All the music and the books and shows that are out there I have yet to know of, I think to myself, as I watch Downton Abbey (for the thirtieth time) as I eagerly wait for the film to come out. FYI: I have months to wait still.
I like to think of all the explorers and inventors and everything undiscovered,
going back through history and into the present and the future I have yet to enter myself.
As I am halfway through the first month of 2019 already, I know there’s so much to discover too.
I am an explorer of my year, in my own personal narrative of a life, as I approach turning thirty-five. Sure, I am feeling wary of what might be or might not, but I am ready for the adventure and the exploration of what this year is meant to become.
Yeah, depending on the day and sometimes the hour you ask me in/on, my mood about all this changes. I feel like the start to 2019 is a slow one, but really I can’t complain about that. Life, when much more interesting, isn’t always the better alternative.
I am trying to see what’s next for me and I don’t always look at that as being a positive thing. I know I need to keep hold of the right attitude in this whole self-discovery dance I’m doing. I don’t dance well, but sometimes, you just have to flail around a bit, all four limbs, and not worry so much about what that might look like.
After all, last year at this time, I hadn’t bothered to give Downton a chance yet. How silly thirty-three-year-old me was for that.
I am thankful for a beautiful live fiddle concert.
I was tapping my foot along with the faster songs and then slow ones like Willow Lullaby had me solemn.
Thank you to those who suggested/brought me along to the show and to Cassie and Maggie and their interesting between-song stories, excellent sisterly talents, and the folk music and lyrics I am now listening to on Apple Music, on repeat.
This phrase was one of the songs they did and I was caught curious about its meaning. After listening to their version of the song, (Maiden’s Lament), I decided the part about thyme representing a young woman’s virginity was somewhat off-putting, but I rather focus on the empowering message not to waste precious time with someone or something negative or unhealthy because life is short.
I’m thankful for little bottles of champaign.
On a hot day, in a busy bar, I ordered a bottle and drank straight from it. A glass was included, but I’d rather not, which makes me unsophisticated, not allowing the bubbles to breathe. Still, it was easier without and I don’t know enough to taste any difference.
I’m thankful for an excellent fiddle album from a musician with the same name as mine.
Look up Kerry Fitzgerald if you have a streaming service, and even if you don’t. She is from near me, though she tours all over. This album is Fiddle Beatz and the mix of her fiddle (violin music) and electronics, plus parts of her own voice make it awesome.
I’m thankful for a surprise email about organ donation.
Someone I met recently took the time to pick up the card, fill it out, and mail it off. She told me it is because she met me that she saw this through, that my brother and I put a relatable human face to the issue.
And now…a short TToT intermission halfway through.
So sleep with the sweetest of dreams;
May you dance in the light of moonbeams.
And sing, “Hey Diddle Diddle,” with the cat and his fiddle:
Sleep with the sweetest of dreams.
I’m thankful for something cold to drink on a hot day’s walk home.
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.
So much going on in the world, so much that I can’t write my way out of. I know what I am thankful for, as always, but recently my stress has been building and I couldn’t bring myself to post anything about gratitude last week.
I wasn’t even going to be back now, but I am one of those who believes both these are true:
“The only thing worse than knowing the truth is not knowing the truth, and yet, “the only thing worse than not knowing is knowing.”
By next Sunday we will know, not all “the truth” really, but the reality.
I don’t like where the world and more specifically the US is heading, but I am, in this case particularly, unable to do anything directly about it either way. Emphasizing what I am thankful for is the least and the most I can do now and we will face next week when we get there, like a rickety bridge, but I don’t speak of burning anything.
Those familiar with the stylings of Frank Zappa, you may recognize the stringing together of those four words in my title. I didn’t know of his recording studio and the rather odd name it possessed, until I heard an interview with Lady Gaga, who has purchased the house and now makes music there and shares it with other musicians. I liked the random word choice and thought it fitting for things at the moment.
For a little Halloween fun, with October behind us and November, the US election, and the holidays still to come this year, I begin with this here tale of terror.
Here is one song I came across this week that had the sort of feeling I am experiencing right now. I have the one picked out for next week, if a first female president is elected that is. If the worst does happen, the following song feels fitting, for my mood.
I heard it in the final Harry Potter movie (well, Part One of it anyway). It felt sombre. Lots of people feel this added scene (not found in the books) was awkward and unnecessary, but I felt the opposite, that sometimes the movie takes a gamble on a little something extra and it touches a viewer like me.
So, Ron had just run out on Harry and Hermione and the mission they were on to defeat evil. Hermione was devastated and Harry suddenly gets her to dance with him, to this song, and something feels optimistically hopeful, for their friendship and humanity, like not all hope was lost.
Somehow, I felt a connection here, to the current climate. I don’t think I’m wrong.
I am thankful, first off, for small favours which are really just what ends up happening, but sometimes they can prevent something much worse from occurring.
My brother had a seizure this week, but he is fine now.
He has had several since he fell, last December, and hit his head. He had a few last summer and then not until the other night.
The worst part about them, like what I say above, is you don’t know when they will come, but yet would knowing really be easier?
I guess because you could plan for the most optimal situation. If he is in the wrong place, doing the wrong action, it could be worse for sure. If he’s out in the street. If he’s in a place where a secondary injury could cause more damage. It’s scary because he is so smart and so much of what makes him Brian is his amazing mind. He was, only a few hours before, playing the most beautiful music with his band in my basement. Each time they play I change my mind and a different one of their songs becomes my favourite.
He is himself still, thank God, but my fear is that something will change. Seizures are hard on the body and on the brain, obviously. He was alone, but he was sitting down, we believe. He will be okay. My heart stops each time I hear he’s had another.
I am thankful for those little Facebook reminders of what happened exactly one year ago. Well, okay, not always, but this time for sure.
One of my better/best decisions ever. I am thankful that I have a place where I read my writing out loud. It is excellent practice.
I am thankful for a fun-filled writing group this week.
November first was the start of a month of non stop writing, for some, as it’s National Novel Writing Month once more.
Only two of our group are doing it this year and I’m not one of them, but we had a party of sorts, while we chatted, wrote, and read our stories out loud. I know how much I can handle and how much I can’t. I hadn’t had that positive breakthrough with my violin yet and I knew I couldn’t add anything more to my plate right now.
I know things out of my control should never stop me, if doing something like writing a novel were what I really wanted to do, but this just isn’t the time and I know it. I sometimes trust my instincts to show me the way forward.
I do have a story I’m dying to tell, but not yet. This doesn’t mean I must wait a whole other year, for NaNo to come around again, but we shall see.
I just need to see what happens in the US on Tuesday and the aftermath of that. I need to get a year of violin practice under my belt. I need to focus on my goals for at least the next three months. That’s what is most important to me right now.
But back to writing group. The stories, minus my own, were unbelievably satirical and hilarious. We had to roll a pair of giant dice and we received a matching setting and character description for both the numbers we rolled.
Mine was: “beach with a prudish dress code” and “woman who is upset because her imaginary friend dumped her for another woman”.
Maybe I will share that story one day.
I am thankful that NaNoWriMo exists.
It got me writing back in 2013 and I wrote the quota of fifty thousand words in thirty days that year.
I achieved what would have seemed and sounded impossible to me at the time.
I fear I lost that beginning to a story, but even if I did, I now know I can do it again and I will. I now have two novel ideas to choose from when I do.
I am thankful I got to hear my violin teacher performing live with her fellow musicians. Brass, wood winds, strings, and percussion. It was a remarkable thing to witness, so many performing in unison and the pieces played were introduced by professors of the music school at University of Western Ontario, in London. The quote about comfort and courage was from one of those introductions and I made a note of it and liked the sound of it when I heard it.
I am thankful for a better week with the violin.
For the last few weeks I’ve felt like I was not making enough progress with the song I’m working on. I worried I was wasting everyone’s time and money and belief in me, especially my own hope, with all I’ve put of myself into this dream.
This week something began to make more sense I suppose. I felt better, walking out of that practice room, than I have in a while. It is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but definitely one of the more rewarding things I’ve attempted in my life.
I am thankful for family to hang out with when I need to smile and distract my rushing thoughts.
I watched the final game of this season’s World Series with my parents, brother, and uncle. I’m glad I got to think about baseball instead of world happenings, even if Toronto had lost out days before, for another year. These two teams deserved a shot.
I had to spend this past weekend around one who knows nothing about politics, elections, or world events yet. He is only four, so plenty of time to face these things, to learn about them, but I wish he never had to.
I feel the need to phone and speak to other children in my family, as I did after my aunt died, even with my feelings of not wanting to bother people, with their busy schedules and hectic lives. I know I should not ever allow that to hold me back. It’s silly really.
I am thankful for a ride home from my uncle after we couldn’t quite hold out past the rain delay to go home and call it a night.
My uncle is someone I can talk to about the struggles and the thrills of learning to play an instrument later in life because he plays and he gives it his all when he does.
He introduced me to another violinist from Canada on the brief drive home.
I am thankful for the baby kicks I’m not certain I felt.
My sister has felt them for a while in her second pregnancy, but getting over my weirdness with such contact, I tried for really the first time this time round. I felt nothing really, but it’s still early enough, and as long as the mother feels them I am okay to wait.
It really is miraculous and to think of that baby growing and moving is one of the best things in a mixed up, topsy-turvy world.
I am thankful for comedians to make me laugh about the things that, if I don’t laugh about, the only other option would be to cry.
I am thankful for the vast array of autumn weather we’ve been having.
It was so nice to step out my door the other day to bright sunshine and warm temperatures, for November anyway. I stop, on the stairs, multiple times a day, in my favourite place in my house. I stand and take in the view, with my remaining senses of smell and hearing. I loved the cooler weather of Halloween. I loved the dank and the rainy and the better days as we fell back one hour, ushering in darkness earlier and earlier going toward December, and we’re on our way toward winter. Glorious that I live in Canada and get to experience all four seasons.
Okay, so perhaps a couple additional TToT items this week, to make up for missing a few recently. I needed to write and find all the ways I possibly could to keep my mood from crashing. On into another week however.
And, with that I conclude by saying, America, please be careful.
This will be part gratitude post and part music review, I’ve decided. Music always causes me to be thankful.
Here’s what else’s going on.
I am thankful for some of the best October weather lately.
Okay, so that weather decided not to hold on for our family day, when we’d planned on visiting a pumpkin patch, to have a good time like we did last year. Ah well, can’t win em all.
Before that though, well I would stop at my favourite spot in my house, my stairs, on the landing, and I would put my chin on the window ledge. It is high enough that I just meet its height. It makes me feel child-like when I stand there. It offers perspective.
With this weather, first it was a couple of extremely breezy days and I just loved the sound of rustling leaves in the trees, some far off hissing. Such mild breezes and the smell in the air was just glorious.
I am thankful for Canadian healthcare.
I tried to feel indignant on some comments DT made about our healthcare, but decided that is nothing but wasted energy.
Nothing is perfect, as I continue to have symptoms that become difficult to treat, but when it really counts, Canada is the best place to be.
Again, I worried about my brother’s health, three years post kidney transplant. He needed medical help this week suddenly, to be treated for shingles immediately, and he was. Hopefully, he is on the road to total recovery. Knock on wood there are no further complications from the virus. It is his second time with it.
I am thankful for live music.
Shawn Hook was the opening act.
I am thankful that I was able to attend a live musical performance like no other, with my sister and my unborn niece or nephew.
Lots to say about this show, which was a lovely surprise of a performance, but I still want to write a full review another time.
This song just makes me want to get up and dance.
I was looking forward to seeing Lindsey Stirling live for a while now and, once more, I found myself becoming transformed by what I heard and felt.
I am thankful for another Wednesday evening in “The Elsewhere Region” (which just means my twice-a-month writing group), that you just never know who might show up there.
This week we had a surprise guest from Denmark. She was a friend of one of our members, just visiting for the week, but it was nice that she came along. She is a writer too, which was obvious from her piece that she wrote and read aloud to the group.
I am thankful for the love of certain kinds of music that my father has passed on to me, from his generation, of the kind that a lot of people my age don’t have.
My father taught me to love and appreciate The Beatles. I owe him for that.
This documentary was sweet and sad and it brings you back to the 60s, a time I did not live through, but when I watch things like this, I feel I can understand a little of what that time was like.
I am thankful for a violin teacher who shows me lots of compassionate patience and who lends me a chin support so I can keep hold on my violin with just my neck and head.
I am thankful for my brother’s quiet support of my attempt to learn to play the violin.
Recently, my discouragement has been growing, but I will not give up.
Some things we really want, we soon learn just aren’t meant to be. Learning to play the violin, for me, isn’t one of them.
Doesn’t mean I don’t doubt myself on a regular basis. I may not be the most dedicated player, devoting hours and hours to learning, but I am a slow yet determined learner.
Just when I was beginning to doubt that I was doing all of this for the long run, I practiced, on the sly, while most of my family were elsewhere. I did not draw attention to it, but my older brother was present.
We both think the violin is just so neat and I felt better in that moment, when I acknowledged how hard it’s been and when he offered up his signature style of quiet support as I fumbled to get through a song.
I vowed then that I would not give up on my dream.
I am also thankful that he doesn’t give up.
He keeps helping me with things I struggle to do on my own, now that it’s just me.
I think music sounds so much better in surround sound. He made it so much easier for me to go from cable TV, to movies, to my computer. The fewer steps there are, the easier I will pick it up and do it on my own, even if it takes me forever to master it all.
And my brother keeps coming back, helping me, over and over again.
I love hearing my niece and nephews playing. They even allow me to get in on their games now and again as well.
We played and I watched how the game was constructed. How my niece acted out what she sees every day, with the grown ups in her life, how there’s a repeated order to the imaginary day we were living. Wake up. Going shopping. Eating lunch. Having a day where we just rest. Back to bed. My brother was the best at these last two.
Children are the best and I watch the children in my life, reminding me of the child I once was myself. This is a priceless gift.