1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Chameleon in a Room Full of Mirrors – Part Two, #10Thankful

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

– Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful my brother and his family got to get away for a week together.

Winters can be long. Sun and sea and family time, no cooking or cleaning or work or school. Who wouldn’t like that?

I am thankful for my chameleon eyes.

I can’t see what colour my own eyes are in the mirror, but even when I had more sight, much more sight than I now have, I still couldn’t see the colour of my own eyes.

Well, every time I’ve ever asked, I’ve gotten varied and differing answers. I didn’t know whom to believe.

I got a new artificial eye made the day before Valentine’s Day and it was done within six hours. Not bad.

No, it’s not made of glass. I will answer all the most common questions, in a piece I’m going to write about the experience, once I get through some of the work I’ve currently got on the go this month.

I am glad the new one is in and I was told when the colour is bluish one day, green another, and hazel or whatever, with flecks of something thrown in there somewhere for whatever reason, that is what is known as the chameleon eye, changing colour, depending on the time asked and the light seen in. I thought it was so funny that I’d heard a saying about a chameleon in a room full of mirrors, which could mean any number of things, that I used that as the title for last week’s TToT and then I find out my eyes are chameleon coloured this week.

Thus…part two.

I am thankful for a single girl’s lunch to celebrate all the different kinds of love that matter.

Fancy old mansion and multiple forks and spoons at every place setting.

Truth is that I don’t know a lot about fancy food and don’t think it all that better, overall, but this was a nice way to spend February 14th, to enjoy a nice meal with a friend, celebrating the benefits of being single, especially on a day when all you hear about is romantic love.

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I am thankful for a local, city library card.

I have lived in the town for ten years and am just now getting a library card. So many books that I feel held back from, many print, though there are more and more ways around that for someone who can’t see to read.

I do think the library is a fantastic public resource that everyone deserves to share in.

More on this another week.

I am thankful for positive feedback on a job I’ve got this month.

I was told, at least, I am on the right track which is always nice to hear and know. I will know more by next month.

I am thankful a yoga session could be squeezed into my day.

So busy lately. I can tell, by how quickly I am rushing through even this week’s thankful list that yoga is very much needed in my life.

I had no meeting. She was stuck on Montreal’s public transit. Still, a lesson worked out and I needed that for my sanity.

I am thankful for remittances.

Still learning about such terms of getting paid for work completed. I’m glad it means what it actually means. I admit, the word didn’t sound so good upon first hearing it. I am happy to know its meaning now.

I am thankful for my arms that learn a new thing (dynamics) on the violin.

I guess this is progress. I was sore after, in my upper back and shoulders, as I must have tensed up in learning such techniques. It involves ways of moving the bow, angles, pressure, and a whole lot more to make the music sound quiet or medium or loud, still learning proper names for each level of volume throughout a song.

More to come on this too, also, in the weeks ahead I’d guess.

I am thankful for the nostalgia of a romantic comedy from the 90s.

I wanted to see a movie from my past, about Paris, about forgetting Paris, about basketball refereeing even and I am no sports fan by any means.

It’s an old one of Billy Crystal and one that didn’t receive enough praise, if you ask me.

I am thankful I managed an ending to the short story I wrote last week.

I wrote it, at writing group, on my oma’s birthday. She would have been 97 this year. It’s fiction, based on the girl she might have been, with a few pieces of the girl she told me stories about.

I wrote most of it, but then my braille display died. So, I now have the ending written and I look forward to reading it at the next writing group’s gathering coming up.

Tired and pondering love/hate/indifference lately.

“A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own. The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.”

—Percy Bysshe Shelley

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TToT: Chameleon in a Room Full of Mirrors – Penblwydd Hapus #10Thankful

“You are strong because you are imperfect and you are wise because you have doubts.”

—Clementine Churchill

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This is a reminder of the little girl I once was. My sister found this card in the library book my nephew brought home from school last week.

What are the odds and my first thankful after musing on what it’s like to turn another year older, all while discovering those reminders of the girl you used to be.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the short story I managed to come up with at my writing group, even if my braille display did crap out on me (dead battery) right before I finished it.

It was a short story about a young girl, living in Europe, only a few years before the breakout of World War II and she is celebrating her birthday with a skating party with friends.

I will finish the story and read it out loud at the next writing group night.

I’m thankful for an inspiring first meeting with some new peers living with chronic kidney disease.

We met to discuss how those of us who’ve been and are currently living and dealing with kidney disease can help a new generation of those going through or about to go through it.

Some were on dialysis and some, like myself, were transplant recipients. One was even newly diagnosed and didn’t know where to start. I hope we didn’t overwhelm that person too much.

So much excellent discussion went on. It felt empowering, more than I’ve felt in a long time, as I’ve been off of dialysis for so long that you start to forget what it was like. I have this chronic condition, transplant or no transplant, and may need help from these same sorts of people again one day too.

I am thankful, also, for the guy next to me who got up and brought me a new plastic fork after I broke mine trying to stab a cucumber out of the pasta salad on my plate as the presentation went on.

I hate those cheap plastic forks.

I’m thankful for Apple Music.

Now, for a monthly fee (after the first three free months) I have millions of songs at my fingertips, right on my phone for streaming.

I’m thankful for a surprise right before my birthday.

Native Traveler, awarded gold in the audio story/blogging category from the NATJA

The host submitted the Native Traveler show with my piece on No-limits Travel for the Blind to the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) awards , among a couple of others.   The show won Gold in the radio broadcast category!.

North American Travel Journalist Association awards list for 2017.

I’m thankful for the card, flowers, and butterfly for my keychain, all from my wonderful neighbour.

The card was one of those singing ones.

The butterfly has now become a symbol with meaning between the two of us. I am keeping it with me. I like to trace my fingers around the wings. I used to love to draw bright, colourful butterflies when I was younger.

The flowers were fragrant, but the stalks were so heavy that my mom had to prop up the flowers, using a cooking pot and some cardboard.

I’m thankful for all the well wishes from family and friends, on Facebook and off.

I wasn’t feeling so well on my actual birthday, but it was nice to hear from people. It cheered me up a bit.

I’m thankful for the cake my mother made for me.

Cherry chip with a cheesecake swirl and white chocolate icing.

She is amazing with certain kinds of cake. It was made with love and care. Thanks Mom.

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I’m thankful for a snowy day on my birthday.

I felt unwell, stayed inside the whole day, but I was glad to know what was going on, a snowy world, just outside my window.

It was a perfect February day, even if the next one brought rain and then freezing to produce slick conditions for walking.

Someone on my blog wished me this and I had to look it up, but was super glad they’d said it:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/penblwydd_hapus

I’m thankful I can learn new things, even and especially at thirty-four years old.

Penblwydd Hapus to me.

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Fly Me and My Shadow to the Moon, #SuperBloodMoon #GroundhogDay #SoCS

I used to love to see my shadow. I could stand on my driveway and see enough to detect the bright, white cement and then the dark shape that was me. I could look down and see my legs, taking step after step with my flat attachment, the visual image of that game, it made me think of, copycat where one annoying sibling or other family or friend would repeat everything you’d say.

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I moved my hand and the dark shape would follow the action. I was it and it was me – a basic shape, an outline of my body.

Today, the sun was shining brightly as I went about my day. I had a meeting with the travel agent and I went to my violin lesson.

On the second day of February we wait eagerly for a creature to come out. If it sees its shadow, it is frightened and runs and hides. Winter continues, a dreaded fact for most people, but I take winter in my stride.

As well as Groundhog Day, this week there was some sort of a super blood moon, along with a lunar eclipse.

I don’t pay much attention to the one, being such a literal kid that growing up I was always confused what the whole thing meant, but I do wish I had seen the bigger than normal moon and its reddish tinge.

Tough times lately, but February is here finally.

And so,
in other words,
What?

Will there be six more of anything left of winter?

Meh. I know some would tell me I should have a sense of humour, find one, about Groundhog Day and I know I probably should, but I don’t.

I find some superstitions to be curious and interesting, but here in North America, we seem to find this one highly amusing and a sign, to make us feel better (that spring is on its way) or help us wallow in our dislike for long North American winters that we’re told will be even longer.

It just seems too silly for words, in other words, and I’m sticking to that.

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TToT: Alright January … Enough Already! #HolocaustMemorialDay #10Thankful

When asked by author Angela Yuriko Smith what we’re looking for, Editor-in-Chief JT Lachausse replied:

“We want what you haven’t seen. Allow me to be dramatic: Imagine that every piece of art is represented by a stone. Many stones make up the mountains and buildings, but even more hide beneath the surface. We are so familiar and fond of the overground rocks, but in the caves and oceans-deep, there are stories that tell things wildly. Desperately, furiously, without great laborious sanitizing or editorial puncturing.”

This is the kind of writing I want to be doing.

And, if I’m not, that’s on no one but me.
The
Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for
Just Jot It January
and the writing it has helped me do all month long, but even good things must come to an end.

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I hear, when going through a rough time, that it can’t last forever. I guess.

I did peter out as the end of the month drew near, but I wanted to share
this here from Judy
because I enjoy her and her blog/writing.

I am thankful for another enjoyable lunch with a friend.

Talk of movies she has not seen (Forget Paris) and drinking mimosas on Valentine’s Day, for brunch and going to hear Margaret Atwood speak in Stratford.

I am thankful for a catch up violin lesson.

Our practice room this time contained a piano and that helped me with my scales.

I am thankful to get the chance to have an introduction conference call with the other writers participating on the project about braille.

I am thankful for the movie
The Post
because of the inspiring role, (Katharine Graham) played expertly by Meryl Streep as a woman who had to make a super hard choice and did it with grace and dignity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Post_(film)

Not an easy time to be female and in charge of a newspaper like that, having to make the hardest of decisions, so much at stake.

I am thankful I got a chance, before the movie, to speak to the manager in charge at my local theatre.

He couldn’t be of much help with the issue of audio description at Woodstock’s movie theatre, but he gave me the card of the head office out in B.C.

I am still determined to work, this year, on changing this policy of there not being enough demand, so I can see a movie and not have to make family or friends describe while they, too, are trying to enjoy the show.

I am thankful I could listen in on a conference call about
Braille Literacy Canada
and the importance of braille today.

I am thankful for family and their warm, heated homes to flea to, when I wake to a freezing house and such icy cold tile floors.

My heat crapped out again, twice in one month.

I am thankful for a quick fix and heat returns.

A leaf stuck in there, somewhere.

Silly. I am thankful February is near.

Farewell January.

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Ode to the Mashed Potato Music, #TheCranberries #RIP #SongLyricSunday

Like a pile of warm mashed potatoes, as odd as that sounds – my mom makes them and my grandmother made them once too. Your voice has always been there,

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as a steadfast and loyal
place and space of comfort.

I think I need to start making a list, keeping track of all the songs I’ve chosen for this thing. Can’t remember if I’ve done this one already, as I have shared multiple songs by The Cranberries here.

Oh well. She is gone and I am sad and I find solace in the sound of her voice. Comfort, very much needed this week.

***

Understand the things I say
Don’t turn away from me,
‘Cause I’ve spent half my life out there
You wouldn’t disagree.
Do you see me? Do you see?
Do you like me?
Do you like me standing there?
Do you notice? Do you know?
Do you see me?
Do you see me?

Does anyone care?

Unhappiness
Where’s when I was young,
And we didn’t give a damn,
‘Cause we were raised,
To see life as fun
And take it if we can.
My mother, my mom,
She hold me, she hold me
When I was out there.
My father, my father,
He liked me, oh, he liked me.

Does anyone care?

Understand what I’ve become,
It wasn’t my design.
And people everywhere think something
Better than I am.
But I miss you, I miss,
‘Cause I liked it,
‘Cause I liked it when I was out there.
Do you know this? Do you know
You did not find me?
You did not find. Does anyone care?

Unhappiness
Where’s when I was young,
And we didn’t give a damn,
‘Cause we were raised,
To see life as fun
And take it if we can.
My mother, my mom,
She hold me, she hold me
When I was out there.
My father, my father,
He liked me, oh, he liked me.

Does anyone care?

[9x]

LYRICS

***

I’m sure we grew up with somewhat different lives, from Ireland to Canada, but it feels like a similar familial comfort once existing there.

You wonder sometimes, when the world gets rough, does anyone care?

Of course, someone cares. Of course, but the question still gets asked.

Many people focus on her pension for the “dooodooodooos” in their songs. Depending on my mood, I found this mildly irritating to lovely, but her voice could and did do more, go further, into intense and haunting tones and cries of something, something I can’t quite recognize.

I chose this song because family are a comfort. I know it’s not like that for everyone and nobody’s perfect, but where else can such security and comfort come from than that?

To her family and to mine. That’s where the comfort lies.

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Silenced, #TheCranberries #JusJoJan

The folded up newspaper sits on my coffee table, containing words about another, taken too soon.

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I can’t see to read it and wonder why I bother to keep the paper anyway.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

This is not an official tribute…or is it?

Just how much do I want/need/have to say about a woman I’d never met before anyway?

I am rocked by the news, left meandering through
contemplation
of my own life and what it’s meant to be.

All her lyrics are on repeat in my head. They invite just this sort of examination.

I keep trying to grow, as I write, and to try a bunch of different things with it all. Some things are bound to catch on, while others might not. I have to trust in that process, to thrive in its randomness, but I won’t lessen the effort I put forth.

I have plans in my head, shifting daily perhaps, and then an unforeseen tragedy happens. A woman, middle aged dies suddenly, leaving behind teenage children in the world.

A man is celebrated every January who also was taken much too soon, in evil and ugliness, leaving the lives of especially his children forever changed.

I am lucky to have all I have, to have love and family and a safe place to be. I listen to lots of music, not just The Cranberries, to keep forging on.

I listen to Another Day In Paradise by Phil Collins and I feel the same as I’ve always felt when listening to that set of lyrics. I may feel better that I am feeling for the homeless woman in the song, but really I don’t know what kind of a person that really makes me in the end.

I see those on the street, just as the blind were often seen as beggars on the street, and I want to feed and house everyone. There is a shame and a stigma about it all.

I contemplate and then I hear Dolores’s words in my head: “Don’t analyze. Don’t analyze. Don’t go that way. Don’t live that way. That would paralyze your evolution.”

And oh the lump in my throat returns and I go back to the revolving thoughts in my head and I know I’ll always mourn her voice silenced far too soon.

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A Stranger Returning Home, #MLKDay #JamesBaldwin #JusJoJan

Just. Juice. Prejudice.

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These are three things that come to mind when I think of the word
“justice”
because they look similar in my mind, not because they have anything really to do with the word itself.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

Okay, well, maybe justice and prejudice are related, but really I say this now because I am delaying the moment when I have to write about serious things.

Today hasn’t shaped up the way I was expecting it would. I was trying to figure out how to write something about Martin Luther King Jr. and then Dolores O’Riordan died.

Well, that’s not really a topic of justice. It only adds to my blue mood on Blue Monday as it stands.

I relate to the fight for racial justice, in that I can take my disability and think how discrimination manifests. Still, the subject is a sensitive one, as it should be.

It’s like the reconciliation discussion I learn about, with Indigenous Peoples, daily, here in Canada and in other places, all over the world. I am just sad, sad we haven’t come far enough and in some cases, have slid backwards with time.

This is the type of writing that evolves and changes throughout a day. I started this (mid month Monday) thinking about how to address MLK Day.

I’ve spent most of today lamenting the death of a one-of-a-kind voice in music, and I’m ending it by watching a documentary I have known about for months about writer James Baldwin, being shown on PBS.

I haven’t read his stuff and I know very little about him to be honest. I do know that these issues of rights, of where privilege lies, and on how to fight oppression and for justice, are bound to be found throughout Baldwin’s doc, in his own words, years before I was born.

He watched the young girl try to attend school and be spit on, chiding himself for not being there to help her.

Disgust and anger. How to move past this and into making it all better?

Baldwin didn’t miss America while he was in Paris. He didn’t miss it, but he did miss his family and his culture.

MLK knew he wasn’t likely to live long to see any sort of change.

It is painful for James to return, though he is home again.

James Baldwin said: The line between a witness and an actor is a fine one.

This feels so intensely true right now.

So poignant all these years later.

All about class and culture and race and so many other classifications I cannot seem to parse.

James did not stay, as witness. He was free “to write the story and get it out.”

He saw Martin and Malcolm X both go and he wrote about it.

Malcolm, Martin, martyrs both. Baldwin was the writer.

He writes: I Am Not Your Negro

How to reconcile any of this?

And so goes the clicking of the typewriter’s keys.

If you get the chance, watch I Am Not Your Negro.

Things sure have changed, since last century, but we writers still will write.

The story of America,” Baldwin said, “is not a pretty story.” “Aimless hostility.”

“This is not the land of the free.”

—James Baldwin

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