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TToT: Chameleon in a Room Full of Mirrors – Penblwydd Hapus #10Thankful

“You are strong because you are imperfect and you are wise because you have doubts.”

—Clementine Churchill

Mfvikph.jpg

This is a reminder of the little girl I once was. My sister found this card in the library book my nephew brought home from school last week.

What are the odds and my first thankful after musing on what it’s like to turn another year older, all while discovering those reminders of the girl you used to be.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the short story I managed to come up with at my writing group, even if my braille display did crap out on me (dead battery) right before I finished it.

It was a short story about a young girl, living in Europe, only a few years before the breakout of World War II and she is celebrating her birthday with a skating party with friends.

I will finish the story and read it out loud at the next writing group night.

I’m thankful for an inspiring first meeting with some new peers living with chronic kidney disease.

We met to discuss how those of us who’ve been and are currently living and dealing with kidney disease can help a new generation of those going through or about to go through it.

Some were on dialysis and some, like myself, were transplant recipients. One was even newly diagnosed and didn’t know where to start. I hope we didn’t overwhelm that person too much.

So much excellent discussion went on. It felt empowering, more than I’ve felt in a long time, as I’ve been off of dialysis for so long that you start to forget what it was like. I have this chronic condition, transplant or no transplant, and may need help from these same sorts of people again one day too.

I am thankful, also, for the guy next to me who got up and brought me a new plastic fork after I broke mine trying to stab a cucumber out of the pasta salad on my plate as the presentation went on.

I hate those cheap plastic forks.

I’m thankful for Apple Music.

Now, for a monthly fee (after the first three free months) I have millions of songs at my fingertips, right on my phone for streaming.

I’m thankful for a surprise right before my birthday.

Native Traveler, awarded gold in the audio story/blogging category from the NATJA

The host submitted the Native Traveler show with my piece on No-limits Travel for the Blind to the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) awards , among a couple of others.   The show won Gold in the radio broadcast category!.

North American Travel Journalist Association awards list for 2017.

I’m thankful for the card, flowers, and butterfly for my keychain, all from my wonderful neighbour.

The card was one of those singing ones.

The butterfly has now become a symbol with meaning between the two of us. I am keeping it with me. I like to trace my fingers around the wings. I used to love to draw bright, colourful butterflies when I was younger.

The flowers were fragrant, but the stalks were so heavy that my mom had to prop up the flowers, using a cooking pot and some cardboard.

I’m thankful for all the well wishes from family and friends, on Facebook and off.

I wasn’t feeling so well on my actual birthday, but it was nice to hear from people. It cheered me up a bit.

I’m thankful for the cake my mother made for me.

Cherry chip with a cheesecake swirl and white chocolate icing.

She is amazing with certain kinds of cake. It was made with love and care. Thanks Mom.

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I’m thankful for a snowy day on my birthday.

I felt unwell, stayed inside the whole day, but I was glad to know what was going on, a snowy world, just outside my window.

It was a perfect February day, even if the next one brought rain and then freezing to produce slick conditions for walking.

Someone on my blog wished me this and I had to look it up, but was super glad they’d said it:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/penblwydd_hapus

I’m thankful I can learn new things, even and especially at thirty-four years old.

Penblwydd Hapus to me.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Travel, TToT

TToT: Thunderbolts and Rainbows

“After every storm, there is a rainbow. If you have eyes, you will find it. If you have wisdom, you will create it. If you have love for yourself and others, you won’t need it.”
–Shannon L. Alder

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

I heard about an interesting thing this week, and although I can not see it, I found the image to be an appropriate overall theme for the week that just was.

Photographer captures rainbow and lightning bolt in one electrifying image – TODAY.com

Thunder crashing, lightning streaking across the sky, sometimes followed by the beauty of a rainbow.

And then sometimes, rather more rarely, there’s all three at the same time. Life produces all of this and more and sometimes it does this all at once.

At times I didn’t know if I would even want to collect ten things this week, as the rain seemed to cloud any rainbows that might have been there, but I again think these weeks are the ones when being thankful is most important.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For YouTube.

I don’t know what I did before I discovered all that it had to offer. I can find and watch any documentary, on any subject I want. I can listen to all the songs I love. Unlimited and easy access to media and entertainment like this, for me, is extremely freeing.

For rain and thunderstorms.

I spent some time this week, just listening to the rain falling and the thunder rumbling.

I can not see lightning, for the most part, but occasionally I still can spot it, if the conditions are just right.

I have a vivid memory of driving home from my parent’s friends’ place, one night, with the sky lighting up as we drove. The sky was flash after flash and all was a bright light out the van’s window.

Now I remained inside, listening to the sound of the raindrops hitting the awning outside my window. I loved the cool, rainy air and the science of a thunder storm came back to me. I thought about this powerful charge of particles out there, in the air, and I considered, for one moment, that science is actually the coolest and nature is truly spectacular.

I read a Facebook post from my local radio station. The DJ posed a question: how do you explain what thunder is to your children?

Silly really. I heard the famous explanation as a child of God bowling, but I never believed it. If that were true, I’d also have to calculate that the actual raindrops were God spitting on us and that never sat well with me.

Still…the theme of rain, thunder, and rainbows persisted as the week continued, even just symbolically and through literature.

For my nephew and his turning another year older, as he grows before our very eyes, even if, on some level, we want to keep him just the age he now is.

He actually prefers waterfalls to rainbows.

We had a nice little family dinner to celebrate the day. I re-edited and posted the essay I wrote about his birth and the journey his parents took to bring us all our sweet little boy:

Ordinary Miracles: Part One

and

Ordinary Miracles: Part Two

For the pure joy and happiness of a baby, something so untouched by any real pain or fear.

I spent an afternoon this week with my friend and her baby girl. We had a lovely lady’s lunch, the three of us, and she was extremely well behaved the entire time.

I got to hold her back at my house and, even though she is only fourteen weeks or so, she can stand.

Okay, well I may have been holding her up, but she is already just dying to use her legs. The problem is, they don’t stay straight enough, flopping and collapsing, unable to fully support her body for any possible, miraculous baby genius behaviour, any hope of forward, upright movement.

🙂

She had a ball trying, anyway, on my lap and with my assistance.

With all the rough weather in life, the best rainbow of all is actually the noise of pure and utter happiness made by a young child. She made just that noise. It was the most pleasurable sound, one of the best sounds you could/I will ever hear. It warms your heart and I let the memory of that stay with me as the week went on.

For fresh peaches.

I ate more of that amazing, creamy, soft ice cream I spoke of a few TToT’s back and this time it was with fresh peaches. Even better. Two delicious things put together.

For discovering a tasty chocolate dessert with a friend.

The rest of the meal may not have impressed us much, but you can’t beat the company and on discovering they had three desserts to offer: strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and deep fried banana split…well, we both agreed that chocolate is the best. We weren’t disappointed.

For the walks we’ve started going on together: my friend, her daughter, and me and I like the exercise I get, even if parts of my body rebel against me a bit.

For Middle Sibling Day.

I’m grateful I get to share that honour with my older sister.

She is strong and determined. She never gives up. She is the best middle sibling around.

I so wish I could take her pain away and get her all she desires for herself. I want to be the little sister she deserves. I want to make it all alright for her.

Glad to be middle siblings together.

For the ocean, seashore, whatever you call it. It’s a wonder of wonders.

More text messages from my brother out east in the Maritimes and I am wonderfully jealous as he tells me of how much he is enjoying the fresh east coast, ocean air of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.

I am thankful there is such a thing and hope to experience it again one of these days, but for now, I am glad he gets to experience it.

Next stop: P.E.I.

Speaking of…

And finally, to carry on with the east coast theme, for:

Rilla of Ingleside

Being from Canada and an avid writer and reader, Lucy Maud Montgomery is my Canadian author idol.

I had read

Anne of Green Gables

in the eighth grade and became obsessed with the films.

I only read the following books years later, or at least, the next several.

I love books and would have read more of them by now. Sometimes, however, being visually impaired does slow me down and delay me from reading like I’d like to.

I get books, in different ways, from varied sources. I read Anne in braille, when someone transcribed it for me. I read the next few when another visually impaired friend, much more tech smart, downloaded them for me onto my Braille Display, an electronic braille device. I found this one online and, as I’ve stated above with my love of YouTube, listened to the audio book.

Rilla of Ingleside is a beautiful book. Montgomery was the only one to write a moving account of what it was like to be female, in Canada, during the turbulent World War I days.

Most people, even if they did not read the books, know who Anne is. Well, Rilla is Anne’s youngest daughter, who is a teen during WW I and she starts out as a directionless young girl, but by the end of those four years, becomes a lot more than that.

I can’t wait to write a review of this book for my blog. It’s remarkable to me, that we can read books written one hundred years ago, and the beauty to be found there can still be so great.

The family has moved away from Green Gables, from Avonlea, and while still remaining on Prince Edward Island, now live in their Ingleside house, right next to

Rainbow Valley,

where the children used to play.

Now, as teenagers and young adults, facing a world war, they go there to talk about world events and tough choices, with one another, or to just think by themselves.

So there’s my rainbow to end this TToT with. I missed this week’s meteor shower, but I can hear the thunder, so I count my blessings.

Here Comes the Rain Again

The thunder strikes and even though, at first thought, that brings on notions of being hit by lightening, with the reaction of having to run for cover, on closer examination I see how the forces are mighty ones.

I think there can be both, thunder and rainbows, if we look for them and find the value in them both, either separately or together as one.

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TToT: Once in a Wild Blue Moon

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”
–J.K. Rowling

July has come and gone. I’m going to miss it, I will admit.

This week, if there can be a slight theme to my TToT, it would definitely be the innocence and imagination of children.

Plus, multiple birthday announcements to mention.

It’s been a week of cheesecake, mustard, and friendship. I am thankful for all these, but I’m not including them in my official list because I can only handle so many thankfuls.

🙂

Happy Cheesecake/Friendship/Mustard Day to all of you, before I forget to wish it.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For time spent with my brother.

He shared a song with me which he and a group of other Music Industry Arts students had to perform for the class.

He did one of the synthe parts, a girl in the group sang the words, and he wrote a part for the end of a cover they did called Kids by MGMT.

Funnily, I had that exact song in my head. You know what it’s like to have a particular song stuck in your head, so much so to where you can’t help singing/humming it to yourself, over and over again?

Well, that is the exact one he and his classmates chose. They were going to choose Taylor Swift’s Blank Space, but another group chose that one first. I like both.

For the songs he shows me, for his pancakes with Ketchup, and for his support and the fun we have, so much so that time seems to fly by.

For guest posts and the ability to write them for other blogs, as well as having them on mine from time to time.

It’s a great way to get my writing out there. I had two out this week.

Well, one,

Monday Inspirations: Color, Light, and Magic – guest post by Kerry Kijewski,

but the other was technically posted a few weeks ago.

Original Bunker Punks: Triskaidekaphobia,

which I did not realize had been posted right after I’d been contacted, a few weeks ago now.

Thanks, again, to both these blogs for the chance to showcase my writing to your audiences.

For another book released, discovered years after the fact.

Dr Seuss’s “What Pet Should I Get?” came out this week.

This children’s author had such a rich vocabulary and rhyming ability. It was magic how he could string words together, in a way that would totally captivate a child into wanting to learn to read.

If it’s a good book, anyone will read it. I’m totally unashamed about still reading things I loved in my childhood.”
–J.K. Rowling

For the ability to read myself.

I know literacy is a big problem in the world today, in many places, and I am thankful I have the ability. I don’t know where I would be without words and books.

For ice cream, but not just any old ice cream. I am thankful for soft ice cream. It is so much better and there is this little place (Bartley’s Dairy Bar) in my town. It makes the best, smoothest, creamiest soft ice cream around. I got their Salted Caramel Sundae.

MMMMM.

Bartley’s Dairy Bar – Facebook

For the birth of my greatest literary influence: J.K. Rowling.

Rowling once said about juggling writing and her family:

My youngest child asked me the other day, “Mummy, if you had to choose between us and writing, what would you choose?”

And I said, “well I would choose you but I would be very, very grumpy.”

Get to Know J.K. Rowling with 50 Quotes

It’s the big 50 for Rowling and she has achieved something, in those 50 years, that most of us will only ever dream of.

For the birth also of her greatest literary hero, the one that gave me back an imagination that I hadn’t even realized I missed so much:

Happy 35th birthday, Harry Potter!

For the blue moon the other night. I love everything about the moon. It’s so magical and wonderful, so remote and mysterious. It inspires me to want to write and to write well.

Okay, so I have no stunning photos of what it looked like in the sky. Truthfully, I’m glad it isn’t actually blue because I wouldn’t be able to see that if it were anyway. (Feel free to describe how it looked to you, if you saw it this time. I love to hear about it and to imagine it.)

I am thankful for the fact that I can see the moon at all. There are those who are blind, more so than me, who have never seen the moon.

When it’s full it does help me see it better, when I am able to locate it. Often it appears as a street light to my very limited sight. that’s why living in town can make it hard to spot.

I used to recognize it, as we were driving, as the one light that did not move as we drove.

🙂

I have never seen the stars and that sometimes makes me sad, but you can’t have everything. That is why I thought it was interesting when a friend posted this on Facebook:

How can blind people “watch” fireworks?

I can still see fireworks somewhat, can still see the moon’s brightness, and so that’s clearly something to be grateful and thankful for and to never take for granted.

For this past year with my little Lu.

I sometimes regret the sort of snap decision I made to get him that day, with the trouble he sometimes likes to cause me, but Im glad I now have him. I love my not so little anymore kitten.

At what age does he become not a kitten but a cat anyway?

I named him Lumos, a term from the Harry Potter universe, and speaking of…

http://www.wearelumos.org/

Lumos is the spell to ignite the tip of a magic wand with light. Lumos brought light into my life when it felt at its darkest and he still is.

For these last two years.

It has been exactly two years since my family were given the gift of our little superhero/Bubble Guppy, depending on the day or time.

I am thankful that I have my nephew in my life. He is smart beyond words and growing smarter by the day. His enthusiasm is infectious. I can’t help feeling it whenever I am around him.

His big sister is the greatest ally, as siblings should be, and his parents are going to continue to nurture his spirit and his sweetness.

Happy Birthday Buddy!

Okay, so I believe that was a little more than Ten Things of Thankful, but so what if it was? I felt like being loose with the number this week.

🙂

Note: the following song is the original version of the one my brother and his group covered in class.

MGMT – Kids

“Those who write for children, or at least those who write best for children, are not childlike or immature, but they do remember with sometimes painful intensity both what it was to be small and confused and how wonderful was that fierce joy in in the moment that can become so elusive in later life.”
–J.K. Rowling

Whether it’s a musical group, books written for, or the kids themselves, I am grateful and thankful for all things “kids” in my life.

July was a great month, full of the unexpected and memories made and August is Nephew Birthday Month in my family. That makes this coming month one of the best there ever was.

The kids in my life are what make life so sweet. Well, them and soft ice cream of course.

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TToT: These Lackadaisical July Days

“As long as this exists, I thought, this sunshine & this cloudless sky, & as long as I can enjoy it, how can I be sad?”- Anne Frank, Nov 1943

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Last week my brother used the term lackadaisical, seemingly out-of-the-blue. Leave it to him to think to use such a rarely utilized word.

He used it for something else, but I have been thinking about it ever since, all this last week. I like it and it seemed to fit a lot of what life’s been like around here.

July is nearly at an end and I have felt unwell this week, mostly physically, but really I see something lacking, in myself. I am in a bit of an energy slump and in a hurried mood to write this and try for some sleep. I will motor through the TToT this time. Though I have developed an outline for these whereby I try to follow days of the week, this time I think I will simply speed things up a bit.

This does not mean I don’t have enough things to be thankful for. The above quote by Anne Frank is one with the greatest perspective and appreciation, even in the worst of circumstances.

If Anne can live by that quote, I can certainly tell you of ten things I am grateful and thankful for.

For the effort shown by bloggers to caption photos.

I owe a special thank you to:

Thankful Me

and

Heels and a Toolbox,

for their consideration and willingness to make it so I can enjoy visual TToT’s, as well as the written ones.

For the pleasant surprise and the thrill of discovering a truly wonderful book.

There has been so much talk about the author of the American classic To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee, releasing Go Set A Watchman. This release has been in the news since being announced last winter. I had my doubts and still do, about the ethics of this book, which I’ve written about before, but I read it and I am glad I did. I don’t call it a sequel, as so many are determined to refer to it as. I don’t know what all the real story surrounding it’s discovery and publication is. All I know is my curiosity got the better of me this week. (My review of the story is still to come.)

I was blown away. I am thankful that a book can still produce such feelings in me. I am thankful for Harper Lee and her beautiful words. I am grateful that this book is getting to see the light of day. It deserves to be read…just one book lover’s opinion.

For a break in the middle of summer, a little cooler than average July day or more than one actually. I just can’t stand humid summer temps.

For another excellent evening attending

A History For Today

and its thoughtful speakers.

For a copy of this week’s speaker’s memoir,

The Hidden Package,

which was given out with admission and our tickets. This was a lovely surprise.

For the opportunity to get my book signed after the talk.

For yet another signed book to add to my recently begun and growing collection.

For soothers.

🙂

No, not for me. They don’t make everything better forever, but for an infant they are magic. This afforded me a few more moments of calm with a sweet little doll in my lap, so her mother could eat.

For raspberry cheesecake cupcakes.

For Decade Adrift. It’s the name of the beautiful music my brother creates out of thin air. Where once there was no beautiful sound, he produces something worth sharing. This song offers a glimpse into his heart and soul. He may think that sounds silly, but I know him better than that. It’s the truth.

Passenger – Let Her Go

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Shows and Events, Travel Tuesday

April in Paris

I love when a Saturday road trip turns into something even the one who surprised the other with the idea didn’t expect.

All I could do today, when I felt the warmth of the new April sunshine on my cheeks for what felt like the first time in months, was sigh in contentment. It was the perfect day for a drive.

Around here we have cities named after the iconic cities of Europe: London and Paris. I hadn’t remembered ever visiting Paris, but the downtown area was supposed to be a wonderful little spot.

As we drove into the town it was clear that something was going on. Parking spots were hard to come by and the street was full of people, some wearing kilts. We parked a few blocks away and over the bridge, happy to walk the extra little bit. As we stopped, briefly at the railing, I listened to the rushing water of the river below and felt perfect happiness.

It took us a while of walking around the concessions of carnival food and the live entertainment to learn what this event was.
The Lions Club was there putting on a pancake brunch, with local maple syrup. This was The Maple Syrup Festival.

The scent of sausages, hot dogs, and French fries was on the fresh spring air. The noise of the vendors could be too much for me at moments, but the town camaraderie was a lovely thing to behold.

I love small town festivals and seasonal events. Seeing families out for a nice day together and people, neighbours and friends talking and laughing together is lovely to witness.
I’ll admit some of the live entertainment and local talent wasn’t my cup of tea, but to each his own.

Any place with baked goods, cheesecake, a bookstore, and a chocolate and fudge shop is just fine by me.
Maple cupcakes, maple bacon doughnuts, maple everything. The live demonstrations of maple syrup-making showcase what the area has to offer.

The best possible finale was a catchy early season pipe band performance. As the bagpipers played “Scotland the Brave” it made me think of a scene in the third part of the miniseries: “Anne of Green Gables – The Continuing Story”, a particular scene when the soldiers are going off on the ferry to fight in World War I to honour their homeland and Britain. The pressure to be patriotic gives the scene a strong sadness. I never forgot that song. Hearing the bagpipes playing it live and right in front of me made me feel the connection to the Maritimes I still can’t explain.

This was no Paris, France (no city of love, lights, and romance), but it meant just as much to walk hand in hand with my favourite person; it’s all about the one you’re with, not where you find yourself. That right person and the perfect circumstances, that can make the moment. He hadn’t looked up events happening in Paris, but there we were, watching his beloved Celtic performers. It felt like the kind of fate that can be found in Paris, France in a novel; some things are meant to be. This lovely combination of Paris and Scotland was the perfect touch of Europe here at home in Canada.

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