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TToT: The Time of the Ostriches and A Kingdom of Hedges – Red Thunder #10Thankful

“Open your eyes, and see what you can with them, before they close forever.”

—All The Light We Cannot See

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a beautiful day of perfect spring weather.

As I headed toward the hospital, for a medical test, I felt the gentle, pleasant breeze of a mid May day on my cheek.

I wished the test could be done outside, before the day progressed and the temperature warmed any.

I’m thankful for Canada’s medical system, even when I’d rather be anywhere else.

It’s this ERG eye test I had done back in February and, instead of hearing the results a month later, I received a call that I was to come back in. It needed to be repeated, and it wasn’t clear the reason for the order.

So, here I was and I was sitting back in that chair, drops in my eyes, and having to look into the bright light and try not to blink.

I tried to get an answer, from my doctor in the same building, but he was in doing some sort of laser procedure.

I didn’t want to have to go through the discomfort again, if it had been all in error, but I couldn’t find out what the deal was, so I went through it once more.

It causes headaches to have to keep my eyes open in that penetrating brightness. Still, whatever this test shows finally, I am glad to have access to the facilities and the doctors and the equipment that isn’t available everywhere.

I’m thankful for a successful return to my violin lessons, after a bit of a hiatus.

My teacher was finishing up her degree in music and her final solo performance. Then I was off to British Columbia and just having returned.

It isn’t good to be away from the structure and guidance of a lesson, for me, for too long. Yet, I return and am not so far behind with it all as I always fear I’ll be.

I am glad my teacher is patient and helpful. She makes it easier in all its toughness.

I’m thankful for some more global accessibility awareness.

There’s a day for everything, but this one was Global Accessibility Awareness Day and I am writing this on my talking laptop and reading electronic braille.

Hopefully, more of the world is coming to understand about what makes an accessible society, for as many people as possible. That isn’t easy, but just thinking and an effort made is nice to see.

I’m thankful for a little love in the world.

I was up with a bad headache and I was glad to hear about the love that was present at that royal wedding.

It has no bearing on my life, what Harry and Meghan do, but I am glad of a little extra love and I celebrate that. With all the horrors going on in the world, I celebrate this love and light.

I’m thankful for music at weddings, especially this
young cellist.

I’m thankful for the treasure that is my older sister.

She is tough and good humoured. She has created the most beautiful family and I am lucky to be a part of that, in any way.

She is steady and reliably there for me. As sister relationships go, ours has had relatively few bumps, as I hear of all the fighting between grown siblings.

We will always have each other and I hold that truth close.

I’m thankful for a lovely celebration dinner out, by the river, with family.

My mom found a restaurant, in an old building, by a river with toads and such.

We enjoyed a delicious meal and my nephew watched the creatures and critters outside the window as we waited for our food to arrive. He enjoyed finding a toad by the river after we’d eaten.

I’m thankful for the neighbourhood I live in.

For a holiday like Canada celebrating the queen of England who was on the thrown during the formation of the country, there’s always a lot of commotion all around where I live.

I may not always participate fully in the events, but I enjoy hearing it going on around me.

I’m thankful for the sounds of the season (spring) I hear out my window.

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TToT: Back Home In Ontario Edition, #CFB #Organize #Empowerment #10Thankful

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”

—Jonathan Swift

I have been away for a few weeks, most recently in British Columbia and before that, I guess I couldn’t seem to organize my thankfuls, but a visit to the ocean is good for a little perspective.

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Caption: Sitting with my group, by the lighthouse, at the end of the breakwater in Victoria.

http://www.cfb.ca/programs-and-activities

Speaking of, “Organize” was the theme of the 2018 convention for the Canadian Federation of the Blind, in Victoria, BC.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for capable airline pilots.

I’ve probably flown ten times or so in my life. Every one of those times, I hold my breath as the plane speeds down the runway, takes off, and lands again later on. I get nervous, clench my hands into fists, and then try to just go with it.

Through all that, through every bump and jostle of turbulence, I am grateful to feel that there must be a super capable person in charge of flying that aircraft.

This time, flying across Canada and back, was no different.

I’m thankful for a mostly accessible place to stay.

The hotel was a lovely one, with braille in the elevators, marking each floor as you stepped out, all except braille or other tactile numbers on the room doors.

The guy at the desk when we checked in even thought, without us having to suggest it, to stick a piece of tape on each ID key card.

By the end of five nights staying there, I started to feel at home. It was wonderful. I walked around the lobby and the floors with relative ease, even with the drunk group on my floor the one night.

“Blind woman coming,” one of them announced, the loudest of them all. “Stay to the right.” This I already knew.

I couldn’t resist turning back to him, as I walked right to my room door and went to pull my card out, to inform him that my name was Kerry and to: “have a good night.”

I’m thankful for a writer with a car.

A friend of some heard I wanted to visit a few specific places during my Victoria stay and generously offered to drive.

We took cabs otherwise. I did a lot of walking as it was. I appreciated the ride.

On the first leg of that driving, we got to know each other and I discovered she is a writer too. After that, we had plenty to talk about.

I’m thankful for the breakwater.

Up until recently, this long walkway sticking out into the sea, with the lighthouse at its end, had no railings. It wasn’t quite so safe when you couldn’t see.

Now it had railings and I could walk out into the water. I was in heaven out there, as windy as the day was. I never wanted to come back in.

I’m thankful for a welcoming tour of an historic bookstore.

MUNRO’S Books

My new writer friend knew the manager and we were greeted warmly and given some in depth backstory about the building and the owner, who once was married to Alice Munro and is famous for that union.

I’m thankful for a comfortable and also stimulating day of discussion, listening, and new friendship.

http://www.cfb.ca/programs-and-activities/conventions

It was the largest group for its convention. We from Ontario were celebrated and welcomed guests in attendance for the first time.

There were talks and discussions throughout the day on Saturday, making it a long one, but oh so worth it.

Being in a room where almost everyone is without sight, there was help and understanding assistance from everyone, from where to find an available seat or to feeling free to speak one’s mind. We didn’t always agree on every issue (universal design, accessibility, guide dog issues, career search, disability awareness), but we all were there to listen to each other.

We even had a few special visiting guest speakers: one was an expert on advocacy from University of Victoria and the other on social media trends.

I’m thankful for compassionate and passionate sighted allies and their ideas.

As nice as it is to join together as those living as blind Canadians, as essential and important, it’s good to be able to share with understanding people with sight too.

The writer/driver and her partner were there, along with a university student film maker, to capture the day’s events and they decided to interview some of us, for development of a possible short documentary called Listening To Blind Canadians.

In her car, she told us how she knew one of the women from the CFB and their parents had found companionship with each other in their later years. She didn’t seem to be fascinated by blindness in any artificial kind of way, like we were some sideshow to her. Just that she wanted to be there, as a friend and ally, to bridge the gap and promote a wider understanding through shared humanity.

I’m thankful for helpful people during travel.

From the BC Ferry Service employees, who helped us on and off and to comfortable seats to many public transit (Sky Train) workers who helped us find the next train, the right one.

We decided to do a ferry ride to the mainland and back, in one day. We went to check out Vancouver and meet up with my brother’s friend for lunch.

We did mostly traveling though, met another blind person on the bus and traveled part of our way with him, and yet I even got to walk into the water of the Pacific.

Even one of the fellow CFB members, also attending the convention, was a big help. He was around and free to go along with us, knew the city of Vancouver pretty well and had lots of practice riding those trains.

I’m thankful for delicious salads on my travels.

It was greens, seeds, cucumber, a sort of sweet vinaigrette, and the freshest little cherry tomatoes.

Mmm.

Last time I found a delicious salad like that, I was in Whitehorse, Yukon.

I’m thankful for those who came before.

We were able to travel on buses and trains independently, knowing our stop was coming up, all because of an automated announcement of streets. I take this sort of thing for granted, but it wasn’t always the case. There were people who demanded that service and had to fight for it.

I met the CFB treasurer, who was born in the UK, who wrote a book
The Politics of Blindness
and then I finally managed to read that book.

Here’s to the beauty of Canada’s west coast and to organization, to truly make a change.

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TToT: American Robin In Canadian Snow – Gnomes In The Shadows, #EarthDay #WorldBookDay #10Thankful

The snow was not quite all gone from the park; a little dingy bank of it yet lay under the pines of the harbor road, screened from the influence of April suns. It kept the harbor road muddy, and chilled the evening air. But grass was growing green in sheltered spots and Gilbert had found some pale, sweet arbutus in a hidden corner.

—ANNE OF THE ISLAND

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Canada comes together over tragic hockey team bus accidents one minute and we seem to be on the verge of splitting up, as a country because of oil and pipelines, the next. Okay, so I may be a bit dramatic here, but it’s how it all feels to me, in my more dramatic moments.

Now we’re, I hope, coming back together in support, as one, as the news of the van attack on a popular street in Toronto spread today, but who really knows.

I’m missing these, this exercise in gratitude, now and then lately, but I’m thankful still.

Ten Things of Thankful

It is World Book Day and I am thankful for books, old and new.

I got to visit the collection and exhibit of Lucy Maud Montgomery and I sat, for a long time, with an old journal she once wrote in, pasted photos and newspaper and magazine clips into.

I want to go back again and again and again, to find out what her life was like from different years, multiple decades, but I need someone else with me to read Montgomery’s words, and I hate to bother people like that.

I’m thankful for Logan, and people like him.

The kid was no longer a kid, which was how he’d gone out and been able to sign his donor card, to become an organ donor.

It wasn’t made a reality until harsh reality hit.

Still, I want to hug every one of him, people like him, who make such a final sacrifice as that one.

I’m thankful I could celebrate a birthday, attend the party I’d been invited for, even with the lousy freezing rain stuff we were getting that weekend, as a lousy farewell to winter.

My neighbour is someone I look up to, for many reasons, but because she is in her early seventies and she is starting over, on her own. She is doing it all, living life on her own terms, while she knows very well how precious life is.

She took the step I don’t take and decided to throw herself a birthday party, but the weather was horrible, and most people stayed at home. I am glad I live right across the driveway and could come over in thirty seconds.

She’d gone to all the work to make a table full of food. She bought beer, wine, and even coolers.

Happy Birthday CH!

I’m thankful for a “not normal” diagnosis.

I know, from personal experience, how “wonderful” it is to hear a doctor say that about you.

I was worried for a loved one, when that scary “C” word was being used, but the news was not quite that. Keeping an eye on things, for now, but I could breathe a sigh of relief, at least for the moment.

Not normal, huh? … … Um, yay?

I’m thankful for another wonderful meet up with my two writer friends.

These two ladies are such a wonderful pair to get to catch up with now and then. They are both at such different places in life, than each other and than myself, but we all love to write. We support that in one another. I learn from them. I am helped out by them. We, all three, cheer one another on and root for each other.

I’m so glad we met.

I’m thankful for warmer weather, as this is supposed to be spring after all.

I’m thankful for the sounds of spring heard out my window.

I’m thankful I got the chance to be interviewed about a subject that is of great importance in my life.

We hear about mother hood a lot, with so many writing websites being about motherhood. We hear about those women who struggle with infertility. I have seen that pain. I am in that group, the one that doesn’t have children, and I see how complicated the reasons for that can be.

It’s still a painful subject, like I should just get over it and move on, and though I focus on other things going on in my life, it still hurts.

I was approached to be interviewed, by a woman who has been working on a book about women, all around the world, who aren’t mothers. I like that I can speak about this and that she found me and asked me to take part.

Not sure where it will lead, but I’ve now met another lovely sounding woman. So many tough and awesome women in this world, you’d never otherwise know about.

I’m thankful for our first guests on the podcast this month.

The Earth Tongue Wiggled (feat. Liam & Crystal of Wildlife Gardening) – Ketchup On Pancakes

For the April episode, we thought a couple with the greenest of thumbs would be perfect. They talk all things green and growing, if you enjoy some gardening with your spring weather.

They are both funny, creative, compassionate souls and I am proud to call them family.

I’m thankful for a rap song about fungi.

No Sunlight

Nine people lost their lives today, when all they were doing was trying to get out and enjoy one of the first really lovely spring days of the year. RIP to those poor souls.

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Men and Beasts, #SoCS

I am glued to the news, but pushing myself to move.

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It’s France, Britain, and the United States and Canada is staying as the peace maker, as always, offering to help, but not directly with war tactics.

The centre of it all is the war in Syria, that’s been going on for six or seven years now, with no real end in sight.

The name #45 has given Syria’s leader is
“MONSTER”
and, if he is gassing civilians, he is just that.

I don’t know any of these “leaders” of these countries. I don’t know their hearts or their true intentions. I wish a lot of things, just me and my simple-minded self.

I wish the best for Syrian civilians, those left there, at risk, and also those who’ve come here to Canada and migrated other places. It must be so hard to see your home in such turmoil.

I wish Russia would stay out of that country, but they seem to think they’re helping. They claim any poisoning, to former spies in Britain or to people in Syria, is not them, a hoax, a lie, a distraction, a plot.

Lies. Lies. Lies. Which governments aren’t lying?

Why are all these, seemingly mostly men, doing this? They blame, shame, claim. It’s lame.

Clowns. Beasts. Monsters among men.

I want to shake them all. Where does it end?

I feel like I am living in the first season of Downton Abbey, after the no return event, assassination that began World War I in 1914.

According to Google:

The direct cause of WWI was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo on 28 June 1914. However historians feel that a number of factors contributed to the rivalry between the Great powers that allowed war on such a wide-scale to break out. Apr 20, 2016

One country erupts, or perhaps two countries clash, and, eventually, other countries get involved, take sides, and suddenly the edge of the cliff is underfoot.

In a university library, I was turning the pages of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s personal journals the other day, carefully as I could. I read her words, what living through the 1914-1918 years was like. It was horrid, even from the safety of Canada. We, sheltered from direct danger and conflict, watch with morbid fascination, but with relief and my guilt, that at least it’s not me and my loved ones in any immediate threat.

I turned to the page (November 11, 1918) and she spoke of the end of the war, after herself being glued to the news of the times. She didn’t know another world war was to come. I don’t know now.

I am rather excited about this though, speaking of monsters:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-WGaZaojFc

This movie, “Mary Shelley,” is a snapshot of the times, when Frankenstein was written. It’s about feminism, sexism, and in today’s Me Too moment, a girl of Shelley’s age, getting involved with Percy Shelley is a scandalous, wrong thing. Then, it was what it was.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45115/art-thou-pale-for-weariness

She fought to prove she could be just as good as the men, coming up with a truly classical ghost story, as it was. So much more because science and us humans, we wonder about defeating death and the limits of science in an unknown world.

Though, I ask myself and my literary/literal mind, just who are the monsters anyway?

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TToT: The Mercurial April of 2018 – Foreshadowing Farce, #10Thankful

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

—Maya Angelou

This week, all of Canada is mourning loss of life, young and promising players, in a horrific bus crash in Saskatchewan.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful that all of Canada has come together in a time of grief.

A GoFundMe page has been set up, which has already raised over 4 million dollars for families and survivors, and Justin Trudeau visited the injured. With all the bad in the world, even in moments of shock and loss, I feel better to sense a coming together of my country, from coast to coast to coast.

‘Hockey stands with you’: Condolences, support pour in for Humboldt Broncos | CBC Sports

I am thankful that hockey is what it is, means what it means to so many Canadians, even if not always especially and specifically for me.

From small town teams to the NHL, support to those (on and off the team affected) has been swift and strong.

https://ca.gofundme.com/funds-for-humboldt-broncos

I’m thankful for an angel who is going to leave something behind in tragedy, to be able to at least help someone go on, in good health again.

Lethbridge hockey player’s organs to be donated after fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash | CBC News

I read that one of the young men recently signed his donor card. This is a tough subject, but as the sister of someone who five years ago received a kidney from another person lost, I know the other side, that the side of organ donation.

I don’t have a clue about the tragic side of having to let go like that, but to know a gift is being given, I can’t pretend I don’t recall that relief I felt for my brother’s sake and for my own.

I don’t know what else to say. It’s one of the hardest things any person could experience, I’m sure. Still, I had to speak up about it, to include it in this list.

I’m thankful for beautiful art that remains after death.

One of the fifteen killed was not only a hockey player, but he could make brilliant music on the piano. (See performance link above.)

I will start and end this TToT post, speaking of music, but as things must and do go on…

I’m thankful I got a sudden call that a cancelation came up for me to get a physical therapy appointment finally.

I’ve been waiting for this call for over a year now.

I’m thankful the therapist took the time to go through my lengthy medical history with me.

It took up her whole allotted hour. We didn’t even have time to get to any stretches.

I’m thankful she plans to educate herself, to read up on my rare syndrome, before our next appointment.

I am thankful for the smooth and textured needs of two new bracelets.

Some are smooth, but other parts are made up of lava stone. They have tiny grooves in them and you’re supposed to drip the smallest drop of essential oil on them. Then, I can have a gentle and soothing touch of scent against the skin of my wrist, wherever I go.

My cousin, who runs a hair salon, also sells handmade items, such as jewelry and things. I like to shop, supporting local makers.

I’m thankful I got to attend my violin teacher’s masters recital.

I met her family after and they, along with her friends and other students/teachers, were all so proud of her, including this one student of hers in particular.

So many people, all there to support her. She has worked at it nearly all of her life. Her skill has taken years to develop. I will miss her and everything she’s done for me, once she moves on for further education, but this show was outstanding.

I was in a mood all that day, before her show that night. I don’t know what it was or why. I kind of wonder if it wasn’t me, feeling anxious and nervous, for her sake. I get more nervous for others more than for myself, if possible, when someone I know or care about is going to be tested or performing in front of people, like when my brother plays guitar.

This time, I am not sure, maybe it was just a bad day. Then, when I sat down, the song she played on her violin seemed to calm me, changing my mood and reducing my anxiety. The song was something I’d really never heard before. It was abrupt and anxious sounding, but it seemed to put, into music, the exact feelings I’d been experiencing. It took it all down several notches and I felt like it expressed precisely how I’d felt.

I’m thankful for not only a piece of music that speaks to me, but also a passage in a book.

This one is from A Wrinkle In Time. I read it and it brought together the elements of my own head, the themes that have been with me most of my life, something deep inside, of which I’ve put into my own song lyrics in the past. I’ve even dreamt this sensation:

“This movement, she felt, must be the turning of the earth, rotating on’ its axis, traveling its elliptic course about the sun. And this feeling of moving with the earth was somewhat like the feeling of being in the ocean, out in the ocean beyond this rising and falling of the breakers, lying on the moving water, pulsing gently with the swells, and feeling the gentle, inexorable tug of the moon.”

From the moon to the sea…RIP to those lost and deepest condolences to all those who’ve lost loved ones.

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While Wild Ones Wander, So Too Does My Mind #SoCS

Passive voice, in my writing or in my life.

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I may sometimes label myself a passive person, but there are moments when aggressive stances are needed.

Animals in the animal kingdom instinctively sense it, know where it lies in another creature and how or if they can derive any sort of benefit from it.

Human beings are creatures too, of habit, while the wild ones wander.

Personalities are coloured and varied shades of what makes us human, alongside the animals in nature.

I could Google the passive writing voice and read for days and days, but when I go ahead and write, may not always recognize what it looks like.

The term
“passive agressive”
means one thing, when both words are put together, and another on their own. I guess this is the point, the neat thing about this phrase, if you want to call it that, about language in general as well.

Wow. I haven’t taken this Saturday blogging prompt quite so literally in a while.

I think of my fear (rational or not) of an angry swarm of bees. I think a swan, who appears docile, until you get too close.

The fight face of a country or government, put forth by a world war, by a civil one.

War and peace. Is Canada so well known for one instead of the other. Or warring tribes in Canada’s long lived past.

On another lazy Saturday, I ask myself: What is Russia really up to, with the latest election results?

I do wonder, not as much about their people, but about that government itself.

I need to take my suspicious eye off of the country next to my own and think about other places. People or entire nations, I stream of consciousness ramble my way along, all the while, hoping to avoid the inevitable, those who ooze what it means to be aggressive.

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TToT: Just Passing Through – Relative Pitch, #FirstDayOfSpring #10Thankful

Spring has sprung!

What’s up everyone?

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a spot on my local television channel.

What’s Up Oxford – Rogers TV

I’m still nervous to be on camera, saying “um” a lot, but I was happy overall.

I’m thankful my local newspaper gave my story a chance.

Woodstock resident hopes to help blind people enjoy the movies with better descriptive audio – Woodstock Sentinel Review

I made the front page. The Ontario premier was on the second page.

It’s frustrating that my own local theatre didn’t even respond to interview requests, either because they were busy or avoiding the whole thing, but I don’t intend to let them stay silent on this issue for much longer.

I’m thankful for a few recent opportunities from my irregular appearances on Twitter.

I hesitate to get into these really, yet, and what they actually are or might become, but I am feeling pretty good about it. At least, with this whole recent set of realities about the risks of Facebook, at least Twitter is a totally risk free platform, right?

Yeah, right. Sure. Still, I know the risks and they must be weighed rationally.

I’m thankful for modern medicine here in Canada.

I take all the modern hospital facilities and equipment for granted, as I’ve always had it available to me. Here in a country such as Canada we have so much. In 2018 I have no reason to believe my loved one won’t be safe and taken care of.

I’m thankful for universal healthcare…not free like some people like to say/think it is.

Like the great and powerful gun debate, the one over what universal healthcare system Canada has vs what the US has and how both countries compare to many others, this rages on and on and on.

Nothing’s perfect. Certainly Canada is not. Yet, I am glad I was born here and have no tough insurance choices to make, no mega medical bills or debts hanging over my head and neither do my loved ones.

I’m thankful my brother is doing better, that it wasn’t something more serious.

He had stomach pains, but it wasn’t on the side where his five-year-old transplanted kidney sits. That brought me relief when I heard, even though I wanted someone to find out why he was having pain otherwise.

They thought it was his appendix, but no sign that that is the case. Frustrating, the mystery of the whole thing. For now, he’s doing better, and I hope it will stay that way.

I’m thankful for a gathering of strong voices.

I do worry for all the pressure put on those who are still young, fighting and speaking for safety and an end to gun violence, but they are strong in spite of it all. I hope they can survive it, but I am glad the adults aren’t silencing the younger generation.

I’m thankful for an Easter egg hunt, with the kids, in the yard.

The sun was out, but it was still a bitterly cold wind blowing as they searched. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to bother them much.

I’m thankful for spring.

Even though I don’t agree with most about how horrid winter can be, I do admit when it’s a lovely feeling to sense the start of a new season in the air.

I love the birds and even the rain.

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Speaking of Easter and spring…this one plastic egg got discovered by a wild creature, instead of a child; child proof and critter proof too.

I’m thankful for nature. (More to come on that as April draws nearer.)

What animal, would you guess, tried to make its way in for what treats were hiding inside?

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