1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, National Novel Writing Month, RIP, SoCS, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, Writing

Lay Down Your Weapons #RemembranceDay #SoCS

I am trying to write about war.

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On this November 11th, I try to put myself in the place of, say, my grandmother. She lived through World War II and yet I feel like I never even scratched the surface with her. She spoke of that time in her life, more than most, but yet not nearly enough.

I am trying to get down the words, at least a beginning to what could become a novel some day. November is not only Remembrance Day, but it is also National Novel Writing Month and, at this rate, I am not likely to make the fifty thousand words that is the ultimate goal.

I have a near stroke when I think of the setting I want my story to have. I worried that this piece of writing required too much research. NaNoWriMo isn’t supposed to be about doing research. That comes later. Just write.

In a way though, I feel I’ve kind of being doing my own form of research, for many years. I’ve been fascinated by history for as long as I can remember, most especially World War I and II and the 20th century. I’ve watched documentaries and read up on lived accounts of those years. Still, as much of an empath as I feel I am, it is hard to put myself in that place.

How would it feel to be living during World War I or World War II anyway?

I listen to true and up close accounts of soldiers, in the trenches, between 1914 and 1918 and the rats and the mud and the stench of death all around you.

I’ve listened hard to personal accounts in interviews, Jews and other victims of the carnage. I am writing a story about a woman, her mother, and trying to raise three young children/grandchildren during such days. I am trying to put myself in their shoes. That seems, though I am a human too, to be a difficult task, a goal, one I am fighting hard to reach.

I love my country, am happy to be Canadian, but I am no patriot. I wish political parties and affiliations didn’t exist. On a day like November 11th, I don’t glorify war, just like I don’t glorify it any other day of the year. My goal, in learning about it and writing about it, is to try and make it not repeat itself, like I have that power.

All the talk of bravery gets to me. Of course, it would be scary to be caught in a war, but to make the decision to go and fight in one is different altogether.

I feel like I am being disrespectful. I know it’s a sacrifice to risk losing a leg, an arm, or one’s life to war. I speak the truth of it, but what it is is ugly and awful and, I believe, unnecessary.

I heard a song on the radio earlier today, one that very nearly brought me to tears, about how we’re all one, all family, every one of us. We are from different countries, continents, cultures, and races certainly. Some say this makes us different in ways that cannot be altered. Others sing those songs of coming together as one, in humanity.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS (Remembrance Day Edition)

I wish walls were never built and lines never crossed in anger. I am not in control of most of this. Losing limbs seems, to some, to be a possible price to pay for freedom and democracy. I just want to write about war. I don’t want to see any more. People say, when it comes to us imperfect and often boastful humans, that will never be the case.

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TToT: Words Don’t Make The Rain Go – And So Forth, #10Thankful

“No dress rehearsal. This is our life.”

Gord Downie, The Tragically Hip

Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie dead at 53 – Toronto Star

A man who was never widely known outside of Canada for his musical abilities is now gone. Maybe, though, he was meant never to have worldwide fame, but instead to be Canada’s musician and to do what he did, to speak powerfully about how we’ve treated Indigenous people in this country, Indigenous youth for more than a century.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful Canada has a leader who can show emotion.

A friend died, a fellow Canadian, and I know people still thought it silly that Justin Trudeau became emotional.

Why not?

He is human, isn’t afraid or so unfeeling and dead inside as to let his emotions out, and I will take that over other options, in other countries, right now and any day.

I am thankful for a comforting and hopeful yet bittersweet mid week medical appointment.

I felt a true disappointment when I realized she was coming to the end of what she, herself, could do to help me.

She is one of the best physicians I’ve ever seen and that is not always so easy to find. She did her best for me and I could sense she felt truly bad that I wasn’t feeling better from any of her treatment ideas. Again, hard to find, feel from some doctors.

So, she is always open to seeing me, if I ever need something, but has given me suggestions for what to try next and where to go.

I really did feel sad when I left her office this time. I guess that is a sign I’ve seen too many doctors in my life.

I am thankful for the ability to go into my local bank and deposit a cheque I earned all by myself, into my account.

This shouldn’t be such a big deal for someone my age, but it is.

That’s just the honest to God truth of it. More where that came from, but my fear is always there that it won’t last.

The pressure now feels compounded, though still thankful, this week anyway.

I am thankful for a writing group evening that started out moodily and ended wonderfully.

I must have been in a bit of a mood, myself, but the personalities of the writers in that room soon brought me out of my funk.

That’s why I go. Sure, it’s nice to write and hear some good old stories, but it’s those minds where the ideas for said stories come from that I am most grateful for, why I keep on going back.

I am thankful I was able to keep up with my first evening of secretarial duties.

We had our first official meeting of Ontario’s chapter of Canada Federation of the Blind.

I wanted an app to record the conference call, but I couldn’t be sure any were accessible and so I took notes. I did better with that than I thought I would.

We have multiple issues I feel are important enough to take on and hopefully tackle, to make even a slight difference.

I may never have a child to leave behind, but I do want to leave behind something. Maybe I can make a difference somehow.

I am thankful for a day of rejection and acceptance.

I pitched to two places. One came back thrilled for me to tell my story and the other had to pass.

I had a feeling on the second one and it hurt at first, but what I have to say isn’t right for every place. It might be the wrong time, though I would like to write about being a woman who may never have a child, not because I don’t want one, but for several different factors.

This writing journey brings both acceptances and rejections, and from what I’ve heard and read, it isn’t always about the writing. Sometimes it’s timing or luck. I’ve been very lucky this year so far.

I do like the lessons I am learning, over and over again, and I hope that sting of rejection will continue to happen and teach me that it isn’t the end of the world and that maybe something else can come along another date and time.

I am thankful for a lovely dinner with family and friends.

My mom went to a lot of work to make everything look nice. She is a lovely hostess. She put coloured peppers in the chicken. She baked a new fluffy casserole recipe for the yams. She put time and attention into welcoming a new friend into her home.

We all had a lot of fun and laughs.

I am thankful for wine.

And the wine I had with the evening didn’t hurt any either. It was nice to be able to wind down, at the end of a busy week, wind down with wine.

I am thankful for a short walk for mail.

I still haven’t been sleeping well and I needed a brief Saturday morning walk in the sunshine, with my neighbour, down the street to the mailboxes.

It was a beautiful morning and I came home refreshed and fully awake for the day.

On a day like that, it isn’t so bad that my mail doesn’t come right outside my door anymore.

I am thankful for the attention a dying man brought to what Canada’s next 150 years should look like.

Gord Downie cared about his country and knew he was leaving it and leaving this life. He wanted to take a step toward bringing us all together before he went.

I watched the live broadcast of the concert he put on a year before his death. It is a sad story, what happened to this one boy and so many other boys and girls and their parents and families for so long.

The lonely death of Chanie Wenjack – Macleans (READ THIS)

Different circumstances of course, but I see it as Chanie Wenjack was a symbol of so many other children here in Canada being forcibly removed and reprogrammed, just like Anne Frank went on, after her death, to symbolize all the children during the Holocaust in Europe during World War II.

I can easily imagine being taken from my home and forced into residential school. What a scary thing, especially if forced to speak another language and be separated from everyone and everything you know and love.

What were Canada’s governments and churches thinking?

RIP Gord, (1964-2017)

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Hourglass #SoCS

Seasons change, one sliding into another, stretching out, one into the next and so forth. I am in the middle of my favourite one now, this October day cheering my lonely heart, turning from cool and aloof to the warmth of momentary peace and tranquility. Still, I think of the leaves that fall, that crunch underfoot, memories of childhood leaf piles with you.

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I soldier on. I revel in these days, as November and December will, soon enough, bring on cold, whipping winds and the first appearance of those delicate winter flakes drifting down, through the chilled air.

I don’t dislike this season, simply because I know the dark winter days are to follow directly in secession.

I love Canada, my home, and the variety of weather we experience. Many stereotypes exist of our country, but my recent trip to The Great White North, in June, was perfection.

Something is seasonal, like in the world of fashion. I do not wear shorts in the middle of winter, though I am not a big fan of wearing them in summer either. I also do not follow what the fashion world claims is “in season” because I know comfort and style are unique to each and every one of us.

Broadening out from the whole pattern of the four seasons, I think of the seasons of life. Mine have gone by painfully slowly and also, blindingly fast. They have been full of sadness, hardships, beauty and bittersweet memory.

So, as I think of you, of all of it, I hope this next one will be everything you are hoping it will be. Bloodlines aside, if he is your family, then be happy with him. After all, life is often so difficult, to find a little peace, that I strongly believe we must all find our own family where and how we can.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

I wish us all the best during the seasons of all our lives, as the hourglass sand drifts silently down, down, down.

And now my ode to seasons (yearly and throughout life) has come to an end.

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TToT: Blood Red Sun In A Smoky Sky – Lucky and Thankful, #FridayThe13th #Podcast #10Thankful

Okay,, I did it again. What week is this, exactly, that I came late to the party and linked up last? I keep this as a priority, but it does end up falling down a point…or five.

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Birthday photos come a week later, first of my time holding my niece, by the swing set she is too young to enjoy just yet. I am still thinking birthdays…my parents and a friend and so on.

But forest fires continue to burn on the west coast and far away there is violence, such that I cannot imagine, and here I sit, writing another list of what I am thankful for in this life.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the best spaghetti dinner ever.

My brother made it. spaghetti has been a favourite food in my family for a long time, since our traditional spaghetti dinner, every Christmas Eve when I was young.

Now my brother makes it so well, as he’s been perfecting it. We went another way with the food in the title of our podcast (the one I was there to make when this meal was made) but, if I could have come up with a clever enough name using spaghetti, I would have.

He now takes care, not to eat sauce from a can, but to make it with vegetables and spices, allowing it to simmer.

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My brother has perfected spaghetti and my sister has perfected cupcakes.

I am thankful for the birth and birthday of a lifelong friend.

We’ve been friends since we were ten. She was one of the few kids to approach me, on that first day at a new school. I had felt like a bit of a sideshow then, but our friendship grew into so much more.

I think of her now, so far away and on a path I never could have guessed at, and I smile and put my hand to my heart.

I am thankful for a long chat with a writer friend.

She writes about science. She is a scientist who loves to write, I suppose it would be better to say.

We talked for a long time, about everything concerning writing, as we are both trying to make it, using our skills, on our own.

Though our lives are vastly different from one another, our thoughts often come back to the same thing, something involving the art and the struggle of being a writer.

I am thankful for a gift of Gummy Bears.

I was working on a piece, on deadline, and someone knew it.

They sent me a treat, even if it was just a picture of that treat, a virtual treat as it were.

Still, to know they were thinking of me, there in that moment, was a nice thing, plain and simply.

I am thankful for superstitions like the famous Friday the 13th.

They have given me something to write about and to think about. They have caused me to challenge what I think and what I believe.

I am thankful for a visit with my neighbour where she helped me figure out how to take action in a few areas of my life.

She is good at narrowing an issue or a particular problem down. She keeps me thinking ahead and on task. Checking in on me periodically has helped a great deal since knowing her.

I am thankful for a delicious lunch/latte with another writing friend.

The wrap and the latte were just the thing for a Friday, as tired as I felt. I like hearing her take on things and I hope to be an ear to listen with for her, someone she knows she can trust.

I am thankful for a challenging violin lesson and yoga session, both within two days.

New poses to strengthen. New parts to repeat and drill into my thick head.

It is all a challenge, but a giant breath of fresh air too.

I am thankful for a friend’s writing getting published and read this week.

Kerra makes her opinions known on CNN.

She is speaking up, speaking out, and writing.

THE PRICE OF REDEMPTION – Panorama Journal

I am thankful we got a 60 minute episode of Ketchup On Pancakes recorded and up on our SoundCloud page.

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 6 – Mom and More

When I think of my mom, I think of growing things, like flowers.

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Apparently, so do others.

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TToT: Giving Thanks For Whimm With Two M’s, #Thanksgiving #10Thankful

This seems almost too easy, too obvious, a thankful post on Thanksgiving that is, but here we go.

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Diving right in.

Ten Things of Thankful

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.

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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.

It was a perfect night.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T4IWlFutwXo

My mom and Gloria were both born in 1957 and so, since I love her music and I love my mom, I finish with a little music because music always makes things better.

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TToT: Quaint Drinking Village with a Fishing Problem – Green Light Night, #10Thankful

Can’t stay long. Deadlines looming. I’m frankly terrified that I’ve taken on something too big for me to handle, but I was reminded of something important and so I write down what I am grateful for this week and then I get back to work.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for cheques in the mail.

It’s a bit of a wait this way, but getting paid is a nice thought.

I’m thankful for a hug from my little niece in a particularly stressful moment.

I was taking on big things and my mind was racing. Just hugging her was peaceful.

I did, however, tell her my advice was to stay little, not to grow up.

I’m thankful for the support of a neighbour with an ear to listen to all I’ve got going on.

She cheers me on and was helping me think about my timing, scheduling, as if she were my life coach.

I could likely use one.

I’m thankful my headache has eased.

I tried to cry about a television show, instead of from my pain. Some distractions work better than others.

There’s a definite gratitude when that particular intense pain dissipates and I feel the lack of it.

One of the greatest feelings that I wish would last, but I’ll take it while it’s given to me.

I’m thankful for family who help me out when I am dealing with such bad pain episodes.

Just knowing all of them are there, from the smallest to the biggest among them, it shows me I can get through anything.

I am thankful for this show, put together by Liz, all about travel for the blind.

No Limits Travel For The Blind – Native Traveler (SiriusXM)

My brother did an awesome job at the audio production, bringing it to life.

The other guests that follow my feature piece are great too. I am definitely going to look into taking a trip with
Travel Eyes
for future world exploration.

I’m thankful for helpful advice about how if something weren’t scary, it wouldn’t likely be nearly as worth doing.

Thanks, Jordan Rosenfeld, for this excellent advice.

I don’t know how exactly it happened. I think it started with the pitches I sent out and received acceptances for.

So, I wrote and was published, which lead me to believe I should pitch even more places, even ones I’d feared I wasn’t quite ready for.

Well, somehow, here I am anyway.

And now what?

I’m thankful for the Great Lakes.

Other than not being in salt water, I’d hardly know the difference between being in a lake or the ocean.

I am just glad these bodies of water are so close by.

You go into that water and you’d never know how hot it’s been the last week or more, even though autumn has now arrived.

I’m thankful for the sand and other things that cause me discomfort.

Like travel, there is joy in being at a natural wonder of the planet. And, yet, no sooner do I step onto that sand than I am thinking about getting home and into a warm shower so I can wash it all away.

These times and the yucky feelings sand brings up in me, at the feel of the gritty stuff between my toes, this is helping teach me that life carries lots of big and little discomforts, from sandy beaches to awful headaches.

I can handle that. Handy lesson, I must say.

I’m thankful for a good meal in Port Stanley.

Fish from Lake Erie and homemade fries.

I had both pepperoni and chicken on my pizza, along with green peppers.

Port Stanley Attractions

Nice spot to end the day at.

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TToT: Stormy Skies Over Soft Summer Sunlight – Where’s the yellow? #10Thankful

“Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

—The Little Prince

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I like alliteration in my titles and I like this time of year. I am busy during the days and try not to think too much, about those things that keep me up at night.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful my family and I are safe and far from natural disasters and that my friends are safe too.

Here in Ontario we get tornados sometimes, but we aren’t out west where the fires are, nor are we by the coast where the flooding happens.

Then I woke to the notification of a strong earthquake in Mexico and I feared for my friends living there.

Mexico is big enough that those I care about weren’t touched, but these natural disasters seem to be everywhere lately.

Just not here. Our weather has been beautiful, if not a little cool for this time of year, but I am loving it.

I’m thankful for such a fun and energizing writing group.

A pack of three crayons (red/blue/green) were brought in for the mystery object, those packs you find at a restaurant, to keep the kids entertained. Well, I love crayons, but many of us in the group wondered and commented on the lack of a yellow crayon.

Our group was larger than usual and I liked the energy each person added. I was entirely entertained, myself, by everyone in that room.

The stories were diverse and all about crayons. Ah, the life of a crayon.

There were two new people there and they were both J names. This, somehow, had its own influence on someone’s story. I hope they both come back.

I’m thankful my brother had his adventure and made it safely home from Iceland.

I’m thankful he returned to his radio show.

He is getting better and more comfortable, every time he does it.

I’m thankful for a another Saturday family day.

The guys went to a baseball game and us girls and Max stayed home.

There were family photos taken out in the back yard.

I’m thankful Saturday family day spilled over to Sunday.

It was a lovely afternoon spent sitting in a circle in the yard, with beers, wine, and snacks.

My family are some of the most interesting people I know.

I’m thankful a piece I’ve been working on (from pitch to publication) is finally out, starting all the way back last May.

Lost, and Then Found Once More: On Traveling Alone without Sight – Catapult

Read to the end and the part about the drumsticks.

This is a prelude to my audio piece for SiriusXM.

I’m thankful for two more “acceptances” and for the fear that’s accompanying both.

I wasn’t expecting it, in a way, and I am back to square one. I must come up with a piece of writing that they will want to publish. I worry about not coming up with anything and instead letting them and myself down.

The excitement is there too though. I am honoured, after ending last week with a rejection email to a pitch, to hear anything at all to start off a new one.

I’m thankful to have an available store full of food to shop in.

As I meandered through the isles, the shelves, and the freezer section and prepared foods, I know not everyone has such choice right there in front of them. It felt like a lot, but it is an abundance I am thankful for.

I’m thankful for pumpkin spiced latte.

Enough said.

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