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TToT: April Showers and Scoops and Slurs, #NationalSiblingsDay #10Thankful

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

The birds have been keeping me sane all week.

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Their songs, tweets, chirps, and twittering melodies have calmed me, any moment I felt anxious about a bit of a difficult week.

It was Billie Holiday’s birthday. Her voice brings me back to a different time.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a glimpse into an unfamiliar place.

The Colours of Kenya

Love the colours.

I meant to include this last week. Lizzi wrote this incredible story about her time in Kenya. If you haven’t read it, you should.

I am thankful for tall mountain pose.

Someone who knows a lot more about yoga than me found this one. I’ve been trying it out. The woman describes the poses well, though I don’t know I am all that good at following the instructions. The deep breathing is the nice part.

The music in the background is rather soothing, but for the clanging bell sound that makes me think of that warning bell you hear at a train track as a train comes near. Not so relaxing for me. Kind of triggering.

I am thankful for a challenging week.

I have been doing A to Z for the first time and this week has been rather fun. I’ve not put too much pressure on myself with it.

I am thankful for an opportunity to share a little piece of myself.

It Was All a Blur #MyBlindStory

I am thankful for a night out at an author reading which involved some helpful men who showed me through the library and a kind word from an author, on a night I almost missed out on entirely.

It had been a rather bad week and I almost backed out and stayed hidden at home. If I’d received the rejection to a writing pitch I would receive while I was at said author reading, or if I’d heard the unsettling news that would come later on that night involving 45 and missile strikes, I may have chosen to stay hidden. Thankfully, I hadn’t. It was a rainy night, but I am glad I braved it anyway.

“Ann Walmsley author of the Prison Book Club will be sharing her experience of becoming a book club volunteer at men’s prisons in Ontario. This incredible book recently won the Edna Staebler award in 2016. One juror Bruce Gillespie quoted: “Walmsley’s book provides a unique glimpse into the lives of incarcerated men and the transformative power of literature and fellowship.” Featured several times on CBC it is truly a honour to have her come to Woodstock Public Library.”

After the reading, I introduced myself to the author and bought a copy of her book. I spoke to her about being a writer and she gave me a bookmark with her email and told me I could email her if I ever had any questions about writing.

http://www.annwalmsley.com

I am thankful for scoops and slurs.

I have moved on from Brahms’ Lullaby and on to learning a song I didn’t recognize from my teacher’s description, until she played a little of it and a song that came, preprogrammed on my brother’s little keyboard from childhood, it all came back to me. I love the different violin techniques in this one. It will be a challenge, but one I am quite excited about taking on.

There are scoops when playing the violin. Going from one string to another.

Not all slurs are nice, but the one that occurs in this song is a new technique to me.

I am thankful for family members who are handy and generous with their talents and time.

A leak somewhere in my shower, dripping water down through my ceiling and into my living room are a different sort of April showers. Keep that outside my home preferably.

I have an uncle and cousin who do this sort of thing, fixing showers and leaks for desperate nieces and cousins like me.

The machine they had to use up in my ceiling was loud and reminded me of a dentist’s drill. Again, triggering.

Now I have a layer of dust over everything, including my books, but all is well again.

I am thankful for a day of family, an early Easter/birthday celebration.

Family days include fun, laughter, children playing, and scoops of vanilla ice cream.

I am thankful for my siblings and the siblings (my nieces and nephews) who have each other.

My nephew now has a sister, a sibling, and all of them have a friend for life.

This makes my list every year (National Siblings Day) and every year it is more and more true.

This year mine are willing to do something special with me in a few months, zip lining alongside Niagara Falls, to celebrate my twenty-year anniversary of my kidney transplant.

They are the best.

I am thankful for a surprise phone call from a friend.

I was tired, after this week, but it was nice to talk and catch up.

It’s been raining, off and on, all day long. This is April – to be expected. Not so bad.

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TToT: Cherry Blossoms, Bluebonnets, and Clover Leaves # March Madness, #10Thankful

Stella! … Stella!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjHr-6Zl5P8

Okay, well if you aren’t already familiar with the play
A Streetcar Named Desire,
perhaps you won’t get my joke. I’m referring to the big “winter storm” in the eastern United States and here in Ontario and into Quebec and the Maritimes.

First it was the winter storm Stella and now it’s the Spring Equinox and first day of spring.

St. Patrick’s Day. World Happiness Day.

Either you’re drinking massive amounts of green beer or the day passes and you don’t do a single Irish thing, but you can’t help hearing about it. It’s the same with a day we are told to be happy.

World Happiness Day 2017: ticket to joy or time to ditch the smily face?

All these days.

Ten Things of Thankkful

I am thankful for snow in winter.

I like and appreciate it, during its season, but it is cold and I do happily move on from it by March/April.

I am thankful for flowers and birds and baby animals in spring.

Last year, I started off one of my TToT posts with some background about cherry blossoms, but today I am including a few others in this week’s title.

I can’t see them and their colours, but I am often obsessed with flowers, especially cherry blossoms at this time of year. I don’t know why those specifically.

Then I watched the new Anne of Green Gables series on CBC last night and there is a part where a cherry tree is featured.

If you know those books, Anne spots one when she first arrives off the train, before she meets Mathew and Marilla for the first time. She imagines climbing it and sleeping up in it if nobody had come to pick her up that day.

The blossoms are mentioned more throughout this newly updated version, and I took that as a sign of sorts, that spring has sprung.

I am thankful for anything Irish.

Don’t take my word for it. Don’t just drink some green beer. Visit Ireland and see it for yourself.

It was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t regret it and neither would you.

That’s why, whenever March 17th rolls around, though I love the music (like what Ed has done in the song above, anything else can’t quite live up to the real thing.

I am thankful to be working on a new piece which should be published in one week.

I am thankful the editor informed me of the stock photo she thought about including with my piece before simply going ahead and using it, without my knowledge.

It was a photo of a girl with her eyes closed. Part of what I do regularly is to educate people on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. I wish, sometimes, I didn’t have to do this. I wish people could understand without me having to explain it.

This may sound like I’m being self righteous about this kind of thing, but even if a girl with her eyes closed may say, right away to readers, “this woman can’t see,” it feels highly stereotypical and won’t help progress with people’s understanding and acceptance of those of us with disabilities.

Touching Life

I am thankful for the feeling of my baby niece’s soft head under my chin as I held her against my chest.

I held her while she slept. She has so much hair and it is so lovely.

I am thankful for her ability to already raise her head by herself.

I held her while her oma warmed up her bottle and I couldn’t believe how strong she already is. She will be one month old this week.

I am thankful for my four-year-old nephew reading his books to me.

Okay, so he didn’t so much read as explain about his favourite dinosaurs, but he did spell out “L i t t l e” on the sign as we were picking up a pizza.

So, he’s on his way. I try to explain to him that I can’t read his library book to him because my eyes don’t work. His response still is “my eyes work” as a way of comparing or reassuring himself or maybe just to inform me. I’m not sure, but, If I’m going to have a bonus thankful this week, it’s that his eyes do, indeed, work.

I am thankful when one of my really bad headaches subsides.

I am thankful for a doctor who understands when I can’t make it to my previously scheduled appointment, do to said awful headache, and their ability there to reschedule so soon.

I am particularly upset when I hear all the talk, south of the border, here in Canada, of U.S. healthcare. I want the kind of care I get, for every person who has lived with awful headaches, needed major surgery, been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease or illness, or who lives with a disability to not worry about not being covered or having to pay giant medical bills.

People in Canada complain about long wait times, convince themselves that our neighbours have the better options for medical treatments, and some may have terrible experiences with Canada’s healthcare system. All I know is my own experience and that of my family.

Healthcare shouldn’t be about insurance companies, deductibles, premiums, and whatever else I keep hearing, is all I hear when I hear the debates going on in the U.S. They talk of consumerism and shopping for the best health plans. Healthcare isn’t about shopping, even if so much of our society is all about consumerism. This is, in some cases, about life and death. It’s about feeling unwell or being able to be happy for more than only one day a year.

Ugh! It all gets me so fired up honestly, because I know what it’s like to need my country’s medical system. I have disability and medical conditions I depend on being treated for. I am lucky here. I hate how too much of the world still doesn’t get it.

It was a week where I could care less about the actual March Madness, as I am no basketball fan, but…as for some other madness:

The Tyranny of Now

It’s precisely why I need to count my blessings and why everything on my list today is needed more than ever and deserves the recognition in my own life.

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The Elsewhere Region, #SoCS

The group ranged from ages twenty to seventy years. Mention of a CBC radio program about a battle of the generations, baby boomers vs the millennials. This is a place to feel safe, a non-judgment zone, but one

view

won’t necessarily be the same as any other in this room. Age and generation gap, these are just two reasons why.

As with life, in all areas, no matter which generation we’re in, out in the wider world there is plenty of judgment. This world is full of it, which is why this room serves such a useful purpose. It’s not easy putting oneself out there. Reading back to the group helps immeasurably.

Social awkwardness threatens to pull down into the depths of an abyss of social anxiety. It taunts and teases, trying to usher its person away and keep up streams of negative talk. You may have guessed it’s me, that person.

These views and voices echo around inside an otherwise sensible brain.

One viewpoint, in this room, is just as valid as any other. The people gathered around this conference table, in a library, in a town many have heard of, only by its famous shared name, one which any baby boomer should know well enough.

It’s important to listen to the poems of the baby boomer, as well as the somewhat hastily recited stories of the opposite generation, seated across the table. Stories are read, yes, but before, during, and after the stories, there are viewpoints to absorb. There are multiple lives lived and experiences of hardship or hard work or hardly anyone to listen at all. It all comes back to the writing here though. The listening and the writing.

Writing is where view takes shape, in this scenario, as story. It is disguised by made-up characters and varied storytelling styles, but the views are there, if you take the time to look for them. When is a story just a story anyway?

I listen to so many viewpoints in the media and I then repeat to myself how vital it has been for me to take a break this week. On the world stage, there are just too many views to ever possibly take any of them seriously, when often they feel utterly ridiculous. So hard to believe you’re hearing what your ears and your brain find they have to work with.

But then there’s that elsewhere region, where the ridiculous is encouraged, if not in made-up rhetoric than in fiction, but these days it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference either way, any way at all.

Stories need to continue to be told, in such safe places, places where I choose to return time and time again.

I can not say just how much I am learning about the actual act of writing, though each time I receive a comment from one of them I learn to look at a situation in a different way, but I am sharing a laugh and my view with the laughter and views of the other writers/readers.

I grab hold of all that tension in the form of my own social awkwardness and I turn it into the knowledge that my views are just as valid as the next person’s. I sit back while they share something of themselves, okay with the idea that I can share something of myself too.

I’m in yet one more place where my own viewpoint is likely to be miles from that of the person sitting at the other end of the table. I listen then, to that viewpoint from opposite myself, and I let it all just sink in. What brought them to the conclusions they’ve arrived at? How can I possibly hope to understand? Are we more similar than we are different?

The night before and it’s ONLY millennials here. No baby boomers to be found.

Oh, what exactly do I know of the musician I heard perform live the night before? What’s revealed through their music? Do lyrics tell the real story of that lived experience, by any stretch of the imagination? Mine stretches to find common ground, as this night I am the oldest person here, at thirty-two, most likely.

The view from this room, from this plush chair I’ve staked out for myself, as a way to avoid the unknowns of leaving its safety, will this mean the night was a lost cause? Do secret locations, first times experiencing musical shows like this, do the many bodies moving about in this tight space of a bachelor apartment, does it all help my placement in or out of the elsewhere region?

I want to open up. I start and stop and start again. Some things aren’t to be missed and the lack of regret for missing them is enough of a victory for the night, for the week. Yet, going forward I must require even more of myself.

The view from here is one of low vision, hardly any at all, which makes that social awkwardness seem, at some moments, to be insurmountable. It’s not, and there’s a way of putting it in its proper perspective, but it makes me tired. Very tired. Oh so mentally and emotionally spent.

Sometimes it makes me want to speak my truth, in one long and meandering sentence, which becomes stream of consciousness writing gone wild, with no end in sight.

If I feel that heavy social awkwardness threatening to pull me under once more, I repeat to myself all the comforting things I can, which today I’m choosing to explain by my unique position in a place I now lovingly like to call “the elsewhere region,” and I tell myself I can come back from that place or I can find peace in it, if need be.

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TToT: Narrative of a Floating Life – Jellyfish Armageddon, #10Thankful

When you’ve got nothing left, you’ve got nothing left to lose.”

Sweet Jane – Garrett Kato

This week I was reminded just how much I have to lose. That means I haven’t even come close to having nothing left.

Not everyone can say that. We here in Ontario, Canada, we experienced our own little incident with radicalism recently. He was attending a mosque just down the street from where my brother lives. They tried to help him, but unfortunately he was a very angry and disillusioned young man.

We are not immune here, in Ontario, in Canada, in North America, but that doesn’t suggest we should then turn toward hate all our own.

In a week where privileged young star athletes act poorly in Rio, when another image of war torn Syria features a small child, and where more attention is given to that athlete than to floods and fires and the suffering of children to begin with,

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I search out blessings and I remember to look for the bright side of life.

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That I got back to it, art I mean.

My Blue Period and My Decade Adrift: Water, Water Everywhere

I’m glad I got back to it and hope to do more of it.

That a friend saw my picture on Facebook and offered her knowledge from her art school days.

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

So unbelievably cool. That’s what I love about art, what I want to put into it, even if it comes out looking nothing like how I’d imagined it would.

For an empty theater to watch a sweet movie with the perfect person for the occasion.

Review found here. – Bad Moms

Touchy subject sometimes.

In spite of that, I liked this film. I hope the mother I saw this with enjoyed it as much. Motherhood, toughest job around.

For a small step in the progress of my lessons and for my violin teacher taking the time to record herself playing the two basic songs I am learning technique on.

I thought the other day about how learning the violin, for me, feels meant to be. It feels natural, or oh so close to.

It’s as if I am walking in a forest and I’ve come to a stream just a bit too wide for me to jump across. I can see the opposite side and I just need to find a bridge or even some stones to get me to the opposite bank.

The other side, where violin music comes to me, flows through me, naturally, that’s in view.

For fresh food grown in my back yard.

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Of course, without the work of a couple cousins who do this sort of thing for a living, a dedicated ex boyfriend, or the gifted hand of my mother and her knowledge about all things gardening, I wouldn’t have had any of it.

It’s a nice feeling to hold a fresh cucumber in your hands and bite into it, knowing it only came from your own yard. Something rooted in the natural world so close and yet so far from myself. I owe others who care to make nature such a part of things so that I can enjoy it.

For the extra effort some are putting into me and my future.

I often feel like an extra weight or burden for others, including family, friends, and any other relationship. I guess having most kinds of relationships with me can demand certain things of people.

I hope I give back, as much as possible, in my own unique ways. I hope I bring something to each situation as it comes. I pledge to do that once more, for all who took the time out this week to help me not to give up on my future growth and progress.

This is my promise.

That I got to speak with an amazing Canadian travel writer.

Breathe Dream Go

For me though, it would likely be more like: dream, breathe, and then go. Take the deep breath and dive in. My dreams are waiting for me, out there somewhere.

We had a brief but helpful phone conversation where we spoke about solo travel as a woman and finding the confidence necessary to become comfortable traveling alone.

Our situations are quite different, but she has experience and knowledge and I was grateful she took a few moments out of her day to return my call and speak to me for a short time.

For another full moon.

I understand the science behind the moon, its phases, and the pull of the tides of our oceans. I think it’s rather magnificent.

I also understand how some feel those forces mess with their mood. I can see that.
KN5wcMG.png
For me however, a full moon is my best shot of actually seeing it up in the night sky. When it’s at its brightest and roundest I have a better chance at spotting it and I cherish that opportunity.

But yet, when I can’t find it in all that darkness I still know it’s out there somewhere. That’s my best lesson in faith, whatever your beliefs or religion might be.

For medical and surgical advancement and the ability of doctors to perform gall bladder surgery.

My mother had it done and so did my sister. It causes a lot of women especially a lot of trouble.

Now it is needed again and I am glad those in need this time around can receive the surgery and hopefully recover from here on out. Modern medicine in this part of the world saves lives and halts so much pain and suffering. We are lucky and blessed to have it so readily available to us around here.

That we here in Canada could come together for one night.

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada – The Planet D

I admit that The Tragically Hip aren’t my favourite band. I am, by no means, their biggest fan. Still, it was a strange feeling of oneness last night. The Rio Olympics were preempted and the CBC instead broadcast this final concert by a Canadian iconic musical group and their singer who may not have very long left to live.

What would it be like, what would any of us say or do if we knew we had so little likely time left to live?

Hmm. I wonder.

This month,

#1000Speak

focuses on

thankfuls

and

blessings,

with this final thought and the related song to go along with it.

Living On The Bright Side – Angela Saini

When a bulb burns out I see
Even in the dark, it feels sunny to me
Skipping in the shadows, every corner holds beauty
There is always light if you look closely

http://angelasaini.com/track/1039590/living-on-the-bright-side?feature_id=286532

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