Blogging, Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, TToT

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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The Year Compassion Rained, #1000Speak #LoIsInDaBl #BlogLove

I wanted to do something to mark the two year anniversary of this blog last week, on the day I turned thirty-two, but I decided to wait.

I knew the anniversary,

We Are The Village (a #1000Speak post),

would be coming soon after. Rather than talking about what I’ve learned about having a blog for two years, I figured that instead I would round up each monthly contribution I made to 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion over the last twelve months, all in one place. This, I’ve decided, is the best way I can think to truly illustrate the importance it has had in my life this past year and I hope to continue with it in the future.

The presence of

#1000Speak

has helped me to focus in on what is at the heart of why I write and at the core of my space, this blog: Her Headache.

FEBRUARY – Compassion

Planting the Seeds of Compassion

I interview two people who make a unique and lasting difference in the world around them.

MARCH – Building From Bullying

Bystander

I speak about bullying, in my own life, for other people, and in literature and how we all see it happening, in front of us at one time or another.

APRIL – Nurture

Nature and Nurture: Bloodroots and Blood Ties

Using a particular afternoon out in nature with family, I speak about the whole nature vs nurture debate and the vital role I think both of these have played in my own life.

MAY – Connection

Connection and Disconnection

I speak about the types of connection I want for myself and how I deal with feeling lonely or alone in the world.

JUNE:

Everybody’s Got A Story

This one speaks for itself really.

JULY – Acceptance

The Trouble With Being Real

I speak about showing compassion to myself in a world where it’s sometimes just easier to hide.

**Here, I took a bit of a summer vacation from compassion for the month of August. Sounds worse than it was.**

🙂

Instead, I’ve included a guest post I was invited to write, a few months later, for the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion site.

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

I speak about compassion vs pity that I often get from others.

SEPTEMBER – Honesty

Eggshells, Broken Glass, and Scissors

I examine when it’s okay to be honest with other people and how to learn from the sometimes harsh nature of honesty when it is given back to me.

OCTOBER – Compassion

Who Is Malala?

A young girl was shot in cold blood on her way to school and she does not hold onto thoughts of revenge, retribution, or anger.

NOVEMBER – Gratitude

And Then There’s Books

I am thankful for the things in my life that teach me gratitude.

DECEMBER

Compassion For Christmas

I relied on the compassion showed by others during a time when I really needed a lot of it.

JANUARY – Forgiveness

Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story

I speak of looking at forgiveness from several angles.

Thank you,

#1000Speak,

for helping me see the good in people over this last year.

All of these posts listed here are a tribute to you.

Love Is In Da Blog, #BlogLove

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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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Advent Calendar Day 20: One Tradition After Another by Kerry K

Check out my latest guest post, a special Christmas post, which I only just finished under the wire for this brilliant holiday themed blogging project, for the month of December. This idea comes to you from Solveig and I’m glad I am included amongst all these other touching tributes to this time of year.

Solveig Werner

Number 20

One Tradition After Another by Kerry K

December was always one full month of delicious food, seasonal scents, jingle bells, and sparkle. All month long, one tradition after another, each one better than the last.

My younger brother and I were born blind, the two youngest in a family of four. The surfaces  of the chocolate advent calendars our grandparents would buy us were smooth and indistinguishable for the two of us, until my mother would open up each door and punch the braille dots necessary to label every day’s number to follow along. The red and green construction paper linked Christmas chain my brother had hanging up in his room was colourless to him, but I loved the pattern and my favourite holiday bright red, counting the days.

View original post 614 more words

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Compassion: Does It Make A Sound? Does Anybody Hear? #1000Speak

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If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear?

I’ve always disliked that question frankly.

I guess then, the question becomes whether or not there was someone there to wittiness the crash, to hear the fall, and whether or not the one to witness it can be trusted, relied upon.

I’m a featured guest post this week:

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

This #1000Speak thing has been going on for nine months now.

It took off, blew up, last winter. The first month, on February 20th, the linkup had something like six hundred plus posts. I don’t know how it took off like that, but in the months since then it has decreased in participation.

Now there’s more like forty posts contributed. This is more like the other linkups I see. It isn’t a bad thing, in my opinion. It’s a little sad, but life goes on and people move on from things. That’s just life.

I still believe people are compassionate, even if they don’t always know how or don’t make the time to show it.

I will always have time for this because I believe it serves is an attribution to how lucky I am to have the life I have and the people I love.

I was honoured when they approached me to write for the 1000Speak blog. I will share it because I can. It matters to me. It gives me the feeling that I am doing something, instead of feeling so helpless all the time.

I see stories like this, that have been in the news for months, and I feel more helpless than ever:

Abdullah Kurdi lost it all. Now in a whirlwind, there is no peace.

These are the people who need compassion most of all. I can not imagine being in his shoes. Just try and read about this man and not feel it.

Apparently many people do not, as is shown by all the comments on just such articles.

With Canada’s new and incoming prime minister on the way…will the promise of allowing in more refugees be fulfilled? Will Abdullah come to live in Canada? How many do not want him here?

These people and their struggles are real, happening right now, even if you don’t know it. Burying your head in the sand won’t change it. Not paying attention to these things doesn’t make them go away.

I continue to feel helpless, but I choose compassion over suspicion.

If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear?

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TToT: A Rainy Day In Paradise, #10Thankful

Love does not appear with any warning signs. You fall into it as if pushed from a high diving board. No time to think about what’s happening. It’s inevitable. An event you can’t control. A crazy, heart-stopping, roller-coaster ride that just has to take its course.
–Jackie Collins

Jackie Collins and Phil Collins: One is known for writing salacious novels and the other for his drumming, song writing, and singing, both as a member of Genesis and as a solo artist.

The only connection, for me, between these two has been their last name, up until this past week. One writes memorably and the other has had a huge influence in my life. Guess which is which.

10 THINGS OF THANKFUL

This week has had its ups and downs, pierced by the news story here in Canada, about the little girl who went missing and whose father was found murdered.

Hope turns to heartbreak.

Well, in this case, there was no happy ending to be had. I listened to the mother of the girl, during a press conference, and I was reminded all too sharply of the events that took place in my town over five years ago.

The Dark Mark

What kind of sick monster would do this? How does the world make sense to anyone at any time?

In comes creator of TToT

Lizzi,

Who has been touring around parts of the US for over a week now and I know she was worried about something, before she left. I made a promise, I would help make sure her friends back in the UK weren’t totally forgotten about, which I am sure she hasn’t stopped thinking about them, even as she’s having the trip of her lifetime.

Still, it’s important to be thankful and grateful, and that is the theme of my post this week, although it is every week, but this week I make it a double dose. There is so much I can’t do to help people, but I thought I could do this.

GO FUND ME: Home For Jenny

Ten Things of Thankful:

For My grandparents, although they are all gone now, and for the grandparents my own parents have become to my niece and two nephews.

This week was Grandparent’s Day and I want to highlight the things that make grandparents so great, both the big and small things, especially my parents, as they are now grandparents, and have been for nearly five whole years.

I miss mine every single day, but when I watch my mom and dad interacting with my niece or either of my nephews, I feel better because I see all the memories being made, so many things that remind me of everything I loved my grandparents for, all those years. It is one of the most special bonds in life.

For another guest post, this time with a musical theme, that I had out at the start of the week.

Perfection – Jingle Jangle Jungle

Some albums leave a lasting impression and “Jagged Little Pill, 1995” was one of them.

You Learn – Alanis Morissette

For strong female examples and the possibilities borne from these women: Jackie Collins, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, or Malala Yousafzai.

He Named Me Malala

“Our voices are our most powerful weapons.”

Malala is right. This film trailer and this quote give me goosebumps and bring tears to my eyes.

Happy Birthday, Chimamanda and Malala, who celebrated this past week.

These are three examples, of reasons to celebrate life, the lives of females who do not apologize for who they are and for what they stand for.

It gives me hope – a representation of past, present, and future for women.

For the honour of two writing assignments I’ve been asked to do, one of them from one of those strong females I’ve alluded to, and for the surprise invite I received to be interviewed, next month, on an internet radio show.

I am now nervous because I now have to deliver. I am thrilled to be asked for these things, but now comes the fear of disappointing these people or of not being able to give them what they were hoping for.

I am working on developing my confidence and pride, to know in my heart I can write something worthwhile or speak up for myself, but I am going to need to focus to be able to give them my best.

I hope this will lead to more good things and I think I need to get down to business, to get writing, to show what I can do.

For repeat thankfuls.

That’s right. I am thankful, once more, for my first published story.

I used this one last week, in previous weeks before that, in different ways, but I am using it again because I am still grateful, so incredibly thankful.

kerrsbook-longshot-2015-09-19-22-59.jpg

I forgot, last week, to include the link to where the book is now available in print. I’d been waiting for that for months and months.

After the Scars: A Second Chances Anthology

Also, I believe this thing warrants a spot in the thankfuls, two weeks in a row, because I believe we should pay special attention to those things we are truly thankful and excited for and about, especially when so many other parts of life are so shitty sometimes.

Plus, I have barely let the print copy of the book with my story in it out of my presence since it arrived last week. I sleep with the thing pretty much. I can neither confirm or deny this to be 100% the case.

😉

I am not too ashamed to admit I hug it against my chest sometimes, hardly able to believe how lucky I feel. How proud I am. The best feeling in the world.

For the fresh apples I’ve been waiting so long for.

Honey Crisp apples are expensive, in the grocery store most times, but it’s at this time of year that they are in the markets and are most worth it. They remind me of fall and they are so juicy. They are what good apple juice is made of. They are the perfect mixture of sweet and sour, and so wonderfully crunchy. Huge too. I have been looking forward to the start of the fall season and these apples, even more so, ever since visiting a giant apple back in July.

this photo is of brian, dad and you on the stairs in front of the apple.
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For my brother’s help, as I am once more in need of pictures of myself, and seeing as he takes pictures for a living and has done it for years I am glad he is happy to help and not to expect a fee.

🙂

It ended up being a joke between us, when I texted him to ask if he could take a few pictures, and he ended up taking nearly two hundred. I wouldn’t blame him if he did ask for payment, but that’s what is so amazing, the generosity to be found in my family.

They need to be high resolution, (of which I have no clue) and are travel themed. I will have them to share in a future post, but let’s just say I ended up dangling in the apple tree in his back yard with my white cane. All for the writing.

For the chance to give my nephew his birthday present, as he turned two last month, but it’s taken a few weeks for the summer excitement to die down and for us to see each other again.

I’m thankful he liked his present so much. I got him my favourite thing, a book.

No. I did not give him a copy of the book with my story in it. Not exactly his level of reading material, at age two. I did bring his father, my brother a copy of the book though. I was excited to do that also.

As for my nephew, I gave him the new Dr. Seuss book and a singing and talking toy iPhone.

After all, shouldn’t all two-year-old children have their first cell phones?

For the chance to get to know my youngest nephew, as he is the third.

My niece is almost five and has known me the longest. She is in school and has been talking for a couple years now.

Then there’s my middle nephew and he lives close by and sees me on a weekly basis. We are incredibly close, as a result.

It’s my youngest nephew, youngest of the three, and he is just recently growing his vocabulary and changes so much, every time I see him, which only happens every other month or so. I sometimes worry he won’t remember me from the last time, but this is changing, slowly and surely, as he grows and with every passing visit.

Each time I can spend time with him and he can become a little more comfortable with me, and me with him, hopefully our bond as nephew and aunt grows a little stronger.

I am thankful we were able to spend a little time together, just the two of us, playing trucks in his bedroom, after his initial shyness wore off upon seeing me with his sister and daddy, when he wasn’t expecting it.

For the life he and my niece have, for everything they have, that their mom and dad work so hard to give them, when so many children have nothing nearly as good. They are tucked, in their beds and safe at night, and I can hug them goodbye, after a day of fun and games, and sleep securely in the knowledge that the most important children in my life are safe and not in danger.

Not all children are so lucky. I am lucky.

And now, the answer to the question I posed at the beginning of this week’s TToT:

I loved Danielle Steel’s romance novels, as a teenager, but I have never even read a Jackie Collins book. I just thought, after the years of writing and the career she’s had, she deserves to be mentioned here, on her passing.

I didn’t get into her novels, but I did follow her on Facebook. Up there with authors like Anne Rice and Danielle Steel, Jackie Collins was one of those authors I enjoyed getting to know a little on her author page.

RIP Jackie Collins (1937-2015)

As for Phil Collins, I have been focusing so much on the things I am thankful for, for months now with Ten Things of Thankful and a particular Phil Collins song has always made me realize how lucky I am and how thankful I am, for the life I do have.

As the week came to a close – as I let certain recent events upset me, as I felt like crying because I could hardly make out my nephew’s shape, and because I can no longer colour with him and my niece – I thought about why I need to keep making these weekly lists.

It’s just another day, for you and me, in paradise.

Another Day In Paradise

Just think about it.

–Phil Collins

I’ve thought about it, Phil, many times over the years – many, many, many times. I will never stop thinking about that, being grateful, and staying thankful.

And, as I was in desperate need of something to totally counteract that part I mentioned about a poor child being taken from the world, here is a video that made me smile from ear to ear, which I desperately needed mid week when the worst was confirmed about her disappearance.

Pup Quiz

RIP sweet Hailey.

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Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Throw-back Thursday

Perfection: Jaggled Little Pill Turns Twenty, #TBT

It must have been important, if I was being taken out of class for this.

Oh no! Not again. What did I do now?

I wasn’t in trouble, not in the usual sense of the term. I just wasn’t trying hard enough, I guess, or so I was lead to believe.

I needed to focus. Why didn’t I want to go out for recess and play with my friends? Why wasn’t I putting up my hand and participating in class?

I should have been in heaven. After two years, I was finally reunited with my best friend. This year I had all my friends in my class. Everything should have been perfect, but everything was going wrong.

These little talks were expected to inspire me to try harder, I suppose, but until a real diagnosis could be offered to explain my behaviours, I was considered falling behind and possibly unable to keep up.

I’d done well, these past six years, but maybe trying to remain in school with my sighted peers was just not working out anymore.

PERFECT

It’s the quality or state of being perfect.

Freedom from fault or defeat, flawlessness.

The quality or state of being saintly.

Definition of “perfection” – Merriam-Webster

You know how it is said that nobody’s perfect?

I know we can all relate. We know we can never achieve it, but we keep trying, we keep on hoping anyway.

“Run another lap, once more around the school yard.”

“Get up. It’s not good for your system to do that. You should remain standing, for your muscles.”

My gym teacher barked his orders at me, but all I could feel was the cool damp grass against my cheek, right in the place I had collapsed, after running laps had taken every ounce of energy I possessed. I couldn’t move. I felt near death. I was failing.

It’s been twenty years since “Jagged Little Pill” was released.

Check out the guest post I wrote for a music blog, just last weekend, to find out why “Perfect” became my ultimate favourite of all the songs on Alanis’s breakout album:

Jingle Jangle Jungle – Perfection (Guest post)

Let’s go back there, to the mid nineties: 1995/96 to be exact and my failure to do anything right, no matter how hard I tried.

People didn’t do it on purpose. They didn’t intend to pummel me with expectations and demands on my energy and on my abilities. They wanted me to be a part of my class and the year, to get good grades and thrive socially, but I was barely keeping my head above water. It was a year of confusion and I lived it in a fog of fear and stress and pain.

I was twelve years old when I first heard it. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard, right up there with albums from Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Sheryl Crow. These female singer song writers were my idols, my soundtracks to the decade, with all of its ups and downs.

I wondered what had happened to her, why she was so angry, not having experienced anything close to what she seemed to be describing. Romantic love was not yet a concept I could imagine.

She starts the song saying she wishes nothing but the best for him, rumoured to be Joey Gladstone (Dave Coulier) from Full House, but I couldn’t actually believe it.

Then…

I’m here to remind you of the mess you left when you went away.

You seem very well. Things look peaceful. I’m not quite as well. I thought you should know.

It’s so conversational sounding. Yet, so powerful in its raw emotions.

Now, I understand that feeling of betrayal, at the idea of someone you once loved moving on with someone else.

I want you to know, I’m happy for you. I wish nothing but, the best, for you both.

And every time you speak her name, does she know how you told me you’d hold me until you die, till you die, but you’re still alive.

You Oughta Know (Official Video)

Such a roller coaster of emotions that I had yet to experience.

All I knew, in 1996, was that the song had a swear word that, most times, was cut out. Ah, aw, to be young and innocent.

You oughta know. You learn.

I would learn, eventually, yes. I would learn.

🙂

You Learn (Official Video)

You live. You learn.

You love. You learn.

You cry. You Learn. You lose. You learn.

You bleed. You learn. You scream. You learn.

I would bleed and scream and cry. Hundreds of needles. Multiple surgeries.

In this song, she specifically uses the words “jagged little pill”. I was having to take a lot of pills in the nineties, literally, but I would one day learn the metaphorical swallowing of life’s difficult pills she was referring to.

I would live. I would love. I would lose.

Loss of love         would be one of those difficult pills to swallow.

Alanis must have encountered a lot of sexist treatment, but from the sounds of this iconic album, she stood up for herself, no problem.

Her catholic background, growing up in Ottawa, in Canada all make their appearances, in and amongst her thoughts on men, irony, and pills, as jagged as they sometimes are.

🙂

Songs ranged from angry feminist rants, to religious reflection, to sad musings.

What’s the matter, Mary Jane. Tell me. Please be honest, Mary Jane. Tell me.”

In my own head, when I would listen, I would change the name of Mary Jane in the song to Kerry Lynn.

It’s a long way down, on this roller coaster.

–Mary Jane, lyrics

It felt like a roller coaster, but it’s funny how much music can help and just how much it sticks with you, bringing back the memories it was there to first witness as they happened.

I learned about irony from Alanis, even if the song is a little much. It’s a classic, all these years later still.

🙂

Good thing I learned more about what irony means in English class.

Hand in My Pocket (Lyrics)

I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed.

I’m lost but I’m hopeful.

I feel drunk but I’m sober.

I care but I’m restless.

I’m here but I’m really gone.

And what it comes down to, is I haven’t got it all figured out just yet.

I’m green but I’m wise.

I’m sad but I’m laughing.

I’m brave but I’m chicken shit.

But what it comes down to, is that nobody’s got it all figured out just yet.

What it all comes down to my friends, is that we’re gonna be fine, fine, fine.

These flip flopping emotions were, to me, highly relatable.

I was, most often during those years, putting on the bravest of faces through the pain inside. People began to praise my bravery in the shadow of the medical problems I was dealing with, but deep down I felt that chicken shit thing she mentions, from that first time the doctor said the words “needle” and “surgery”.

🙂

Her sad and raging made way for the more hopeful and upbeat.

Head Over Feet (Official Video)

So maybe she had found acceptance and happiness after all, through writing Jagged Little Pill, harmonica playing not withstanding.

😉

Maybe love and peace were possible, throughout all the turmoil and the growing pains.

This gave me hope that things were going to get better.

Last but not least, it had a secret song! How cool was that, back when I was newly discovering CDs? You had to be patient, if you waited after the last song ended, and there it was.

I wouldn’t truly understand her songs about love and relationships, not until much later, but now I sure can.

Your House (Secret Song)

If you never heard this one, never had the patience to wait after the album was technically done, I highly recommend you check it out.

It is full of longing and desperation. Sure, it may be a stockerish song at heart, but it is how we all feel, at one time or another, whether we’d admit it out loud or not like she did.

To listen to the album, in its entirety, go here:

Jagged Little Pill

Thank you, Alanis and JLP, for getting me through the nineties and the hard stuff. You’re still helping.

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