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Here Comes the Diet Police #Nutrition #AtoZChallenge

Oh no. Here comes the dietician.

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So many doctors. So little time. It’s the dreaded diet doctor, who has come to lecture me on what to eat and what not to eat.

The A to Z Challenge – N is for Nutrition

From the moment I was diagnosed with kidney disease, I began to see doctor after doctor. One specialist I would see would be the one with all the expertise on nutrition.

I had low calcium. I had low iron, anaemia. I needed to take supplements. I was put on dialysis. I was under weight and malnourished. My body wasn’t getting any of the proper nutrients it needed. The kidney disease was preventing anything healthy from happening in my body.

From then on I saw the dietician, who told me what foods to stay away from. Then, once I’d had my kidney transplant, I saw one again, who told me I was to basically eat the opposite of all I was to stay away from while on dialysis.

It was confusing. It was confusing, going from fighting to keep any weight on to being on high doses of medications which put on weight.

Food has been a major factor for me, something I had to think about, since I was eleven years old. I fought like hell to be healthy, but I never dreamed that nutrition would be such a difficulty for me.

Now, I am on such low doses of those transplant medications, but the damage has been done. My body has been through a lot.

I try to find balance. I love salad and I love chocolate. I could live on fruit and vegetables, but I love my pizza. I love to drink water and still I drink Coke.

This nutrition thing is hard and I don’t see it getting any easier, the older I get.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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Ten Things of Thankful and Then Some: Sunny San Miguel, Siempre! #TakingChances #Mexico #FTSF #10Thankful

I have missed my thankful posts for a few weeks now, but I had a good reason for that: Sunny San Miguel!

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(Photo taken by my new friend from the writing workshop in Mexico. Thank you Lisa. I love your viewpoint from right where you are.)

San Miguel, I miss you.

Speaking of missing things…I also missed last week’s
Song Lyric Sunday
because I was traveling back to Canada and the frigid winter temperatures, but the theme of the sun played a big part in my week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxaAfaCln8

This song is the feeling I felt when the bright Mexican sunshine was full on my face while I sat writing up on my balcony, overlooking my small bit of the city of San Miguel de Allende. It was hard work, the writing part, but I couldn’t have asked to be doing it anywhere better.

I felt alive. This is my first thankful. I could write many more.

I am thankful that I got to discover a spot I never would have known of before. San Miguel de Allende is an interesting place and it is just one of many in such a spectacular country of Mexico, so unknown and unfamiliar to me, such a short time ago, So much more to learn about and explore, I can tell. I just barely scratched the surface.

It isn’t a resort. It isn’t on the ocean, but I admit, logically or not, my heart skipped a beat at the thought that I was closer to blue/grey whales at that moment in time, than I’d been in a long time.

My ears popped going through mountainous terrain to get to the city, but boy was I pleased when I stepped out of that shuttle and onto that uneven sidewalk and a whole new door was opened to me, both literally and figuratively. I will never, as long as I live, forget that moment.

I am thankful for the villa we had our writing workshop in and where I got to call my lodgings for the week.

I soon learned my way around, from my room to the kitchen and meeting area and to the lovely outdoor spot. I didn’t realize the way some houses are constructed in Mexico, was totally not expecting it, but was pleasantly surprised by the indoor/outdoor set-up.

I loved my room and its cool interior and the open balcony just a step out my doors.

I am thankful for my sunny writing spot, a day bed set up outside, by the railing. I would go there to write and to listen to the sounds of San Miguel, just outside of the wall of the villa.

I am thankful for the levels of emotion I went to with my writing during the week.

I didn’t expect it to get quite so emotional. It seemed like that for everyone in the class. We all dug deep and we shared a lot in one, much too short week.

I am thankful for the garden area of the villa and the peace and tranquility I found there.

There were so many plants and nature was there, right at my fingertips, in the middle of the city of SMA.

I am thankful for soundscapes.

We had to record somewhere in San Miguel and try and write from it. This was, perhaps, not so difficult for me as for some in the group, but I found a way to make it my own. A lot came from it.

I am thankful for special and unexpected experiences while traveling.

I was serenaded by some mariachis. It was uncomfortable for me, all that attention focused in my direction, but I recognize the special experience for what it was.

I am thankful for the chance to meet my writing mentor in person.

She made it possible that I even knew of San Miguel and she gave me some added strength and determination to try traveling by myself for the first time. She offered just the right incentive and I was determined to make it happen.

She took so much time out of her life and planned for me to be as safe as possible and to have the most enriching time imaginable.

She took me out in San Miguel one night and we had a lovely dinner, talking about Mexico, travel, writing, and so much more. She gave me her time and her knowledge, having been where I have not yet found myself.

She directed me safely, letting me figure things out for myself, with my own heart, mind and white cane. She was thoughtful in her descriptions, all from her creative writer’s mind. She spent time with me, more than she needed to, and showed me so many things I may have otherwise missed out on, with all the visual elements of travel and exploring new places.

I am thankful for so many things and I could keep listing them, but I am determined to write separate, individualized pieces about all the magical moments of my trip, including the amazing people I met and what they did for me, how they affected my life, in so many ways.

I am thankful for glimpses of the culture, architecture and religious beliefs of Mexico.

I am thankful, too, for the unforeseen spiritual awakening I had, in an unexpected place of vitality and passion. It was like nothing I’ve ever felt before.

I am thankful for our day out, visiting makers. My writing mentor set out to show her class of writers that we too make something of value, even if it can’t be seen in as big a way or touched, like a statue or a piece of art.

I am thankful for the guide I had on our day out.

She spoke no English and I no Spanish, or very little if any. This presented a problem. But she was there, with a gentle, guiding hand and just in case, and we both got so much out of it through the silence, I can’t even express. I will never forget her and I will write about the way she affected my life too.

I am thankful for the wisdom and the inspiration and reassurances for the kind of life I can have in the years to come and for the truly fascinating stories I heard. I am thankful for a pizza night full of lively conversation and the best sharer of the villa I could have asked for. I am thankful for the radiant love freely given and the stories and the camaraderie of all. I am thankful for fruitful partnerships which fostered positive discussions I will never forget. I am thankful for those willing to listen. I am thankful for the laughs and the insightful talks and the likeminded writing companionship. I am thankful for steady arms on unfamiliar surfaces and much patient assistance with pesos and with my sparse Spanish. I am thankful for roof-top views, shared margaritas, and the invites to travel again, with new friends, in future.

I had to write about my thankfuls, but I am still processing so much of this. I am told I will have many more meaningful experiences like my week in Mexico and that more is to come, that this is the beginning of something and not the beginning and end of just one week. I hope this is true, but I will never forget this one as, in so many ways, my first, so many firsts.

I am thankful for all the help I had to travel alone and for the angel that watched over me while I went, as I was told by a kind and talented man.

I am thankful for all the food our mentor and leader of the class put out (including fruit, chocolate, tea/coffee/water) because she said she believed it helped inspire loads of creativity and the ladies who cooked for us and the flowers everywhere. The perfect environment for writing and creativity and all that needed inspiration.

I am thankful for what I came away with, the writing I did. I am working on it some more yet, but hope to publish my story at some point.

I am thankful for the last night, with the thematic musical entertainment, the fact that I vowed to try new things and ended my week of that by eating crickets, and for all the brilliant writing shared by everyone in the class. I am thankful for the support I received for my piece upon reading it aloud.

I am thankful for my family’s support, even though I know how hard it was, at times, for some of them more than others. I would be nowhere near where I am now if it weren’t for them.

I am thankful for the confidence I felt and, even more so, for the fear that persisted and fuelled me. It’s still feeling me.

I am thankful for the reaction from my cat and my dog upon arriving home. My cat made a long mewing sound like I’ve never heard. He sounded excited, to me anyway.

I’m not sure what good it will do in the concrete ways that matter, but I am thankful for all the protests I’ve seen happening against the cruelty, ignorance, and arrogance in the US government, especially these last few weeks since I was away.

Those judges and lawyers working to fight against such unfair actions taken without any care to those hurting. Those fighting are likely putting their butts on the line, some maybe even risking more than we realize at this given moment.

Canada is nowhere near perfect, not hardly, but I am thankful for the total difference in feeling I notice here. I love a lot of Americans, some I’ve met oh so recently, but the country as a whole makes me very uncomfortable now, feeling vulnerable, but it’s clearly the government I have a problem with. I hope this changes one day. May seen as though I’m generalizing here, but believe me, I wish I hadn’t felt that when traveling back through the US.

Sobbing over today’s newspaper – Carrie Snyder from Canada

Just put yourself in the place of someone coming to a new country because you feel in danger in your own.

How can you not help but try to understand what that must feel like? How can any of us avoid that, just because it’s an uncomfortable thought?

I can’t imagine having to leave my home, the only place I’ve known, so I am thankful to be back in my home of Canada. May it always be a place of peace, even when threatened by hate like the rest of the world finds itself, more and more.

There is so much happening, in my world and in the world at large. I am just trying to survive the helplessness of it all, and the best thing I can think of is to write through it all, through all the pain and the confusion and the uncertainties. This must include self care, right along with care for and of other people and our planet.

This taking new chances to hopefully produce new and eye-opening perspectives is about all I can think to do to appreciate life. Things can be hard, are rough, for a lot of people. I say, take a leap and step off that ledge, metaphorically of course, or use your best judgment. Just do something.

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I want to share more photos, but those can be a bit tricky for me. I asked for them, for the record of preservation, to show my family. I can’t quite keep them straight, never knowing if what I include and think is really what it is. I will do another post, once I get that straight. Most of them were posted on Facebook, but I never want to share without credit or explanation.

To be continued…

I also wanted to link up with
Finish The Sentence Friday, #FTSF
because it’s been a few weeks for that also and I love Kristi and how she finishes her sentences.

When it comes to self care, I am certain what I just did for myself, as illustrated here, definitely counts.

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Just One More, I Think #SoCS

Who doesn’t adore the delicious scent of
cookies
on any day of the year?

I sit here, chocolate mint cookie from Tim Hortons wafting into my nostrils. How much more Canada and Christmas can I get?

I think, as much as I love eating them, it’s almost a better thing to sit and enjoy the pleasant aroma of coffee and cookie as I contemplate things at the end of another year in my life.

I want to focus on Christmas and all the happiness I can pick from this time of year. I want to focus only on good food and family and holiday traditions.

Cookies are a big part of that. My mom makes multiple kinds for Christmas most years. So has my sister. Her intricately designed iced cookies at Christmas were pieces of art which I hated to eat.

She is pregnant this year and gets the year off if she so desires, off from cookie duty that is. There are more important things. Her little boy is starting to realize the magic of Christmas. She needs her rest to prepare for all of that.

There were cookies as holiday treats for my most recent writing group meeting at the library. I ate two of them, plus a mint chocolate that comes from a famous little chocolate shop not too far from here. Cookies and chocolate certainly makes it more pleasant to read a story to the group you’ve had barely an hour to construct.

Tea and cookies. Coffee and cookies. Cookies and milk.

The tradition of leaving cookies and milk for Santa is timeless at this point, for most of us. That SC gets a lot of cookies this time of year. Lucky guy.

I must not eat another cookie. Oh no, I mustn’t. Or maybe I eat and be merry and enjoy myself, right into 2017 and the predictable January regret.

This season is all about cooking and cookies. I partake in both, the consumption of both I should say, though I don’t do much of either the cooking very well myself. It is much too easy letting other, more skilled hands take over.

I can sit and think about world events or my future or any number of things, but it’s made all the more pleasant when I can smell that coffee and cookies nearby.

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TToT: Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah HumBug! Whoosh! #SnowInTheSahara #10Thankful

: You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch / You’re a nasty, wasty skunk / Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk / Mr. Gri-inch / The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: Stink, stank, stunk!

—Dr. Seuss

Two holiday favourites I like to watch this time of year are The Grinch and A Christmas Carol. I wonder at if the real life Grinches and Scrooge’s of this world could grow a heart and see the error of their ways, but sadly, I doubt it by this point.

Neil Gaiman Reads “A Christmas Carol” – NYPL Podcast

Also, as I was sitting in the gymnasium from my youth, watching a new generation of children singing about Santa and snowflakes and all the other traditions of this time of year, I felt the ghosts of my own childhood, all the years I spent in elementary school. I also listened to songs about snowflakes and I thought about that.

I get on my own case for letting it bother me at all that the idea of a snowflake has been hijacked by those who have started referring to “liberals” as “special snowflakes” and saying all the “special snowflakes” need to go and hide out in their “safe places”.

So just what exactly is so wrong with that, anyway? Huh? Hmm?

I want a break from worries. As much as I love the advice I’m often given, to try not to focus on those things that upset me, I refuse to let something as beautiful as a snowflake be a negative thing. Or, as if a safe place is somehow a bad place to be.

Oh, no no no. I…Don’t…Think…SO!

So, here I am, starting this pre-Christmas TToT with a rant or two, but I wish I didn’t have it on my mind to rant about anything at all. I do plan to give myself the gift of a break from all that once Christmas does come.

(this is a real single snowflake showing all of the tiny details)

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I’m thankful for snowflakes.

Snowflakes are special, this is true. They are nature at its finest. They are the most delicate things and I am lucky to have grown up with them, here in Canada. I recently had a fascinating conversation with someone who didn’t grow up with the kind of snow we have here. He spoke of his thoughts about it now. I enjoyed hearing his perspective, so different from mine.

They are all different, snowflakes, and that makes them special, not one being the same as another. They may be delicate on their own, but as more and more of them fall, eventually they become a collection of flakes, which makes snow and the results of enough snowflakes, all packed together, this can become the most unstoppable of forces: an avalanche.

I’m thankful for safe places.

Wait until war ravages where you call home and then see if you look for a safe place to run to.

In a world so full of harsh weather and cruel human behaviours, and a safe place is something we all would cling desperately to.

I thank everything I have for home, which is my safe place/space, where family are and where I know I am loved by someone. I desire greatly to explore the world, but I’m sure thankful I have the safe place right here to return to. If that makes me winy or pathetic to some, so be it.

I’m thankful for solstice. Man, do I love that word.

🙂

December 21st is the first day of winter. I am ready for it.

Snow Falls In The Sahara For First Time In Over 37 Years – Bored Panda

I think there is something beautiful about winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. People are thrilled this means the days, from here on out, begin to lengthen and commence in June. That will be another big month in my life, but for now, I enjoy what transpires in this part of the world and astronauts have seen it and word it best:

***

Generations of astronauts, after looking at Earth from space, have professed a profound new understanding of it. Edgar Mitchell, who, in 1971, became the sixth man to walk on the moon, said, “From out there . . . international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’ ” Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong’s crewmate on Apollo 11, expressed similar sentiments in his memoir, “Carrying the Fire,” which was published in the midst of the Cold War. Seeing our home planet from afar, he wrote, prompted an epiphany: “The earth
Must become as it appears: blue and white, not capitalist or Communist; blue and white, not rich or poor; blue and white, not envious or envied.”
Mike Massimino, in his memoir, “Spaceman,” reports having spent almost a full day staring out a window of the Space Shuttle Columbia, watching sunrises and lightning storms (“like a form of communication, like a sequence, like the clouds are alien creatures speaking to each other in code”). On his second spacewalk, Massimino told me recently, he had a spare moment to “take in the view.” He recalls being struck not only by Earth’s incredible beauty—“We are living in a paradise”—but also by its fragility. From out there, he said, especially during night passes, “you can see the thinness of the atmosphere,” a bluish-green line. This sudden perception of Earth as a delicate, intricate system is so common among astronauts that the writer Frank White coined a term for it: the overview effect.
Astronauts are endlessly fascinating to me, in part because they have a knack for poignant quotations. Buzz Aldrin, for instance, described the lunar landscape as a vision of “magnificent desolation,” a grand phrase for a bleak truth. Unlike our paradisiacal, blue-and-white Earth, the moon has no atmosphere and no real sky—just gray dust and black space, such that color photographs from moonwalks appear mostly black and white, as though someone colorized the American flags after the fact.
NASA brought six flags to the moon, on poles outfitted with horizontal crossbars so that the stars and stripes would show, as though caught in a nonexistent breeze. The flags are still there, but radiation is presumed to have left them in tatters—monuments to our love of Earth, or maybe just litter.

***

I’m thankful for the chance to return to my childhood for an afternoon.

It was a tad emotional, I admit, but it brought back a lot of worthwhile memories that had me thinking.

I have so much wrapped up in that building, both good and bad. I found it highly moving to return there. It gave me a lot to think about.

Why Do People Tell Ghost Stories on Christmas? – The Smithsonian

Speaking of ghosts at Christmas time, they were everywhere there.

I’m thankful I got to see my nephew’s Christmas concert.

Oh, aw, ah all those little boys and girls, trying so hard and singing their hearts out. They tried their best, especially the youngest ones like my nephew, to remember the words they practiced and my nephew, for one, was nervous when he walked on stage and saw how many of us there were in the audience.

I couldn’t pick out my nephew up there, as I am unable to see anywhere that clearly upon returning to that school as an adult with considerably less sight, but I am still glad I went, even if he couldn’t see me either.

I’m thankful for safeguards and protection for natural places.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/obama-ban-offshore-drilling-arctic-atlantic-1.3905384

President Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau working together once more, for one of the final acts together, to preserve parts of the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

They are protected against off shore oil drilling in those places. I don’t know how foolproof it will be, if what they’ve done will stand the test of time and Trump, but we shall see.

I am glad the two men are working together, once more, at something worthwhile. Sure, it may not be protecting everything that needs protecting, but it is something.

I’m thankful for a return to my library writing group.

I had missed a few, but I am glad I returned for this final meeting of “The Elsewhere Region” of 2016.

There were cookies and chocolate with mint and chocolate and raspberry tea. I don’t normally drink tea like the rest of them like to do, always afraid I might spill mine all over my electronics, but this time the tea sounded just too good to pass up. I took precautions, but the tea was delicious. Just the perfect thing for the occasion.

I wrote a story, dialogue and a conversation between two young women. The mystery object one member brought in was a strange family Christmas decoration. It was a frog wearing a fancy outfit and hat and his tag said something about him being named Mistle Toad.

Okay, so I guess he was a toad, not a frog, but it made for some interesting ideas for a writing prompt. We discussed and most wrote about the popular idea of kissing a frog and making it turn into a handsome prince.

My story confused some, but it really illustrates how, like snowflakes, all our writing styles are so diverse and so very much our own.

My imagination is a lot different from many of the other writers in the group. This always makes for a fun time.

I’m thankful for understanding doctors and nurses.

I have a doctor who hasn’t given up on me, even though I am a bit of a difficult case, and who promises I can call and come see her if anything comes up, even if it’s before our next scheduled appointment. That’s the sort of empathy and understanding I have always hoped for.

Also, I have a nurse offering to give me an iPhone case she no longer needs.

I’m thankful for my flu shot.

I know many people think it totally unnecessary. Some have gotten sick soon after getting one in the past and feel it can cause more problems than it helps prevent. I must say that I do take my low immune system seriously enough. If I can ever prevent getting a bad flu one of these times, I will get the shot.

My arm hasn’t even really bothered me this year, since getting it, and after the initial stinging and burning of the injection itself.

For those who are in perfect health, who are young and strong, there’s likely no huge need for it. Either way. I don’t get too worked up. It’s easy enough to get and so I do.

I’m thankful for a surprise Christmas card.

Thank you
Lizzi
for the surprise. I also enjoyed the tactile parts on the front of the card and the surprises to be found inside.

I admit I don’t do up Christmas cards myself. I find it hard, all so visual and I guess I’ve lost a little of my artistic streak, which I could draw on to make cards still for people.

As for Christmas cards, having them sent to me, not many are. I suppose many people think I won’t be able to see them anyway, so what’s the point? I don’t know. I may feel somewhat left out, but there are other ways of expressing holiday cheer. It’s just nice, once and a while.

: He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

Is Montreal’s Christmas tree ugly, or are we just looking at it wrong?

: Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.

—Dr. Seuss, 1956

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TToT: Riding the Waves of Life – Jub Jub and Jibber-Jabber, #10Thankful

“Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought that I’d see you again.”

Fire and Rain – James Taylor

I keep thinking I’m starting to feel better, but then I change my mind.

I haven’t been feeling all that well for a while now, for a long while now, and so when you add that to a week like the one I just had, it’s left me feeling a bit off.

This time of year is a difficult one, for family, for those I love, for several reasons.

On a week such as this, I suppose that’s when I need the 10 Things of Thankful most of all.

Because, even as I thought all this, I realized I was still able to come up with a list of ten things to be grateful for..

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For the unpredictability of the waves.

We enjoyed a late afternoon visit to Lake Erie. The water was rougher than we were expecting. I was upset about this at first, but it’s like life.

Sure, at first it leaves you feeling nervous and the motion of the waves can cause you to feel off balance.

But you can make an effort to make the best of that. I did. We did. Sometimes, you don’t really have any other choice.

I let each wave knock me around as it might. I tried to anticipate which wave would be the biggest, by the sound it made, but it often ended up being the loud ones that produced the least amount of force when they physically washed over me.

It was the silent one that snuck up on me, the one that seemed least intimidating, and that’s the one that forcefully slammed into me, knocking me sideways and off my feet.

That my nephew had so much fun playing in them.

He was smart enough to realize he had his mother and grandmother right there with him, for safety, but that he could still enjoy himself.

He was nervous at first, but once he saw how much fun the waves could be, he didn’t allow a bit of water to spoil things.

His pure shrieks of bliss made me realize the importance of relaxing and letting loose so I could enjoy the experience too.

For a peaceful moment on the beach.

Once I’d started to dry off by the gradually setting sun, the other three went back in once more, but I chose to stay on shore.

I sat and listened to the waves, to my nephew’s laughter, the sounds of other families, the cries of the seagulls.

Being by the lake, by Lake Erie, is a highly tranquil and peaceful feeling, and I know I’m not the only one to feel that way.

For the fun I had with the other members of my writing group.

We told stories about the crazy things our pets do. We talked about summer and about the weather. We made tea, without the group leader who usually does it. We even managed to find everything, even with the absence of her direction.

It was another one of those days when I dreaded going, as it was the hottest day of the month so far and I was already slow and sluggish from the humidity, but once I was there I was glad I hadn’t chosen to stay at home.

For the short story I came up with at said group this week.

It was a case of already having a setting and basic character outlines picked out. Someone had put both ideas in my head. I came up with the details, the dialogue, and filled in the blanks from there.

I took this week’s mystery object, a knitted and stuffed panda and knitted panda hat to go along with it, and I incorporated both those things into the story.

The basic idea is my first person narrator, who likes to go grocery shopping in the middle of the night, but not for lack of interesting characters to share a store with while doing it.

I think it might be one of the short stories I read out loud on a future podcast episode.

Being in this writing group has really helped me with writing fiction, which is the area I’d most wanted to work on. I get ideas and inspirations from things we talk about and from listening to the creativity of the other members in the group. It’s the best thing I’ve done for my writing in a long long time.

That amongst all the violence that happened this week, like any other around the world, my family were all safe.

I was nearly rendered speechless and definitely feeling heartsick by it all, like the terrorist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia in the weeks before last.

It just keeps on happening, but I am lucky I don’t need to be in constant fear for my loved ones. I know many aren’t so lucky.

For kissing.

This week, every July 6th, it’s International Kissing Day.

For chocolate and days set aside to celebrate it.

First came kissing. Next comes chocolate.

🙂

This week was also World Chocolate Day.

Enough said. I never need a day to get me to eat chocolate.

For persistence, which I know is a family trait for many in mine.

We hit a last minute snag on releasing the podcast, which I am sure people are growing tired of hearing me talk about, as it should have been up by now.

Well, snag nearly overcome. I attribute my brother’s persistence as being the reason you can expect the first episode of Ketchup On Pancakes to be out by the next TToT. But don’t take my word for it. I wouldn’t blame you if you were growing tired of my word.

😉

I tend to give up on things, especially things involving computers and technology, which is why I am glad my brother keeps working on something, in most cases, until he figures it out.

I know that sort of strong will is a quality a lot of my family members possess, more so than me.

For brilliant Canadian female writing.

Happy Birthday to Alice Munro!!!

She won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. She is from this province of Ontario. Her home is next to another one of the Great Lakes, Lake Huron. She has had a long career as a short story writer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYXG9rG0Jf0

link The complexity of things – the things within things – just seems to be endless. I mean nothing is easy, nothing is simple.

—Alice Munro

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Uneasy Me, #FTSF

“It’s not easy to be me.”

Superman’s Dead (It’s Not Easy) – Five For Fighting

Superman was always one of the last of the superhero stories I would choose. I was always more of a Batman girl. I don’t know how many Superman films I watched there for a while, but none of them stuck with me as being particularly interesting. I didn’t understand the whole backstory or even the definition or importance of kryptonite.

That’s why, when I read this week’s FTSF prompt, I froze in my tracks, unsure if I would write anything at all, have anything to link up with.

I looked up the meaning, refreshed my memory, but still drew a blank. Kryptonite meaning, basically, weakness and still I was coming up with nothing.

Come on, I nudged myself over the last few days. You’ve got to have a weakness. What is it? What would be the main one?

I am working on writing my memoir. It seemed like a perfect moment in time to start again, as I think back on the twenty years, exactly, that I was diagnosed with kidney disease as a frightened twelve-year-old.

Since that point I have been called brave and inspirational many many times. How did I do it? How was it that I managed to survive feeling so sick, dialysis, and surgery to have a transplanted kidney from my father?

I am not as strong as all those well-meaning family, friends, medical professionals, and acquaintances assumed. I don’t want what happened twenty years ago, what was only really a few years out of my whole life, to define me forever. I try to get past it, really, but I keep going back to it and writing my story down is a big part of that.

Sometimes I wonder if that’s even a good idea. Maybe I should just move on and look ahead. That’s what I am doing, but then I turn my head round and admit to myself that what happened during those rough months, all those years ago now, that stuff left its mark on me and I can’t honestly say I don’t look back in reflection.

My kryptonite is the past. It’s the affect a physical illness had on my body, my mind, the girl I was trying to grow into.

It influences my body image even now, as a grown woman.

When I was treated I was clearly under-weight and malnourished. I was lacking proper vitamins and minerals, things the kidneys are supposed to take care of.

I stayed stable on dialysis and I had the transplant. This got me back to a healthy state, but I went from being barely eighty pounds, maybe less, at age twelve. My puberty was hugely disrupted. I was not growing.

Once I had a working kidney, one being all you technically require, I began to gain weight. I gained weight as a side effect of more than one of the medications I had to go on.

I remember standing on our bathroom scale, realizing I was ninety-two pounds, and starting to panic. I wasn’t relieved I was gaining. I was horrified.

I was weighed every time I went on and off the dialysis machines. This was necessary, to monitor my fluid loss and gain, but it played havoc with my head. I was shown to focus on weight, at a time I shouldn’t have had to, when only months before I was pushed to put on the pounds.

Now, the weight was coming on abnormally quickly and I was visited by dieticians who went over the list of foods to stay away from if I didn’t want to gain even more weight.

So now I like my chocolate but I also like my fruit.

At Easter I love chocolate eggs, but come summer I go nuts eating strawberries, peas straight from the pod, peaches, and apples for weeks and weeks on end. They are really all I want to eat.

All in moderation. Diets don’t work. Or avoid some foods entirely?

I can list all the excuses in the book as to why exercise and weight loss hasn’t been easy for me, but I know I am not alone. I must keep plugging away at it, remaining mindful of it. I don’t want to make excuses, to use chronic pain or my blindness as reasons why I am now gradually gaining weight over time. I only get my kidney checked twice a year, but they still take my weight at the start of these appointments, and I am forced to look back and try to recall what the scale read six months before, to keep track, somewhat, of where I’m at. So although I don’t keep checking my weight on my bathroom scale every morning, I’m made to be accountable, every time November/April rolls around.

Yes, the meds have decreased, things are more moderate now, but the damage is done – floodgates have been wide open for twenty years. I deal with something so many people deal with, I know. Emotions also play a part and my psychological state becomes a factor.

Can I keep things under control? Can I not let the events of my past rule my present or influence the future?

My kryptonite are the stretch marks I’ve had (not from a pregnancy, like most women my age), but since I was on high doses of prednisone, when I was fourteen years old. I can feel the clear visible evidence of how it all began and I feel weak because I can’t keep things in balance as much of the time as I’d like, but that’s why I write about it all. I hope that part doesn’t make me weak. I don’t feel all that brave or inspirational and I don’t want the weaknesses I live with to bring me down. They do serve as reminders of the scars of my past and the toughness, as they’ve driven these bits of my past in deep.

Now I’m off to go eat a mango and some chocolate.

🙂

The brains behind this week’s FTSF is

Lisa Crisp Witherspoon

of The Golden Spoons.

Kryptonite – 3 Doors Down

And, as always, Kristi of

Finding Ninee.

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Blogging, Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Share the Land, Love, and Music – Today’s the Only Day, #10Thankful #LoIsInDaBl #WorldWhaleDay

“One minute you’re waiting for the sky to fall. And next you’re dazzled by the beauty of it all.”

LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME – BRUCE COCKBURN

That’s life. That’s love.

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Last week I combined

#BlogLove with Ten Things of Thankful and Finish the Sentence Friday.

Now, this week, my TToT is all about music, songs I love, because they are connected to people, places, and things I love and am thankful for.

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The theme of love is shared also through:

SONG LYRICS SUNDAY (VALENTINE’S DAY EDITION)

Sunday means music and lyrics. I found this song,

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

and I like its message, as today is all about love.

My previous posts on this day (Feb. 14) have been:

Valentine’s Day 2014

&

Ruby Red 2015

I am thankful for colours like red, white, and pink. They symbolize love, flowers, and the white cane I use to get around.

I am thankful for chocolate. Oh boy am I thankful for chocolate.

😉

I am thankful every time my musician brother directs my attention to a song I’ve not heard of before, even though he swears I must have heard the Valentine themed song from above at one time. He finds songs for every occasion on the calendar.

ONLY LOVE CAN BREAK YOUR HEART – NEIL YOUNG

This is true Neil.

But then The Police said it best: “Love can mend your life but love can break your heart.”

I am thankful for an excellent performance I attended the night before turning thirty-two. I pretended it was all in my honour, but the proceeds actually went to a very important cause, as this is February:

HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

It was put on by my brother and his music program (Music Industry Arts MIA).

HOTLINE BLING – GLASS FACE (DRAKE COVER)

I am thankful for Canadian influences in all areas of art: music and literature. There were several of the Canadian artists covered that I am a fan of and I had my favourites that the students orchestrated. Some sounded completely different, like Drake. His is a popular hit right now, but is a little too commercial for my liking. Glass Face’s adaptation is more chilled and mellow.

Some people might believe the point of performing a cover song is to make it sound exactly like the original, but in this case, these students showed off their many musical talents by putting their own unique spin on hit songs that most everybody already knows.

I am waiting for the entire show to become available, but I’m so glad I was there live. I became nervous, like I always do when someone I care about is about to perform. I am so impressed that anyone would have the guts and the nerve to put themselves out there like that, risking ridicule, but without taking that chance…none of us can show the world what we’re capable of.

My brother’s time up on that stage was no exception. I became emotional as he played his solo. I thought about where he was, only mere weeks ago, and how none of us dared hope he would be back to himself, artist that he was born to be, so soon. Still, there he was and I closed my eyes tight to the tears of glee and pride.

Oh, and another one of my favourite songs from that night is one that will always remind me of the videos of the eighties and of certain people. It’s a cool song really, just like some of those people.

SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT – COREY HART

It’s a song one might also associate with someone who is blind, sunglasses, shades, at night and all, but will always be a groovy one.

🙂

I am thankful for my birthday because I draw strength and motivation from every one of them I get that come around.

TODAY’S THE DAY – PINK

This song made me want to focus on the here and now. Two years ago, on my thirtieth birthday I started my blog,

BUCKET LIST,

and I have a new goal for this year. I can’t wait to see what kind of music I am playing when I turn thirty-three.

I am thankful for my growing love of the violin, not just listening, but starting to learn how to play myself.

I am thankful for all the violin recommendations coming in, to me, from friends and family. My uncle, who has been showing me the basics, he gave me a few CDs to check out and I’ve found Lindsey Stirling and she is becoming a new favourite of mine.

SHADOWS

My father wants me to look more towards Itzhak Perlman, from Fiddler on the Roof and Schindler’s List. That is likely where I first began to hear and fall in deep love with the sad melodies of the violin as an instrument.

ITZHAK PERLMAN, SCHINDLER’S LIST

However, as beautifully sad as this music is, if I were to focus on it too much, not to mention trying to shoot for perfection in trying to emulate one of the world’s best violinists, I would focus on the theme of sadness too much. It has its place, definitely, but I need a balance of Jewish tragedy and a more happy and upbeat sound, from more modern sounding violin, even Canadian Celtic sound would do.

I am thankful for music sent to me by someone, even when I rejected it on first hearing it, but later reconsider my stance on its merits.

Missing – Luca Schreiner feat. Kimberly Anne (Official Video)

That’s right. I’ve reconsidered. Caught me on a bit of a strange night, in a weird moment. With music, it’s often all about where you are at any particular moment, when you first hear a song. Sometimes, like people, some songs take a little while to grow on you.

🙂

I am thankful for the music of the most beautiful and amazing animal on earth.

BEAUTIFUL WHALE SONG

They make the best music around. Yesterday was

#WorldWhaleDay

I am thankful that, although my brother may not be the best choice to teach me musical theory for violin specifically, that he and I can hopefully jam together in future.

Actually, I couldn’t believe it when, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere today, we were jamming. I started playing a few notes, a few of the only notes I can produce on violin so far, and he did what he does best – he started to play with me, improvising like he does when jamming with someone. It lasted a short time and I ruined the moment by laughing eventually, because I simply couldn’t believe it.

We have always had a special sister-brother bond/connection and we have these amazing discussions and conversations all the time, but this is a different form of communication, a way to connect without speaking. I would re-create it if I could, but some moments cannot be reproduced on command.

I am thankful for this.

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I have my tools, metaphorical or literal: my white cane, my pencil/pen (words), and now my bow. I think all three are more powerful than all the guns and bombs put together. The power in words and music and independence is unmatched.

BLACKBIRD

Happy White Cane Week 2016.

And congratulations,

Helen Espinosa,

who hosts “Song Lyrics Sunday”, for her engagement. Love the song.

“Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. Gotta kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight.”

LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME – BARE NAKED LADIES

I started and ended TToT 2016 (Valentine Edition) with a version of a favourite Canadian hit.

Which one do you like best?

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