1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Podcast, RIP, TGIF, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: Back After A Long While #OctoberSurprise #BlindnessAwarenessMonth #10Thankful

I could have posted my favourite quote about the month I most love, but that “October” quote from Lucy Maud Montgomery has been added here in previous years. I will stick to my own words today.

I’ve been out of this gratitude post activity for months now. I still practice gratitude in my head and in my heart, but I have my moments of self pity and fear also and so I wanted to break that block I had which kept getting in my way of sharing here.

Ten Things of Thankful #10Thankful

I am thankful for this, my favourite month. The air is fresher and crisper and cleaner than the earthiness of spring or the humid, heavy heated air of summer in southwestern Ontario. Winter is good also, with the smell of snow in the air all around, like a snow globe. I look forward to that, though I worry about people I love who find the long, dark months of winter a challenge to their mental health and energy levels.

I am thankful for my yearly seasonal fresh apples. They are giant, some I call pumpkin apples. They are special and tart/sweet and so crisp and sour at times. I am thankful for those who pick them from the apple trees this time of year.

I am thankful for how Canada is mostly pulling together and facing this pandemic with grace and a common goal of staying healthy, as many of us as possible. I lay low and protect myself, as I’m on my way to 25 years with my father’s kidney come 2022. Those I love are staying safe too.

I’m thankful for staying close to family during such strange times. I am lucky to have parents who taught their four children respect and love for the gift of a sibling, brother or sister, for the different things they bring to the table of sibling closeness. Our parents know they won’t always be here and how important it is to keep growing a bond with a sibling, no matter where life takes any one of us four. We’re here for each other and I don’t see that changing, but I hope I can do my part to keep the bonds strong.

I’m thankful each sibling and I have talks and they each keep me sane, in different ways, at different moments when I might be struggling to voice my concerns and fears over the state of things. I tend to let my imagination run wild with these things, am frightened for what’s to come in the US especially in the coming months. It’s hard here too, as helpless as I feel because I can’t contribute a vote against the man currently occupying the people’s house there in DC. I can only watch from up here, in horror and disgust and embarrassment for it all and the still real possibility that it could go worse still.

I am thankful for a more successful year for me, compared to 2019, dangerously contagious unknown virus that has come upon us in 2020 notwithstanding. I’ve started doing what’s called sensitivity reads for a children’s publisher in Toronto and now an accessibility review for a science journalist who was presenting at some sort of UK science journalism conference. She wanted to do all she could to make her slide presentation, with its images and alt text on those images accessible for everyone and needed someone with a screen reader to look everything over. I feel like I am doing my part in this world to improve accessibility for myself, others with the same needs as I have and that’s something at least..

I am thankful the show I do with my brother is
now available
in more places than one. We’ve had some incredible guests on the show in recent weeks and we’re not done yet.

I’m thankful for the nature documentaries on Netflix I’ve had to escape into for distractions lately.

Most of what’s available on Netflix now is audio described, allowing me to imagine the scenes of wildlife and the natural world in my mind as I’m listening.

Watching these, I felt peaceful for a brief but necessary break in my day, but also I’ve been reminded why I love nature (my religion) and the need for action to protect it.

I’m thankful I have an essay
about Braille
I wrote, published in my third print book, not counting the
magazine
I now have my name on as assistant-editor over the last year or so.

vcznKJ7.jpg

I probably should have confirmed, but I’m unfortunately unsure I can post the correct photo description, as I am unsure which one I went with here. I just chose one from my photos, one from that day, something with the print magazine my essay is in, me holding it or it being open and showing the page with my name or my story on it.

I’m thankful for the Women Who Travel online study course I’ve been taking, for the virtual walk around New Zealand next month, and the nature writing class I’m taking in January, 2021, all of which give me something meaningful to focus on, to work on, and to use as inspiration until I can travel again one day.

I’m thankful for the recent online fiction writing class I started, every Friday night until right before Christmas. It will keep me accountable..

Though we don’t know what will be by the time Christmas and the end of this wild year arrives, but until then I am doing my best to get by.

So, if you ask me that usual, general question from now until at least 2021 and the hope of a possible COVID-19 vaccine is perfected, even if I sigh, suck it up and answer “fine,” I won’t exactly be fine, but I’m doing what I can to stay hopeful and sometimes I fall back into that trap of answering in a way as to not make others feel uncomfortable to continue any further talk with me.

Thank you, Kristi and everyone, for still being here to show me the way on staying as accountable to being thankful as humanly possible and a recent Happy Birthday to our hostess here at the TToT.

And finally, this is a shot of my pal before I had to say goodbye and have him put down last month.

7My7QrQ.jpg

RIP and I’m glad there’s no more suffering for you. Staying positive here, as best I can. There’s always something to be thankful for.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, SoCS, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday

Sounds of the 2018 Season, #AllWomensVoices #SoCS

It’s cold outside. Snow has come, gone, and come again lately. As Christmas approaches in a few short weeks, I love the air this time of year. I love the thought of a silent night, snow softly falling, but then there’s the bright lights and the musical spirit of this season.

6gJGr9R.png

I am not Jewish, but I was listening to an all Hanukkah edition of a radio show my brother likes to listen to, a college radio station out of New Jersey I believe.

I don’t get annoyed by holiday themed music this time of year because it’s really only a short time out of the year. It makes me happy, from older classics to newer stuff, unless the singer goes too wild with their own rendition.

I see all the articles about the banning of Baby It’s Cold Outside, on certain radio stations since this whole #MeToo movement. I have read people’s thoughts and opinions on Facebook and thought about adding mine, but as usual, I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to whether the whole thing should have occurred in the first place.

I know the song well enough and I am not a fan of it personally, but other people have their own connections to the song and are upset that there’s any kind of pulling from holiday tune rotations.

I’ve always found it creepy, but it can be interpreted lots of different ways. Many artists and performers have done their individual renditions and made it sound differently, come off in a unique way, all depending…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpDLpz88V-I

I grew up knowing of Red Skelton from my father and grandparents too. He is a part of my childhood, but kind of from a different time. This song I came across is from the 40’s and things were different than they are in the 21st century we’re living in now.

In one version, the male sings certain parts and the female sings the rest. In another version of the song, there is a reversal in lyrics, in lines.

Is it a song where one person is pressuring another to stay, to spend the night? Is it more about both wanting to stay, but in those times, concerns over what people will think, a purity thing? Or is it a harmless flirtation?

I don’t necessarily think a song should be banned. Many songs, a lot from the 40’s or the 60’s come off, today, sexist and pushy, even inappropriate. People today should be more aware of boundaries and what messages we’re sending. Songs of today can be just as inappropriate, in my mind, but harmless in anyone else’s.

Thursday, December 6th, 2018 was an All Women’s Voices day, in remembrance of the 14 women in 1989, Montreal (mostly engineering students) who were murdered, by a madman who hated feminists and didn’t think women should dare go into the traditionally male fields of study.

On a university radio station near my home,
(for 24 hours straight)
they played and aired all women’s music and interviews with women and girls, about their interests and their fears and the issues they care about, how they’re making a difference.

I was interviewed for this, where I wanted to speak about myself, as a woman who is working for more equitable treatment for everyone in our society. These things weren’t taken into as much consideration in years gone by as it is today. Some still think we’re overreacting.

Again and again I hear about snowflakes and safe spaces. I know people think we’re making too much of things, politically correct as people like to say, far too sensitive for our own good, but this is a tactic of minimizing someone’s lived experiences and a brush off of possible trauma.

I just want people to try and put themselves in someone else’s shoes for a minute. If a song made someone feel uncomfortable, due to experiences they might have had, can we not stop and think about that for a moment at least?

The song Baby It’s Cold Outside is still available. It hasn’t been banned from the earth. If certain radio stations choose not to play it now, can you not just go find it elsewhere?

On the other hand, we’re not going to get rid of everything. There’s been progress, but there’s still so many discussions to be had. I may sound wishy washy, but I prefer to have a stance, somewhere in the middle of the road. I see both sides, but want to respect all people if I can.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

I know of so much beautiful music at this time of year. The song in question is jolly enough, I suppose, but not for everyone.

Not my cup of tea.

My head hurts today, so I think I’ll go listen to some instrumental Christmas music, by the crackling fireside.

Standard
Feminism, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, Spotlight Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel, TToT

Thankful When Last Month Was Thanksgiving: Drunk and Smokey-eyed (Part 3) #10Thankful

My nearly almost weekly
Ten Things of Thankful
is the third and final in this three-part thankful series, in honour of the US celebrating Thanksgiving this coming week.

The Power of Gratitude (teaching the younger generation)

Personally, I don’t need a holiday (any holiday) to be thankful. The reminder can’t hurt though.

I’m thankful
Radio Western – 94.9 CHRW
has given us a platform to talk about the issues that we face: accessibility, equality, and advocacy.

Outlook – CFB – Tactile Maps

Check us out. Give us a listen.

I’m thankful the program manager at the station asked me to be interviewed for a women’s 24-hour radiothon event on December 6th. We did a pre-record so she can edit to needed length requirements for it to be a piece on the day. She asked great questions, did her research on me, and the interviewed turned out to be super chill and just like two old friends enjoying a casual talk.

I’m thankful for a teacher of the violin who keeps working with me, offering strengthening exercises for my hands, fingers and so on. Also, she’s been looking all around (craft stores) and thinking hard of what kind of tactile sticker might work to place on the violin, under the strings, to mark my first/third fingers in the correct placement. I’m getting there, but a little guidance never hurts.

I’m thankful for good weather for a parade. Santa Claus was silent this year, not so thankful about that, but we had the perfect amount of time there.

I’m thankful for peppermint things, including brownies.

I’m thankful for a successful meeting with a travel agent and friend. We’re traveling together, to a women’s travel festival in NYC in March, on International Women’s Day.

I’m thankful for sunshine and gently falling snowflakes on cold November days.

I’m thankful for a little pre-Christmas weekend celebration with family this weekend coming up. Food. Movies. Celebrations for my father’s upcoming birthday.

I’m thankful I discovered a new Canadian violinist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E79fXH9HjLw

I’m thankful for all my US friends who are about to eat a lot of food in the coming days. Better them than me, as I’ve yet got Christmas to look forward to.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and cheers from Canada.

Standard
Blogging, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, SoCS, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, TToT

Thankful When Last Month Was Thanksgiving: (A Weekend of Thankfuls Part 2) #SoCS

The role gratitude plays in my life is not to be underestimated.

EdlaSie.png

Without it, I would be less likely to focus on the good things in life.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

I love stream of consciousness writing and I choose to roll with it, whenever I can let myself care not for the things that might come pouring out from my brain and through my fingertips, onto this blog, and what that might end up sounding like to any perspective readers.

One of the other blogging exercises I take part in
(Finish the Sentence Friday)
had me writing
stream of consciousness
on the subject of thanks and giving thanks, but with a five minute time limit.

Tomorrow I will write out a list of what I’m
thankful for
and those things that make me grateful, the role each one of ten plays in my life.

It’s Thanksgiving in the States in a few days and they are extra focused in on the things they can be thankful for, despite all the troubles going on in that country.

I know the role certain people play in those troubles, but I try to roll with it, with life, because I am here in Canada and can only watch from a not too safe distance, as whatever happens happens.

I am trying to focus on the role I can play in my own life and how it goes from now on, while I choose to roll with it, whatever happens because I can’t control everything, or even most things.

I can control what I choose to do with the years left in my life. I can think of snow globes and of the fun it was, to be a child during the weeks that are coming up (of Christmas and winter and my birthday), as I imagine myself rolling down a snowy hill.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, FTSF, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday

Bad Words and Battlefields, #FTSF #SoCS

As the days grow darker, I wonder about why darker is harder for people.

r4G1GJg.png

Sleep and internal clocks and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) are the ones that are most felt this time of year.

I get my time from my iPhone, which turns back an extra hour automatically, (will do so again tonight) rather than the clocks on appliances. I like that hour, as there’s a time for everything, even the chance for more sleep, something I blame pain more on than anything else when I don’t get enough of it.

Darker is the start of winter, but it is summer somewhere. Australia and New Zealand are down there, waiting for me, but life goes on until then. I go in to the colder, darker season in Canada with an appreciation for where I live. Christmas means darker, but with that five o’clock darkness, come Christmas lights. Christmas makes me happy. I let the additional hours of darkness bring me peace and reflection. I try not to focus on word meaning all of the time, letting my sensitivities get the better of me, but why is dark bad and light good anyway?

Our fears hide out there, just waiting for the right moment to leap out and scare us?

I’ve written about this before and probably can’t sum it up any better now, as Daylight Savings comes upon us for another year. I do wonder why and then my answer comes, as to why blindness is feared like it is. The idea of being left in darkness for the rest of one’s life is scary, I get it. Still, black and dark are so entrenched in our consciousness as things unwanted and feared. Whether it’s skin colour of another or a state of seeing/not seeing the world. Will we ever get away from such associations?

November is one of those more difficult months for me, at certain moments at least, as I look back over past experiences with these thirty days. Things happened to me in this month I won’t ever forget, things that have left solid impressions on the person I am.

Zooming out to a broader picture, it means solemn thoughts of war for Canada, with Remembrance Day (November 11th) and this year’s 100year anniversary in particular. I feel worse about the subject of war (the lessons we’ve learned and those we yet haven’t) than I do any dark morning or evening come too soon. Just as many lives were lost in the four years of World War I during bright, daylight hours, just as much death and carnage. Likely, more, as the armies needed the daylight hours to see what they were doing. Night would have been when it was smarter to hunker down in separate trenches wherever and whenever possible.

I think of every ghost, set adrift across those European battlefields, and I am haunted by the heaviness of so many souls lost.

And I go onward to November 11th this year with a heavy heart once again, though I don’t know exactly why that is.

I think of that word often and I don’t need Halloween or a day devoted to wars to do so. This month holds memories, like the hauntings of a shadowy realm.

I have all things monsters and ghosts on my mind still, even with Halloween in the rearview mirror for another year. Darker days mean winter and winter means ice.

I had to go to the easiest accessible book to me and that was my shelf of all seven Harry Potter stories to find my random word.

I did
point
and a wintery word is what I got.

Black ice can be a danger on the roads in Canada, in the months ahead. Scary.

Harry Potter stories use ghosts and monsters to great effect. The ice forms when the monstrous, hideous dementors show up. (Read the series to learn more about those.)

A fascinating representation of the things that scare us, threaten to remove all happiness, like the depression that is sometimes seasonal and sometimes all year round.

If you can, look at what darkness brings that is pleasant and happy, rather than those things it hides or covers up or frightens you with. Maybe, one day, we can change some of the feelings around what darkness represents.

What’s good could be bad and what’s bad could be good.

This is the weekend of
stream of consciousness prompts
for another
Finish the Sentence Friday
in early November.

I am back and taking part, after several weeks of distractions and elsewhere’s. Also, I’m writing blog posts and prompts, while avoiding something I should really be doing instead. This is okay, I suppose, but I know I need to get back to it shortly.

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Memoir Monday, Podcast, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: Time, Place, and Space – Lost On Spot, #FamilyReunion #LaParada #Panorama #10Thankful

“It helps, too, to dream big, to make plans for future projects that are beyond the scope of my current experience, to make connections with other people who work in the arts, to apply for grants, send out stories, throw bottles into the sea. Make space for more opportunities to unfold. Here’s a fun thing to try: write a letter to yourself, addressing yourself like you would a dear friend. What advice would you give yourself? Can you name all the things about yourself that you like, that give you strength and courage? What questions would a good friend ask you? (I did this at the beginning of June, and reading over my “Dear Carrie” letter now, I recognize that it has helped shape my summer in positive ways.)”

–Carrie Snyder

I read this blog post and wanted all of it. I want to think good things about myself and write it all down. I want to know art and other artists. I like the bottle in the sea idea.

I have been slacking, not keeping up reading other thankful posts. I have let myself down, in a couple ways this summer, but then I’ve taken on so much that is new and thrilling too.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for feedback that is hard, sometimes/at times more than others, to hear.

I know I am learning from it. I know I need to hear it. I know it is part of the deal, of being a writer.

I’m thankful for a surprise offer.

It came at just the right moment, right after the difficult-to-hear feedback. It was a strange contrast of a day.

I was unable to trust in it, at first, because I still don’t expect good things to come my way much in life. (Bad habit/trap to fall into.)

I could sure use offers like this one to come along, once-in-a-while. It was from a well-known company, with a healthy budget and reputation. I was discovered, just by having my words, in existence, out there in the world.

I should be able to brag, but still I am uncertain whether or not to speak details of the thing in question, while contract is still being worked on and leading up to the release date.

Still, I had to include it here, in this list, this week. I won’t ever forget that contrasting day of offers, for feedback and for growth and opportunity. I only need to make sure I get it right.

I’m thankful for friends/writers who offer me a bit of encouragement when I’m starting to doubt.

Editors are unknown and unfamiliar to me, but then that means their job isn’t to make me feel better about myself or to buck me up. I know, logically, that isn’t their responsibility, but yet I probably still am looking for that, somewhere, deep down. Working on it.

Friends, those who know the world of writing (creatively or business wise) are the ones who are there, when I need them the most, to remind me that I am a writer, still learning and growing, but yet not at all without merit.

It’s just nice to hear it. I am indebted to both editors and writers/writer friends/friends and family, for the contrast.

I’m thankful I got to check out a live radio studio.

Radio Western (94.9 CHRW)

I was in there, going and observing the action live, while my brother put on his Friday music show. I told him, on air and off, that witnessing him in that environment made him seem a whole lot cooler.

I was there to celebrate his year on air (48th episode or so) and to talk about the summer social we have coming up, for our work with and as the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
and also, to get any listeners, familiar with his show, familiar with him and I together. (Keep reading to find out why that is.))

I’m thankful the woman who runs it wants to give us a chance.

She has offered us a weekly half-hour talkshow. We are doing it (based on our podcast/Canadian Federation of the Blind) as a theme. We will talk about disability, accessibility, and equality/equity. We will be current (have call-ins/live guests).

She has also offered to air already recorded episodes of
Ketchup On Pancakes
and so that’s why we don’t want to do a total copied version of our already-existing podcast together. That is about family/creativity/humour, not strictly about disability issues.

It isn’t mainstream radio as most people think of it, known by everyone, but a university radio station supports the arts and local talent, as well as community. It will be more of a reach than we’ve so far had, be broadcasting us to more of an audience than we’ve had as of yet.

And so, we are (soon-to-be) available to people, driving in their cars, across London, Ontario and beyond. Also, we are available, online and on Rogers (channel 943).

Now, all we need to do is come up with a catchy name for our talkshow that captures what we are about. We have a little less than one month to do this. Sometimes names and titles are easy to come up with and other times, not so much.

I’m thankful I got to see a talented singer/performer live.

She is a local girl, someone I’ve known from a writing group, full of talent, and full of life. She is animated and energetic. She is many things I wish I could be, but have no stamina to be for long.

She is multi-talented creatively. She went to school for musical theatre and she ended up singing some opera (in English/German/Italian I believe). She had to practice, in front of friends, family, and local community, to attend nationally, after having gone to perform in provincials.

She sang about men and about eating children. She sang and had two young men performing, so she could take a break. It was inspiring and fun.

I’m thankful for a long awaited family reunion.

We used to see each other (my mom’s side of the family) at Christmas every year. Then, with every passing year, our group increased in size. Then, both my grandparents passed away, (2005-2010) and we would’ve needed to rent a hall for our gatherings. The decision was made at that time, to stop holding holiday celebrations, and we’ve seen a lot less of each other in the years since. Some of us see each other more than others.

It was a beautiful day. I tried to enjoy the day. I don’t do well in big groups, even when it’s family. These are people I have known, more or less, all my life. Some came along in the nearly 35 years since I was born.

Cousins have children and some didn’t or couldn’t make it. The children don’t know me. Some of the adults don’t know me anymore and I don’t feel as if I know them now.

Still, family is important. There are connections (no matter the time that’s passed us by or the place/life’s circumstances that have occurred). I know we’ve all changed. We’re not the same people we once were. I know there’s a set of roots there, those that run deep. I wanted to reconnect. I can’t make that kind of connection happen again, not with the wave of my hand or by snapping my fingers.

It was nice we did it. I do hope we can make it happen every so often. I wish some things were different, but we share a common thread of where we’ve all come from, no matter where we might now be or where we end up.

The food was good and the kids had fun. It was on my uncle’s farm, where I grew up staying, for summer holidays, as a child. I was never a farm girl, but my mother had been, like her mother and father before her, and my cousins were, though I did grow up a country girl who would eventually move into town.

It ended up the perfect spot for a summertime family reunion.

I’m thankful for my August birthday boys.

I’m thankful I met these talented writers in Mexico and that I get to go on another journey with them, if only by reading their wonderful words:

Go on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina with Angela Lang

or else…

wander through time/space/place with Kristin Vukovic

These two writers, along with the rest that P publishes, make me want to keep working to become a better writer myself.

I’m thankful for
this literary travel journal
they are both featured in, and for “Lost,” the most recent issue.

It is full, with each and every new issue that gets released, with the best writers around.

It is soon to celebrate its two-year anniversary. Happy Anniversary Panorama!

Your name continues to thrill me to no end. The bigger picture indeed.

Standard
Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Shows and Events, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TToT

TToT: The Fog Can Be Pink Sometimes – Plucks and Strums, #Blues #10Thankful

Bomb cyclones, bombshell tell-all’s, and a night out at the symphony. Oh My!

And Dolores O’Riordan is dead.

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote one of these, not since the start of the new year and my niece’s birthday post.

Tnusvp6.jpg

My family at Christmas.

It’s only halfway into the first month of this year and I am already exhausted.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for Dolores’s voice and lyrics and music.

I am deeply saddened, but I am thankful. I can’t believe she is gone. I’ve loved The Cranberries since I was eleven or twelve years old.

I’ve been on the verge of tears, giving in to it a few of those times, ever since I heard.

I don’t know all of what to say exactly, but I’m sure it will come to me.

I am thankful for the cello and a feature celloist.

Such a deep and rich sound, such a melancholy sound to the cello.

He was making his debut. He was amazing. He even strummed and plucked the strings of his cello along with the fast-paced classical stuff. What a solo with a terrific orchestra to accompany you.

I am thankful for an invite to my very first symphony.

I felt like the least sophisticated in that place and I was definitely the youngest.

Ah well…no accounting for my generation’s lack of taste. It was a first time for me, as classical isn’t necessarily my thing, but I am glad I went.

I am thankful I got to see the newest Star Wars with my brother and my sister.

We, the three of us, went between Christmas and New Year’s.

I was pressed to my seat the whole time, with every new twist and turn of the plot. I realize the giant debate for true fans of this franchise. For me, I like the story, as it stands. I like Adam Driver in his role as villain.

One really frigid December night, my older siblings and I ventured out to check it out, and I’m glad we did. I owe my brother, for his description skill, until I can make it so every theatre, even in my little city, has audio description to offer.

I am thankful I have a temporary replacement braille display.

I can read my own words and the words of other people. I can feel it, under my fingers. I am back, up and running, at full steam ahead.

I am thankful I have parents who are perfectly willing to take me to pick up a shipment at the border.

There was an issue with a temporary replacement for my braille reader and my options weren’t looking good for resolving it.

I had to drive a bit of a distance to sort it out and I am lucky I have family willing to make that drive, over an hour, so I could have the package in hand.

Now I can get back to editing and reading, for however long it takes for my own machine to be fixed.

I am thankful for my sister’s knowledge of hooking up a new router.

Things with the Internet have been lacking around here lately. I went, on a hunch over Christmas, and found and purchased a new router, thanks to my brother’s recommendation.

It came in the mail and I wouldn’t have known how to hook it up myself. Thankfully, my sister took time from her busy life and came and got it done for me.

I hope to get back to yoga over Skype again soon, without the connection failing continuously.

I am thankful for not a no.

Sometimes, the postponing of a for sure acceptance to a writing pitch is nice. Some people may not enjoy the extra time, not knowing, either way. I think I needed it, this week anyway.

I am thankful for an organization of interested people to stand up for ourselves throughout Canada and the US’s Foundations/Federations of the Blind.

Canadian Federation of the Blind

I have no need to put down all that the CNIB has done for me in my life, but for the first time, it feels nice to know I am given a say in making things better.

I end this week’s shorter than usual and (at times often depressing TToT) with an uplifting song from The Cranberries, one of their later albums. In it, she speaks of not analyzing every little thing and I often need that reminder.

I am thankful for this lingering piece of optimism, even in sadness.

Thank you, Dolores, from the bottom of my heart. RIP to the powerful voice and the woman who possessed it.

Standard
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

1vMAQBQ.jpg

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.

xhczTSp.jpg

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”.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, Special Occasions, The Blind Reviewer, This Day In Literature

Humbug: Review of “The Man Who Invented Christmas” #Humbug #AChristmasCarol #Review #SoCS

A little
yuletide and humbug for you
on Christmas Eve Eve, or however one might say that.

And now, here we are, and you’ll forgive me if it’s now officially Christmas Eve. I am about to watch A Christmas Carol with my father, a Christmas Eve tradition.

Please enjoy this brief summary/review of the tale of the man who came up with the story in the first place.

Light in places, nearing the absurd, but it took me back to the times, those days.

The year was 1843 and Charles Dickens was under pressure to come up with his next big hit. He’d toured the United States of America and the crowds there loved him, but Christmas was coming and he wanted a seasonal story for the ages.

He swore he could come up with one in a matter of months/weeks.

His home was filled with beautiful new things, purchased from his previous book’s success, and a family full of life. The more he pressed himself to come up with a Christmas tale, the more consumed by it he became.

His household employed a young Irish woman who loved to tell the children old Irish ghost stories. What a thing to share at Christmas I say.

Ghosts at Christmas…well I never!

Charles overheard her telling on of these tales and ran with it and a story of an old miser being visited by three spirits came to life in his head and soon onto the page.

Literally, it came to life, as soon I was confused, as a viewer without sight or an audio track to explain.

Scrooge was there and Dickens was talking out loud. Soon, his room was spread out with papers and his characters, talking to him.

Tiny Tim was apparently inspired by a real life nephew who was ill and whose progress was uncertain when the family came to visit the Dickens’ home.

How did A Christmas Carol come to be? – BBC

Charles deals with a father who was the root of many of his son’s issues, growing up poor and with debts owed. Charles fears the fame drying up and his own future debt, making his own family suffer the way he did as a boy.

His memories of going to a poorhouse and having to work in a factory, being teased by other boys, and all this with deadlines for what was shaping up to become A Christmas Carol.

So, we all know the book does get written, obviously. No mystery there. He did it when he was younger than I am now. Times were different then, or not so much as we’d think. This story still applies.

I only read it (the novel that is), for the first time, a few years ago. To me, the title of this film is apt, as Charles Dickens, in many ways, was the inventor of Christmas, to me, a lot more recent than two thousand years.

My father has been watching that old version of the classic story, the film, since my childhood. When once I couldn’t quite grasp the whole story, finding it boring in parts, I now treasure it for its lessons on compassion and humanity.

I can think of a few souls, in need of a lesson on mistakes of the past that cannot be undone, realities of the present in other places and in the lives of other people, and the chances still available in the future to make things better.

This film told a behind-the-scenes story that made for a pleasant and sometimes gritty glimpse into poverty and one’s life work, in this case being writing. Such a career and success can dry up as fast as from whence it came.

I am inspired, as a writer myself, by a story created, as Charles did, in those stories that span the test of time, from England to North America and around the world.

I’d add this one to any list of movies to view around the Christmas season, for sure.

Humbug and Scrooge to view, for you.

“And God bless us, everyone!”

The Real Reason Charles Dickens Wrote A Christmas Carol – Time

I once mistook the author’s main character for the author himself. Charles Dickens was no humbug!

You’ll forgive me, Mr. Dickens sir, won’t you?

Yule tidings to you all.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Silver, Gold, and That’s So Weird – Go Train Phenomenon, #10Thankful

To drink from the fountain
Of the little you know about love and god

—Sarah Slean

I can’t see silver and gold anymore, but at least Canada still has net neutrality.

1PPt3k9.jpg

Photo caption: Max and Auntie Kerry. My favourite picture, though I cannot see it.

I have been watching many of the holiday programs in the run-up to Christmas: Home Alone, Rudolph, and an old Frosty classic.

My jolly holiday spirit has been waxing and waning this year, all depending on the day, which is why I am still here with my third Christmas season with Ten Things, keeping the gratitude going and written for the record.

It’s funny, that the Christmas song I ended last week’s TToT post with (all about the kind of snow we get here in Canada) and then that is the one Christmas song Sarah Slean chose to perform at her concert that night, the one I am happy to report I got to enjoy. This leads me to my first thankful for this last week before Christmas finally arrives.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the weather holding back, if not the bitter cold, at least the blowing snow.

I live over an hour from Toronto and where most of the concerts are. I am thankful the weather cooperated and that I had family willing to make that trip, to drive me to see Sarah Slean and her band live.

December in Ontario, Canada can be unpredictable, but though it was so bitter cold, I was eventually warm inside the intimate venue, with some lovely music and a good friend.

I’m thankful for a truly uplifting early Christmas gift of a concert, with a friend and fellow writer.

Sarah sang beautifully, with a woman who doubled as backup and cello. She also had a guy on the drums, violins, and viola players. Slean herself, as well as being lead singer, played piano.

She even forgot the first line of her big single (Sarah) and had to stop the music and shout out for the lyrics. It was a sign that nobody’s perfect and we all forget things and make a mistake, if you can even call it that. We are all human. It happens. She has been writing songs for something like twenty years and her audience of all us fans were understanding.

Sarah spoke, in between songs, about the shelter she volunteers at in Toronto and the people she’s met there. The concert was raising money for food for Christmas for
St. Felix Centre on Facebook.

She spoke of the snap judgments we are all guilty of making in our daily lives, using one of many hashtags during the evening (#GOTrainPhenomenon) for what happened the night it was just her and one scary looking man on a GO Train. When you’re trapped on a moving vehicle, you have nowhere to run and hide, which can open your eyes in unexpected ways.

She considers herself something of a #SongWitch for what happens to her when a set of lyrics and piece of music come to her and become something special.

Her lyrics are heartbreakingly beautiful and wise.

Sarah Slean – Perfect Sky

I’m thankful my friend and guest (her birthday being the next day) and I could talk, even during intermission, and her spirit could be lifted just as mine was.

We struggle with writing, at times, but we shared our experiences, back and forth. I know we inspired each other to never give up and to continue on this path we’re both on.

It was different songs that spoke to the two of us, but all that matters is we got something special and unique out of it.

Mine was the first song Sarah sang, about there never being a perfect sky and right away I was listening. She had my attention for sure. I am often afraid I will one day no longer even see what sky is, but the message about not waiting for some perfection that will never come was duly noted.

For my friend, it was a song about finding the right words and that endless search to say exactly what it is any of us wants to say.

I’m thankful for more speaking up and activism from a powerful advocate and friend, after an unexpected piece of news.

I went to the Sarah Slean show, happy to avoid hearing the news of the vote in Alabama that I’d been hearing, frankly, too much about.

What happened in that state was and is a smaller scale example of the disbelief I have for who is POTUS right now. It is all so nonsensical and disgusting. I feel like I live in some kind of upside-down world, on a daily basis, even from my semi-regular life here in Canada at this time.

It’s a sign that sure things shouldn’t be assumed/presumed or counted on. It felt like all those who mocked anyone for their confidence in Hillary Clinton winning the presidency, like it was such a sure thing in 2016, were given a taste of their own medicine here in 2017. Cockiness is not such a good attitude to have when it comes to these things.

Enough people, the right people weren’t having it and I will let Kerra speak on the rest.

How black women saved Alabama — and democracy (CNN Opinion)

I am so proud to know her and that she has found this place for her opinions on the fate of her birth country.

I’m thankful for people to check on me when I’ve had a bad day and couldn’t be found.

I stay in touch with someone, as I am on my own a lot, and then I have my bad days when the pain makes me want to sleep and shut out the world.

I appreciate being left to this sometimes, but I know I am always being watched over and protected.

Whether it’s family or neighbour, it is a nice thing to know.

I’m thankful for a pleasant and successful final National Foundation of the Blind Peer Advisor conference call before the holidays.

We are a team in many ways. We support each other in our limitless pursuits. It’s a good group.

We speak, by phone, one Thursday evening each month. This was our evening to hear about holiday plans and traditions. Still, I am the only peer advisor from Canada in the group. One woman calls from Australia.

Maybe we will all meet in person one day.

I’m thankful for such fun kids in my life.

It was a wonderful pre-Christmas Saturday with my niece and nephew.

My niece has herself a dollhouse, which is actually for a family of bunny rabbits. My nephew played with his big sister and her rabbit family.

I sometimes like to join in their games. Other times, I love to just watch and listen as they play. They fight, like siblings often do, but they love to play together too. It’s super sweet to witness the fun they have with each other.

I’m thankful for Chippy.

I believe that is his name, their Elf On The Shelf, who shows up somewhere new every morning leading up to Christmas.

My niece and nephew enjoy looking for him in a new spot every morning, like hanging from a light, as he was the day we were there.

I guess, I don’t really know the rules, as this wasn’t a thing when I was growing up. Still, they seem to love it. It is one of the special holiday traditions they have as a family.

I’m thankful for such smart kids in my life, asking questions.

My brother had the new Blue Planet oceans shows all downloaded and my niece was all into learning about sharks. She could become a scientist (marine biologist perhaps) or an artist. That’s what is so amazing about her. Her future, with all that curiosity and intelligence, is wide open.

My nephew is settling in at school his first year and making friends. He is so inquisitive and full of life. He makes me smile, the sweetest little soul.

They asked questions and seemed to begin to understand, more and more, about what blindness means in their aunt and their uncle.

I am glad we could share a love for marine documentaries and colours.

I’m thankful for old champaign still tasting good.

Thanks for the hospitality goes out to my brother and sister-in-law, for the snacks, and the holiday cheer.

S…A…N…T…A
S…A…N…T…A
S…A…N…T…a
And Santa is his name-o!

Standard