Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: 2018/2019 It Comes and Goes (Special Mementos Edition) #JusJoJan #10Thankful

I wasn’t sure, as 2018 drew to a close, if I’d be back here in 2019

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and yet I am, returning with a
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
edition of the
Ten Things of Thankful
list.

Holidays are all about memories, or rather mementos of a life. Here I go, jotting down the ones that most stood out for me this last holiday season, the previous year and into this new one.

I’m thankful for Prosecco. The popping of the cork was a bit of a production, but the resulting bubbly liquid was so worth it.

I’m thankful for little balls of chocolate that come wrapped in foil with a creamy centre.

I’m thankful for old toys that make a modern return to the lives of the children in the family, such as Lite-Brite and an Etch-A-Sketch. One I can use, but the other, not so much. Still, they are a backtracking from all the technology we’re now living with and they encourage creativity. I spelled out braille words with the coloured pegs, the light shining and flashing in behind.

I’m thankful for Christmas Eve spaghetti and meatballs.

I’m thankful for a family tradition of sprinkle cookies that my sister loves to make.

I’m thankful for my mom’s stuffing, which used to be my grandmother’s stuffing to go along with a turkey dinner.

I’m thankful for a holiday movie classic viewing, with my father, on Christmas Eve.

I’m thankful for KFPB or Kijewski family pancake breakfast, Ketchup on pancakes and my brother at the pan, trying hard to make them just like our Oma used to.

I’m thankful for photos I can’t see, of my nieces and nephews with Santa. Or the ones my brother takes during the celebrating.

I’m thankful for hugs, whether they be end-of-visit or a surprise hug at the start of our KFC festivities (Kijewski Family Christmas).

These are mementos, past and present tradition and pieces of something, of a family celebration that’s always a great great time every year.

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Caption: Sophia’s birthday cookies. Hands with nails to paint.

Go here fore
January joy
and for more from the blogger who suggested memento as prompt word.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: On Boxing Day, Boxes, and More Christmas Wrapping On Its Way #BoxingDay #10Thankful

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Photo caption: Christmas Eve 2017 photo with my neighbour.

I’m sitting tight today, between December 24/25th and our family’s second Christmas tomorrow, on this Boxing Day of 2017 and I have plenty to be thankful for.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for another six months with my kidney.

Creatinine was up, from its usual seventy, into the eighties and, of course, even with this slight increase I worry somewhat.

The doctor tells me I am doing well for twenty years on and that he has no reason to be concerned at this time. I take this and hold it close as a win, for now.

It’s a bit of a tentative thankful, but it is genuine. Best I can do.

I am thankful for lunch with my friend from across the ocean.

She is a senior resident OBGYN in Cork, Ireland. She has a life there, with her two-year-old daughter.

I am happy to hear of their lives and am grateful that they come back at Christmas.

We went shopping and out for a nice lunch. I learned about her daughter’s two best friends and their daily routines. Busy girls.

It’s just nice, however briefly they are here, that we can return to our familiarity with each other, no matter how long it’s been, how long a year has felt in between last seeing one another.

I hope her daughter, as she grows, will soon feel that too. I am just honoured to be Aunt Kerry to another amazing child, if not by blood, relation, than by bestowment through lifelong friendship..

Friendship, I’ve learned over the years is never guaranteed in life, but sometimes it is meant to be, with an extra pinch of additional effort.

I am thankful for a quick fix to my heat.

I woke up, on Wednesday morning, to no heat at all. By the evening, I was curled up to warm up, but heat had been restored throughout the vents in my home.

I had a friend to take me out and a neighbour offering a warm place to retreat into if necessary. I was never in danger of freezing.

I worried the workers would be busy this time of year, but I was on a list, and it was short.

The problem had something to do with the pressure switch. That’s all I retained from the explanation. It required a pickup of the part, or delivery really, and Bam! Done!

And I had just been paid for a writing job and it felt good to be able to pay my own repair bill.

I am thankful for a pre-Christmas musical dedication and episode of my brother’s radio show.

Sure, Christmas may be over officially, but why not check these songs out. Some are dedicated to snow too, and Hannukah.

Chin Music (Holiday 2017 Edition) – CHRW Radio Western

I heard the song he played, for me, and I proceeded to dance/flail around my living room to it. Good workout and a reminder that Christmas isn’t so easy, for everyone, all of the time.

Bah Humbug is too strong for me, thankfully.

I am thankful for a Christmas visit and generous gifts from my 2017 neighbour.

Wine and Dutch wafer cookies made with honey.

She gave me a bracelet and necklace, with my birthstone and a heart, and other charms.

I appreciate her in my life, starting this year, and a dear one for years to come.

I am thankful for the love of earth and the natural world in a family creation.

Picked up a mossy world, with a gnome riding a turtle for my dining room’s table’s centre.

My cousin was selling them at the Saturday morning market. They find glass jars and other things, like mine which was an old fish tank or possibly a cookie jar at one time. Then they add moss and other things, creating its own little world in a jar.

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I am thankful for a Christmas Eve morning visit with my friend and her daughter.

A two-year-old into Peppa Pig and I found the perfect Christmas surprise: Peppa Pig’s pizza parlour.

She loved it and warmed up as the visit progressed.

I am thankful we were played and up in the first hour.

http://keepingscoreathome.com/?p=3284

The audio story I wrote and recorded with my brother was aired on the 25-hour Christmas Eve/Day marathon, on a little college radio station in New Jersey.

Jon plays lesser known seasonal songs and a story from a listener, one per hour. He has been doing this for years now and has loyal yearly listener/fans like my brother. It was one of our goals, since he listened and familiarized me with the show last Christmas. We made a plan to send in a contribution from the two of us and we got it done.

It was odd hearing it on that show, but a nice way to finish off 2017 on a high note.

I am thankful for another Christmas Eve to watch A Christmas Carol with my father.

Humbug!

It came on TV at nine and at first, in colour, but my father would rather black and white. I can’t blame him and he found it on another channel.

Again, the past and present and future, and I learn and reflect on my life and on the world.

I am thankful my neighbour could join us for Christmas Eve this year.

She made her signature Caesar salad and served it in wooden bowls she brought back from Costa Rica.

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

Onward to Second Christmas. Hobbits have “second breakfast” and the Kijewski family has “second Christmas”.

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Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, Podcast, Special Occasions, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: Blood Red Sun In A Smoky Sky – Lucky and Thankful, #FridayThe13th #Podcast #10Thankful

Okay,, I did it again. What week is this, exactly, that I came late to the party and linked up last? I keep this as a priority, but it does end up falling down a point…or five.

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Birthday photos come a week later, first of my time holding my niece, by the swing set she is too young to enjoy just yet. I am still thinking birthdays…my parents and a friend and so on.

But forest fires continue to burn on the west coast and far away there is violence, such that I cannot imagine, and here I sit, writing another list of what I am thankful for in this life.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the best spaghetti dinner ever.

My brother made it. spaghetti has been a favourite food in my family for a long time, since our traditional spaghetti dinner, every Christmas Eve when I was young.

Now my brother makes it so well, as he’s been perfecting it. We went another way with the food in the title of our podcast (the one I was there to make when this meal was made) but, if I could have come up with a clever enough name using spaghetti, I would have.

He now takes care, not to eat sauce from a can, but to make it with vegetables and spices, allowing it to simmer.

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My brother has perfected spaghetti and my sister has perfected cupcakes.

I am thankful for the birth and birthday of a lifelong friend.

We’ve been friends since we were ten. She was one of the few kids to approach me, on that first day at a new school. I had felt like a bit of a sideshow then, but our friendship grew into so much more.

I think of her now, so far away and on a path I never could have guessed at, and I smile and put my hand to my heart.

I am thankful for a long chat with a writer friend.

She writes about science. She is a scientist who loves to write, I suppose it would be better to say.

We talked for a long time, about everything concerning writing, as we are both trying to make it, using our skills, on our own.

Though our lives are vastly different from one another, our thoughts often come back to the same thing, something involving the art and the struggle of being a writer.

I am thankful for a gift of Gummy Bears.

I was working on a piece, on deadline, and someone knew it.

They sent me a treat, even if it was just a picture of that treat, a virtual treat as it were.

Still, to know they were thinking of me, there in that moment, was a nice thing, plain and simply.

I am thankful for superstitions like the famous Friday the 13th.

They have given me something to write about and to think about. They have caused me to challenge what I think and what I believe.

I am thankful for a visit with my neighbour where she helped me figure out how to take action in a few areas of my life.

She is good at narrowing an issue or a particular problem down. She keeps me thinking ahead and on task. Checking in on me periodically has helped a great deal since knowing her.

I am thankful for a delicious lunch/latte with another writing friend.

The wrap and the latte were just the thing for a Friday, as tired as I felt. I like hearing her take on things and I hope to be an ear to listen with for her, someone she knows she can trust.

I am thankful for a challenging violin lesson and yoga session, both within two days.

New poses to strengthen. New parts to repeat and drill into my thick head.

It is all a challenge, but a giant breath of fresh air too.

I am thankful for a friend’s writing getting published and read this week.

Kerra makes her opinions known on CNN.

She is speaking up, speaking out, and writing.

THE PRICE OF REDEMPTION – Panorama Journal

I am thankful we got a 60 minute episode of Ketchup On Pancakes recorded and up on our SoundCloud page.

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 6 – Mom and More

When I think of my mom, I think of growing things, like flowers.

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Apparently, so do others.

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Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Hearts and Sunshine – Music To My Ears, #10Thankful

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

–From “Little Gidding” by T. S. Eliot

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Last week I wrote my TToT list, like I’ve done for nearly every week, for months now. I found ten things to be thankful for, as always, but I did preface my list with a list of three things I had to complain about. Christmas wasn’t all merriment and joy for me.

Christmas Through Your Eyes

But then there’s this, there’s them. This song I include because I know how much I still have to be thankful for, not least the way the children in my life help me see certain things in a new light.

If I can’t see Christmas lights like I used to, or colours so bright, I am grateful for the little children who teach me to appreciate the beauty of the world.

My niece’s birthday cupcakes had designs of rainbows, hearts, and sunshines on them. These are the things she loves to draw lately. They are what make me feel like there is just a tiny bit of me inside of her, as those are the things I loved to draw when I was her age, back when I could see enough and loved colouring and bright colours.

I see myself in her sometimes, the little girl I once was, and I feel a little less afraid. Thanks goes to my cousin for the amazing cupcakes, as always.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For a second Christmas. A do-over if you will, with three amazing little people and the best family a girl could ask for.

Of course, there was nothing really wrong with the first one. I finally got to give my nephew the talking oven I’d been dying to give him and he loved it. Best part of Christmas Eve.

🙂

However, then I fell asleep with a headache, missing out on watching A Christmas Carol with my father, our little December 25th tradition.

Christmas number two was three days, after Boxing Day, with my brother and his wife and their two children. We all get together, at my parent’s house, and do Christmas on our own time.

For a spur-of-the-moment Sunday night trip to the movies, (to see the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens), with my two brothers.

I loved it. It was an awesome escape from reality for a couple hours.

I was not born yet, to witness the craze of the first Star Wars, back in 1977, so I probably don’t have the same attachment to what it was like when it first came out in theatres.

All I know is I liked the characters, the action, and the fact that I saw it all unfolding with my brothers. A few weeks ago now I wasn’t seeing any movie with Brian. Now here we all were.

For another excellent movie narration, by an expert in the art of movie describing.

🙂

I really need to write a letter. I really see no reason, in 2015/16, that all movie theatres don’t have audio descriptive track for the visually impaired.

I know it’s a small town movie theatre, with few people in need, but there are still some, me included. With all the technology we have, it’s possible, and I shouldn’t have to worry about what movie to go to, not feeling I can’t see a specific film, say if I were on a date.

My older brother is well practiced, after being the one to do it for my younger brother and me since we were little, but most people don’t know how to describe a movie. It isn’t something to come naturally to most people.

For my brother’s home electronics knowledge.

I haven’t had much in home audio for a while now. When my ex left, I told him I didn’t need the flat screen television, and that he should take it, that I could get by with an old television for the time.

This meant that the surround sound system I’d purchased, when we started dating, was sitting unused, but since I was the one who bought it, I kept it. I assumed I would use it again, at some juncture.

Well, I finally have the chance. I required help to set it up again. My brother came over and got it working for me.

For Canadian healthcare and a card to access it.

I resisted having to get the new, updated card, for as long as I possibly could. Finally, I couldn’t resist any longer and got my photo taken, waiting for the card to arrive in the mail.

Well, it came the other day and I know I am lucky to live in Canada, to have the access to all the medical attention I might ever need, of which I very likely will at some point. That little card is my ticket.

For my brother, who continues to become his old self, a little more everyday and for the beautiful music he still makes.

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His language and memory are growing stronger all the time and I have him back. I’d feared that I’d lost him forever, in the way that he might never again be who he was. I was afraid we wouldn’t continue to have the connection we’ve always shared, that we could no longer have the talks we used to have. It’s a Christmas miracle. I don’t care what anyone else says.

At one point, during Christmas Part Two, my uncle came over with a guitar and his recorder. The two of them started to play and we all started to cry.

It was the best sound in the world, hearing my brother play the guitar, when we weren’t sure he ever would again.

Grenade

The above song doesn’t fit the scene, but I will forever think of it when I remember this next thankful on my list.

For the birth of a beautiful little girl, her existence, and the sunshine she’s brought to my family’s lives for these last five years.

I will never forget the night of New Year’s Eve, 2010 and celebrating, alone, in the kitchen of the house I was living in at the time.

It was just me, pizza, and wine, toasting the birth of my brother’s first child, my parent’s first grandchild, and my introduction into the best title ever: of Auntie Kerry. I couldn’t wait to get back to my family, to meet my niece for the very first time.

She has made the world a much brighter place, these last five years. She is smart and funny. She is so sharp. She keeps us all on our toes. We are constantly surprised by what she knows and what she thinks and what she says.

For one more perfect visit with my friend and her baby girl.

It was a chance to ring in 2016 with Chinese food, chocolate cake, and The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story.

🙂

For the fun of watching said unauthorized story with my old friend. She explained the wild outfits of the early 90s and the ways the actors playing the 90210 characters did or did not look like the real people they were said to be portraying.

It was highly amusing and entertaining. It was a surprise discovery, as we were looking around the television for something else to watch, other than all the to-be-expected New Year’s Eve countdown specials. We had fun, while my friend’s baby girl slept nearby. She wasn’t really old enough to watch, but my friend and I had fun discussing our memories of those days of 90210. It was my favourite show and this unauthorized movie was a fun way to spend the last few hours of one of the best years in recent memory.

Plus, in the morning I got to keep a sweet little girl company, while her mother got dressed, had something to eat, and packed up to leave.

They are gone now, back to Ireland, and I will miss them very much, but I got to have one last visit with them both. I will never forget that.

Unforgettable

RIP Natalie Cole

“I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words – how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.”

–Elton John

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Memoir Monday

The Year I Almost Missed Christmas

The year I almost spent Christmas in the ER.

I’d been on dialysis for nearly six months. Christmas was a mere few days away, but something wasn’t right.

I began feeling ill and something going on in my abdomen grew steadily worse and worse, the pain growing and building.

I spent most of my time downstairs, in our basement, covered in an afghan to stay warm. Grandparents and visitors stopping by for the season, a loving hand tucking the knitted blanket tightly around my trembling arms.

I had come up against all the unforeseen secondary medical issues any doctor could have predicted on the list since starting dialysis in the summer: losing an eye in the process. What more could go wrong? What could this be?

Each evening my mother would go through the checklist: turn on dialysis machine by bed, unwrap and lay out all the necessary tubing and medical supplies, make sure machine was going and the bags of dialysis fluid were placed on the machine and warming up, and finally to commence safety measures to prevent any spreading of germs.

I was on peritoneal dialysis, overnight while I slept. It was a repeated cycle of fluid inserted into my abdomen and then removed, as a way of clearing out toxins. Kidney failure treatment was supposed to be making me feel better. It had been, but not now.

My stomach began to cramp up as the machine began the first cycle. The fluid, on my mother’s inspection, appeared to be a cloudy colour. This, yes while unpleasant to imagine, meant infection.

It was comforting to have doctors on-call anytime, day or night and now only a day or two before Christmas. They told us to come into the emerge right away.

My father was away by the time I had gotten to bed, one of his men’s hockey league nights. We drove to the nearby town where the arena was and switched vehicles with him, not wanting to rely on his old Trans Am to get us all the way there.

My brother came along for support. It was into the front seat of the low-to-the-ground car, ten minute drive to arena, out of low front seat and into the family van. Not so easy in my condition. Stomach hurting so much with the unsuccessful attempt at a PD run earlier.

The whole way to the hospital my big brother sat in the middle seat of the van, holding me up and secure to all the bumps and the jolts. By this time the pain in my stomach was getting even more intense.

Finally we made it to the hospital and I was taken right in, given a bed and a curtain to close off the rest of the hustle and bustle of the overnight ER.

I spent a few hours on that bed as I was given antibiotics to try and stop the infection, through my abdominal catheter, same procedure as any other night’s dialysis routine.

We returned home, early on the morning of Christmas Eve and I spent the next few days horizontal.

First my brother and I both collapsed on opposite ends of the L-shaped living room couch, exhausted from the excitement of the previous night.

I had no idea what it was going to require in that emerge, so close to Christmas 1996 and if I would make it back in time to celebrate with my family. In the end I spent a somewhat uncomfortable Christmas Day, opening presents, grateful for dialysis and it’s many surprises (often unpleasant) but still necessary.

This holiday season I reflect on that particular Christmas and so many more, while I appreciate the almost twenty years that I’ve been dialysis free since that terrible, memorable night.

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