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TToT: Boulder Slipper Lungs – Thanks Noodles! #10Thankful

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No quote full of wisdom can possibly be any greater than the ones that come from young kids and their imaginative little minds. I am feeling that most acutely and holding on, looking for a little bit of that in me, while the little ones in my life remain this age and teach me so much.

For some reason, some reason we can’t figure out, his mother can’t quite explain, my nephew calls his lungs boulder slipper lungs.

🙂

Nobody Knows (Pete’s dragon Soundtrack) – The Lumineers

The things the children in my life continually come up with are things that are constantly surprising me and making me smile.

My nephew, for example, he loves noodles and he wants them plain, with only butter. He loves what he refers to as “Grandma’s noodles,” but I think my brother, for example, may pick out the Simpsons quote from the title of this week’s TToT post if no one else has the foggiest clue what I’m referring to.

I was thankful my sister, brother-in-law and nephew made it home safe from their first vacation together out west to visit family. It was my nephew’s first airplane ride. Western Canada and Alberta means dinosaurs for my nephew and fishing for my brother-in-law. My sister was just glad to get away with her two favourite boys. With my nephew starting JK in a couple weeks, things are about to get busier.

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For their affect on my life.

They teach me to keep an open mind, even though they often feel like they are right, so who’s to say who’s right anyway?

For instance, if you were to try and convince my nephew that lungs are not called boulder slipper lungs, he likely might not believe you, but school will soon start and who knows what sorts of logic and teachings he will be introduced to then and there.

🙂

Reminds me of that song by Canadian band Rush, “The Logical Song”.

That my family puts up with my writing and this blog, are as supportive as they are, when I know many writers aren’t quite so lucky.

A lot of people write memoir and non fiction which involves stories of their family members in it. This can create resentments and other issues. Recollections are different for everyone. I needed to express myself, but how to do that without alienating those I care about?

Of course, if I write (even in my fiction), people in my life are going to appear because they are most of what matters to me.

I know they respect my need to express myself through words, but I never want to sacrifice their trust in me or their needs for that self expression.

Hmm. Perhaps I really should just quit with these pesky words and return solely to visual art instead.

That all my family survived the destructive, unpredictable tornado of August 7th, 1979

TORNADO: Part One, Whirlwind

I wanted to mark the anniversary and write an interview with my parents. It was too late to speak to my grandparents about their recollections, as I only started this blog after they both passed away, though I had spoken to them both about it many times before.

It’s raining as I type these words, hard and noisily just now, and I imagine or I try to. One of those things I can’t really fathom without experiencing how it must have felt firsthand, which I am lucky and hope I never have to do. I am just glad my father survived to tell the tale, or else I wouldn’t have been here to be able to help him tell it in the first place.

For that moment that I often find myself awake to witness, at three or four in the morning, when the sound of the nighttime crickets and the start of the early morning first chirping of the birds intermingle with one another.

If I am unable to sleep in those moments, at least I am awake and tuned in to hear such a natural thing as that.

For a nephew who just turned four.

We had spaghetti and meatballs (noodles) and cake (which I received a big bite of just icing when finishing). We may need to whisper Happy Birthday for his fifth birthday, if he doesn’t grow out of the shyness he had this time when we sang out loud.

I will never forget his birthday, as I was there the day he first arrived.

It was a very special day for me for so many reasons.

Read here to find out why.

Memorable. Unforgettable. Incredible.

For a fierce game of dinosaurs.

This includes “THE DEEP UNDERGROUND” from my nephew’s favourite movie “The Land Before Time”.

The underground, in this case, is the front entrance which is down two steps. The Sharp Tooth is inevitably pushed off the edge by Mother, Littlefoot’s mother with the long neck.

For a chunk of days of rain, whether the weather is a loud, hard downpour or a sprinkle off and on throughout the day. We needed the rain, something to break up all the intense humidity.

For a gift from my father. I know he feels bad when he hears how much I miss the vision I used to have, but he still brings me markers when I speak of wanting to revisit all that anyway, despite my worsening sight, an activity which will likely bring back both joy and sadness all at the same time.

I heard my favourite scented markers from childhood, a somewhat brighter time in my life, visually I mean.

Mr. Sketch

Well, thanks to

Lizzi

and

Ivy,

I have been thinking about colours, flowers, rainbows. I am going to try art, which I have been aching inside to give myself another chance to do for a while, but kept on putting it off because it will never be what it used to be for me again.

I sat down with my pack of colourful markers this afternoon, with a piece of braille paper because it is the perfect thickness, at my kitchen table because the light from the window there is the best place for maximum brightness.

Well, it was frustrating some moments and at others I had hope, with the slightly damp texture these particular marketers leaves behind and with the correct colour of marker fitting to the corresponding scent all coming back to me. I want to make something for Ivy’s Art Challenge and maybe involving 10 Things of Thankful because it has been so important for bringing light and colour back into my life these last fifteen or so months of extra reminders of the things I have to be thankful for.

That my five-year-old niece has a love of art and colouring and drawing pictures.

She got that from my brother I’m sure, her burgeoning artistic talent, but she reminds me a little bit of myself at her age and I feel somehow comforted by that notion.

I know she will continue to create beautiful things because that’s just who she is and where she comes from.

For this old favourite of mine from fifteen years ago.

Perfect Day – The Cranberries

This song perfectly incapsulates my feelings about the August birthday boys in my life. I celebrate their birthdays and I selfishly want them to remain young like this and never grow old, as Dolores sings, but I know that’s neither fair nor plausible.

August, within ten days of each other but spanning a year apart in age, are my two amazing nephews. They have inspired these songs today.

It’s the two boys and my niece who inspire my attitude that all art is open to me because I’ve seen the amazing things that come from their imaginations and my own imagination is the one thing I haven’t lost. They help me never to forget that.

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TToT: Crocs, Gators, and Peg Dope – Wil It Fly? #Podcast #10Thankful

I have no philosophical quotes or music to include here, to share, to start my TToT this week.

My head is just so full of thoughts. It feels crammed and ready to burst.

I returned to Lake Erie the other day and I just stood out in the water, up to my waist, and I looked out to the horizon.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

That the podcast is finally out there.

Here is our Facebook page.

If you follow such pages, give it a like. That’s where we will be announcing, every time a new one comes out for now.

We are still playing around with place to host it and such.

Go here to listen to us directly.

Come on. You know you’re curious.

😉

Any feedback is very much appreciated.

For all the support people have shown so far for this project.

Thank you to all of you. This project has meant a lot to me and I hope it keeps going.

I thank every one of you who’ve liked our Facebook page and took some time, out of your busy lives and schedules, to give it a listen.

Hope you found id amusing or entertaining. What did you think?

That someone shared a book with me and it was the best book I’ve come across in a long time.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

I heard it was a book about time travel and immediately, my first instinct was to move along, but I’m glad I didn’t.

Time travel isn’t all about science fiction. It means history. I love history.

It also had a lot to do with today and the issues we’re still seeing around matters of racial divides and those who’ve overcome such prejudices and defied those odds.

That I am headed to Mexico for a very special writing workshop.

This just sort of happened suddenly. I received the invite from my writing mentor. She is running the workshop and she made it possible for me to participate.

I will be traveling to Mexico this winter, for a whole week, to learn about writing and literary travel writing.

This is a huge thing for me, traveling so far away from home and family. It is scary, I won’t lie, but at some point, I have to go for my dreams and experience more of the world.

I’ll admit, it’s still far enough away that it doesn’t yet feel real. It’s such a big deal that I am still in some shock that it’s happening at all. Things like that don’t happen to me.

That I have those in my life who support my writing and believe in me, wanting me to have experiences and stories to tell.

I owe it all to my writing mentor, my family, and friends.

It’s months away yet, but I am so excited that I had to share the news on Facebook. Everyone seemed excited for me.

My family know what it means for me and to me, traveling by myself like that, but that I need a chance to grow as a writer and to experience life. They want all that for me and are making it possible.

Also, to my writing mentor, who is in my corner and, as a writer, believes in my abilities.

For another year with a working kidney for my brother.

It’s been three years now, but somehow feels longer.

I guess the whole experience was so new to us all, felt so gigantic, that three years later I look back in wonder.

For my violin teacher’s ability to fix what the music store got wrong.

So, remember, some of you, a few weeks back when I broke a string on my violin?

Well, it took three store employees to figure out why it wouldn’t fit.

So when I got back to my lessons this week, my teacher looked at it and said it was on sideways.

And so, she fixed it, telling me about a product known as peg dope, in the violin world, made for violin peg adjustment.

🙂

I just love these new terms I’m learning. I’m also glad I have a teacher who knows what she’s talking about. No offence meant to those hard working guys in the store, but I think I’ll let my violin teacher replace my strings from now on.

That my mother is a pro at sewing.

I hate bathing suit shopping and finding one that fits at all.

I know, as a woman, I am not alone on this one. It used to be that I needed to find one that would cover up any surgical scars I have. Now I was left with one that tied in the back, right below my head, which was uncomfortable and gave me headaches.

Well, when stores failed me and time became a factor, in came my trusty mother and her sewing kit. She transformed a halter top into a bathing suit where the straps actually now go over my shoulders, instead of around my neck.

For a lovely beach day with family.

Okay, so the weather wasn’t ideal. It was cool and cloudy for most of the day. The sun did finally show itself by late afternoon.

The water was still pretty cold, which didn’t stop my mother. She’s the tough one in the family, but my niece braved it with her. My nephew enjoyed the air mattress as a floating device.

My brother had his handy portable grill and we had enough food and snacks to go around.

I was thankful for that grill, as a makeshift fire to sit around, as a way of keeping warm before the sun made its appearance later on.

There was a washed out little stream up on the beach and a log across, which my niece used as a balance beam. Sand castles were made. My brother is a design man, an artist, and it’s possibly being passed on to his little girl. She also loved feeding the sea gulls, which is something I like to think she got from me. That was my favourite thing to do as a little girl, though now I felt rather uneasy when they were flocking all around our group. I prefer them off in the distance, hearing their cries against a backdrop of waves, but my niece was enjoying having them so close, she could almost reach out and touch them. She even put a piece of bread on her head to see if one would take it. They aren’t that bold.

The water was much calmer than the last time. The birthday cupcakes were peanut butter with Spider Man, The Hulk, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, for the birthday boys.

We had a bit of vehicle trouble in the family to end off the night, a flat tire, but luckily, the guy who ran the chip wagon knew about flat tires. All and all, a nice day all together.

That I was invited by another blogger to write about

A Day in the Life of a Blogger

Thank you, Life Through My Bioscope, for the invitation.

And there you have it. Lots of big things, memories (old and new), and I couldn’t sleep again last night, thinking over everything that happened this week.

I want to find the perfect quote or song, something that comforts me and something I could look to for confirmation that I am doing all the right things and that it will turn out the way I hope it will.

I just don’t think there is such a thing. I guess I can be thankful for mistakes and for nature and for the lessons of travel and life experience. I can be thankful for anonymous organ donation and for people willing to take a chance on little old me.

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TToT: Riding the Waves of Life – Jub Jub and Jibber-Jabber, #10Thankful

“Oh, I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain. I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end. I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, but I always thought that I’d see you again.”

Fire and Rain – James Taylor

I keep thinking I’m starting to feel better, but then I change my mind.

I haven’t been feeling all that well for a while now, for a long while now, and so when you add that to a week like the one I just had, it’s left me feeling a bit off.

This time of year is a difficult one, for family, for those I love, for several reasons.

On a week such as this, I suppose that’s when I need the 10 Things of Thankful most of all.

Because, even as I thought all this, I realized I was still able to come up with a list of ten things to be grateful for..

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For the unpredictability of the waves.

We enjoyed a late afternoon visit to Lake Erie. The water was rougher than we were expecting. I was upset about this at first, but it’s like life.

Sure, at first it leaves you feeling nervous and the motion of the waves can cause you to feel off balance.

But you can make an effort to make the best of that. I did. We did. Sometimes, you don’t really have any other choice.

I let each wave knock me around as it might. I tried to anticipate which wave would be the biggest, by the sound it made, but it often ended up being the loud ones that produced the least amount of force when they physically washed over me.

It was the silent one that snuck up on me, the one that seemed least intimidating, and that’s the one that forcefully slammed into me, knocking me sideways and off my feet.

That my nephew had so much fun playing in them.

He was smart enough to realize he had his mother and grandmother right there with him, for safety, but that he could still enjoy himself.

He was nervous at first, but once he saw how much fun the waves could be, he didn’t allow a bit of water to spoil things.

His pure shrieks of bliss made me realize the importance of relaxing and letting loose so I could enjoy the experience too.

For a peaceful moment on the beach.

Once I’d started to dry off by the gradually setting sun, the other three went back in once more, but I chose to stay on shore.

I sat and listened to the waves, to my nephew’s laughter, the sounds of other families, the cries of the seagulls.

Being by the lake, by Lake Erie, is a highly tranquil and peaceful feeling, and I know I’m not the only one to feel that way.

For the fun I had with the other members of my writing group.

We told stories about the crazy things our pets do. We talked about summer and about the weather. We made tea, without the group leader who usually does it. We even managed to find everything, even with the absence of her direction.

It was another one of those days when I dreaded going, as it was the hottest day of the month so far and I was already slow and sluggish from the humidity, but once I was there I was glad I hadn’t chosen to stay at home.

For the short story I came up with at said group this week.

It was a case of already having a setting and basic character outlines picked out. Someone had put both ideas in my head. I came up with the details, the dialogue, and filled in the blanks from there.

I took this week’s mystery object, a knitted and stuffed panda and knitted panda hat to go along with it, and I incorporated both those things into the story.

The basic idea is my first person narrator, who likes to go grocery shopping in the middle of the night, but not for lack of interesting characters to share a store with while doing it.

I think it might be one of the short stories I read out loud on a future podcast episode.

Being in this writing group has really helped me with writing fiction, which is the area I’d most wanted to work on. I get ideas and inspirations from things we talk about and from listening to the creativity of the other members in the group. It’s the best thing I’ve done for my writing in a long long time.

That amongst all the violence that happened this week, like any other around the world, my family were all safe.

I was nearly rendered speechless and definitely feeling heartsick by it all, like the terrorist attacks in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia in the weeks before last.

It just keeps on happening, but I am lucky I don’t need to be in constant fear for my loved ones. I know many aren’t so lucky.

For kissing.

This week, every July 6th, it’s International Kissing Day.

For chocolate and days set aside to celebrate it.

First came kissing. Next comes chocolate.

🙂

This week was also World Chocolate Day.

Enough said. I never need a day to get me to eat chocolate.

For persistence, which I know is a family trait for many in mine.

We hit a last minute snag on releasing the podcast, which I am sure people are growing tired of hearing me talk about, as it should have been up by now.

Well, snag nearly overcome. I attribute my brother’s persistence as being the reason you can expect the first episode of Ketchup On Pancakes to be out by the next TToT. But don’t take my word for it. I wouldn’t blame you if you were growing tired of my word.

😉

I tend to give up on things, especially things involving computers and technology, which is why I am glad my brother keeps working on something, in most cases, until he figures it out.

I know that sort of strong will is a quality a lot of my family members possess, more so than me.

For brilliant Canadian female writing.

Happy Birthday to Alice Munro!!!

She won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. She is from this province of Ontario. Her home is next to another one of the Great Lakes, Lake Huron. She has had a long career as a short story writer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYXG9rG0Jf0

link The complexity of things – the things within things – just seems to be endless. I mean nothing is easy, nothing is simple.

—Alice Munro

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Taking A Chance, #Podcast #SoCS

In my latest attempt to express myself, I am developing a podcast with my brother.

It is in the works. The first attempt we made was good enough, but not quite where we wanted it. We used the wrong type of microphones, which is my brother’s expertise. We didn’t even have a name for the podcast settled upon. I like things to have a name; therefore, nothing felt quite right, fell into place, until that was decided on.

I am going with my instincts. He is too.

My hope for this audio blog, as it could be known, is simple self expression.

I did it with my writing, my blog, and I keep trying to find new ways of doing it.

How to successfully express what I have to say, what’s going on inside of myself?

Do I express myself enough through my writing? Through this blog?

How about through writing memoir vs fiction?

Or can I better express what my heart wants to say, when I stop speaking altogether, allowing the music of a violin to take over?

I think the connection I have with my brother, both youngest of four children, both born blind is one worth exploring.

I think we could say something real, express some things in a relatable way, letting our unique banter shine through.

We’ll see. Now that we have done some testing, to hear back how we sound, we have outlined what our first, introductory episode of “Ketchup On Pancakes” is hopefully going to sound like.

Hope the name catches the attention of possible listeners. I hope to illustrate how important the sibling relationship can be, why I believe we both have something to say, and who knows, beyond that.

I do know, these days, everyone feels more and more like it’s achievable, not to mention, their duty to express themselves, often times in a mostly public forum. I choose to be a part of that. I just hope to do something positive with that chance.

And so, I press onward, and I can’t wait to give podcasting a shot.

This week’s

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

was to start with, include in the middle of a word, on its own, or as a suffix:

“press”,

which presents an endless number of options.

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TToT: Peaks and Valleys, #10Thankful

“She was not a slowpoke grownup. She was a girl who could not wait. Life was so interesting she had to find out what happened next.”

–Beverly Cleary

Dreams – The Cranberries

Life is full of them…those mostly metaphorical peaks and valleys.

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I must keep this brief. My laptop appears to be in full-blown destruct mode, but at least I’ve still got my phone.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For another share of my song to a fresh group of blog readers, thanks to Steph from:

Don’t Look Back A Song – Bold Blind Beauty

For another successful lesson. Having two in a row is a definite improvement, to start with.

I’ve learned all of “Twinkle Twinkle” now and I am particularly thankful for the patience of my teacher.

She sits with me and repeatedly corrects and informs and instructs. I needed to work on wrist movement, in particular, and she tried to help me with what she called the “peaks and valleys” action of the wrist. It has to do with the amount of pressure put on the bow as it slides back and forth across the strings.

I don’t do as well at practicing all that on my own, at home, without her being right there to correct me when I am losing the flow and moving off the mark, and I start to forget proper technique, by the time another week rolls around, which leaves me feeling as if I am right back where I started from. I suppose that’s not the case, but clearly, at this early point, I need her instruction to keep me on track.

To whom all of this comes second nature to, I imagine she has to have a certain something to be able to teach what she, herself, has known since she was much younger.

For children’s stories that I grew up on, like so many story lovers.

Beverly Cleary turned 100 this week and she is still going strong. Just such a landmark milestone deserves recognition.

100 amazing facts for Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday

My brother and I grew up reading her books. Children’s fiction IS Beverly Cleary.

For my own personal, neighbourhood clothing boutique – soon to open.

🙂

Shopping, for clothes for me, it’s not easy. I can’t see the merchandise and I don’t know what looks good on my body shape.

Sure, I know things I like, am not lacking when it comes to opinions, trust me. It’s just difficult to know where to start when you can’t see what you’re doing.

I have my sister, who is really one of the only people I trust. She is only two years older than me and we have always shared clothes, even after we no longer lived together, but she has a family and a life and I hate to always depend all on her.

I could go the online shopping path, but still I can’t see the items on the screen, and they don’t always have enough information to base decisions on.

Yes, a small issue, but we all have issues when it comes to shopping for something to wear, but now I have a personal connection, right in my town. Hope to find out more in the weeks and months to come.

For a guest post on a blog I’ve long admired.

How I Found The Courage To Break It Off & Take A Chance On Myself – Single Strides

It’s strange I talk about remembering where I was when the earthquake in Japan of 2011 happened, and then they have another one, five years later, to the exact day that I am featured on this blog.

For a day with my nephew. He begins school in the fall )boy does time fly) and there won’t be any more of these days left.

I complain a lot that my life, my days aren’t filled the way others/ are, how I’d like, but at least I have that flexibility to be with him while I still can.

For brief flashes of time.

My laptop began to self-destruct, it’s true, but I still had 5-10 seconds where my voice software would speak, in which to read or write, before the whole thing would go silent.

The machine I’ve been loaned, after my mishap last year, is something like ten years old. It has started making this revving noise. Not good.

But at least I could publish smaller blog posts, very brief, but still something.

For the strong women of past and present.

This week, both on the same day, was also a birthday for Anne Sullivan and Emma Watson.

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

These are both women I admire. Anne was the famous teacher for Helen Keller and Emma Watson IS Hermione Granger, in the “Harry Potter” films.

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

She is now doing great things for women and all of equal rights and humanity, if I may be so bold.

Both these women are feminists in my opinion. They both worked/work hard to show that female does not have to equal less than or incapable of bringing about a change in the world.

For the chance to cheer up a friend who was having a particularly bad day, when I shared my song with him.

This friend is currently going through some hard times, and they could relate to my lyrics.

I wrote this song for the same reason I love to listen to music by other people. It soothes me and I wrote

Don’t Look Back

in the hopes of offering a few minutes of comfort to another.

For the brief flashes of time that VoiceOver works, which now seems to be back to longer periods, just so very suddenly, as I write this.

I started out this post, thinking it might take me all night to put together, as I could only do a few seconds at a time and then had to let the laptop rest before attempting it again.

Oh how tedious.

😦

Well, suddenly now it is letting me write for an extended amount of time, just like it did on Thursday night, but by Friday it was back to its destructive behaviour.

Not sure how long this most recent improvement will last, but I am taking full advantage while the good times roll.

🙂

Now, I may just write long into the night, as who knows what fun this trusty old laptop has in store for me when I wake.

Everywhere – Bran Van 3000

“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not thee one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.”

–Anne Sullivan

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Cracks in the Ceiling, #InternationalWomensDay #IWD2016

What has happened in the world, in the last year and since

International Women’s Day 2015?

Well, around that time, Hillary Clinton announced her intention to run for President of the United States and we still have months to wait, or how long I don’t know, as the whole process seems insane to me.

Will she win? Should she win, should anyone vote for her, simply because she is female? I suppose not, not if a better candidate exists.

I can’t vote, but I think it’s about time the US elected a woman to lead their country. I know all the scandals surrounding her, her power and influence, but I think she has the experience necessary and, dare I say, is highly capable to do the job.

I just finished watching a documentary with her as one of the main stars, along with Madeleine Albright and Condoleezza Rice.

It’s been twenty years since Clinton spoke in China about women’s rights, a country that doesn’t have the best track record in valuing girls.

“Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights…once and for all!” Hillary pronounced with conviction.

Well, since then there has been rape as a war tactic (conflict in Bosnia and Yugoslavia), female oppression in Afghanistan, brutalization and attacks during uprisings in Egypt and Libya, struggle in Iraq and Syria.

A year ago I watched “India’s Daughter”, a documentary about a gang rape of a young woman on a bus in India. I watched it with help deciphering the subtitles. I had planned to write about my thoughts here, but I couldn’t quite put that into words.

More recently I watched “Suffragette”, a film about the fight for women’s rights in the UK, during the early twentieth century. I planned to write a review here, but the words did not come. This time it was fiction, based on true events in history, but all the emotions I felt were so strong they burrowed down deep in my subconscious.

And so even though I said I was cutting back on blogging here during the week, starting on the 1st of March, I couldn’t let this day pass without saying something.

An election was held here in Canada last fall for a new leader for this country, just as they are working toward in the US, and now we have Justin Trudeau as Canada’s Prime Minister.

He appointed his cabinet and made news:

“Because it’s 2015.”

Trudeau proudly calls himself a feminist:

Trudeau Declares Himself (Proud Feminist) in Open Letter to Mark International Women’s Day

The question is now more often to become one I think of as it relates to not only being a woman, but for those with disabilities as well: Should a woman be given a place in government or in a job role just to fill a quota?

No, not just. It’s a starting place. It makes a statement. All these things must become laws, policies must be created, legislations drawn, but then action must be taken, these things enforced. Women are just as smart and capable as men, but how do we change the minds of the truly ignorant and arrogant? Is that even possible?

I am proud that, living in Canada, I have a feminist prime minister. Somewhere in the world, however, there are countries with leaders who believe that only men deserve rights, a voice. Even as nothing’s perfect for women, certainly still not even here in Canada, I am proud of the role my own country plays in making things better.

Next comes the decision to put a female on our money. Justin just introduced a commemorative coin for International Women’s Day and it’s about time a woman’s face was shown proudly on our currency.

I have learned a lot about feminism this past year.

I’ve learned it from brilliant and articulate writers:

We should all be feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

I’ve learned it from brave young activists:

Nobel Peace Prize Speech – Malala Yousafzai

I’ve learned it from fictional witches turned real life feminist spokeswomen:

He For She – Emma Watson – International Women’s Day 2016

Some would say that there is no problem, we make it bigger than it is, because just look how far we’ve come.

I know why I care about this. My poor keyboard keys, because I feel like pounding out my intense frustration through them, but then I halt because my brain is working furiously, far out of reach of my fingers.

I care because of what I’ve seen. I know that, for many women, there is no real problem in our day to day lives. I am lucky to say that. I can write what I want, despite the loss for words and the brain fog and overload I’m currently experiencing. I won’t be censored or threatened. I am only one tiny voice online.

That’s the thing though. I feel tiny and insignificant a lot, on a daily basis, and it’s not because I am ungrateful. I just feel like I still get lost, as a female with a disability. I am lucky to have a good life, essentially, but I feel the problem even more consciously.

Females, just like those living with disabilities around the world, we could all say we are treated better and things for us have improved, but many of us still experience feelings of marginalization and feelings of invisibility.

Women who have it good can’t really imagine what other women might be experiencing, right this very moment, somewhere around the world. It could be somewhere in Africa, the Middle East, India, or even North America. The degree is certainly important, but the experiences all still matter.

I am not officially oppressed, not dangerously so. I just feel it in society. Just because things have steadily improved for women, many places around the world in say the last one hundred years, doesn’t mean all of us have reached a place where we feel like we have taken our power back, not yet having discovered the impact through our own unique voices.

I can’t really always detect that ceiling, as see-through as it may be, and some days I feel like it is solid and darkened. I need to feel its clarity and its possibility. I need this, to feel hope for a brighter future.

I want to make an impact, a difference, to have a voice and to stand for something I feel so strongly in my heart.

Purple: My Interview with Garry Atkinson

I am sick of cultural and religious excuses, struggles over politics and money and power and greed, and the fear and the cowardice that is the root of all the battles we’re still fighting. I am sick of the violence and the silence.

And so there’s still a ceiling, made of glass and we can see through to a better tomorrow of blue skies and bright sunshine, but for now I guess we must be glad for the cracks that are forming. It proves we are making progress.

JK Rowling and Emma Watson had a touching International Women’s Day moment

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Just Jot It January: definitions, boats, and Tiaras #JusJoJan

Today’s

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

and the rules

are here.

Okay, so I have to be honest and admit I was not completely sure of the definition of the word

surreptitiously

and had to look it up.

If I am being completely honest, again, I wasn’t even certain how to spell it.

I have heard the word before, sure, but it doesn’t exactly come up in my day-to-day wanderings. I like to think I know a lot of words and their meanings, being a fan of English, but there are those words that still get me.

So, then the question became, how to write using a word I don’t ordinarily use. That’s the fun of this Just Jot It January thing.

The two words I kept seeing, on further investigation, were “stealth” and “clandestine”.

This seems to be the time for a bit of fiction, but, as I’ve just come back from my writer’s circle evening at my local library, I am fried as far as writing fiction goes.

I don’t know why, but when I think of using “surreptitiously” I think of fiction. It doesn’t seem natural to use the word in my usual writing.

I don’t do much of anything using stealth. I don’t go off on many clandestine adventures, but, now that I think about that, it does seem kind of fun.

🙂

I do recall reading something about being secretive, when I googled definitions for this. I guess, if I had anything secret going on, would I really get into it here of all places? Nope. More suited for a diary I’d think.

I am not very good at keeping secrets, acting surreptitiously I should say. I guess they are fun to have, depending on what they are. I guess the story I started to construct a few hours ago, during my writer’s group, could have an element of that in it. The mystery objects for this evening were a hand-made wooden boat and a tiara.

Let me explain. Each time we meet, someone brings a “mystery object” and we all have to try and come up with a story, centring around said object.

I wrote about two mystery objects, as tonight two people brought one in. This doesn’t usually happen, but perhaps someone was concerned nobody else remembered.

The two objects are found, in a basement, by two children and there is something special, secret, about the two objects found. The characters start acting surreptitiously and there is a connection between boat and tiara, that both children haven’t quite figured out. Whatever is going on, the objects are clearly important to one another.

I received some pretty helpful and positive feedback and was encouraged to finish the story. We shall see. Perhaps I will act surreptitiously on this one, leaving everyone wondering whether I am completing the story or not.

The chosen word today was brought to you by the one with many interests:

Books, Music, Photography, Movies

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TToT: 1000 Voices, 1000 Goodbyes – Stardust and Lilies, #10Thankful

“As there is little foolish wand-waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses. … I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death,” said Professor Severus Snape.

–Harry Potter

Unfortunately, this is fiction and Alan Rickman wasn’t so lucky this past week. Neither was David Bowie or Celine Dion’s long-time manager and husband, Rene Angelil.

Cancer is a bitch!

Since I can’t think of a less thankful item, when this whole week cancer has been in the news, I will just focus on some things I am thankful for.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For the gifts, talents, and art left behind, even when the creators of these things are lost to us all.

I have never been a huge David Bowie fan. I missed the boat, all throughout the 70s and when he was first making his mark.

I think, for better or for worse, not being able to see Bowie is part of why I am unable to totally grasp what a unique statement he made. This isn’t to say I don’t believe he was talented, as I can tell from the outpouring of tributes since his death how much of an impression he made on the world of music and more. I did have my favourite Bowie songs though, for sure.

Modern Love – David Bowie

For art, even when it is frightening, sad, or painful to watch.

Some forms of art and creative expression are understood, fully, only by the original producers of that piece of art, but that’s perfectly okay.

I’m just thankful there are those who are free, who feel comfortable enough to express it.

For a very special one-year anniversary, not a relationship or marriage, but still a happy one, unlike the deaths I started this TToT out with.

We Are One

The first time so many bloggers and writers all got together on the same day (the 20th of the month) to write about compassion was not until next month, but this was the day the idea first started to take shape.

I am so thankful it did. I am so thankful the original creators thought up the idea in the first place. I keep thanking them, but it’s because I am so much more better off since they decided to make a difference in this way

For the chance to stay with my brother again.

brianportrait-2016-01-17-11-43.jpg

It will take a while before I will run out of these because every time I do something with him, even and especially those things we’ve done many times before, I can be grateful that he recovered and we are still able to have all the fun we’ve always had together.

I go to hang out with him, for visits, and it’s always a lot of fun.

This one is not only my thankful. His friend is thankful that they can play music together again.

Trusty Fox – Whiskey and Beer

I am including a link to some music of theirs, which was just put up on YouTube.

For a good piece of pizza.

May be hard to believe, but it’s not as easy to find as it sounds.

First-world thankful right there, but pizza can be a comfort, at a rough moment, especially when eaten with loved ones.

For those loved ones.

yousophiaandkimatthechocolatefountain-2016-01-17-11-43.jpg

I know I am lucky to have them and I am reminded of this at the worst of life’s moments.

I just hope they know they have me, my support, anytime they need it and to not hesitate to reach out, whenever they need anything, anything at all.

For the life of a brilliant performer and the life he brought, on screen, to a certain literary character.

Alan Rickman passed away this week, from cancer, and I am grateful he played the role of Severus Snape, in the Harry Potter films, eight times, not to mention all the other wonderful roles he played during his lifetime.

Read my tribute to Rickman here.

It isn’t always easy to have a character from literature come alive in just the right way when the film of the book comes out, but Rickman WAS Snape. I owe him for that because he made a beautiful dream come true/to life just a little bit more for me, and that’s worth my gratitude here.

For a win for NHL team Chicago Blackhawks.

My brother and his wife were looking forward to this night out together, just the two of them, and I couldn’t think of two people who deserve it more.

I am not a big hockey fan, but my brother loves this team. He deserved to see his team win this time.

For another excellent exercise in creativity and creative writing.

I wanted to attend this particular one because it is being held by a fairly local writer, a Canadian author, whose blog I read regularly and whom I met, for the first time, last year at one of her

author readings/book signing.

Check out one description of what art is, from the writer who held the workshop from my final TTOT of this week, as she uses David Bowie’s final music video as her reference.

On Lazarus, David Bowie’s last-released video

And that is why I love her writing so much.

Speaking of love.

For love. Yes, simply, for love.

It is precisely why I plan to devote the whole of next month to the subject here.

I see it all around me, between couples, families, friends, and even from fans. It is powerful and it is ever-lasting, in one way or another. It’s at the heart of so much of what we do and who we are. It offers hope and makes life worth living.

I may choose to wait to talk exclusively about it on this blog until February, the month known for romance, but I write about it now, when times are toughest because it’s right now when I feel we could all use it most.

My Heart Will Go On

Rest in peace, all those we’ve lost this week, may they be spouses, fathers, or grandfathers.

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Just Jot It January: Circles, Spirals, and Song Lyrics #JusJoJan #SoCS

What a morning I had.

This is one of those mornings I am afraid to venture out into the world. It would be so easy to stay in bed and to not go out there, to hide away from other people and meaningful experiences possibly had.

What if I embarrass myself? What if I get lost? What if…what if…what if…

I have been reading this Canadian writer’s blog and her writing for a while now:

http://carriesnyder.com/

Last year I wanted to finally attend one of her author readings:

How I Celebrated World Book Day 2015

I wanted to meet her in person and to put a voice to the words I’d become so accustomed to reading.

This time I had the chance to learn from her by taking one of her workshops. I jumped at this chance frankly. Carrie Snyder is a writer who uses powerful images and all the best words to express so much of what life is all about. I wanted to get to know a fellow Canadian, someone who has had some success as a writer, but who was still fairly local. She doesn’t live all that far from me really.

She doesn’t call what this morning was a writing workshop. She says she prefers to look at it as a creativity workshop, using writing as the medium.

The room is fairly full, when we all make it into a conference room of an office building, the second floor of a building in the downtown area, above a fancy restaurant that doesn’t open until noon. Now that I know where to go, through the door in the entrance way and up a double flight of stairs, in through another door – I think I can relatively confidently find it on my own next time.

The number attending is more than a dozen. It was icy on the roads early this morning, but we all made it. I bring my laptop because I can’t find my cord to my braille display. This means I won’t be able to read back what I write today to the room, but it’s better than nothing.

Some days I don’t have it all figured out. There are those days where being visually impaired (blind), well it just sucks!

I want to be spontaneous and a discoverer of my inner thoughts, my deep well of creativity I want to tap. I want to be able to walk into that room with a beautiful notebook and a pen. I want to write by hand, as messy and unreadable as that might make me, but I can’t.

All that talk about accepting life and how it is is all well and good, but today I wish I could be without this limitation on my senses.

Of course, writing is all about the senses. I have my others.

I need a spot in the room near a electrical outlet. I come early so I can set up. The room begins to fill, as steadily other people who have signed up start arriving.

Carrie hasn’t forgotten my name since we met last year and with all the times I have commented on her blog since then.

😉

There is one large conference table in the room and another table set against the wall. I sit by the wall, in the corner. It is going to be a bit crowded around the table, we discover, but that means it is me and one guy of the two guys who are in attendance, who sit at the table separate from the main one.

Why is it two guys to a dozen women at this creativity workshop? Don’t guys like to write?

I feel a bit out of place, being separate from most of the others. I am just glad the chairs are those office chairs on wheels, which allows me to turn to face everyone.

Carrie speaks very softly, but she is full of creativity and ideas. She has experience, not only as a writer, but teaching creative writing courses. That is how most writers make a living to supplement their own writing.

There are short introductions (surprising how many around this table don’t consider themselves a writer) and she reads us poems, one to start the morning off, the other left until the very end. These poems are meant to get us thinking and to open our minds up. This is not a critique group. We are just supposed to write, to not think too much, and to turn off our inner critics. I could definitely use some practice with this particular skill.

She tells us to write a list of ten cars or other vehicles we have known, have been in during our lives, something with a memory attached. I don’t know enough of how cars are spelled, different kinds, and I worry someone will read and see this. I need to stop being afraid of criticism. That’s not what today is about.

We have seven minutes for each chapter, she is calling them. She will be timing us. We must build on the car list. We must write, using our five senses, and dig deep into a memory or develop the writing from there.

There is no right or wrong here. I can’t do this incorrectly. I don’t know still, if fiction is my speed, so I will write. Mostly it’s memoir that comes from the typing I am doing in rapid succession.

I end up writing about my family’s old blue van, the one we drove to Florida in when I was in the second grade. I write about the bed on the floor, where the middle seat normally was. My mom made it, so we could sleep while we drove, but this is unheard of, considering modern safety requirements.

By Chapter Six I have traveled to Florida, told of how my mom’s map was sucked out the front window, how we visited Disney, and finally arriving at my favourite Sea World. I explain, from a child’s point of view, what I thought of the whales, but with a bit of my adult perspective on marine animals in captivity.

My dream was to have a killer whale as a pet, in a tank in my big back yard, at my house. Eight-year-old me starts to realize this will never happen.

They are to start a new page with the sound of the timer, at the end of every seven minutes. I hear the flipping of notebook pages, but all I can do is hit enter and go down a line or two.

She tells them to draw a spiral in between each. I don’t quite know what this would look like anymore, but I try to picture it as I hear their pens scribbling away. Carrie loves creativity, and is incorporating a tiny bit of art into the exercise. I miss art.

We all go around and read one of the chapters we’ve written. We aren’t to offer any comments or suggestions, but instead just thank the writer/reader for what they’ve just shared with us. I listen to all the different stories and bits of people’s lives, as it could be truth or fiction they are speaking. No rules, but Carrie did read a few rules about there being no rules. Go figure.

🙂

The two hours flies by. I am last. Carrie asks another woman, sitting nearby me, if she might read my chapter. She reads it well. I worry she won’t be able to read, that I’ve made many mistakes, but of course my computer would have already caught those. I am happy with how my writing sounds read aloud back to me and to the rest of this room. I haven’t always been able to say that about my writing. She reads the part where I included the first song lyrics that came to my mind, as we were all instructed to do. Somehow this fits in with the rest of the story we’ve written.

(See my About Me page for the lyrics of the song I thought of.)

I loved it. Even though I felt separate, like I often do in the world, and even being unable to write by hand – the morning was a success because I made the effort and had the experience. I wanted to learn from Carrie and I did.

Words. Glorious words.

#SoCS

For Stream of Consciousness Saturday,

Linda debates what she should write about, from a quiet hotel room, all by herself:

Just Jot It January 16th – What #SoCS

This is also another

#JusJoJan post,

the rules of which can be found

HERE.

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My Top Spills and Thrills of 2015

Okay, so instead of a movie review for the newest instalment in the Star Wars franchise (which I am postponing until 2016), I am attempting to sum up this past year: the good and the bad.

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It has been a year of huge surprises, stupid spills, and awful scares for myself and my family, but there were thrills to be had throughout. It all ended, with a bit of a bang, and now here I am. I see I am not the first to write one of these, but since I waited and just posted about my hopes for the coming year, last New Year’s Day, I thought I would follow that up with another review, of sorts, about how those hopes translated into one wild ride of a 2015.

First Day of the Rest of My Life

I say in that post that I am not a fan of resolutions at the end of one year, with the blank slate of a new year stretching out in front, but I did have a vision for what I hoped my year might look like.

Now that I can reread that post and see how I fared, I want to bring it all together.

This is how it’s done.

So I thought I would take a page out of this blogger’s book/blog and go month by month. Bare with me.

JANUARY

One of my first posts of 2015 was all about trying new things.

Speeding Up and Slowing Down

I hoped this would be a sign of things to come for the year.

I continued participating in something that matters to me, that is all about a subject near and dear to my heart and life. I would continue writing about awareness for equality and disability rights. This post was a kind shout-out to all that.

I Don’t Want Coffee. Here Are Some Links, Though.

This links to another blog hop I could participate in, if I had more time and more days of the week, but I read it weekly. I have found and left a few different circles of bloggers and blogging groupings over the last few years, but many of these circles intertwine with one another, here and there.

Speaking of blogging circles – January was the start of one of the best things I’ve gotten involved in in a long time.

We All Need The Village

&

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

Thank you: Lizzi and Yvonne.

Also, it was a month of endings and beginnings.

Letting Go and Continuing to Write Another Day

The ending of an opportunity for the short story I’d written gave way for the beginning of a chance event, one for which I am so glad I snatched up my chance to be included in, in the months that would follow.

FEBRUARY

This, my birthday month, brought not only the day to celebrate my birth, but also the celebration of my first full year of blogging.

One Year and Counting: Kind and Generous

Then came

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

And after that, my first contribution of many for #1000Speak, there came more focus on kindness with a post I’d written, which was published on a site devoted to love and friendship.

A Friend In B By Kerry Kijewski

I continued to write about a vitally important cause to me, rare illness awareness

Rare Disease Day, 2015: Ventilation

There was a weekend in Ottawa with a friend. This I will never forget.

This year I took a step forward, in the right direction after lost love, and began dating again.

Dating in the Dark

This is my life.

MARCH

This was not easy for me and I didn’t want to do it, but I did it and hope to do more of it.

Microwave Popcorn For Dinner It Is

As the year went on I managed to keep a secret that I’d been keeping hidden for a few months. It would involve the struggle I constantly have inside about the fine line between truth and fiction, memoir or not?

Truth Or Fiction: Which One Is Stranger?

The first of two weekly blog hops I would soon come to depend on for both comfort and inspiration began as the third month of 2015 came to a close.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

And I finally published an interview, long worked on and awaited, with a female who is making a mark for herself as a smart businesswoman.

Keep Calm and Get Your Hair Done

There were three deaths this year, in the entertainment world, of which were sad ones to me.

The first was Richard Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Edward Herman died almost exactly one year ago.

I did not write a post for this at the time, but wanted to include him here and now, with news recently of a NetFlix Gilmore Girls reboot, of which the man who played Mr. Gilmore will not be able to reprise his brilliantly portrayed role.

RIP Edward Herman

(He had an amazing voice and used it to read voiceovers, playing Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Ken Burns documentary, of which I watched near the end of the year, after Herman was gone.)

Second,

Love and Despair

with the shocking death of Jonathan Crombie (Gilbert), the man behind the portrayal of a great literary heroic character.

Third, Christopher Lee.

Into The West: RIP Sir Christopher Lee

APRIL

Babies are born and babies die everyday.

Departed and Demented

Upon hearing of the loss of one precious life, for which I had to rant about the unfair ways of the world, next came a re-blog from my own blog, written one year earlier, the worst kind of anniversary imaginable.

The Dark Mark

These few things from early in the month on my blog only served to show the contrasted miracle, the wonderful shock I would get at the end of the month

I had no idea I was about to learn of the upcoming birth of a sweet child in the month of spring’s renewed promise.

Let’s just say, to say I was shocked to learn of my friend’s pregnancy was an understatement. Best surprise all year and, as I continue on with this 2015 summary, that is about to demonstrate how much this brand new little girl means to me because she is a part of my oldest friend. No publishing achievement or literary goal met can possibly compete.

I saw my aunt twice this year, in her new home, a senior’s long-term care facility, sadly. My uncle, my father’s half-brother, he visited from Germany. He wanted to see his sister because nobody knows when it will be their final time together.

Milestones and Siblings

I spent lots of time with family, not only during the month of April, but I make a point to do this every month, any time during any given year. This year, 2015 was no exception.

Orphaned

It was only by doing this that I could think enough about how lucky I am to have family of my own, that I was able to write the guest post about famous orphans in literature.

MAY

Into the fifth month of 2015, nearly halfway now, and things really took a lousy turn.

I was distracted and although the first computer problem was a simple mistake, a fluke thing and a sign of my naivete with technology, it was only when I was careless enough to have a sticky drink next to my precious laptop that I really had something to kick myself over.

Having to fall back and depend on an ex boyfriend to fix things was a hard thing to do. I knew he’d help, if I asked, but I didn’t wish to bother him. It was still hard to admit that he was the one person I would still need, in the desperation I was facing, when it came to computers and technology, the one person I would still trust most to help and help he did. He’s good like that.

If it weren’t for the honour of a request to write a post on a writer’s site whom I greatly admire, the month would have been a total disaster.

Writing the World, Sight Unseen

The girl’s got a way with coming up with titles. Oh, and she’s got the neatest sounding last name around.

🙂

Oh, and then there’s this.

The Second Chances Anthology

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At least some good came from the month of May.

Oh, and I can’t forget this either and never could.

Ten Things of Thankful

May was the month I joined this wonderful weekly blog hop. Many examples of what TToT stands for and looks like can be found in the comment section of this origin post.

There was, also, the series finale of a truly great show.

It’s a Mad Mad Mad Men World

End of an era really, or several, from the 60s onward to the end of 2015 and the start of 2016.

JUNE

And I had a publisher. Yay!

Little Bird Publishing House

And with that, I had to attempt to put into words what writing means to me.

How Writing Has Positively Influenced My Life

Still working on this, but I keep letting other things come first.

Close But No Cigar

The year 2015 was now halfway over. I was still working on both education and love.

New Month, New Me

Another milestone. I made it another year with my father’s kidney, working and keeping me well and off dialysis. Every year I avoid that is a reason to celebrate.

The year 2015 has been a spectacular one for music.

Every F****n Day – Lolawolf

“You must be curious. Even…just…a little.”

🙂

This song, among others, made my year and it was only half over.

Figure It Out – Royal Blood

I was trying.

This year, 2015, meant the anniversaries for my grandparents’ deaths:

**Five years for Grandpa

Ruby Red

**Five years for Oma

Gardens of Sunset

**And ten years for Grandma

You Are My Sunshine

Speaking of death, the composer of the wonderful Titanic soundtrack died, tragically, in a plane crash.

RIP James Horner

The US did make some progress this summer.

ROYGBIV

JULY

My country has made some much needed changes this year too.

Canada Day, 2015

We’re working on reconciliation and welcoming our differences, rather than hiding them away and spreading fear.

Life is all about the fireworks.

BANG!!!

Whether it was the stress of a first date or the unpredictability of a summer fling,

(Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus, and Then There’s Jupiter)

I had one hell of a summer.

One Last Kiss

I’VE BEEN PUBLISHED!!!

CHECK!

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That’s another item I can check off my bucket list.

Color, Light, and Magic

Plus another guest post on J.K. Rowling’s end-of-July 50th birthday.

AUGUST

It was a truly spectacular book and a fascinating study in literature.

Jean Louise The Silent: My Review of “Go Set A Watchman”, Part One

&

Jean Louise The Silent: My Review of “Go Set A Watchman”, Part Two

The summer was full of not only literature, but also some amazing theatre performances, culture, and history.

Read a review of the play here:

Stratford’s Diary of Anne Frank

And the summer ended with a bit of nature by Future of the Ocean.

Big Blue Live

And one more guest post I had published on Hasty Words.

Be Real

My summer of 2015 was full of new experiences, harsh realities, and missed opportunities.

Rural Pride, County Wide

Sometimes, some things just aren’t meant to be.

SEPTEMBER

When the anthology with my story first came out in the summer it was only available as an EBook, but finally I could hold a book with a story I’d written in my own two hands. It was an indescribable feeling and a dream come true.

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With the arrival of autumn there’s the twenty year anniversary for Jagged Little Pill.

Perfection

At the end of the month I had a trip to Toronto which was full of surprises and adventures.

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Faith and a Spinster’s Gratitude List – Harvest Moon

OCTOBER

I tried my hand at Writer’s Digest’s month long October Platform Challenge, but I messed it up and did not finish. Admittedly, it was a bit of a half effort and I misread the instructions.

Check it out here.

This year marks three anniversaries for television and music I’ve loved:

Gilmore Girls, A Boy Named Goo, Beverly Hills 90210

By the time we were nearing the end of 2015,

Canadians felt it was time for a change.

I also decided to try something a little different, when I was invited to do an interview for an online radio program.

Travelling with the Speed of Sight

Canada’s one-and-only Major League team, Toronto Blue Jays, came closer than they have in more than twenty years, to winning the World Series. It was a wild ride.

NOVEMBER

The eleventh month of 2015 found me trying something new, something I’ve wanted for a long time.

Words with Friends

Being a part of a writing group is exactly what I have needed to progress with my own writing. I hope to continue with this in the year to come.

Remembrance Day and November 11th had a special significance this year.

In Flanders Fields: One Hundred Years Later

An unassuming Friday the 13th in November turned into much more, so much devastation,

with the attack in Paris.

Then came the first of the hospitalizations for my brother for 2015 and this one was frightening enough, but it was only a prelude to what was to come for our December.

And with one one hundred year anniversary there came a forty year one shortly after,

with a Great Lakes ship wreck and a song written more like a tale set to music.

It was time to celebrate a great man.

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My Father Turned Sixty

On the final day of November.

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DECEMBER

As Long As There’s Christmas: My Grownup Letter For Santa, 2015

We almost made it. We’d arrived at mid month, only a few weeks left in 2015 and then the bottom dropped out.

My brother had a bad fall and suffered a brain injury.

For a few days we weren’t sure what kind of Christmas we would have, but my family and his friends never stopped believing he would come out of it the same old Brian.

Decade Adrift

The doctors didn’t want us to get our hopes up, but we had a Christmas like the others.

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We were all together and Brian played music again.

My last guest post of 2015. – Advent Calendar Day 20: One Tradition After Another

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Now I end 2015 with a huge Happy Birthday wish for the most special five-year-old around and I ring in 2016 with a friend. Girl’s night!

In the world of feminism, 2015 was a fabulous year for discovering awesome female voices in music, literature, travel, social issues, and history.

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE: NEW SINGLE PACKS A PUNCH

The Danger of a Single Story – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Talking to Amy Gigi Alexander

He Named Me Malala

&

The 1994 Miep Gies Lecture

Not all of these are current, but the act of me finding them this year is the point. All examples, of females who are or were strong, which gives me the push to keep moving forward.

Women of the Year: 30 Canadians Who Rocked 2015

On the continually fascinating subject of wickedly special females, three albums and their artists are worth mentioning this year:

First, Vulnicura.

Black Lake

by Bjork.

Second, How Big How Blue How Beautiful.

Ship To Wreck – Florence + The Machine.

And third, Honeymoon.

High by the Beach – Lana Del Ray

As for The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, it was an every Monday sort of thing for the previous half of 2014 and I continued, missing a week here and there, but I have not forgotten about its importance in my own world and here on my blog.

This coming year I plan on really starting something that I want to focus on though. The year 2016 will be 20 years since I began the journey that matured me before my age likely would have otherwise.

Let Them Eat Cake

I have imagined writing a book about it, memoir called Piece of Cake, for years. Now that I have this blog I will start by writing about those days, as the next few years pass.

I have goals and dreams for 2016 and beyond, but I hesitate to speak of them all out loud, in fear of falling short.

FGP’s Virtual Holiday Party

I want to make more connections with writers, creative and smart women, and I want to keep writing. I want to not be afraid to keep putting my words out there, even though the fear of more rejection is a lingering one.

I want to keep working on the one and only “resolution” from 2014/2015: jealousy. I hate that part of myself and I wish I could let that go. That doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for others and don’t cheer other people on. It just means I do both and feel conflicted.

Some make resolutions, others pick one word for their year, but I resist doing both. If I have to choose one word though, I suppose I will go with “Adventure”. I do want more of this, as I believe life is one giant adventure, all the years we get to live it.

We in Canada made a change and took a stand in 2015 and, the question for 2016 is and will be: America, will you?

Okay, so I just went through my entire blog for the year, to prepare for this post. I know. It was a long one.

Wow, I wrote a lot. I did not receive an end-of-the-year WP blog stats report like I did last year though. Hmmm. Wonder if that means I didn’t do well with follows, comments, and views this year. Ah well. Staying true to myself and remaining authentic is all I can ask for.

Goodbye 2015…hello 2016. Be kind.

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