I had my final hair cut from a cousin of mine today. She has been doing my hair for nearly fifteen years and, first world problems I know, but it isn’t only the hair.
It’s really a mix
of feelings and emotions because I trusted her, as family I’ve grown up with, to style my hair like I trust my sister to help me choose clothes.
Unable to see my face in the mirror (my hair) or how I look in a certain sweater or pair of jeans means I appreciate any help I can get.
I don’t say this to sound like poor me, the blind woman, because I work hard to fight the problems pity for blind people causes in society.
It’s just nice to have those I totally trust to do their best to help me out in these certain areas because, though I no longer see it all, I still like the things many women like like clothes or my nails done or a new haircut.
My cousin is moving, with her husband and kids, across the country and I am happy for her. I know a lot of people don’t understand why she felt the need to leave everything, her business and family and the only place she’s ever known as home, but I understand doing something that others don’t get. It means doing what you feel you must, something that your heart is telling you, all while other people shrug their shoulders and raise an eyebrow in confusion because they don’t see what you are seeing.
I do wish the best for her and her family on this new part of their journey together, but I will miss having her nearby. She is my main connection to the rest of the family I see, less and less, now that we’re all older.
Her salon smelled lovely, she’d often had relaxing music playing and would offer coffee or tea while I’d wait, and I always enjoyed the feel of the way she would straighten my hair.
All my best to them. I just gotta work at accepting change when it comes because that’s not going to be the last change I’ll have to face. It wasn’t the first and won’t be the last.
Coffee, like everything else, seems to have a light and a dark. Huh. Hmm.
A bitter sip and my attention is on the super laid back atmosphere of this local joint, rather than remember the more bitter moments, those ones I am moved to write stories about.
This place doesn’t seem to live up to my deeply held expectations of what a writing spot should be. I view the rustic feel of cafes in my past, on my travels, in Ottawa and in Whitehorse and somehow Woodstock isn’t like those.
I am not in Ottawa. I’m no longer in Whitehorse. I am back in my hometown and in the middle of the cold of winter.
My writing is in freefall as I see it. I still hope to land somewhere solid.
I may land and be jolted by the rocky ground. I can’t tell at this early stage of a new year.
People just expect me to be on some kind of roll with my writing, as I ended off the previous year. I can’t say either way.
Coffee near my laptop scares me.
Maybe they won’t mind me coming in there and writing, without buying something. If they come to my table, I might request a drink or a snack.
So typical of me though, to only ask when asked, to wait to be spoken to, instead of doing the speaking on my own.
I stated my declaration: “stoker” will be my word for 2018 and that means having opinions and making them known.
Not to wait to be heard, to take a stand on what’s important. All the coffee in the world, the jolt it provides, may never be enough.
Most people can agree on coffee, if nothing else, and this prompt word is brought to us by teleportingweena,
for the 9th day of January.
Tim Hortons is the place to get your coffee in Canada and I believe the US even has them, possibly along the border of our two countries. I seem to recall, when watching some US television networks through cable, that there was a commercial for the company, but its called Tim Hortons, Coffee and Bake Shop or some such thing.
So, the minimum wage hike that went into effect here at the start of 2018 has everyone in the province of Ontario talking, and now the story spreading across Canada because it isn’t only concerning Ontario, not at all.
Minimum wage, up to $14 or something, and still to rise to $15 in the future. Good for those working certain jobs, but apparently bad for those companies (Tim Hortons) who have to pay more.
The real trouble started when Tim Hortons started cutting back on other benefits their employees did have, supposedly to make up for this change.
There are two sides: the side of those supporting those workers and those workers themselves I guess and the companies and those who have always said rising minimum wage will break us as a province and as a country.
I know very little about the economy and never have. I try to read and listen to the news, but it’s hard enough keeping up with all going on in the world. I don’t have a mind for the study of our economy, (economics). I know it’s good and important knowledge to have, I know that, but I can barely figure out my own affairs, budgeting and bills and the money I’ve started to make, still so new to it all.
Trying to figure out how the province and Canada as a country runs is beyond my capabilities.
So, though Canadians have seemed obsessed with Tim Hortons coffee for longer than I can remember, some are calling for that to change.
It’s not about a greedy corporation at all, some say, because this wage hike issue is put on each individual franchise.
I don’t run one of those either. I don’t know and hardly feel like I should speak.
I got my coffee from McDonald’s today, but that isn’t anything all that new. I simply prefer it and I don’t like being told I have to follow the crowd and be like all other Canadians who can’t go without my Tim Hortons fix.
I tend to look at the subject of corporate greed as a thing that happens. I see minimum wage as affecting real human beings, people who need understanding, but so do all humans I guess, even those who run the giant corporations and companies.
As a writer and creative, one who wouldn’t be all that good at matters of crunching numbers and running a business, I see things from the human perspective. Not to say all creative people are that way. I only know what side I end up falling on, though I try to see any issue from more than just one side whenever and wherever possible.
I don’t know if boycotting the company in question is the answer here, or ever, but that’s what Canada is talking about this week. Well, like other countries nearby, it’s that and Fire and Fury too. Rumour has it that even demand for the book is growing here in Canada. I can’t say I’ll read it, but I think the whole thing is wildly bizarre, and yet unsurprising to say the least.
Fire and fury is a good way to sum up how hyped everyone seems to be. I do feel all the greed that does exist, more than ever from those who make the most money, but I can’t claim I know what I’m talking about on what Canada’s economy has done in the past or will do in the future.
I bet the woman who runs these prompts
likely has some thoughts on all this.
Linda is to thank for me not feeling totally lost at the start of a new year, as a writer, and she, as a fellow Canadian, might know more about Canada’s economics than I do.
Either way, I thank her for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, all the weeks of the year, and for Just Jot It January, for the first month of each brand new one.
Today I am giving a friend a platform. Since he no longer has a blog, and I do, I am sharing this here.
Today, I’m so angry, I can’t concentrate on my labs. This morning when I checked my email here is what I read:
“With sight loss, everything you have ever known becomes unfamiliar. Your favourite T.V. chair, your reading nook, your computer desk: all become symbols of the quality of life you feel vision loss has robbed you of.
When you donate to CNIB, you help give that quality of life back. You help people learn new ways to enjoy their favourite movie. To read a book. To connect with loved ones.
Friend, your donation today can give families back their life.”
This has been eating away at me for a while now, but I am finally sick of it and I have to say something.
My friends, everything in the quote above is an absolute lie. If you were to dress up as a beggar on weekends and hit people up for money even though you have a good job, it would be no different from what is happening here.
“With sight loss, everything you have ever known becomes unfamiliar.”
Wrong! In fact, just the opposite is usually true. In my experience serving hundreds of people over the years, I have found that familiar things take on special significance and offer tremendous comfort to the newly blind.
This email says that newly blind people resent familiar things, that those become unfamiliar, mocking, threatening, icons of a supposed life we have lost. Get that monkey off your heart strings for a minute and try and think about this logically.
If you undergo a major life change, no matter what that is, wouldn’t you rather be in your familiar home surrounded by your possessions?
This email says that sight robs people of their life, but that isn’t true at all.
I have seen this countless times for myself. A newly blind person is not going to deny themselves their morning coffee just because they went blind. No, they are going to fiddle and futs and do what comes naturally until they get their coffee. They may not be confident of making coffee at a family member’s house, but they aren’t going to go without at home. In fact, something as simple as fixing coffee for a guest can be an outstanding source of pride and self-confidence for someone. There are always variations in situations, experiences, and coping mechanisms, but generally speaking, people take pride and comfort from being surrounded by familiar things.
Losing sight requires a person to develop new skills and use new tools, but it doesn’t rob most people of their life.
Only a very small percentage of us actually commit suicide because of losing sight. Many of us are turned away from daily activities because of the fears, low expectations and preferences of the sighted.
“don’t pour that coffee! It’s hot! you’ll burn yourself.”
We can damage some one’s fragile outlook by so denigrating something they take pride in. The newly blind person pours coffee for himself every day when the sighted person isn’t there, but it’s too much for the sighted person to watch. Thus, something the blind person worked hard to accomplish and may have been looking forward to sharing with the sighted person is diminished because of the low expectation of the sighted person.
Low expectations are the damaging factor here, not blindness.
Promotions like this one add insult to injury by demeaning the actual bereavement process people go through because of something like vision loss. As much as people learn, adapt, and go on to lead full lives, being blind in a world designed by and for the sighted is not without it’s sense of loss, of being singled out in a negative way.
We get through it, not because of money, but because of family and peer support, and the tenacity of the human spirit.
Playing on the natural grieving process of the newly blind to tragify us and scare you into giving money is an insult.
According to Charity Intelligence
there are an estimated 500,000 blind Canadians, and CNIB provides approximately 560,000 hours of service delivery across canada each year. You can do the math in your head.
That’s just over one service hour per blind Canadian.
The annual budget of CNIB is just under $30,000,000 per year
– 54 cents of every dollar goes to programs.
The top ten earners at CNIB earn approximately $2,000,000 per year collectively, with the president earning $350,000 per year.
I believe this aspect of the pay structure is not reflective of the income experience of most blind Canadians, and I choose to be insulted that this one person makes so much money from the blind while the actual state of the blind continues to be abysmal and expectations continue to be oppressively low.
Can we do better? I think we can.
Is CNIB the answer? Maybe at one time they provided real value, but in my view that value is at an end.
How can the blind achieve dignity, respect, inclusion, equality, and increased quality of life if people who haven’t experienced blindness believe life ends with blindness?
If blindness is an irrevocable, life shattering tragedy, why will a human resources person want to hire someone who is blind?
How can we convince people to design all things inclusively, …that including every one in design benefits every one?
How can we convince people to rent us places to live, include us in social orders other than those specifically for the blind, or let us raise our own children in freedom?
If blind people are viewed as perpetually broken, how will we ever have our ideas, accomplishments, and opinions respected?
How can we lie to people and beg for money and expect to teach those same people that blindness is not hopeless, …that blind people are successful in their own right and deserve equal participation in society?
Please be angry. It is time. As long as we channel that anger properly, it can be a source of passion and determination blind people can use to build a future for ourselves where-in we are included as equals, not tagging along as third class citizens.
It would mean more to me as a blind person, if you would take the money you would have donated to CNIB, buy yourself some beer and pizza, and spend an hour or two a month coming to CFB meetings where we can work together to find sustainable ways of delivering needed services that don’t require us to lie, grovle, and debase ourselves to get the crumbs left over from sighted executives.
The blind community is not made up of deficient and damaged people. We have creators, innovators, educators, technology, legal, medical, and financial professionals, and thousands of hard working talented people who can be successful in their own right with real support, tools, reduced societal barriers, and sustainable services.
The blind community has society, culture, political agendas, philosophies, all intertwined with, having things in common with, connected to but not completely the same as those of the sighted or any other social political group.
Let’s build our own movement large enough to provide a valid alternative the state we have now that sells us at a premium, yet far short of our true abilities.
Here is my take!
I was born with vision loss (blind) and so was my brother. We grew up with the CNIB who sent us braille/audio books and where we learned how to properly use a white cane to get around safely.
The CNIB is the organization most people would name if asked, have heard of here in Canada, mostly because it has been around the longest. It is celebrating its 100th birthday next year, but things aren’t the same as they were back in 1918 and that can reflect how things are, here and now in this moment.
I don’t want to just be angry either, to demand without being willing to listen, but I do think there has been a reckoning.
We are all individuals of course and I don’t dare speak for all people with sight loss by any measure. This is only one woman’s opinion, mine, and my friend’s reaction to the status quo.
From what I’ve seen and experienced lately though, the disability community, as a whole, are declaring the intention for more equality and rights. I know some of it rests on our shoulders, and that’s why I believe it is time I used my abilities and talents to make life better for the next one hundred years and beyond.
I do wonder who wrote that bit for the newsletter though.
There are only a few weeks left in 2017, but this next year of 2018 is when I plan on becoming more active, both with the American Foundation and Canadian Federation of the Blind.
“(UN IDPD) serves as an important reminder that globally there are over a billion people with a disability. This year’s theme, “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all” is especially relevant to our accessibility efforts…”
Making works of art out of the task of cupcake decoration.
Making something, all her own, and loving it.
I am thankful for this sly guy.
He likes to hide, but there’s a mischievous spirit just under the surface, behind the hands that sometimes cover his face when he’s playing shy to the camera.
I am thankful for such a smart and curious almost ten-month-old sweetheart.
Photo caption: Cousin hugs.
Her big cousin Soph adores her. It’s sweet to see them interact.
Mya is so interested in everything now. She is so close to walking, as she sees the rest of us doing it and wonders why she hasn’t managed it yet.
She is the happiest baby I’ve seen really. She likes to cuddle, but I can barely keep up with her when she’s on the move, and she’s not even a year old yet. Her mother and I are in no real hurry though.
I am thankful for the missing and missed one at last weekend’s gathering and the kind soul he is.
Old soul is my man Maxwell.
I am thankful he could enjoy his new friend’s birthday party. He got so excited. He was counting down the hours to his first party invitation since starting junior kindergarten in September.
I am thankful for a name given, from a friend, that suited my current state rather perfectly.
**Given what you’ve shared recently, I’d say the cauldron’s selection is a potent one for you. Your Embrace the Darkness name is “Good Night’s Sleep.”**
I had mentioned my sleep/dream issues lately and she generously handed this one to me, gifted me with it as a way to accept and deal.
I am thankful for a visit with one of the few people in my life who understand about living with chronic pain.
She brought me a coffee, doughnut, and a sympathetic ear.
She lives with pain and manages to hold onto her most original sense of humour and I take lessons from her on that front – where I find strength through some good sarcasm now and again, I see she does too.
I am thankful my friend arrives home from Ireland next week for the holidays.
I see her and her daughter just once a year, at this time, and it’s a fascinating way to observe the growing up of any child. They are quite the pair.
A little Christmas shopping with them maybe? I want to get her something memorable, as I only get to see her once a year and it takes her a little time, each time, to warm up to me again. A toy may help, but it can’t be anything too big because it must get back to Ireland.
Lots for them to cram into only a few weeks here back in Canada, with family and friends, but it’s always fun.
I am thankful for such kind and generous parents.
They bring me medication when I go away and forget it at home. They go that extra mile, in so many ways, and are flexible in so many ways too.
They are both unflinchingly generous people.
I am thankful for another job completed and well done, hopefully.
I wrote a memoir piece about our family, from the past, and the early December trips to a giant toy store we’d make as a family.
I turned it into a bit of a back-and-forth with me and Brian. We recorded it and added sounds and a bit of music to the piece.
We are submitting it for consideration on my brother’s favourite holiday Christmas marathon radio show he has listened to for the last three years.
Even the year of his horrible fall, when he was slowly recovering with a brain injury, he listened. The jingle bells accompany the radio guy and he plays some of the most obscure music for the season, to be heard on a New Jersey college station.
In the midst of all the musical pieces, he plays short holiday themed stories, recorded by friends and fans. This year we wanted to be included in that.
We shall see what he thinks when we send it to him.
I am thankful for fresh edits to a piece and that time away so I can come back at it with fresh eyes.
I wrote about the road I took through my Yukon visit and the road I’m traveling down in my life.
I worked on it with one editor and took a few weeks away from it. Coming back now, with fresh eyes, I can consider other editing suggestions and work to make it the best piece it can possibly be.
I just saw a Yukon documentary, playing in theatres for a limited time, and this virtual return to the north of Canada has given me new life to put into the writing.
I appreciate all I learn and how I can improve and grow as a writer, with the guidance of talented people I am lucky enough to get to work for/with.
I am thankful for a movie about the Yukon in my heart since I visited there, even without the DVS working.
It’s funny to have the story, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, but again we ran into issues with the audio description service at the theatre.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover they said they had it. A worker disappeared somewhere and came back with two headsets and wireless boxes.
Once inside the we turned them on. One worked and the other did not. The first worked, but it was describing a story that certainly wasn’t that of the Yukon.
We were offered their apologies and two free movie passes, but that won’t address this issue.
I did enjoy the film, despite all that, but a documentary, at least, has steady narration.
I don’t even think about going to an action movie or one with a lot of adventure, not without the proper assistance from a helpful person sitting next to me.
This is no answer. Perhaps not that many blind people go to movies, anymore or ever, but this must be improved upon.
As for the movie, I nearly came to tears more than once, as it brought back sense memory of my days there and my deep feelings about so much of that wild beautiful part of North America.
I am thankful for the day, December 3rd, to highlight disability, not just in North America, but around the world.
Every day is a day to talk about it, without becoming preachy. I feel this is something I have been called on to do, but it is a rather tricky balancing act.
I watched a Canadian national news broadcast and no mention at all was made nor any story aiming to shed light on some aspect of disability and what IDPD means to so many. I know an hour long news program can’t get to everything, but I think this should have been covered in some way.
I plan to do a lot more of this activism stuff in 2018 and beyond.
I am thankful for the final super moon of 2017 and the fact that, in spite of my worsening eyesight, I could still make it out on the horizon as we drove home.
I am all about horizons these days. Onward and upward, all while still making the effort to enjoy the final weeks of 2017 in the meantime.
I am thankful for all the friends and family who participated in the surprise for my mom.
I got the idea to make a book of people’s best wishes for my mom on her 60th birthday.
I sprung the idea on many, but so many people who care about my mom jumped at the chance to participate.
I was thrilled by the response I got from so many.
I am thankful for another peaceful yoga session.
I tried a few old favourite poses and a few new ones. Those left me a little sore, but I hope to be strengthing muscles I’d needed to be stronger.
It is becoming a highlight of my week, my Thursday yoga hour.
I am thankful for days of quality time with my seven-month-old niece.
I spent a lot of the week on the floor with my niece and her toys. She is starting to move around, the beginning stages of crawling, and she moves quickly now.
She is into everything she can get her tiny hands on and looking this way and that at all the goings on.
It is a joy to witness.
I am thankful for my sister’s help and mine to her, like sisters should do.
All week I helped my sister out while she got her house ready for Thanksgiving and she helped me a little with sending contracts and other writing related things.
I am thankful for a family day, no matter how eventful.
One nephew fell in the pond. He was wet and smelled like pond water,but seemed rather pleased he’d managed something we’d all warned him about all day long.
Another nephew made it through an entire day, we all did, without being stung by any of the many yellow jackets and hornets that were around, until near the end. He went to put on a water wing to go in the hot tub and was stung on the finger.
We all felt so bad for him and that was pretty much the end of the party for him.
The rest of the day was splendid. Lots to eat and rink. Lots of fun was had with the kids, flying kites and playing baseball and on the swing set. I had a lovely cuddle with my baby niece on a lawn chair in the breeze in the yard while the bigger children played.
My night ended with a bad headache, but family days are worth it.
I am thankful for my sister’s work to put on a delicious Thanksgiving dinner for us all.
She hadn’t really hosted us all for a big holiday dinner before. It is a lot of work and my mom always made it look easy. It isn’t.
The food was perfect. Her stuffing was my favourite. We all enjoyed it.
I am thankful for the surprised reaction from mom when we presented it to her.
She had no idea that I’d been contacting friends and family to write birthday greetings and well wishes and memories of their individual memories with her.
Some were handwritten notes, emails, or written directly in the book. The children drew pictures, handprints, and other little things.
My brother took lots of photos of the day and those will be included in the finished product.
She was truly surprised and touched. My mission was completed.
I am thankful for my mom on her 60th birthday.
She is amazing, at any age, but we wanted to celebrate this year and the special person she truly is.
I am thankful for a leisurely Sunday brunch on a beautiful fall day.
The Pancake House is a staple breakfast place in my town.
The waitress was friendly and chatty and it felt like a real diner atmosphere.
I am thankful for an evening checking out a friend’s new condo.
We had Thai food (delicious), champaign, beer, Mexican candy, coffee, and cupcakes.
How does one provide solace? Flowers? A well written note? How about, a visit with a little baby?
There’s nothing like the sweet face of a baby to make people think of the good, but music playing and memories shared can also help.
I’m thankful for a long coffee/smoothie chat with a friend.
We speak at our writing group, but this was a nice chance to have a conversation, just the two of us.
I owed her a coffee for reading over my short story I recently submitted, but we ended up talking for very nearly three hours.
We talked about writing, cats, and our possibility of ending up the stereotypical old cat ladies someday.
It’s hard when you see family and friends, all coupling up, getting married, and starting families. It’s nice to speak to people who understand how it doesn’t all come so easily for some of us.
I’m thankful for feedback from an editor.
I was fearing my draft wasn’t what the editor wanted or expected, but she seemed happy with things, for the most part.
Could I work on the ending? Well, sure. I do appreciate feedback from an editor and that’s what I got.
Now to think how to end the piece. Hmm.
I’m thankful for a pleasant pitch surprise email.
I saw a call for pitches about the special relationship we have with our animals and I thought (since it’s ten years since my guide dog died) this would be the perfect time to write about her. I sent the pitch out the day before I left to visit the Yukon, more than a month ago. After a few weeks I didn’t think I was going to hear back. I figured the answer was a “no”.
I’d been expecting to hear from that first editor, but coming home to an email from this second one was such a welcomed surprise.
The subject matter is perfect and the pay is not bad at all either.
I’m thankful for a first successful conference call with people I know I’m going to learn from.
There were several of us calling in and it made it difficult to all get a chance to speak, not over each other either. Still, I think this will be good for me.
This organization gets together to discuss the topics that are relevant and might be of some interest.
Then we decide who’s going to write what. I offered to write a review for a book someone has written. I think I can handle that as my first assignment with VisionAware and I like reading and learning about self publishing.
Then I get to interview the writer. I think this will be an excellent opportunity for me to learn some editing skills and how to divide up work, to figure out who is the best person to write specific pieces.
Anyway, all of them seem like highly intelligent and curious people from many different walks of life. I can only benefit from that.
I’m thankful when the pain eases.
After two days of it, intense as it is, I can come out of it on the other side and view the rest of the pain I live with in a new light.
I can learn new lessons from the pain, even after all these years.
I’m thankful for another lovely talk with my neighbour.
We are almost forty years apart in age, but somehow we have arrived at this moment in time with similar outlooks on life, from some of the things we’ve both been through.
We both discussed what we know we deserve and the lessons we’ve had to learn, often the hard way, to arrive at this conclusion.
We are both on our own, sometimes uncertain whether we can do it, but that’s why I am glad we’ve found a friend in one another.
I’m thankful for a reminder of friendship.
It’s really one of those little Facebook friend reminders, but someone chose to share theirs with me.
Our first connecting online, then in person, but it all matters, adding up to the relationship of mutual respect we have today.
Sometimes, when I don’t get stuck reading the battles going on in comment sections of breaking news stories, I really do like Facebook. I like those I follow on it even more.
I’m thankful for a beautiful word from my mentor.
Sometimes, her words of advice or encouragement just completely blow me away.
I needed to hear those exact ones, as I prepare to work on the pieces I’m writing throughout the summer. I need to know other people have faith in me, then to build that faith in myself too. It is all necessary to believe I can do the work I have set out for myself.
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.
It was a slow day And the sun was beating On the soldiers by the side of the road There was a bright light A shattering of shop windows The bomb in the baby carriage Was wired to the radio
These are the days of miracle and wonder This is the long distance call The way the camera follows us in slo-mo The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation That’s dying in a corner of the sky These are the days of miracle and wonder And don’t cry baby, don’t cry Don’t cry
It was a dry wind And it swept across the desert And it curled into the circle of birth And the dead sand Falling on the children The mothers and the fathers And the automatic earth
“The Boy in the Bubble” discusses starvation and terrorism, but mixes this with wit and optimism. Simon concurred with this assessment: “Hope and dread – that’s right. That’s the way I see the world, a balance between the two, but coming down on the side of hope.”
Hope and dread. Hope and dread. Hope and dread. These things run through my head…my head…my head.
My nephew is learning so many new things at school, even already after his first few weeks.
How do I know this?
The other night at dinner he started asking about carrots and how they grow, in the earth, from seeds. Such a basic concept of a lovely natural process.
Seeds planted. Something growing, sprouting up, from once there was only dirt under foot.
I am thankful for all the time I got to spend with my aunt.
Her life is a mystery to me. I get stuck on trying to imagine it. I only knew her for the last few decades of her life.
She was my father’s half sister. She was born in Europe during World War II. She came here to Canada, all by herself. I will forever wonder about all that.
The last time I saw her, as herself, she had made the trip to her mother’s funeral. We didn’t think she would come, for several reasons, but she came and I was nervous to give my tribute to my oma, whose relationship with her daughter was different from ours.
I hugged my aunt, after a day at the graveside, and an evening reminiscing about the life Oma lived, all of us sitting on the deck, around a table. I hugged her and left.
The next time she would have faced tumour treatments, her brain badly effected. She clung to me, our last real moment of contact, and one more familial thread is lost..
Without my parents making a decision to introduce us, I would never have known her mighty spirit.
I am thankful for the light chatter of young voices on a hard day of reality confronted.
On the night we received the news, I heard a one-year-old playing lovingly with her doll (all thanks to WhatsApp) and I interrupted a family in the middle of their beloved spaghetti dinner.
I needed to hear these little people, to remember that there are beginnings as well as those endings we wish would never come.
Na na na na na na na na Max Man!
Thanks to speaker phone, we discussed colours, what we want to be when we grow up, and what our favourite foods are.
I sat back, listening to my niece describe all manner of shades of many many colours. I needed that just then.
I am thankful for a world attempting to live more peacefully.
Justin Trudeau spoke about what “Canada has gotten right, not perfect.” That we believe diversity brings us strength to fight hatred and violence.
With all the meetings of UN in New York through the week, I listened to several speeches, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau in particular. All still so complicated. Peace exists in pockets. I just happen to live in one of those at the moment. No guarantee it will always be that way.
I am thankful for another educational Ken Burns PBS documentary.
I was unaware of the story of this couple.
I am thankful for a room full of writers
I had a question about writing, about the writing journey we’re all on, and I thought who better to bring it to than that select group of people. They are just learning as they go along, just like me, and I wanted their take on a particular situation I’ve gotten myself into.
Their input did not totally squelch my concerns, but we did have a lively discussion about writing contests and when a scam is a scam. I did not want to bring down the other writer in the group to have received good news like myself. He may choose to go a different way with it, but I am still undecided. We all want our writing to have a chance out there in the wider world.
This sort of thing is not visible to me anymore as such, but just hearing this scientist’s enthusiasm made me believe in the hope of all that magic to be found, especially in the ocean.
I am thankful for the perfect autumn weather.
Thursday was nearly thirty degrees. It was humid but yet there was a coolish breeze, enough to make a meal out on a patio still rather lovely. Yep, there was at least one bee this time, but not on me. Not that I knew of anyway.
I wasn’t having a great week. I was feeling unwell and having more computer troubles. I wanted the first day of fall to feel like fall.
By Friday the temperature had dropped ten degrees or more. I was in Heaven. Fall had arrived.
I am thankful for speedy and readily available medical care for myself and for those I love.
I felt lousy, but I needed blood taken and tested. I got it. Results available online now and oh how far we’ve come, to be able to check our own blood levels, without having to ask any doctor.
Then my family needs treatment for chronic medical conditions, tests run to check out symptoms, diabetes, and diet changes are called for. Hopefully those I love can remain healthy and live for a long time still.
I am thankful for a lovely day on the go.
It began at a secondhand store. Not exactly my kind of place, as I have a strange aversion to old, used things. I am also drawn to their stories. My sister was shopping for maternity clothes, not as easy as it sounds.
We kept my nephew occupied in the halloween decorations section, specifically interested in a doorbell with an eye that opened and and a voice that cackled.
We had lunch at a “pizza store” as my four-year-old nephew refers to it. All you can eat, but still we ate thin crust pizza, to stick, as close as we possibly can, to our diets and health restrictions.
Then I had my violin lesson. Brahms’ lullaby, played for me on piano and violin, so hopefully I can master the entire song by next March.
I went, with my brother and a few people, to attend a bit of speaking about video game production and radio.
This guy, the one with the website, he has been on a Toronto radio station for years. My brother listened to his radio programs. We heard he was visiting and we decided to go and listen to what he had to say.
Finally, we walked downtown, a Beatles festival happening, and capped off the day with a relaxing glass of wine and delicious dessert on a patio and then a cup of coffee, latte, before I felt a sore throat coming on dampen my mood. Nothing could truly dampen my first Saturday of fall.
I am thankful for an album, which becomes an experience in itself.
This album was brought back to my attention, but this week it has great value, in its overall feeling of hope and peace.
It is a magical record, full of the voice of Paul Simon, but yet with a distinctly African tone. Anyone who has never heard it has been missing out.
These days albums in their entirety are all but extinct. Songs that stand alone are what gets the public’s attention. This album, named for a tourist attraction, a musical and cultural icon of a place, a spiritual experience for some, that is what this album is for me.
It’s a collection of songs, taking me on travels, experiences of sorts, to a place called Africa, where my young self couldn’t imagine. This album was playing in our house, thanks to my father, and this can clearly be heard on an old home movie when I was three.
There was the almost mystical affection and strange familiarity I felt when I first heard South African music. Later, there was the visceral thrill of collaborating with South African musicians onstage. Add to this potent mix the new friendships I made with my band mates, and the experience becomes one of the most vital in my life. block quote level 1block quote level 1
I did not want to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, so much as I wanted to learn about South Africa, about the troubles and the ruining of lives Apartheid caused, when I was too young to realize, when the concept of black and white wasn’t something I thought anything about. Now I think about it often. No superiority. No ranking of human life.
What was unusual about Graceland is that it was on the surface apolitical, but what it represented was the essence of the antiapartheid in that it was a collaboration between blacks and whites to make music that people everywhere enjoyed. It was completely the opposite from what the apartheid regime said, which is that one group of people were inferior. Here, there were no inferiors or superiors, just an acknowledgement of everybody’s work as a musician. It was a powerful statement. block quote level 1block quote level 1
Graceland transcended racial and cultural barriers. ” Graceland was never just a collection of songs, after all; it was a bridge between cultures, genres and continents, not to mention a global launching pad for the musicians whose popularity been suppressed under South Africa’s white-run apartheid rule,” said Andrew Leahey of
American Song Writer.
I took someone who I thought might just appreciate the theme of this film. Someone who often feels like a bad mom.
Okay, well I wouldn’t want to put words in her mouth of course, but I can tell that she feels like she can’t quite get it down, the act of being a mother. So many mothers feel that way and I can see why.
It’s hard to see Mila Kunis as a mom, what with the role she played as Jackie on That ‘70s Show. That is where I first saw her. She was a young teenager then and her character was selfish and vain, but I liked her and her starring role in this film is what first made me want to go and see it.
It was difficult for me, in a way, to believe her as a mother in her thirties. But then, it’s still strange to see my own sister and brother as parents too.
So, this film had its moments where the acting felt somewhat over-the-top and awkward.
I say this first, but I came away loving the film as a whole.
I can see how many might disregard the movie right off the bat. The title itself is controversial. If a parent already feels sensitive about the hardest job in the world, one which they chose for themselves or not, images of this movie might already be built up in their minds, even before giving it a chance.
Mila’s character Amy tries to have it all (marriage, children, career) and within the first half hour of the film everything falls apart for her.
Soon she is all on her own, still trying to do it all. She doesn’t fit in with the PTA moms, who look perfect and look down on anyone who doesn’t quite fit the mold.
Soon, Amy wants to give up, but not in a way that ever suggests a lack of real love for her two children. I’m sure every parent sometimes dreams of taking a break from it all. Nobody can be a good parent without taking care of the parent themselves on a regular basis.
She finds her own friendships with a few other mothers who definitely aren’t perfect. She tries to figure out how to get back into the dating game.
with one of the dads from her kid’s school, a widower who all the moms fawn over.
I felt the pressure Amy and her fellow moms were feeling. I better felt the pressure the mom sitting next to me in the theater must feel every single day. Of course, nobody ever truly knows that feeling until they themselves becomes responsible for the life of a child. That every decision you make directly affects their life. How every day there is some element of judgment from other parents and from society at large. I felt the heaviness of that responsibility, which is a solid weight on top of any parent, but which translates into the strongest feelings of love and devotion.
This movie was full of sweet moments and horrifying ones, involving hot coffee and spaghetti in the car.
It included a few montages, which can be difficult to describe for a sighted person explaining the film to someone with a visual impairment like myself.
This time however, it was done with brilliance: “Meh…huh…hmm…wha…umm.”
That was the best explanation anyone’s ever given me of a super speedy montage of people’s reactions to Amy’s odd conversation starters in a bar.
And so I do recommend “Bad Moms” to parents and non parents alike. It reaches the heart of family life, divorce, moving on and dating.
The film was criticized for the lack of attention given to the father parts, but I understood why the focus was placed on the mothers in this case. Still, stereotypes of what the roles are for fathers in raising their own children aside, families can be complicated and this film only gives one perspective overall, that of one mother, a group of mothers, the perfection that is expected, even more from the inside, from each mother herself.
All feminist rants aside also, I did feel like this time more focus was placed on Amy’s daughter and her need to be perfect like her mother. Amy’s son was a character I would have liked to see more of. He was helpless, mirroring his father, at the start of the film. But by the end, he was well on his way to becoming a chef when he grew up. His was a sweet role that was somewhat put on the back burner, as some said all the male parts were. I guess this time the females are featured, but with so much devotion to males in movies for so long, I thoroughly enjoyed this viewpoint.
Will Amy give up and truly become a bad mother? Or will she find a way to get it together for her kids and for herself and her own sanity?
Go check it out and see for yourself. (Some strong language throughout.)