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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.

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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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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, Piece of Cake

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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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Bucket List, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TravelWriting

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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Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir Monday, Podcast, RIP, Special Occasions, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Accessories Not Included – Listening to Echo’s Answer, #10Thankful

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite – only a sense of existence.
Well, anything for variety. I am ready to try this for the next ten thousand years, and exhaust it. How sweet to think of! my extremities well charred, and my intellectual part too, so that there is no danger of worm or rot for a long while. My breath is sweet to me. O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment.”

–Henry David Thoreau in a letter to Harrison Blake (December 6, 1853)

The other night, while I was sleeping soundly, it happened. Only a few miles from where I peacefully slept, a man in his early twenties decided to get behind the wheel of a car, after he’d been drinking. He then drove into a woman’s vehicle, killing her.

http://www.lfpress.com/2016/11/25/fatal-crash-london-widower-soldiers-on-after-partner-a-newspaper-carrier-killed-in-early-morning-collision

People make bad decisions. People do careless and dangerous things, to themselves and to other people.

Don’t take the good things in life for granted.

I’d always wondered why…a Thursday?

It was Thanksgiving in the US and just another Thursday here in Canada when this “accident” would soon occur.

I have a few issues with American Thanksgiving. I have no problem celebrating the autumn harvest. It’s the history that is used to then whitewash why there is any celebrating going on at all that’s the problem I have. Then everyone rushes out to buy a bunch of things on Black Friday, to signal the onslaught of holiday shopping. Deals are nice, but this particular Thursday and Friday are odd days to me. It’s so easy to whitewash, when we’re not dealing with the hard stuff ourselves. A killer deal on a TV is, I’ll admit, an attractive one however.

We can convince ourselves that we would never drive drunk or lose our lives to a drunk driver. We can think that we’re just eating dinner with our families, when it’s often based on falsehoods and anything but the cold, hard, truth of reality. History is easy to push away.

I have no problem with family togetherness or with giving thanks and making a consorted effort not to take our own lives and those we love for granted. I think of and try to follow Thoreau’s words.

Everytime You Go Away – Paul Young

Every time I hear this song I think of the famous American film set during Thanksgiving, “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”.

I’m thankful for those who write and speak up, be they strong female voices or men using Facebook.

The editor of
Full Grown People
is speaking up for the injustices she’s been seeing. She is one kick ass lady whom I wouldn’t want to mess with. She is tough but fair. She would clearly do anything for her family, friends, or the country she lives in and loves.

I’ve come to rely on a certain male Facebook friend’s posts on what he’s seeing going on, as scared as I’ve been for that country and our whole world lately. If there are others like him, there’s hope yet.

I’m thankful for the magic of editing.

My brother and I worked really hard again this week on editing more of our dialogue down. It feels like a great weight is lifted off the shoulders when done. I like the feeling.

We are adding little musical parts to break up our speech. This is a podcast discussing a political event, in this case, and so there is mostly talk from us. We needed to break that up by adding music, sound, and hopefully a bit of humour thrown in there too. I hope our dry sense of humours shows through.

As I sat there, listening to him coming up with beautiful guitar parts on the spot, well mostly, I was moved by the pure simplicity and yet something more complex than I understand. I add my producer’s opinion in there and soon enough we should have ourselves a third episode.

I’m thankful for another piece of music, due to my brother’s eclectic listening tastes, but of which spoke to me in a very clear and direct way.

Broadcast
is the name of the band and I am still learning about these guys.

I’m thankful for a thorough doctor and medications available to help treat me medically.

It’s frustrating to feel unwell for lengthy periods of time and to understand very little about why that might be.

This doctor is being very thorough and accommodating with me and I’ve seen enough doctors to know when I should be feeling grateful for one.

I’m thankful that a professor friend of mine thought to share a piece of writing with me that he’d been studying with his class and thought I might like.

Mary Wollstonecraft
was a feminist, a writer, traveler, and a brilliant and complex woman of her time.

I’m thankful that Christmas came early for me, in a way, with the delivery of a package on a Saturday morning.

It wasn’t quite from the guy in red himself, but close enough.

🙂

I’m thankful for the celebration plans being made for the end of December with an old friend.

She will be back from Ireland, for the holidays, and a girl’s night is in the works.

This makes me, simply, happy and contented, even with the craziness of these days and the hectic holiday season.

I’m thankful for the chance to catch up with another old friend.

Having months and even years go by and to still be able to talk again, like no time has passed is a nice feeling.

As always, there was a lot to catch up on, not all of it so cheerful, but a friend is always up for listening to both the bad and the good things in life, choices made or the things life just throws at you.

Skype and other forms of modern technology make this process of catching up even better and handier than ever before.

I’m thankful that my parents had a lovely evening of family, fun, and food.

For years there were many children running around. there were presents to pass out. Now, there is just the four brothers and one sister, right in the middle (my mom). Of course, there are the spouses. There is a lot of, I’m guessing, good food still. Lots of drinking and merriment. (Enough designated drivers to go around at the end of the night of course.) Loads of laughs and catching up. (There it is again.)

Families change and grow, but when they grow apart through feuds or bickering it is always a sad sad thing. It’s nice to know that my mother’s sibling relationships live on, especially at this time of year.

I’m thankful for a perspective from a writer on what Canada means to him.

Knowing My Place – Panorama Journal

I’ve had a lot of discussions over the last few weeks especially, with family and friends, and I am always wondering about my place here in Canada.

I am grateful to hear another’s thoughts. So here’s to another Thursday and to not taking any of it for granted.

CHEERS!

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Persnickety, #JusJotJan

Hello 2016 and I have decided to designate the first month of this new year as Just Jot January.

#JusJotJan

It’s really an extenuation of the Saturday prompts I started last year: Stream of Consciousness Saturday, except I think it will be a daily thing for the entire month, before I move onto February and the month of love and romance.

I loved SoCS so much, and since I have no idea what this new year will bring, I am starting with a month full of the same sort of stream of consciousness writing, but it may end up being more of a daily thing.

I loved stream of consciousness writing so much, I am doing a whole thirty-one days of it. This could either make me gain or lose followers and readers. It may be too much for some people, but I don’t know what the hell I am doing, so I will start there:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/12/31/just-jot-it-january-2016-rules/

“You shouldn’t be so fussy,” my grandma used to tell me when I wouldn’t even try something, wouldn’t bother to even give a certain food a taste before declaring I hated it.

We had that same discussion, my mom had it with her granddaughter at Christmas. Children don’t automatically try things, at a certain age. They have very little control in life, being so small, so refusing to taste something is how they exercise just a little bit of power when they are used to being powerless in an adult world where “no” is told to them by their parents and other grown people on a daily basis.

Well, some people like things to be just right. Particular.

I used to record my favourite television shows on the VCR. I had my favourites and I used to memorize a lot of the scenes and lines, taking control and I would have been very particular with getting the words right, everything said by the actors, the characters I loved so much.

I would even go so far as to write out my favourite scenes. This was before everything could be looked up online.

One of my shows was a strange sort I had never seen the likes of before: Dawson’s Creek. I was in eighth grade when it premiered and these were young people talking in ways I’d never heard teenagers talk, on TV or off. They used big words I did not know, most of the time, but I soon grew fascinated by this style.

In one scene Dawson calls Joey persnickety. I thought the word sounded funny, but I was unfamiliar with it. I didn’t really believe any teenager would use that word, would speak that well, but I still loved the show. Now though, I could not tell you what scene in particular the word could be found in.

I like it, but I don’t know if it is what I am. You would have to ask other people who know me that question.

That was my take on the word. Here’s Linda discussing the editing process for writing and blogging:

http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/01/just-jot-it-january-1st-persnickety/

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IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, SoCS, Special Occasions

Gimme Gimme Gimme, #SoCS #optoutside

Squashed in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/11/27/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-2815/

It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday!!!

SoCS

A retailer I hadn’t heard of before, REI, wasn’t open and taking part in the craziness that is Black Friday.

It encouraged people to opt out of the whole thing and spend the day outside instead.

Interesting.

#optoutside

I am not a fan of Black Friday.

Here in Canada Thanksgiving was last month, but I see what a big deal this weekend is to the US: food, football, and family.

But that’s not all.

It reminds me of Christmas and Boxing Day, but all of it’s become too much about things and stuff.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family’s Thanksgiving in Canada in October, but I prefer to associate Thanksgiving with harvest, rather than with buying stuff.

I mean, there’s my mom’s fabulous stuffing that her mother made before her. It’s a favourite of the whole family.

I just don’t understand, although I love stuff just as much as the next person, but it’s probably a North American thing, more is better with both food and material goods. Stuff yourself and then go buy lots of stuff, for cheap deal prices.

I know what people might say, that the media just takes the few bad incidents that did probably happen and blow it way out of proportion, but I saw at least the example of people getting crazy and punching each other out at retailers in Kentucky, Oregon, Texas I think it was. Over a television or a pair of shoes? Really?

There was the rumour that at least one of those was a skit, a hoax, put on by Jimmy Kimmel. Allegedly.

Canadian dollar being better this year meant fewer Canadians made the trip to the US to shop, but some still went. Some make a day or more out of it, a tradition I guess.

Hmmm. Long lines. No thanks. Just to get a deal. I don’t need anything that badly.

I was like any other child, loving Christmas and presents. I know this time of year, gift giving and receiving is a huge part of the festivities, but I can’t quite reconcile that all with the good will and things we’re supposed to feel. It’s nice to get or give a gift, but the whole commercialization is a little too much to take sometimes. I am not sick of Christmas music, by the end of it all, but I am sick of the stores, which could be my mother’s dislike of shopping taking hold of me, somewhere in there.

Black Friday makes money for retailers, even with the deals, but it got me thinking about what would happen if all retailers did what REI did and closed. What if people had no choice, the hash tag told them all to “optoutside”?

Nature or electronics. Tough one.

People pushing and shoving for a bargain.

Sure, there are exceptions to this rule and it’s not all bad, but the Black Friday thing is pretty out-of-control by this point. Of course, a lot of people shop online. Best Buy Canada’s website crashed in the morning yesterday. That’s how many people are on those sites, hunting for deals on stuff.

Then there’s Cyber Monday, followed by Giving Tuesday.

Of course, we must make up for all the consumerism with a day to give back to our favourite causes and those who are less fortunate.

I personally like the campaign to give a book to a child, promoting literacy, but there’s always going to be that one fight for a television that will make the news.

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