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A World On Fire, #JusJoJan #SoCS

A quiet Saturday night in Canada, but
Wow
to what’s going on on the other side of the world from here.

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And to the news between the US and Iran. Wow!

I say it as an exclamation a lot, to myself, because it feels super redundant to utter out loud to anyone within earshot.

I love this time of year in my country, snow or no snow, because I like being cozy inside and then, when I step out my door, to feel the fresh air, so cold. I love the stillest days of winter most of all, those still, silent nights those of which songs have been named.

I can’t imagine what Australia is dealing with right now because I’ve never had to experience such a thing. I remember watching the news when western Canada was dealing with terrible wildfires, hearing people in California speaking of it on Facebook. I can’t imagine even having to deal with smoke clouding the air and choking my lungs and burning my eyes. Having to outrun flames sounds nightmarish.

Over twenty lives lost there now, millions of animals and wildlife perishing so far, and yet climate change denial is still rampant. Wow, really?

I “WOW” this more than anything because, even if you don’t believe things are as bad as all that, at least let situations like the one in Australia now help you see that we can and should do something. Even if we choose to not put the blame all on our shoulders, fine, but at least we can do something, in the smallest belief it could help dangerous and devastating situations like wildfires take less of a toll. Why not? What’s the harm?

We frame things as serious, as serious as it often is, in the hopes that people will, you know…take it seriously. Then, we’re crying wolf or portraying ourselves as Chicken Littles. The sky’s not falling, okay, but it is smoky in places. If we talk so serious all the time, people will tune the warnings out entirely we’re warned, but then what does that leave us all with in terms of options to address what’s making the news in the first place?

So we have to sit with the realization of all those poor creatures, not understanding what’s going on, unless somehow instinctively. I sit here, in the northern hemisphere and January cold, thinking of all those poor animals, my two animals safely here with me.

Canadian firefighters and those from other countries have gone to help. What are the politicians doing?

Are there not enough natural events occurring these days for our world to contend with that humans have to go and create more havoc with their own real life choices? What is it with clueless, greedy, selfish, brutal men running the world, making serious decisions that will impact so many, creating an environment of fear and anxiety? What if we let women run the world, just for a little while, to see if things might turn around? What’s the harm in giving it a try? All men, stand down!

I saw how serious news stories were handled on the ground and up close when they involved New Zealand recently, (mass shootings and volcano eruption) by their PM, a woman. I wish there were more of her.

I don’t generally like to generalize, but I’m tired of the anxieties. If it’s this way, this greatly weighing on my mind and heart, I shudder to think of what it’s like for anyone immediately, directly effected in in the path of destruction, whether natural weather and climate or manmade disasters in progress.

I say my wow’s and my huh’s? I say it till I grow weary of saying it. I long to be a child again, not to block out news by simply not seeking it out because that feels irresponsible, but to be a kid again and simply not grasping the significance of all these things going on.

Oh two-year-old Mya my dearest one, how I envy your child’s cluelessness, in great contrast to that cluelessness I spoke of above from adults who should know better.

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Winter Waves, #FTSF #JusJoJan #SoCS

On winter waves that make their rushing sound through my tiny phone speaker, sounding still so mighty and just what I need.

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Another January is heading toward February, my birthday and my newest niece’s birthday, her first. I try to hold back fact.

What a week, but the winter soothes my mind. I stand, feet on the register, bringing such pleasant heat up to comfort my lower half.

My upper body faces the closed blinds of my window. This house is old and doesn’t have the best insulation, making the frozen winter night permeate through the glass pane. I like this half and half varied sensory experience.

After a long week, full of sadness and disappointment, I listen to a life feed of waves on the opposite side of North America, the west coast of California, at Monterey Bay. Some social media guy is holding a phone off the deck and into the ocean and its waves below, waiting “to soak the phone” he promises.

I think of winter and the ocean and those winter waves, where they originate from. Miles and miles of open ocean give such large waves the room to blossom and grow, unstoppable often, until they reach the breaking of the land.

I like winter in Canada, though many would choose California’s winter over mine. I like the fresh air here. It heartens me and keeps me alert to the life I am living.

But what would I do, where would I be, without the ocean, somewhere out there?

I meditate on it, on those waves, washing away some of the rawness of this week and I release some of the grief to the power of nature and the unstoppable changing of the seasons in Canada and to all that activity, out in the bay.

Finish the Sentence Friday’s first stream of consciousness.

Along with Linda’s
Just Jot It January/Stream of Consciousness Saturday
to end a long week.

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Oddly Shaped Pearl, #BaroqueMusic #SoCS

I hear the flock of Canada geese out my open bedroom window. They fly along, a gathering in the air, and it sounds to me like they are all having delightful conversation with each other as they fly along. It’s a honking that I hear as a chattering of all the geese gossip that’s relevant in any goose’s world.

I know I shouldn’t technically have my window open in December, but I need to feel the chilly air and to hear those gossiping geese, gathering gliding along through the sky.

I need to find those things that bring me peace, or else I’d have no choice but to turn to liquor to distract myself from so many things that gouge out my gut.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

Wildfires springing up, madly in California, is just the latest place where the fire burns. Those poor horses, caught up in the inferno. Global warming…does it play a part?

Middle East peace…is it forever ellusive?

Fake news is all around us, many believe. I’m starting to greatly dislike religion and what the religious do in its name. Fake news there too?

At this time of year, a time of holiday cheer, I fear…I fear so many things for this world.

Old wooden floors creak and soft carpet underfoot. I have been in a church only twice this year, in the giant one in Mexico and now on the outskirts of the university. Will I go for three, a Christmas Eve church service?

Will I find peace there again?

And then I sit and listen, in those hard church pews I’d forgotten were so hard, to strings, strings, and more strings: violins, violas, cellos, bass, and harpsichord.

I am tense and the first half feels as hard to take in, as hard as bench under me. Then, intermission over with, they begin again and I am at peace, hard bench fading away and I rise to this occasion of experiencing some most eloquent baroque period music.

I have nothing against the horns section or woodwinds. I used to play the clarinet. Strings are where my heart lies though.

I am at attention, as violins speak to violas, back and forth is the chatter, like the geese and their horn section. Like a musical debate of things going on.

Fast or slow. Intense. Dark. Light and airy. I float along or grab on for the ride. I slide along those strings that whisk me away somewhere, somewhere where liquor is not the answer to fixing that gouge in my gut.

Music is. Music is eloquence. Music is my liquor.

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Travel Ling, Lingering #TGIF #FTSF

“Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for that one. I love that and the travel it hints at, alludes to. It’s thrilling, just writing that quote and reading it back to myself. I recently carried that quote with me, on my first solo trip to Mexico, reciting it in my mind whenever I needed a shot of bravery.

When it comes to travel, I could go for days and days, writing about it I mean. That much travel, while sounding just as thrilling as Seuss’s quote, would exhaust me. I do it in my imagination though, all the time.

If I had the money and the energy, I’d be off. Sure, I’d always come back to my home, as that’s how travel is most appreciated, but I would not be satisfied to simply stay in one place all my life. I would suffocate in that bubble.

Pop!

***

I long to break out of that. I want to see new places. I have a list, a long, long list. I call it my
Bucket List (the very first blog post I ever wrote),
though that name is well worn with travellers the world over.

***

I thought it the summer my parents left on a road trip out west, through the U.S. and Canada. I came up with my travel blogger title and I was off.

The Insightful Wanderer (@TheIWanderer on Twitter)

It was in me, of course, ever since forever. My grandparents lived in just such a bubble, but they didn’t stay. They left sometimes, though always coming home again.

My most favourite treasure from my grandmother are the journals she kept, for years, where she jotted down the daily events of her life and family. Then, just a short distance from where she kept those, were the stakcs of photo albums, full of photographic evidence of the places her and my grandfather saw during their fifty five years together: all throughout Canada and the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.

Life and reality are just as important as a life of travel. Some can avoid that, I suppose, but not me.

I have limitations. I fully acknowledge those, but recently I challenged them too.

***

I immediately started thinking about what I would write, upon reading this week’s prompt for
Finish the Sentence Friday
and my first thought was Mexico.

I would write about my recent trip there. Why not? What else could I possibly write about now, while the memories are fresh? But wait…

I have things I want to say, but I can’t get back to it, whether in my own head or when trying to explain to others just why that trip meant so much. I try and try and try to explain the feeling, but somehow, my experience doesn’t come through. I feel unsatisfied with how I am describing it and how they are hearing it described by me. I guess the expression “you had to be there” is right. Oh, so right.

I travel back to every moment of that week, from my fear and intense anticipation. To my sense of peace and calm and rightness with the world and my place in it at that instant. I don’t want to say words now fail me, but perhaps they do. The envelope of photos I now carry in my purse of my trip don’t do the thing justice either, somehow locked in the past of the actual purse I carried with me. Nor does the bracelet I wear on my left wrist, every bead carrying that week’s sense memories within.

***

I went so far as to create a whole travel website, separate from this blog, while the force was still strong to attempt the world of the travel blogger. I had it all mapped out, saw things so clearly in my mind.

I wrote up an About Me page there, before the new site went live. It laid out all my most favourite spots: Niagara Falls and Ireland.

I put forth an illustrated list of the places I’ve been so far: Cuba, Florida/New York/Michigan/D.C./California, and Germany.

I spelled out everywhere I dreamt of going: Hawaii, Palau, Australia, and New Zealand. I wanted to be adventurous, surprising even myself, and in this dream I stood at the bottom of the world, surrounded by ice and penguins.

I didn’t truly believe I’d have the stamina, resources, or opportunity to make it that far, but, really, who could say?

Then, my website fizzled out. I let myself down. I studied travel blogs galore and somehow, I couldn’t become them, social media and pitching tour companies and all. I couldn’t. I was not a list maker and a personality so strong. My fantasy of becoming someone, I perhaps wasn’t meant to be.

I am a literary writer. That’s who I am. I can take all the travel blog success courses I want, have as many Skype sessions with an already established travel blogger as are offered in any given online course, and I still failed.

***

But I didn’t. I found a way to travel anyways. I found a group of my people, other literary type writers, somewhere full of magic and reality, all wrapped into one.

I couldn’t hold onto that week forever. It came and went. I may feel a little aimless since then, since arriving home, but that’s okay.

The world is a giant place. Anyone who doesn’t open their mind first, it doesn’t matter how far or how nearby they go or stay.

Travel all sorts of places, in your mind, through reading/watching a good book or movie. That’s just more ways to open your mind to the vistas (boy do I love that word).

Read travel blogs, as I still do, if that makes it all more real.

Acknowledge your limitations while challenging what still might be.

Meet people. Meander through a place. Taste a new food or sample a helping of another culture, far flung from your own.

***

I may not have that beautiful travel site I saw in my mind, but I am still wandering through this big, beautiful world and I am doing it with all the insight I can manage to unearth as I go.

I will linger here a bit yet still, but I know I will be off again, sooner or later. If you linger too long, you risk getting stuck. I hate to burst your bubble, but it must be done.

I meander and linger and meander some more. I look over those vistas I can no longer see. I meander with these words and with myself. Still figuring it all out.

I’ll be sure to let you know, here, when I’ve been everywhere. In the meantime, Dr. Seuss’s words keep me going, moving, living.

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Long Month, Long Life #SongLyricSunday

I’m spending this final
Song Lyric Sunday
of 2016, talking about a song that explains something about me.

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What best describes me this time of year?

Well, this one is a part of a Christmas from my past, my childhood, which is part of a bigger picture of myself.

The memoir I’ve wanted to write for a long time had certain songs ingrained in the narrative, as so many feelings at specific moments of my life define where I was at various stages of growth and development through the years, filtered through the truths of song lyrics.

This one denotes a Christmas, twenty years ago, one where I was ill and had been for months by December, 1996, on kidney dialysis for six months by that time.

***

A long December and there’s reason to believe Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin’ Now the days go by so fast
And it’s one more day up in the canyons And it’s one more night in Hollywood If you think that I could be forgiven…I wish you would
The smell of hospitals in winter And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room To see the way that light attaches to a girl
And it’s one more day up in the canyons And it’s one more night in Hollywood If you think you might come to California…I think you should
Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m. And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower, Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her
And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself To hold on to these moments as they pass
And it’s one more day up in the canyon And it’s one more night in Hollywood It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean…I guess I should

Lyrics: A Long December, Counting Crows

***

“The smell of hospitals in winter. And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls,” stands out strongly from the rest of the lyrics, but a long long December/year for sure was how it felt.

All that year I had felt like crap and had felt unheard by doctors and a world who didn’t understand, but frankly, neither did I, for a long time before I received a proper diagnosis.

I heard this song on repeat, a big radio hit at the time, driving back and forth to the hospital and by December, 1996 I was ready for that particular year to come to an end, but the song and the memories would always stay with me.

My luck had been bad and I could only hope for a much improved 1997 and beyond.

This song is a snapshot of me at age twelve and it’s only so poignant because I can look back now, some twenty years onward, from that sick girl I was, to the woman I am now.

Sometimes life feels like things will never be better, like we’re destined to always suffer with something, but time does reveal how that can change.

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Driveways and Sideroads, #SoCs

“Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!”

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“I’m trying to sleep,” is what my cat Lumos is probably saying, as he curls up in the place between my legs and the couch, but I type furiously for a little bit of stream of consciousness writing anyway, as he cuddles up to me and keeps my feet warm.

Now, I don’t usually write from any cat’s POV, not even his, but I was thinking up ways to start this post with an “sh” as the prompt stated, and that was all that came to me on this early Saturday morning in December.

I thought I’d begin with a little humour, as the rest of this post is of a more serious nature.

I did want to speak about a few
shows
I’ve seen this week, here.

It was both an odd contrast and, at the same time, alinement between a Canadian news program about one young husband and father who would walk down his driveway, attempting to sell his truck, and would never come home.

And then the American news program 20/20 and the young wife and mother who went out for a jog and was missing, abducted, but then finally released on Thanksgiving.

“It was just a truck!” That was the quote from the first program, from the widow left behind by tragedy, all a horrible, nasty, disgusting crime of a thing.

The Cali woman who would survive, has made it back to her loved ones, is now hopefully free to live the rest of her days with her two children and her husband, who never gave up and fought so hard to find her.

The Ontario woman will never get that sort of a happy ending with her love.

I was ill to watch the first program, to hear even more of the gruesome details, of which I managed to miss back in 2013 when the crime came to all our attentions, happening less than an hour away from me. She has her faith and family and little girl to bring her joy again, but a part of her will forever be missing.

Who knows what happened while that California woman was gone, as she is only now starting to help the police piece things together. Her trauma at this time likely intense.

One has, seemingly had a happy conclusion, though the case is still ongoing. Hopefully, whoever these women are, the ones who lured the victim into their vehicle, hopefully they don’t hurt anyone else.

The two men charged and now spending life in prison are paying for their deeds, one charged with two other murders before the truck owning husband and father was senselessly taken. Entitled. Rich and spoiled. Thinking themselves invincible. Murder never should have been the result.

The similarities and differences, matching an fitting in an odd way as the two programs followed each other, it all felt strange to take in.

I was just struck by the contrasting outcomes to these two evening news programs, as the holiday season approaches and so much good is highlighted. The presence of evil in this world hit me with an extra, additional, forcible blow because we all look to stories of good will around this time of year, but there are those bad ones still going on, somewhere.

Not all is well, though both stories felt like they were read as transcripts, more like Hollywood movie scripts, but are true crime, real life in motion.

I put myself and my family in their places. Then, I immediately wanted to push that thought out of my mind.

Sometimes the world feels like such a scary place and I am afraid to leave my house at the thought of it. What are the chances, really, right?

The young Ontario woman who is now raising her daughter as a single mother said, “If it could happen to us, it could happen anywhere.”

You could meet danger or genuine decency in your own driveway or on a deserted side road. You could meet it, no matter where you might be, all depending on the sort of outstanding or rotten humans who come across your path.

I watch these shows, as the Ontario case touched me deeply and this Thanksgiving miracle was a happy story, still in progress.

I also know I can’t be afraid.

These shows weren’t fiction , not this time. They happened. It looks like I’ll get to spend another holiday with my family, whereas some people will not. I don’t take that lightly. I also don’t want to feel paralyzed with fear to go out into the world, to live my life, and I hope I never have to hear stories like these again, but I know, realistically, it can’t be completely avoided.

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TToT: Da Da Da, Sa Sa Sa – Black Moon Yonder, #10Thankful

Here’s a little flashback to finish off the week and begin a whole new one.

me on bike
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For the record, I don’t generally like motorcycles. They are loud and they make me nervous, but this one wasn’t moving.

I’m not enjoying this perpetually dreary start to October. I haven’t been enjoying this cold I’ve picked up and had for over a week now. And I’m certainly not and never have been enjoying the nonsense of the US election, as they count down, one more month to go.

Music will help. Music and good deeds and fresh fruit.

I am thankful for all the beautiful violin music that author Anne Rice shares on her Facebook page.

I much prefer this version to the original Coldplay song.

It’s a shame Anne Rice has quit posting political articles and she doesn’t even attempt to have discussions about politics right now. I miss her views, though I didn’t have to deal with all the nasty comments. Her page, her rules.

I’m glad she still shares music though, mostly violin stuff.

I am thankful for rough bikers.

me with bikers
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I used to hang out with quite the group, wouldn’t you say?

This was who sponsored my trip to California when I was sixteen, through
The Sunshine Foundation, Canada.

I am glad to see bikers, somewhere out there, are doing it again. This is where “don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t be more applicable.

A Cycle Broken – The Guardians of the Children

I am thankful that, despite my cold symptoms being rather irritating, the second episode of the podcast
Ketchup On Pancakes
is complete and we’ve beat our previous episode
(Episode 1: Intro To Us)
by extra time, going more like 70 minutes, instead of the previous one hour.

We went over time, but it is a good episode, which includes us adding in more sound and effect, compared to our first try.

We plan to create a shortened, all make-it-up-as-we-go-along episode next time though.

Actual new episode still to come in the next week or two.

I am thankful for an interview I finally got posted.

The Other Awkward Age: My Interview with Jennifer Niesslein

I am thrilled about this actually and have been for some time now.

I should have had this posted a while ago, but I was so over-the-moon that Jennifer had agreed to be a featured guest on my blog, that I wanted it to be perfect.

It’s up now and she even shared it with her Facebook friends/followers too. She has been so open to speaking with me. I try not to come off like too much of a stalker, but I really admire the work she does.

I am thankful for help in making it look more visually appealing.

My sister helped me to make the interview stand out from my usual blog posts.

I am thankful, though this cold has been bothersome, that it’s starting to ease up.

Thank goodness for tissues.

I am thankful for the black moon.

It was the perfect way to say goodbye to September and usher in October.

The Dark Side of the Moon

I am thankful for the autumn arrival of my favourite in-season apples.

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This is my diet for the time being. What else do you need?

I am thankful for a rather productive weekend, even with everything.

And finally this evening, I am thankful for
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
and another new episode, because he makes me laugh, even when talking about some pretty crappy things.

Off to see if I can find his latest thoughts on the week that just was.

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