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Thankful When Last Month Was Thanksgiving: Drunk and Smokey-eyed (Part 3) #10Thankful

My nearly almost weekly
Ten Things of Thankful
is the third and final in this three-part thankful series, in honour of the US celebrating Thanksgiving this coming week.

The Power of Gratitude (teaching the younger generation)

Personally, I don’t need a holiday (any holiday) to be thankful. The reminder can’t hurt though.

I’m thankful
Radio Western – 94.9 CHRW
has given us a platform to talk about the issues that we face: accessibility, equality, and advocacy.

Outlook – CFB – Tactile Maps

Check us out. Give us a listen.

I’m thankful the program manager at the station asked me to be interviewed for a women’s 24-hour radiothon event on December 6th. We did a pre-record so she can edit to needed length requirements for it to be a piece on the day. She asked great questions, did her research on me, and the interviewed turned out to be super chill and just like two old friends enjoying a casual talk.

I’m thankful for a teacher of the violin who keeps working with me, offering strengthening exercises for my hands, fingers and so on. Also, she’s been looking all around (craft stores) and thinking hard of what kind of tactile sticker might work to place on the violin, under the strings, to mark my first/third fingers in the correct placement. I’m getting there, but a little guidance never hurts.

I’m thankful for good weather for a parade. Santa Claus was silent this year, not so thankful about that, but we had the perfect amount of time there.

I’m thankful for peppermint things, including brownies.

I’m thankful for a successful meeting with a travel agent and friend. We’re traveling together, to a women’s travel festival in NYC in March, on International Women’s Day.

I’m thankful for sunshine and gently falling snowflakes on cold November days.

I’m thankful for a little pre-Christmas weekend celebration with family this weekend coming up. Food. Movies. Celebrations for my father’s upcoming birthday.

I’m thankful I discovered a new Canadian violinist.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E79fXH9HjLw

I’m thankful for all my US friends who are about to eat a lot of food in the coming days. Better them than me, as I’ve yet got Christmas to look forward to.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and cheers from Canada.

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TToT: Time, Place, and Space – Lost On Spot, #FamilyReunion #LaParada #Panorama #10Thankful

“It helps, too, to dream big, to make plans for future projects that are beyond the scope of my current experience, to make connections with other people who work in the arts, to apply for grants, send out stories, throw bottles into the sea. Make space for more opportunities to unfold. Here’s a fun thing to try: write a letter to yourself, addressing yourself like you would a dear friend. What advice would you give yourself? Can you name all the things about yourself that you like, that give you strength and courage? What questions would a good friend ask you? (I did this at the beginning of June, and reading over my “Dear Carrie” letter now, I recognize that it has helped shape my summer in positive ways.)”

–Carrie Snyder

I read this blog post and wanted all of it. I want to think good things about myself and write it all down. I want to know art and other artists. I like the bottle in the sea idea.

I have been slacking, not keeping up reading other thankful posts. I have let myself down, in a couple ways this summer, but then I’ve taken on so much that is new and thrilling too.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for feedback that is hard, sometimes/at times more than others, to hear.

I know I am learning from it. I know I need to hear it. I know it is part of the deal, of being a writer.

I’m thankful for a surprise offer.

It came at just the right moment, right after the difficult-to-hear feedback. It was a strange contrast of a day.

I was unable to trust in it, at first, because I still don’t expect good things to come my way much in life. (Bad habit/trap to fall into.)

I could sure use offers like this one to come along, once-in-a-while. It was from a well-known company, with a healthy budget and reputation. I was discovered, just by having my words, in existence, out there in the world.

I should be able to brag, but still I am uncertain whether or not to speak details of the thing in question, while contract is still being worked on and leading up to the release date.

Still, I had to include it here, in this list, this week. I won’t ever forget that contrasting day of offers, for feedback and for growth and opportunity. I only need to make sure I get it right.

I’m thankful for friends/writers who offer me a bit of encouragement when I’m starting to doubt.

Editors are unknown and unfamiliar to me, but then that means their job isn’t to make me feel better about myself or to buck me up. I know, logically, that isn’t their responsibility, but yet I probably still am looking for that, somewhere, deep down. Working on it.

Friends, those who know the world of writing (creatively or business wise) are the ones who are there, when I need them the most, to remind me that I am a writer, still learning and growing, but yet not at all without merit.

It’s just nice to hear it. I am indebted to both editors and writers/writer friends/friends and family, for the contrast.

I’m thankful I got to check out a live radio studio.

Radio Western (94.9 CHRW)

I was in there, going and observing the action live, while my brother put on his Friday music show. I told him, on air and off, that witnessing him in that environment made him seem a whole lot cooler.

I was there to celebrate his year on air (48th episode or so) and to talk about the summer social we have coming up, for our work with and as the
Canadian Federation of the Blind
and also, to get any listeners, familiar with his show, familiar with him and I together. (Keep reading to find out why that is.))

I’m thankful the woman who runs it wants to give us a chance.

She has offered us a weekly half-hour talkshow. We are doing it (based on our podcast/Canadian Federation of the Blind) as a theme. We will talk about disability, accessibility, and equality/equity. We will be current (have call-ins/live guests).

She has also offered to air already recorded episodes of
Ketchup On Pancakes
and so that’s why we don’t want to do a total copied version of our already-existing podcast together. That is about family/creativity/humour, not strictly about disability issues.

It isn’t mainstream radio as most people think of it, known by everyone, but a university radio station supports the arts and local talent, as well as community. It will be more of a reach than we’ve so far had, be broadcasting us to more of an audience than we’ve had as of yet.

And so, we are (soon-to-be) available to people, driving in their cars, across London, Ontario and beyond. Also, we are available, online and on Rogers (channel 943).

Now, all we need to do is come up with a catchy name for our talkshow that captures what we are about. We have a little less than one month to do this. Sometimes names and titles are easy to come up with and other times, not so much.

I’m thankful I got to see a talented singer/performer live.

She is a local girl, someone I’ve known from a writing group, full of talent, and full of life. She is animated and energetic. She is many things I wish I could be, but have no stamina to be for long.

She is multi-talented creatively. She went to school for musical theatre and she ended up singing some opera (in English/German/Italian I believe). She had to practice, in front of friends, family, and local community, to attend nationally, after having gone to perform in provincials.

She sang about men and about eating children. She sang and had two young men performing, so she could take a break. It was inspiring and fun.

I’m thankful for a long awaited family reunion.

We used to see each other (my mom’s side of the family) at Christmas every year. Then, with every passing year, our group increased in size. Then, both my grandparents passed away, (2005-2010) and we would’ve needed to rent a hall for our gatherings. The decision was made at that time, to stop holding holiday celebrations, and we’ve seen a lot less of each other in the years since. Some of us see each other more than others.

It was a beautiful day. I tried to enjoy the day. I don’t do well in big groups, even when it’s family. These are people I have known, more or less, all my life. Some came along in the nearly 35 years since I was born.

Cousins have children and some didn’t or couldn’t make it. The children don’t know me. Some of the adults don’t know me anymore and I don’t feel as if I know them now.

Still, family is important. There are connections (no matter the time that’s passed us by or the place/life’s circumstances that have occurred). I know we’ve all changed. We’re not the same people we once were. I know there’s a set of roots there, those that run deep. I wanted to reconnect. I can’t make that kind of connection happen again, not with the wave of my hand or by snapping my fingers.

It was nice we did it. I do hope we can make it happen every so often. I wish some things were different, but we share a common thread of where we’ve all come from, no matter where we might now be or where we end up.

The food was good and the kids had fun. It was on my uncle’s farm, where I grew up staying, for summer holidays, as a child. I was never a farm girl, but my mother had been, like her mother and father before her, and my cousins were, though I did grow up a country girl who would eventually move into town.

It ended up the perfect spot for a summertime family reunion.

I’m thankful for my August birthday boys.

I’m thankful I met these talented writers in Mexico and that I get to go on another journey with them, if only by reading their wonderful words:

Go on a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina with Angela Lang

or else…

wander through time/space/place with Kristin Vukovic

These two writers, along with the rest that P publishes, make me want to keep working to become a better writer myself.

I’m thankful for
this literary travel journal
they are both featured in, and for “Lost,” the most recent issue.

It is full, with each and every new issue that gets released, with the best writers around.

It is soon to celebrate its two-year anniversary. Happy Anniversary Panorama!

Your name continues to thrill me to no end. The bigger picture indeed.

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TToT: The Time of the Ostriches and A Kingdom of Hedges – Red Thunder #10Thankful

“Open your eyes, and see what you can with them, before they close forever.”

—All The Light We Cannot See

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a beautiful day of perfect spring weather.

As I headed toward the hospital, for a medical test, I felt the gentle, pleasant breeze of a mid May day on my cheek.

I wished the test could be done outside, before the day progressed and the temperature warmed any.

I’m thankful for Canada’s medical system, even when I’d rather be anywhere else.

It’s this ERG eye test I had done back in February and, instead of hearing the results a month later, I received a call that I was to come back in. It needed to be repeated, and it wasn’t clear the reason for the order.

So, here I was and I was sitting back in that chair, drops in my eyes, and having to look into the bright light and try not to blink.

I tried to get an answer, from my doctor in the same building, but he was in doing some sort of laser procedure.

I didn’t want to have to go through the discomfort again, if it had been all in error, but I couldn’t find out what the deal was, so I went through it once more.

It causes headaches to have to keep my eyes open in that penetrating brightness. Still, whatever this test shows finally, I am glad to have access to the facilities and the doctors and the equipment that isn’t available everywhere.

I’m thankful for a successful return to my violin lessons, after a bit of a hiatus.

My teacher was finishing up her degree in music and her final solo performance. Then I was off to British Columbia and just having returned.

It isn’t good to be away from the structure and guidance of a lesson, for me, for too long. Yet, I return and am not so far behind with it all as I always fear I’ll be.

I am glad my teacher is patient and helpful. She makes it easier in all its toughness.

I’m thankful for some more global accessibility awareness.

There’s a day for everything, but this one was Global Accessibility Awareness Day and I am writing this on my talking laptop and reading electronic braille.

Hopefully, more of the world is coming to understand about what makes an accessible society, for as many people as possible. That isn’t easy, but just thinking and an effort made is nice to see.

I’m thankful for a little love in the world.

I was up with a bad headache and I was glad to hear about the love that was present at that royal wedding.

It has no bearing on my life, what Harry and Meghan do, but I am glad of a little extra love and I celebrate that. With all the horrors going on in the world, I celebrate this love and light.

I’m thankful for music at weddings, especially this
young cellist.

I’m thankful for the treasure that is my older sister.

She is tough and good humoured. She has created the most beautiful family and I am lucky to be a part of that, in any way.

She is steady and reliably there for me. As sister relationships go, ours has had relatively few bumps, as I hear of all the fighting between grown siblings.

We will always have each other and I hold that truth close.

I’m thankful for a lovely celebration dinner out, by the river, with family.

My mom found a restaurant, in an old building, by a river with toads and such.

We enjoyed a delicious meal and my nephew watched the creatures and critters outside the window as we waited for our food to arrive. He enjoyed finding a toad by the river after we’d eaten.

I’m thankful for the neighbourhood I live in.

For a holiday like Canada celebrating the queen of England who was on the thrown during the formation of the country, there’s always a lot of commotion all around where I live.

I may not always participate fully in the events, but I enjoy hearing it going on around me.

I’m thankful for the sounds of the season (spring) I hear out my window.

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For The Love Of… #FTSF #SoCS

My oma lived through World War II and food shortages. She knew something about the feeling of hunger. I don’t know her exact relationship with food, how close she came to starvation, but I do know it had an impact.

dtTjMeV.jpg

This means she was always feeding us, how many show love, and she loved us all (her family) through food alright.

Chocolate. Pancakes with Ketchup. I loved her salads.

I’ll admit, I like that empty feeling, when my stomach grumbles a little, as I somehow feel I am controlling my body. I have had a fickle and brought relationship with food and I don’t see that easing up much as I get older.

I guess that does link to feeling hollow in other areas of one’s life. I have never known the fear of going hungry, have often times had more than my share, a plentiful amount of food around me.

I struggled with food smells, when I was in the midst of kidney failure and the mouth watering aroma of bacon, a favourite of so many, made me want to vomit.

Now I still carry around with me a definite sensitivity to food smells. I don’t want my past with food or that of a loved one to bleed into the feelings of emotional emptiness or a hollowed out feeling of loneliness, one that only stuffing my face can quench.

I want food to be something enjoyable. I want to appreciate each and every flavour I come across. I know the problems with food and a lack of it that much of the world faces. I know I have had it good in comparison.

It’s
Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS
on a Sunday.

Also, I’m linking up (on a double stream of consciousness weekend) with Kristi from
Finding Ninee
and Kenya G. from
Sporadically Yours,
on the subject of food and feeling empty vs (/) hollow.

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TToT: Dead Ends Sometimes Lead To Beautiful Leaves – May Days Eh? #MayDay #AtoZChallenge #10Thankful

The rain comes down. It keeps coming. Rough weather and natural events going on all over: flooding and tornados in the United State’s southwest and an earthquake in Alaska and Canada’s Yukon. One year ago a giant wildfire spread in Alberta. Homes were destroyed by the flames.

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I can’t see the colourful flowers and buds in my yard. I can’t see the photos of earth, seen through saturn’s rings.

Okay, just getting the bad stuff out of the way. Now the gratitude can begin.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a pitch acceptance to start off the week.

I almost hate to talk about it at all, for fear that it will always wind up as a dead end, but it wasn’t a bad way to kick off a week.

I am thankful for a morning visit with my writer friends.

We met on Facebook and decided to meet in person when we, the three of us, all realized we lived so close.

One is a mother of teenagers and has had several years in the world of freelance writing. The other is a young, first-time mom, who is a science writer. Then there’s me.

We make for an interesting mixture, but we all love writing.

I am thankful for a suggestion made.

The three of us try to offer ideas for publishing opportunities we think might fit for one of us. We help each other out. That is how new opportunities are found.

I am thankful for time with my brother.

He’s been so busy, finishing school and playing with his band, but we just got a chance to hang out. We made some food and talked about where he goes from here, now that he’s graduating, and where I go with things in my own life.

We talk about that a lot. We hope to add a plan of action to all that talk now.

We plan to get back to the podcast we started last year, before things got crazy busy, but we needed one time to discuss how we want to return to it.

I am thankful for the birds that make a nest in the roof of my porch.

They fly away when I come out onto it, to sit on my porch swing, squawking at me from the tree in the front yard. They are afraid of me and angry that I dare disturb them.

Maybe by the end of the season they will get to know me and we can share the space.

I do like that they feel secure to want to build their home there and I can hear them singing, just outside.

I am thankful I got to meet and the chance to know this writer.

The Most Delicious Reason to Go Night-Foraging in Croatia

We got to do a teamwork writing exercise in a town square in Mexico together and she showed up at the airport, so I wouldn’t be alone to start off my long journey home.

I am thankful a brown immigrant got to exercise his right of freedom of speech. (His words.)

I am thankful I survived the entire month of A to Z.

TGTJR6I.jpg

I decided to put together a summary of all 26 days.

From Apple to Zip Lining

I am thankful my father is safe in doing the job he was meant to do.

London Police investigate death of taxi driver in convenience store parking lot

You wouldn’t think this could happen. This did happen, in a town, not far from mine.

My father drives a wheelchair van. He helps people get where they need to go. Things can happen when you’re picking up random people.

I am thankful for a season finale.

I was pleasantly surprised to like Anne The Series. It became my reason for loving Sunday night. I really started to look forward to that day of the week.

This wasn’t my favourite episode, but it did end the season on a cliff hanger and I really hope there will be more episodes to come.

I will miss it while it is gone, but I can re-watch, as they are online and will be on Netflix next week.

Wicked Game – Lydia Ainsworth

End of one month and beginning of another. End is a dead one, but there lies newly discovered beauty.

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Here Comes the Diet Police #Nutrition #AtoZChallenge

Oh no. Here comes the dietician.

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So many doctors. So little time. It’s the dreaded diet doctor, who has come to lecture me on what to eat and what not to eat.

The A to Z Challenge – N is for Nutrition

From the moment I was diagnosed with kidney disease, I began to see doctor after doctor. One specialist I would see would be the one with all the expertise on nutrition.

I had low calcium. I had low iron, anaemia. I needed to take supplements. I was put on dialysis. I was under weight and malnourished. My body wasn’t getting any of the proper nutrients it needed. The kidney disease was preventing anything healthy from happening in my body.

From then on I saw the dietician, who told me what foods to stay away from. Then, once I’d had my kidney transplant, I saw one again, who told me I was to basically eat the opposite of all I was to stay away from while on dialysis.

It was confusing. It was confusing, going from fighting to keep any weight on to being on high doses of medications which put on weight.

Food has been a major factor for me, something I had to think about, since I was eleven years old. I fought like hell to be healthy, but I never dreamed that nutrition would be such a difficulty for me.

Now, I am on such low doses of those transplant medications, but the damage has been done. My body has been through a lot.

I try to find balance. I love salad and I love chocolate. I could live on fruit and vegetables, but I love my pizza. I love to drink water and still I drink Coke.

This nutrition thing is hard and I don’t see it getting any easier, the older I get.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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Travel Ling, Lingering #TGIF #FTSF

“Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Thanks, Dr. Seuss, for that one. I love that and the travel it hints at, alludes to. It’s thrilling, just writing that quote and reading it back to myself. I recently carried that quote with me, on my first solo trip to Mexico, reciting it in my mind whenever I needed a shot of bravery.

When it comes to travel, I could go for days and days, writing about it I mean. That much travel, while sounding just as thrilling as Seuss’s quote, would exhaust me. I do it in my imagination though, all the time.

If I had the money and the energy, I’d be off. Sure, I’d always come back to my home, as that’s how travel is most appreciated, but I would not be satisfied to simply stay in one place all my life. I would suffocate in that bubble.

Pop!

***

I long to break out of that. I want to see new places. I have a list, a long, long list. I call it my
Bucket List (the very first blog post I ever wrote),
though that name is well worn with travellers the world over.

***

I thought it the summer my parents left on a road trip out west, through the U.S. and Canada. I came up with my travel blogger title and I was off.

The Insightful Wanderer (@TheIWanderer on Twitter)

It was in me, of course, ever since forever. My grandparents lived in just such a bubble, but they didn’t stay. They left sometimes, though always coming home again.

My most favourite treasure from my grandmother are the journals she kept, for years, where she jotted down the daily events of her life and family. Then, just a short distance from where she kept those, were the stakcs of photo albums, full of photographic evidence of the places her and my grandfather saw during their fifty five years together: all throughout Canada and the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia.

Life and reality are just as important as a life of travel. Some can avoid that, I suppose, but not me.

I have limitations. I fully acknowledge those, but recently I challenged them too.

***

I immediately started thinking about what I would write, upon reading this week’s prompt for
Finish the Sentence Friday
and my first thought was Mexico.

I would write about my recent trip there. Why not? What else could I possibly write about now, while the memories are fresh? But wait…

I have things I want to say, but I can’t get back to it, whether in my own head or when trying to explain to others just why that trip meant so much. I try and try and try to explain the feeling, but somehow, my experience doesn’t come through. I feel unsatisfied with how I am describing it and how they are hearing it described by me. I guess the expression “you had to be there” is right. Oh, so right.

I travel back to every moment of that week, from my fear and intense anticipation. To my sense of peace and calm and rightness with the world and my place in it at that instant. I don’t want to say words now fail me, but perhaps they do. The envelope of photos I now carry in my purse of my trip don’t do the thing justice either, somehow locked in the past of the actual purse I carried with me. Nor does the bracelet I wear on my left wrist, every bead carrying that week’s sense memories within.

***

I went so far as to create a whole travel website, separate from this blog, while the force was still strong to attempt the world of the travel blogger. I had it all mapped out, saw things so clearly in my mind.

I wrote up an About Me page there, before the new site went live. It laid out all my most favourite spots: Niagara Falls and Ireland.

I put forth an illustrated list of the places I’ve been so far: Cuba, Florida/New York/Michigan/D.C./California, and Germany.

I spelled out everywhere I dreamt of going: Hawaii, Palau, Australia, and New Zealand. I wanted to be adventurous, surprising even myself, and in this dream I stood at the bottom of the world, surrounded by ice and penguins.

I didn’t truly believe I’d have the stamina, resources, or opportunity to make it that far, but, really, who could say?

Then, my website fizzled out. I let myself down. I studied travel blogs galore and somehow, I couldn’t become them, social media and pitching tour companies and all. I couldn’t. I was not a list maker and a personality so strong. My fantasy of becoming someone, I perhaps wasn’t meant to be.

I am a literary writer. That’s who I am. I can take all the travel blog success courses I want, have as many Skype sessions with an already established travel blogger as are offered in any given online course, and I still failed.

***

But I didn’t. I found a way to travel anyways. I found a group of my people, other literary type writers, somewhere full of magic and reality, all wrapped into one.

I couldn’t hold onto that week forever. It came and went. I may feel a little aimless since then, since arriving home, but that’s okay.

The world is a giant place. Anyone who doesn’t open their mind first, it doesn’t matter how far or how nearby they go or stay.

Travel all sorts of places, in your mind, through reading/watching a good book or movie. That’s just more ways to open your mind to the vistas (boy do I love that word).

Read travel blogs, as I still do, if that makes it all more real.

Acknowledge your limitations while challenging what still might be.

Meet people. Meander through a place. Taste a new food or sample a helping of another culture, far flung from your own.

***

I may not have that beautiful travel site I saw in my mind, but I am still wandering through this big, beautiful world and I am doing it with all the insight I can manage to unearth as I go.

I will linger here a bit yet still, but I know I will be off again, sooner or later. If you linger too long, you risk getting stuck. I hate to burst your bubble, but it must be done.

I meander and linger and meander some more. I look over those vistas I can no longer see. I meander with these words and with myself. Still figuring it all out.

I’ll be sure to let you know, here, when I’ve been everywhere. In the meantime, Dr. Seuss’s words keep me going, moving, living.

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