce and his novel “Ulysses” which I haven’t managed to read, though I started it a few years ago.

For a winner so far for best writing group night.

We are a lovely little core group who mostly show up each week. We help each other, cheer each other on, remember one another’s writing and ask how it’s going.

This time involved popsicles.

🙂

The challenge was to write as much as we could, while holding our popsicles, to see how far we could get before they melted.

This is where I feel irritated because I can’t fit in, necessarily do the same as everyone else, and so I adapt. I write on my Braille Display with one hand, while holding and eating my popsicle with the other. It’s not easy to type braille letters and words with only one free hand. I don’t like to get all sticky from a melting popsicle. I managed two sentences, which ended up turning into a pretty cool bit of writing by the end of it all.

This particular time just seemed to produce some awesome ideas and stories from all of us. A few of us may have been sleep deprived, but that lead to some cool storylines.

For a return from trouble with technology.

And so I’d started a story last time, thanks to unforeseen real life events with the group, mostly unexpected religious discussions, and I came out of that awkward situation with the seeds of the perfect story to submit to a Canadian short story contest.

Well, I finished it last week and brought it to read for the group. They loved it. I could tell they were moved. They commented on my incredible level of insight, which they really did say.

But then I pressed a wrong button, overrode that story with my new one, and so I had the opportunity to rewrite it, this time keeping the basic structure and plot points, but narrowing it down to the word limit of 750, as the contest requires. I plan to submit and I like what I’ve got.

Sometimes things work out.

That I get to witness another year of marriage for my wonderful parents.

They arrived at 37 and it is a beautiful thing to see. It’s teamwork at its best. It’s my foundation. (No pressure there guys.)

For time to sit and observe by the lake that bears my province’s name.

I am trying to become more aware of my surroundings. I can’t go to the ocean so easily, but I am lucky to live near the Great Lakes. This time it was Lake Ontario.

I sat and watched the boats and the listened to the birds and felt the breeze off the water.

For opening acts that don’t entirely suck.

Shakey Graves

Many concerts I go to I am unimpressed by the musical act that opens the show. This time, the guy was weird with some of the things he said in between songs, but I was undeniably swept up in how catchy his lyrics were. The sound was great and I was able to sit comfortably and enjoy his Austin, Texas accent. He was a bit of a musical Matthew McConaughey and, surprisingly, I liked it.

For a perfect night for a concert and a lovely outdoor venue to be able to make the most of it.

I love live music, but all the noise and commotion is often enough to cause me head pain that leaves me questioning why I put myself through that.

The answer is because I get headaches, but I won’t let that stop me from enjoying music that I love.

Well, this is an outdoor venue, by the water. It’s open and I sit on the grassy hill and I let the evening air and the music wash over me.

For lovely time spent with my father.

It was Father’s Day Eve and I knew he’d like the band. I know many would do anything to be able to enjoy something like that with their own fathers. I was happy to be there, with as he said, was probably the oldest person at the show. Well, I felt old listening to all the twenty-something’s all around me. So we focused on the incredible show before us.

For the song lyrics I wrote getting their first live performance.

My brother and his musician friends played a selection of covers and the song he and I wrote, which has a phenomenal singer. The drummer is the best around.

A family reunion and the woman at the helm of it all wanted my lyrics to be played, as entertainment for her family day. I wished I could have been there to hear it, but my brother said the whole thing was a big hit.

For a band like the one I just saw live.

Music and family are, once more, at the heart of my gratitude list.

A band like City and Colour has a very mellow sound. That’s why I love them, the lead singer’s voice. Many of their songs allow me to express the sadness I feel, the crappier parts of life, but somehow, listening to these songs helps.

Comin’ Home – City and Colour

“I know that we’re takin’ chances, you told me life was a risk. But I just have one last question…will it be my heart or will it be his?”

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TToT: Storage Almost Full – Victorious! #10Thankful

“The trees were still leafless, black, cold; but the fine twigs were swelling towards spring, so that looking upward it was with an expectation of the first glimmering greenness. Yet everything was calm, and the sky was a calm, classic blue.”

—Doris Lessing

All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

It was a lovely afternoon, writing outside, on my back deck, while a day-time music jam went on in my basement.

So much about families who have had humiliation and abuse happening, I’ve been hearing about this week. Last weekend was International Day of Families. I had lots of family time this last week, with taking care of each other, helping each other out, and a birthday celebration too. I am glad I can be there for them when they need me and that I have them when I’m the one in need.

This week I did what would have been unthinkable, even just a few months ago, and I found more inspiration to keep doing new and exciting things.

(For a first glimpse, a reveal if you will of my developing violin talents – read on!)

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For my family.

I am lucky. I know.

For the chance to learn about a part of the world I know very little about.

I got a detailed account, during a car ride, about China, a part of the world I’ve never been to and know very little of.

It’s so wonderful, to me, when we can learn about a place that feels so very far off and foreign, but that’s why I love a well narrated travel tale.

For yet another nearly perfect checkup for my transplanted kidney.

I am now less than one month from marking 19 years with my father’s kidney he donated.

My creatinine level was once again 70 and this is where it has stayed, for years and years, where once it reached an all-time dangerously toxic level of twelve hundred

Anything under 100 is perfect, as long as the number doesn’t keep increasing. Mine has been no higher than the eighties for years.

For a catch-up lunch with someone from my past and that of my brother.

We shared news and it was no longer a strictly teacher/student interaction.

We conversed as three adults, a definite shift from how it once was. I even gave her a copy of the anthology my story appeared in last year, as a thank you.

I wanted to thank her for all she did. She taught me braille and got me through so much. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her guidance all those years.

For the chance to perform my violin for my sister, as her birthday present.

I thought that could be the best present I could give her this year, other than the trip out to the nail salon together last week that is.

I was nervous, with my first real live performance, second song ever learned.

I don’t know how musicians perform in front of groups of people like that. Although it was only a small group of six, I felt apprehensive and later decided to share it on Facebook.

Reason is that I hope it will give me motivation to keep working hard to improve.

That a friend from far away happened to see the post on Facebook.

I appreciated her unexpected support, only in that it was a surprise to me that she happened upon the video in the first place. She’s one busy lady.

For the smell of BBQ somewhere in the spring afternoon air.

For a beautiful day to be outside while musicians played their hearts out inside my house.

Other times it is later in the evening. This time I could enjoy the warm weather and the music wasn’t quite so loud from inside the house out to where I was relaxing.

For the opportunity to reflect on what it takes for me to show myself a little self compassion.

Loving My Self-ish, #compassion #1000Speak

Another 20th of the month has come and gone and I nearly skipped it, but glad I decided to write what came to mind.

For a promising start, the hope that I won’t end up one of those one-hit-wonder song lyric writers.

My brother and I are beginning our second collaboration together and I am really excited to see where it might lead.

I didn’t think I could do it last time and now I have “Don’t Look Back” of which I am immensely proud.

Announcing My Lyric Writing Debut

I have high hopes for “Decade Adrift” in the days and weeks to come.

But now…without further adieu:

Happy Birthday Song For My Sister (violin edition)

Hope that wasn’t nearly as painful for you to listen to as it was for me.

Hope I can get this post added in time. It’s off to sleep for me now.

Happy Victoria Day or whatever long weekend holiday you’re celebrating. Hope no more fireworks keep me up tonight.

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Reap Just What You Sow, #SoCS #LoIsInDaBl

IT’S LIKE THIS…I HAVE A CONFESSION TO MAKE.

PLEASE READ THE LETTER – ROBERT PLANT & ALISON KRAUSS

#SoCS/#LoIsInDaBl

Ooh, I get to combine two stream of consciousness prompts today:

LOVE IS IN DA BLOG

&

STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS SATURDAY

It’s a story of one of my favourite things: love letters.

Well, with the invention of all the modern technologies nowadays these don’t exist like they once did, but I still will always love the old fashioned letter, love letter in particular.

The most romantic thing one can do is write one. A few times, this has happened to me, in my life. Ah … aw, just like from some distant romantic memory, of a time, when letters were one person’s best way they could think to make another aware of the affection they held for them.

Well, my fifteen-year-old self sure thought it meant something special when a boy wanted to learn a new skill, not just simply to write a letter, love or otherwise, but to learn braille so they could communicate with me, even as email and other growing technology was becoming common.

It was like a secret code between us, one the other students couldn’t simply get a hold of mistakenly, allowing the private words between the two of us to spread through the school, as the sharing and airing of young love and laundry tend to do. Being that our declarations were in braille, this would be virtually impossible.

Every few days I would get a new one delivered at my locker. The little slate and stylus device and the card with the braille alphabet was all that boy needed and soon I was getting letters, which grew, right along with his confidence, in length of sentence and page count.

This went on for a while. I read and reread each one, deciphering what was being said, the sweet compliments and teenage relationship conflicts, always and forever immortalized in a series of raised bumps.

So strange to read these now, years and years after the events of these letters took place, to look back at the girl I was then, compared to who I have become, how far I’ve come. That’s what a letter is really good for, for the owner of a love letter. It’s a window on a time long gone.

I love my crazy batch of teenage secret code letters.

More than ten years later I had another one of those letters in my possession, this time, as an adult. Oh, how times had changed.

Different sender. Different person was I who received it, or so it often felt like. It wasn’t only the specific words, but the time and care it took the letter’s writer to craft it that made it so meaningful and valuable.

Just one this time. Email had become a much too convenient mode for communicating, but one Christmas gift was this single letter, again written in code, of which only a select few could decipher.

Oh, the time writing, translating (with the help of an online translation tool, from print word to braille dot combo). All those evening hours at work, waiting for a phone to ring, but when silence fell in the rest of an office building, the hours of work to write this one letter were painstakingly applied.

I held onto this precious gift for as long as I could, all the newness of a budding relationship laid out in its three pages. I would hold tight to this expression of feeling for as long or longer than I’d done with the teenage ones before it. Surely I would.

And then the chaos of a game, later and fondly known as “Musical Houses” would commence and, in the shuffle, the letter was lost.

Oh, how the recipient would search, high and low, in box after box and everywhere else she could think of, but that letter would never show itself again.

So much guilt. So much hope. So much bitter regret and disappointment, self pity and self loathing, but all this would not bring that lone secret document/love letter back from its hiding place, in and amongst the secret space it stayed hidden.

Maybe it was meant to stay hidden anyway. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe it was a sign from the universe that some things, some just aren’t meant to be, some things that are lost are not meant to be found again.

Or maybe it will show up one day, some day far ahead into the future. It’s got to be somewhere, right? It lives in the past, for now, along with countless more love letters of days gone by.

Some things should probably just stay buried away, in time or space or place. Maybe it’s time to let them go, let go, right along with the guilt and all the other swirling feelings that a letter could always bring up again, in some far future moment, up ahead, years and years from now. Who the hell knows.

Will anyone ever take the time again, think it worth their precious hours, to learn the secret code? Will just such love letters die the same slow death, disappear into the oblivion of things that are no longer and can never again be? I must not let it get to me, all those “what if’s”.

I mustn’t!

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