Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Special Occasions, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TToT, Writing

TToT: Thirty-five For Me and Five For Her Headache, #Blogiversary #10Thankful

Here, I hope to leave something behind when I go. Here, I won’t look back with any shame or regret at what I’ve said, what I’ve written. I am proud to be Her Headache.

I am
thankful
for this blog and all those who’ve found me here and read what I’ve written on these virtual pages, ever since that 2014 February of my thirtieth birthday.

As for how to celebrate my five-year anniversary with this space, I couldn’t quite settle on how to best show my gratitude and my pride on all that this blog has brought to my life.

In the beginning, it all started with me showcasing my
BUCKET LIST
of items I’d wanted to experience.

Since my kidney transplant, twenty-two years ago, I am all about not taking each day for granted and my list was a way of stating my purpose and no longer settling for less out of fear. Things like chronic pain and disability threatened to take away a life worth living, but I fought against that and found this blog as a part of that.

In this last five years, I’ve been lucky to check off several things on the list, though I am enjoying the ups and downs of the journey, as I’ve learned that to be the best part of the whole thing really.

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Still, I can’t stop wondering where life will take me and so here we go with the review of the things I have done and seen in five years that I may not have dreamt I’d do, during the most difficult days in my past:

I am thankful for the teacher I’ve had, for the last three years, since I decided to take a chance to learn to play an instrument in my thirties. Violin was beautiful to me and I wanted to learn to play with a bow, to produce those kinds of heartbreakingly gorgeous sounds I’d heard from the violin for years. I was drawn to it since I gave up on clarinet back in high school. (Too much air needed, blowing into that thing, which was hard on my head, prone to headaches already.)

She is leaving on a new adventure soon and I must face that thing I often dread, “Change”.

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I am thankful for my violin and the progress I’ve made so far, even when I get down on myself for not learning more, faster.

I am thankful for my autumn of 2018 visit to the Maritimes, Canada’s eastern provinces, even my short visit and the limited bit of Nova Scotia I saw. I am thankful I got to place a small item, a token of my appreciation for her gift of iconic literary characters like Anne Shirley in Canada’s cultural landscape, on her gravestone. I got to write a note of my gratitude, from one writer to another, in the guest book in the house Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in. I was brave to finally state, in writing, that I think of myself as a writer, even up next to someone as talented as Montgomery.

I am thankful I got to walk along those Prince Edward Island beaches, the coastline and the smell of the sea. Red Point. The End of the World P.E.I. and the force of the wind at that spot, lighthouse next to a drop down to fearsome ocean roaring down below me.

In these last five years, (not only out east) but I’ve traveled to Mexico, Yukon, British Columbia, and back to Florida for the fourth time.

I am thankful I got to make it to my twenty-year anniversary with my kidney, from my father, and that I got to celebrate that with him and my family and friends, zip lining at my favourite Niagara Falls on the Canada side. I hope to zip line in more places around the world in future.

I am thankful I technically did get my writing available in bookstores, when I wrote a short piece which was included in a print magazine called Misadventures. It was only available in Barnes & Noble, in the US, so a friend went into one and took pictures for me of that magazine on the shelf. I hold that book in my hands and am proud to know I have writing inside of it.

I thought it fitting to make my five-year blogiversary into a TToT post, one of the best things to come out of this blog since 2015 when I discovered other bloggers doing it and I joined their exclusive TToT blogging community.

Thank you, TToT comrads and all of you, for visiting me here. You’re the best.

All jokes aside on the wisdom of getting older, as I turn thirty-five and look back and look ahead, I know the fun is in the journey, not necessarily its destination. Still, I will always write about it all here, or for as long as I am meant to,

Where will I be in five years? And, how will I have gotten there?

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, RIP

No Going Back, #JustJoJan

Two crime proceedings happening in Canada this week.

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One, a monster pleads guilty for his crimes. Good. His victims are not here to
testify,
but family is always more than willing.

The other, a senseless crash between a bus and a truck last spring and bereaved loved ones
testify
about how they’ve been forever affected.

The first, evil. The second, a careless accident.

A bunch of young men, athletes, and coaches were killed. Many were badly hurt and injured. A man must live with that fact all the rest of his days. The forgiveness, though it may not have been found by all at this time, was shown with moving offerings from families toward the man who was at the wheel of that truck.

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Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

Lights and Dots #JusJoJan

April In Paris is a favourite movie of mine. Billy Crystal and Marge Simpson. What could be better?

My parents and older siblings have been. I have not. Do I want to go? Of course I do.

Of course I want to experience
Paris
but I’d rather visit Normandy or the Brittany Coast.

Mostly though, I want to visit Coupvray, the village where the inventor of braille was born.

I don’t speak French. I heard a lot about dog poop after my family visited. I hear that’s been cleaned up since.

Just recently, a friend and I were discussing checking out the catacombs, if I ever get to the capital of France and if she ever gets to return there. She tells me stories of visiting, as a teen, on a school trip to Europe and I hear the emotion in her voice when she speaks of being up the Eiffel Tower.

Thanks to
Forty and Fantastique
for a travel related word because there’s nothing more, I enjoy jotting/writing about, than travel and place.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m thankful for Christmas Eve spaghetti and meatballs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Boy, Oh Boy, #RIP #SongLyricSunday

December gloom.

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I haven’t been participating in
Song Lyric Sunday
for several weeks now, but December brings with it a whole lot of emotion: both joyousness and gloominess.

I’ve been thinking about those who were once boys, who eventually turned into men, and of whom we’ve lost in the month of December.

This song reminds me of family who were lost, seven years ago, as we approach the anniversary of his passing:

This is a month of joyousness at Christmas, but of sorrow in life lost to suicide too. The two contrasting emotions are stark when I experience them now, every year since.

***

If I die young
bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh uh oh

Lord make me a rainbow,
I’ll shine down on my mother
She’ll know I’m safe with you when She stands under my colours,
oh and Life ain’t always what you think it oughta be,
no Ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well, I’ve had just enough time

If I die young
bury me in satin.
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

And I’ll be wearing white
when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little cold finger
I’ve never known the lovin’ of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
There’s a boy here in town says he’ll love me forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts,
oh no I’ll sell them for a dollar
They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’

If I die young
bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh (uh oh)

The ballad of a dove Go with peace and love Gather up your tears, keep ’em in your pocket Save ’em for a time when your really gonna need ’em oh

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys, and I’ll wear my pearls

Songwriters: Kimberly Perry
If I Die Young lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

***

Here we go again, I thought, as I was given the news and had to tell my loved ones the horrible details.

This wasn’t my family’s first time dealing with suicide of a loved one. Different side of the family, but same shock and grief.

As I recently listened to cassette tapes with my brother of our childhood, I listened to old Christmas parties and of all the kids playing, the boys playing rougher, as sometimes they are known to do. I never did hear him, as he was always a quiet boy, but I heard other cousins calling his name. Stevie, he was often called.

December is my month of pure happiness, as I remember the innocence I felt, as a young girl this time of year.

Now, that happiness is tinged with a gloominess that slices this month in half for me, as far as the festive mood I try to find.

John Lennon was also a boy once, in the biggest boy band of the day, in the 1960’s, and he is being mourned all over again, as every December rolls around.

This is my favourite John Lennon song to end this post:

A song of a sincere apology given after jealousy.

RIP John and Steven.

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TToT: Foresight, Hindsight, Insight, #Problem #Solution #10Thankful

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy birthday to L.M. Montgomery, who was born 144 years ago today!

“‘Old Prince Edward Island’ is a good place in which to be born – a good place in which to spend a childhood. I can think of none better. We Prince Edward Islanders are a loyal race. In our secret soul we believe that there is no place like the little Province that gave us birth.”

– L.M. Montgomery, The Alpine Path: the Story of My Career

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Caption: Kids, with Grandpa, about to blow out birthday candles.

I’m writing this on the final day of November, even though this post is dated days earlier. I missed last week’s
Ten Things of Thankful
and I’m too lazy to try to figure out how to reset dates in WP and I don’t want to bother starting a new entry for this. It works as is.

I’m thankful for my father on his 63rd birthday.

I’m thankful for my favourite writer on what would have been hers too.

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Caption: The bedroom she was born in.

I got to visit that house when I was in Prince Edward Island in September.

I love that my favourite writer and my favourite father share this day.

I’m thankful for last weekend, a trial run of the 2018 KFC (Kijewski family Christmas) as we like to call it.

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Caption: Grandpa and Mya watching gingerbread houses being decorated.

I’m thankful for a night out at the movies with siblings.

I’m thankful for brownies.

I’m thankful for a second
Fantastic Beasts film,
where more of the world leading to Harry Potter was revealed.

I’m thankful for another episode of
Outlook,
where we interview (or he us) a lifelong friend and brother.

I’m thankful for an unforgettable night of stories performed from the heart.

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I am standing up, in front of an audience, to tell my story, a dying art.

I’m thankful four of my family members could be there to see me do that.

I’m thankful for a doctor who goes above and beyond.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GHXEGz3PJg

This song was playing as I left the
TAP Centre for Creativity
and I thought it fit because we all have a hunger to be heard.

Finally, RIP Bush Senior.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/21750/4-simpsons-controversies-didnt-end-lawsuits

The Simpsons has made fun of all recent Presidents (from Nixon on) and has taken a few shots at some of the famous and forgotten ones who came before, but they have a special relationship with Bush Sr. Surprisingly, this began with Barbara, who in a 1990 interview with People , said The Simpsons was “the dumbest thing [she] had ever seen.” The writers at the show had Marge send off a letter defending her family (and implying that certainly Washington had some dumber people/things to see). Mrs. Bush wrote a prompt, polite response.
The next year, 1991, the Bushes were featured in “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington.” Barbara gave a private tour of her bathroom and George moved decisively to remove a corrupt congressman when he learned through the pipeline that “a little girl [was] losing faith in democracy.”

The real controversy began January 27th, 1992, when Bush declared to a meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters: “We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.” The Simpsons quickly wrote and animated a new sequence for “Stark Raving Dad,” which would be rerun three days later. Bart and his family watch the clip of Bush’s speech and Bart replies, “Hey, we’re just like the Waltons. We’re praying for an end of the depression, too.”

It was not until four years later that The Simpsons got the final word—in “Two Bad Neighbors,” George and Barbara move in across the street to the Simpsons. While George immediately takes a liking to Ned Flanders, he dislikes Bart, whom he sees as disrespectful.

Bush: You know, in my day, little boys didn’t call their elders by their first names. block quote level 1block quote level 1

Bart: Yeah, well, welcome to the 20th century, George. block quote level 1block quote level 1

The episode casts Bart as Dennis the Menace and George as cranky Mr. Wilson until Bart accidentally destroys Bush’s hand-typed memoirs, in which he claims, “And since I’d achieved all my goals as President in one term, there was no need for a second.”

Bush spanks Bart and won’t apologize for interfering with Homer’s parenting. This leads to an escalation of tension and pranks until the inevitable fistfight in the sewer. The Bushes move away after Barbara forces Bush to apologize in front of Mikhail Gorbachev (after which Homer demands an apology “for the tax hike”). Homer gets along much better with his next neighbor, Gerald Ford.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Bad_Neighbors

It’s satire and could be seen as mocking. I don’t approve of politicians talking about family values though, in order to win an election, as to be political you can’t possibly totally practice all that you preach. Still, I see being made into an episode as an honour and I show it as a goodbye to a man who lived a good long life:

I had to explore this, from a strictly cultural (Simpsons) point of view, because people are complicated. This show hasn’t been for everyone, a certain generation a lot less likely, but it is sad to have no sense of humour.

A man who was in charge to be forever known as the American’s With Disabilities Act president will be remembered for it. He was someone’s husband, father, and grandfather. He made decisions that not everyone would have agreed on, but he was more of a respected politician than what the US has as POTUS at the moment, by a long long shot.

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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.

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