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Happy 33 To Me, #FTSF

Twenty years ago, on this date, I spent my 13th birthday on dialysis, hooked up to a machine by an extremely fresh and painfully inserted central line in my chest.

So the nurses, me being the only child in a ward of mostly elderly patients, felt bad for the small girl on dialysis and they gave me a little birthday cake and all sang Happy Birthday to me.

How else do you make a small girl less upset to be stuck on kidney dialysis for her birthday, her first day as a teenager?

You present her with something sweet, that’s how.

It’s all relative. What made me upset then isn’t the same thing making me upset now, as a newly turned thirty-three-year-old.

I hadn’t even heard of him then…anyone by the name of…well, I’m not using the name on this blog from now on I’ve decided, even though in Harry Potter it says we should never shy away from using the name.

I am not afraid. Okay, well afraid for the world, sure, but I am more sad, enraged, frustrated, upset at where a lot of things currently are.

The other day, when I heard one of many in a string of a long line of blatant lies, it resulted in me giving myself a headache. These lies are going so far from the usual “all politicians lie lies” and into those that feel like they are so in-your-face that it almost feels like, when I hear them, they literally smack me in the face. So, I tried to act this out and my hand actually made physical contact with my own cheek.

I know, I know…ridiculous, right?

Upsetting, to be sure, but certainly not worth all that. Getting too upset in the moment means I don’t articulate myself all that well, for a writer, kind of like tonight apparently. I suppose it illustrates the theme of being upset rather nicely though.

Anyway…

I am celebrating twenty years of not having to spend birthdays or any other day tied to a dialysis machine. I am making big plans to celebrate that fact, come June. This is shaping up to be quite the thrill.

As for my birthday, people keep asking me how it’s been, how it’s going, and if I’ve had a good one. I try to answer, but how can I top the week I just spent in Mexico?

Ten Things of Thankful and Then Some

I can’t and I’m not even trying to. Different thing.

My birthday present from family and from myself was that trip. This day can’t quite live up to that and I could now go on to list the specific reasons why it hasn’t, or I could just say I’m upset I’m no longer in Mexico. I could just leave it here, but it’s late and I am in need of sleep and I am trying to sort out how turning another year older makes me feel. So, I will go on, at least a little more.

As I stare out at a restaurant, one where I am celebrating my birthday by having a lovely lunch with my father, I see a lot of blurry space in front of my eyes, mixed with the constant noise of a loud lunchtime crowd. These things feed into each other and I wonder if I will still see anything at all, upon turning thirty-four next year or on turning forty-three in ten years time. Will I sill see anything at all, on any number of future birthday celebrations in my future?

When I get upset about these thoughts, these very questions that are asked, without much prompting inside my own head, I try to remember everything I’ve been lucky to see and all the brilliant living I’ve still got yet to do.

I get really upset by a birthday where I go to give blood and I leave with a bandage on each arm because veins were hard to come by, but a needle now and then is nothing compared to what once was.

After twenty years of needles for a lot of blood tests, there’s scar tissue in both arms and I didn’t drink enough before going in. It’s not the nurse’s fault. I was distracted, but it didn’t hurt, not by this point.

I then decided, since I was already in the building, to stop in at an adjoining medical office, which just so happens to be my dentist’s office, to make an appointment for a routine teeth cleaning. I’m long overdue. The only thing more celebratory than making a dentist appointment on one’s birthday will be the romance of a Valentine’s Day oral checkup, right?

I wished for something rather odd this year. It’s not the first thing I’d think of when blowing out candles, but I did wish that, if I were going to get one of my common colds, thanks to my somewhat lowered immune system, I’d rather get it on my birthday than having had it occur at any point while I was in Mexico.

It’s seemed, on the eve of my birthday, that I had gotten my wish.

And now, am I upset that I have a sore throat and other symptoms ongoing on my birthday, with a lively family triple celebration still to come tomorrow? It’s not so nice, but my week in Mexico was all pretty nearly perfect, so I am okay with it really.

I took a break all day, making it a point not to read Facebook and my newsfeed for my birthday, if it meant I could avoid all stories about the U.S. so-called president and whatever nonsense he was up to on the day of my birth. I did use Facebook to feel the birthday love from friends and family though. One makes me upset when I read and the other makes me smile.

When I’m upset, I think of all the things I have to be thankful for. When I feel upset because I am back from such a week of writing in Mexico and I worry I will never figure out my future, I remember the generous compliments about my talents as a writer that I received from my writing mentor and from the other writers in the group. I may have felt a fair bit of fear and uncertainty since I arrived home, but I can’t put so much pressure on myself, on my own birthday no less, to figure it out right away.

When I am upset about so many things I can’t control, things the world feels like it’s getting all wrong, I think of so much that has gone right for me lately and I listen to the things being said to me by people I love and trust and who know me and who think I’m special in some way.

I don’t let those who don’t know I exist speak nasty things to me inside my own head. I can’t control all those awful things that cause me upset and I can often do very little about seeing those I love or admire become upset either. I can offer a kind word or a compliment or a joke to break the tension. I can write, no matter how pointless it might seem in the moment of despair or cheerlessness.

Another birthday has come and gone. I can’t say where I’ll be, what I’ll have just experienced or accomplished by my next birthday. I can fight feeling upset. I can acknowledge it and then I can move forward.

Finish The Sentence Friday

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! Happy thirty-three! Happy Birthday to me!

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The Good Old Days: “We’re Drowning In It!” #SoCS

I have a headache. I don’t know where to start.

It hurts, threatening to burst under the weight of it all.

It’s just another speech on the US 2016 election campaign. Still, underneath that, there were parts that were all, essentially about human decency.

Michelle Obama spoke and I listened and I felt the familiar stinging of tears starting to form in my eyes.

I put off listening, as Facebook’s newsfeed blew up with people sharing the speech and lamenting its sincerity and harsh reality. Finally, after a bad day of becoming choked up on New York Times Modern Love essays about children and adoption, I thought, “why not?”

Every day I can’t believe it. The days are constant: International Day of the Girl (which Michelle mentions), World Sight Day, Blindness Awareness, White Cane Awareness and people can never seem to settle on the correct word order for some of these. But I guess it doesn’t matter what you call it. We’re all just trying to get by and to be heard and valued.

I see less and less and yet it’s what I hear that I can’t believe.

I hear things on my television
screen
that I can’t believe I’m hearing.

I doubt my own hearing, one of my strongest remaining senses.

I feel vulnerable every time I walk out there, a visually impaired woman with her white cane. Am I standing out? Or am I invisible?

Michelle Obama Speaks Out

The line she spoke that most caught my attention and left a lump in my throat, my eyes burning, and a ringing in my ears was: “We’re drowning in it.” I believe she was referring specifically to sexism and misogyny. It’s no big deal to most people, most times, but it’s always there, somewhere. How much does it matter?

Women should feel it. Men should feel it. Over and over again, people talk of daughters, sisters, wives, mothers. What are women, even myself, what are we supposed to think? What lessons have young men learned? What do those calling themselves politicians think they’re doing anyway?

I even doubt my ears here in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been in charge for one whole year now, since the last time Canada’s baseball team made it to the play off’s. I had hope then, as someone finally starting to feel somewhat better about the state of my own country, hope for a future where women’s rights, all rights of people might continue to improve, that we here could be a living embodiment of what is possible. Nothing but a naive girl’s silly hope?

His reputation as a feminist has only grown here and around the world. But then I think about possible leaked tapes, recordings, information in the future.

We believe forward-thinking men in politics like Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama are decent, would never treat women so disrespectfully. Then I imagine a time in the future where I will hear, with my own ears, something that could shake my confidence in these two men as concerned fathers and sons and husbands. Maybe they aren’t who they claim to be either. Power. Is it all one giant power trip?

A black man ran the country that supported slavery, segregation, and the targeting of black men as criminals. A woman may soon run a country where women who were black couldn’t even vote fifty years ago. This must represent change and growth, but not all want it, require it, hope and pray for it. Some attack and demonize it.

As for progress and decency, men in positions of power and capable of making sweeping and lasting change, I don’t want to be let down in that way, not ever.

But how sure can I be? When may the other shoe drop, the floor drop out on me?

I appreciate varied viewpoints and healthy discussions, but I too shy away from disrespect, inhumanity, bickering, anger, discrimination, the refusal to see beyond the nose on one’s own face.

I don’t call myself a believer in feminism lightly.

I try to find a balance. This isn’t easy.

I have not suffered at the hands of abuse by men in my own life, but I feel a wider societal pressure. I know only the most decent men in my own life. My father. My brothers. Those I have learned from about love. Those I have loved. We all make mistakes, say foolish things in a moment of weakness or ignorance, both male and female. Goodness can still thrive.

I’m just afraid to believe what I hear. Perceptions are realities.

13TH

I wasn’t around during slavery, but what slavery still occurs, and what can I do about it, if I happen to see it or if I hide from that which still exists?

How free am I personally? What am I a slave to in my own life? How dare I even ask, even think?

The 13Th Amendment. The 19Th Amendment. What can 100 years, 150, what can that passing time do? How slow is change really? How far have we really come with rights for all? What is truly being amended? What am I seeing, hearing, witnessing, neglecting to admit about this time I’m living in?

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-13th-doc-trump-20161014-snap-htmlstory.html

I recommend 13TH. It covers a long timeline of events and not just the small snapshot of time we’re currently living through. It’s not easy to see back into all the preceding time, into anything other than noticing the glasses on our own faces, even mine where no more literal glasses sit.

Trump. Hillary. Bill.

Reagan, like Trump, an actor/performer. Nixon, known, as Hilary Clinton, to be a liar. What really changes? What can we count on as the years pass us by?

I hear suffering. I feel it more and more as I age. the echoes of ghosts long gone. I recognized all their voices at different times.

I hear what I hear. I doubt what I hear. I know what I hear and wonder who may have isolated each clip, what it meant, as an overall statement of any intention. I believe it has all contributed and brought us all to where we currently are.

I did not need anyone to Tweet those selected Trump clips, used to illustrate a wider point, to know how awful I’ve felt at having heard them myself over the last months. I already felt ill upon hearing them.

I know much of the history. I know how humans have treated other humans. I felt my headache worsen as 13TH went on, but I watched the documentary all the way through.

So then why exactly did I put myself through that pain?

What else should I do? How else should I handle what I can’t un-know?

Politics. Pride in one’s home. Culture. Religion. Propaganda, all of it?

It is more than six months since I really last wrote about these things here.

In The News and On My Mind: Supermegafragilisticexpialidocious

I thought that the 2016 summer with unending stories in the news about the US election would never ever end. But it did and here we are. Less than a month to go, thank God! But I am so tired and I know I’m not alone. Speaking up is seen as “incendiary” and immediately turned into a political opinion, when really, all I’d like to make is a human one. I don’t write about it on Facebook, trying to be sensitive to my American friends. Here on my blog I feel somewhat safer, but I can’t agree with the sort of patriotism Americans often speak of, like Michelle in her speech most recently: that the US is the greatest country in the world.

I regret to say this Mrs. Obama, but go ahead and say whatever you need to say, to feel better about things.

I shake my head at such love of one place, run by capitalism, socialism, whatever you want to call it, from whichever country you reside in. Globalization. I am not a politician and never will be, but I care about not only myself and my family, but my country, and all others. I care about people, no matter where they live.

I love Canada fiercely, but I can’t just keep hearing people speak of their own country being the best, as pride gets us nowhere. I am lucky to live here and yet I fight to find my way. Canada has treated people just as poorly as any other country.

I stand on the border of my Canadian, English-speaking province and into the French-speaking province next door and I feel the wind on my face and in my hair. I smell the river. I hear the cars. I trust my senses in that moment, but rarely do I trust all else I’ve seen.

All politicians are caught saying things, things that have furthered their political purposes at one time or another, eventually revealing true intentions or previously held beliefs, hopefully altered. I don’t know how they really feel. Suddenly, thanks to an actual reality TV star coming this close to winning, it all feels like a huge reality show, like more and more politics and entertainment are melding, like we can’t tell them apart and there is no going back from that.

Human lives are at stake and 13TH makes that point extremely well. This isn’t a game. Or shouldn’t be anyway.

I can hardly believe what I’m seeing/hearing, but I suppose sensible people have always thought that way, and yet what was really done about it? What will the answer be now?

The thought that any one country is “the best country in the world” or that there ever existed “the good old days” is false to me, no matter the intended meaning behind either stated belief.

The “good old days” spoken of weren’t quite so good for us all. I just hope we can stay afloat going forward.

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Good Times Had By All, #SoCS

Have a headache today, so not having much fun on this one:

#SoCS

but guess who had some fun this week?

A Friend To Count On

Barack Obama and the US hosted a state dinner for my country, Canada, and Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie and their children who were also in attendance in Washington, D.C. this week.

It was the first one in over twenty years. Our last prime minister wasn’t, in my opinion, anywhere as interesting, warm, or willing to have an open dialogue with our neighbours to the south. Not sure why, what the reason, if that, for why it didn’t happen between Harper and Bush, but the last one was between Bill Clinton and Jean Chretien in the mid 90s.

There are articles talking about Obama and Trudeau developing a “bromance”, which I think is a little silly, but I am pleased to hear the way they spoke to one another, were light and making jokes back and forth about our two countries and their battle over hockey.

The two leaders appeared to have a ball together, as did their wives. The two families seem to get along well, the two men seeing the world in the same way, in many many areas of life.

Often Canada seems like it goes unnoticed by the US and we are known as the United State’s well behaved younger sibling. Nothing exciting happens here in Canada, compared to the US, but I like it that way frankly.

For example, I am glad Canada’s elections last year were a fraction of the length and circus that appears to be the case for the US for the 2016 election cycle. We aren’t taken as seriously, but I am proud of the friendship that was visible in all the newspapers and on the news this week.

Who knows what will be going on in the US a year from now. My prime minister was asked about a possible Trump presidency and he was very tactful about it, refusing to say much, choosing his words very carefully.

The dinner was like some fancy dream ball. I don’t know why Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively were chosen to represent Canada, when I think I would have been a much better choice, but I wasn’t even considered for a possible invitation.

Hmm. What’s that all about anyway?

What will this do for Canada/US relations? Will anything of substance between the two countries get done, as Obama is nearly finished in the White House?

I could say a lot, using the word “ball” or variations on the word, when talking about my feelings about all that’s going on with the US, in the news lately, but I chose to focus on the ball that was had, the good times had by all this week, instead of the uncertainty that looms.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

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TToT: Hearts and Sunshine – Music To My Ears, #10Thankful

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

–From “Little Gidding” by T. S. Eliot

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Last week I wrote my TToT list, like I’ve done for nearly every week, for months now. I found ten things to be thankful for, as always, but I did preface my list with a list of three things I had to complain about. Christmas wasn’t all merriment and joy for me.

Christmas Through Your Eyes

But then there’s this, there’s them. This song I include because I know how much I still have to be thankful for, not least the way the children in my life help me see certain things in a new light.

If I can’t see Christmas lights like I used to, or colours so bright, I am grateful for the little children who teach me to appreciate the beauty of the world.

My niece’s birthday cupcakes had designs of rainbows, hearts, and sunshines on them. These are the things she loves to draw lately. They are what make me feel like there is just a tiny bit of me inside of her, as those are the things I loved to draw when I was her age, back when I could see enough and loved colouring and bright colours.

I see myself in her sometimes, the little girl I once was, and I feel a little less afraid. Thanks goes to my cousin for the amazing cupcakes, as always.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For a second Christmas. A do-over if you will, with three amazing little people and the best family a girl could ask for.

Of course, there was nothing really wrong with the first one. I finally got to give my nephew the talking oven I’d been dying to give him and he loved it. Best part of Christmas Eve.

🙂

However, then I fell asleep with a headache, missing out on watching A Christmas Carol with my father, our little December 25th tradition.

Christmas number two was three days, after Boxing Day, with my brother and his wife and their two children. We all get together, at my parent’s house, and do Christmas on our own time.

For a spur-of-the-moment Sunday night trip to the movies, (to see the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens), with my two brothers.

I loved it. It was an awesome escape from reality for a couple hours.

I was not born yet, to witness the craze of the first Star Wars, back in 1977, so I probably don’t have the same attachment to what it was like when it first came out in theatres.

All I know is I liked the characters, the action, and the fact that I saw it all unfolding with my brothers. A few weeks ago now I wasn’t seeing any movie with Brian. Now here we all were.

For another excellent movie narration, by an expert in the art of movie describing.

🙂

I really need to write a letter. I really see no reason, in 2015/16, that all movie theatres don’t have audio descriptive track for the visually impaired.

I know it’s a small town movie theatre, with few people in need, but there are still some, me included. With all the technology we have, it’s possible, and I shouldn’t have to worry about what movie to go to, not feeling I can’t see a specific film, say if I were on a date.

My older brother is well practiced, after being the one to do it for my younger brother and me since we were little, but most people don’t know how to describe a movie. It isn’t something to come naturally to most people.

For my brother’s home electronics knowledge.

I haven’t had much in home audio for a while now. When my ex left, I told him I didn’t need the flat screen television, and that he should take it, that I could get by with an old television for the time.

This meant that the surround sound system I’d purchased, when we started dating, was sitting unused, but since I was the one who bought it, I kept it. I assumed I would use it again, at some juncture.

Well, I finally have the chance. I required help to set it up again. My brother came over and got it working for me.

For Canadian healthcare and a card to access it.

I resisted having to get the new, updated card, for as long as I possibly could. Finally, I couldn’t resist any longer and got my photo taken, waiting for the card to arrive in the mail.

Well, it came the other day and I know I am lucky to live in Canada, to have the access to all the medical attention I might ever need, of which I very likely will at some point. That little card is my ticket.

For my brother, who continues to become his old self, a little more everyday and for the beautiful music he still makes.

brianchristmas-2016-01-3-00-59.jpg

His language and memory are growing stronger all the time and I have him back. I’d feared that I’d lost him forever, in the way that he might never again be who he was. I was afraid we wouldn’t continue to have the connection we’ve always shared, that we could no longer have the talks we used to have. It’s a Christmas miracle. I don’t care what anyone else says.

At one point, during Christmas Part Two, my uncle came over with a guitar and his recorder. The two of them started to play and we all started to cry.

It was the best sound in the world, hearing my brother play the guitar, when we weren’t sure he ever would again.

Grenade

The above song doesn’t fit the scene, but I will forever think of it when I remember this next thankful on my list.

For the birth of a beautiful little girl, her existence, and the sunshine she’s brought to my family’s lives for these last five years.

I will never forget the night of New Year’s Eve, 2010 and celebrating, alone, in the kitchen of the house I was living in at the time.

It was just me, pizza, and wine, toasting the birth of my brother’s first child, my parent’s first grandchild, and my introduction into the best title ever: of Auntie Kerry. I couldn’t wait to get back to my family, to meet my niece for the very first time.

She has made the world a much brighter place, these last five years. She is smart and funny. She is so sharp. She keeps us all on our toes. We are constantly surprised by what she knows and what she thinks and what she says.

For one more perfect visit with my friend and her baby girl.

It was a chance to ring in 2016 with Chinese food, chocolate cake, and The Unauthorized Beverly Hills 90210 Story.

🙂

For the fun of watching said unauthorized story with my old friend. She explained the wild outfits of the early 90s and the ways the actors playing the 90210 characters did or did not look like the real people they were said to be portraying.

It was highly amusing and entertaining. It was a surprise discovery, as we were looking around the television for something else to watch, other than all the to-be-expected New Year’s Eve countdown specials. We had fun, while my friend’s baby girl slept nearby. She wasn’t really old enough to watch, but my friend and I had fun discussing our memories of those days of 90210. It was my favourite show and this unauthorized movie was a fun way to spend the last few hours of one of the best years in recent memory.

Plus, in the morning I got to keep a sweet little girl company, while her mother got dressed, had something to eat, and packed up to leave.

They are gone now, back to Ireland, and I will miss them very much, but I got to have one last visit with them both. I will never forget that.

Unforgettable

RIP Natalie Cole

“I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind, that I put down in words – how wonderful life is, now you’re in the world.”

–Elton John

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TToT: Shortest Day, What A Life – One Crazy Thing, #10Thankful

“I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.”

–Maya Angelou

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Okay, so there was good news this week and a lot of cheer, with Christmas and all, but I still can’t say everything was perfect.

I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas

It’s Christmas and that means we’re all supposed to be feeling great, but how many of us is that actually not the case for, really?

Rain instead of snow. Fog instead of flurries. I don’t like being frozen either, but the way people seem to have embraced all this unseasonable warmth baffles me. To me it seems like we are living one of those world disaster films, just after the opening credits have rolled. Do we not think this could spell worse times ahead, for this planet? Do we care?

Christmas in most of Canada is supposed to mean snow. I just can’t feel thankful for the fact that we don’t need to wear coats to go out to our holiday parties this year. After all, this is Canada, not Australia.

Also, a friend is leaving and I can’t feel thankful that I won’t get to be around, over the next couple years at least, to see her little girl grow up.

Finally, in my little list of grievances before I get to my thankfuls, because I am not always as positive as I would like, as this TToT convinces me I am.

I can’t see Christmas lights on houses and many more beautiful things I miss seeing so much. I try to convince myself I am lucky I ever saw such things as the lights on houses. I always loved going out for drives, at night, to look at the lights when I was growing up.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For a homecoming we’d hoped for.

My brother was released from hospital after only one week. We had no idea, when he first got admitted, how long he’d be in there.

We didn’t dare hope, at first, that it would only be a week, which did feel a lot longer.

Christmas in Killarney

For unexpected time with a friend.

There were several surprises this year, not least the one where an old friend showed up in these parts again, after so much time away from home.

Well, I never would have wished it, considering the circumstances, but I selfishly got to have her around and in my life for several months.

For the chance to meet and watch a special little girl grow.

She is beautiful and precious, a sweetheart of epic proportions and I’m the lucky one to get to spend so much time with her in her very first year of life.

I only complained above about the weather because I want this planet to do well, even when I am old and gone and when those who are so small and sweet now have grown.

For a remote control to rival a grandpa’s.

🙂

The little girl I refer to above loved her gift from me.

Okay, well the necklace is lost on her now. She would certainly chew on it, but that’s not what it’s meant for.

It’s the toy remote control that she chewed on happily and of which I gave to her, so now she can change the channel on her grandpa.

😉

For a pair of fuzzy slippers.

I love my new slippers. They are dog slippers and they are so warm. Perfect footwear for cold winter mornings and the floors that go along with them.

For the prize for best Christmas present, given by an aunt, for 2015.

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Well, maybe that’s stretching the truth a little, but I still scored with what I got my nephew.

He loves cooking, toy kitchens, and talking about things being “too hot!”

or

“It’s ready!”

I know Christmas isn’t all about the presents, but I still hope my niece and other nephew will love their presents from their aunt just as much.

For Christmas traditions, even if I fall asleep for them.

😦

I was a little upset that I couldn’t stay awake, but a Christmas Eve headache mixed with the fact that we didn’t begin this particular tradition until after ten made it difficult.

Every year I watch A Christmas Carol with my father. Ah well. There’s always next year.

For a delicious Christmas Day dinner.

I surprised myself and a few others, with how hungry I was, but It was really tasty. Hit the spot.

For the new Christmas music my brother introduces me to every year, for the last few years.

The song below was particularly helpful when I was feeling blue last year. It really cheered me up, with its upbeat tempo and catchy lyrics.

Christmas Wrapping

Still does the trick this year.

🙂

For a

Christmas Full Moon

I can still see the moon, if the conditions are right, but I did not see this one. Doesn’t mean I am not still thankful that it happened and that someone, somewhere, got to see it.

There won’t be another for almost twenty years or so.

Here’s to all the Christmas lights, brightness of a full moon, and more beautiful things I will mention next time, here on the TToT.

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Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

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One is the Loneliest Number, #SoCS

SoCS

One

Linda is away this week, Japan I hear, but Stream of Consciousness Saturday must go on:

http://lindaghill.com/2015/11/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-2115/

Thanks to her lovely replacement,

Helen Espinosa,

I can write to the merit of how two is better than one…and I can do it, all while I have a massive headache too.

Okay, so I started to, but during a headache I do need sleep too.

🙂

Yesterday was a writing workshop during the day and the Santa Claus Parade last night, and then more sleep overwhelmed me. This means this SoCS post was started on Saturday, but is being finished up on Sunday. Not sure that counts anymore, but writing it anyway.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately on two things:

Whether the phrase “two is better than one” is really true in romantic relationships and with siblings.

Well, there’s the tough so-called feminist stance that people don’t need anyone else, that being alone is okay, that you don’t need another person to be happy.

Then there’s the continuous debates on who ends up the most well-adjusted. Is it only children or siblings?

I am not a scientist or a anthropologist or psychologist.

I don’t know what it’s like to be married, since I was just out of high school, all my life, as is becoming less and less common these days.

I don’t know what it’s like being an only child. I grew up with brothers and a sister. If two is better than one…well, we were four, but I don’t necessarily believe siblings need more than a few of each other, not that I would trade any of mine if I could.

🙂

Recently, the “one child per couple” law was lifted in China.

Catholics, historically always had eight, nine, ten or more children. If two is, indeed, better than one, then what about ten?

More isn’t always better. If you already have one amazing child…but wait, they are all amazing and it’s been just these past five years that I’ve seen just how much.

Humans aren’t good at just sticking with one of something, one cookie or one partner, as the case may be.

If one girlfriend or boyfriend, one husband or wife was good, as soon as it stops feeling so good, why not go out and look for another.

Being alone is easier for some people than it is for others, I’ve seen, but although human beings seem to find it difficult to share and live together in harmony, I believe we need each other.

I don’t like being alone. I would call myself a feminist, but I don’t like being by myself.

Does this mean I want to be with just anyone, even if it isn’t right or I end up feeling unhappy?

Of course not. Finding someone to share things with and with whom happiness is found is not easy.

One can be lonely. Hopefully, with friends and family and hobbies and things to look forward to, being one instead of two can be okay too.

It’s not easy to have the lack of control. You want to be two, as in a relationship, but that right person just can’t be found.

A couple wants more than one child, but their country or their own body just won’t allow it.

This is the sort of an out-of-control feeling that is the worst part.

Bless those who want to choose their single status or the amount of offspring they produce.

Two Is Better Than One

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Day in the Museum: Part One, Four Senses

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I spent this past Sunday afternoon surrounded by a lot of old things and one incredibly old book. This week I will break up my afternoon at the Stratford Perth Museum into three separate blog posts: today, Wednesday, and Friday.

The Stratford Perth Museum sits on seven acres, its present location, in a big old brick house. It is out of the town of Stratford a ways now, for the first time, when it moved away from the Stratford Festival and the flurry of excitement, to a more peaceful spot. In 2008 they felt they needed more space and made the move and the transition.

I had never heard of this museum, but I suppose I hadn’t really thought about it. I don’t spend as much time in museums as I wish I did. I think most people think of the town of Stratford for the Festival theatre, but there is a rich culture and history in the area. It felt like one however, on entering, but I tend to have my idiosyncrasies with these institutions.

I enter a world of previously owned or used things. I love the history and the mystery of these items I find myself surrounded by, but I am without the ability to appreciate these collections with my eyes. It is my other four senses (excluding taste because it really doesn’t apply here) that I’m left with.

Immediately I realize I probably won’t be able to touch these precious and often times delicate pieces. I assume, rightly from the start, that this Shakespeare folio will not be the exception. The woman who greets us confirms that for me, no doubt spotting the white cane in my hand.

I want to stress that I love history and to imagine where something has been and who may have owned or handled it in the past. I can’t explain my strange discomfort with old things, starting in my childhood and with my fear of pioneer villages on school trips.

I have been to Europe and I swore I wouldn’t miss out on anything truly memorable while there just because I was afraid of…I don’t know what (an experience for another day’s post.)

I do not see as I walk through the museum and these buildings are like libraries, in that there is a sense of hush on the place. That only leaves one more sense: smell.

Smell is such a strange thing to relay to others through words, but it fills me with so much sense memory.

Smell can be nostalgic and it can be distasteful. It can be a distraction for me, totally taking me out of the moment and away from what history and treasures I find myself surrounded by.

Our special exhibit priced tickets give us access to the entire museum and my sister locates things I could actually get a feel for by touching. I spent my time in the Shakespeare exhibit and, unable to feel anything, (I was left with a museum headache) trying to grasp in my mind and imagination, what others were seeing with their eyes.

Festival Treasures: Creating the Wild Kingdom

“The Stratford Perth Museum, in conjunction with the Stratford Festival, presents a special exhibition called Festival Treasures: Creating the Wild Kingdom, showcasing unique pieces from the festival archives.”

It’s here my sister tries to show me the props and masks for view. I feel the strange materials and plastics and she knows not to place my hand on anything made of fur. I have a reactionary reflex alive and well that takes control of my hand, but I tell myself silently to take it easy and not pull away so fast. I’m sure it still shows in my behaviour.

“This fun-filled safari explores inventive ways of bringing birds and beasts to the stage. It will feature costumes, props, design sketches, audiovisual material, documents and photographs to illustrate the process of creating pieces for festival productions of The Birds, Peter Pan, Alice Through the Looking Glass, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and many others.”

I am curious about how these items have all remained in such good conditions for so many decades, through countless performances and I speak to an Archiveist Assistant:

I work in the festival archives. I’ve worked for a long time in the festival but I only recently went to the archives, I was a stage manager before that. Stratford Festival has the largest theatrical archive in the world, devoted to one theatre.

I ask her about how these things have managed to survive for fifty or so years:

Purpose-built facility…climate-controlled atmosphere. Archival friendly tissue paper and acid-free boxes. It’s kept at the right humidity, that’s why it’s so cold in here.

How does this work with keeping all these items from past performances?

We have the advantage of having props and costumes. Most theatrical archives don’t have the room or the money.

We have all the asses heads from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the strawberry handkerchief from Othello, the casket from Merchant of Venice

We recently celebrated the sixty-second anniversary. Back in fifty-three we’re lucky there were people that were far-sighted enough to keep things, especially because they weren’t sure there was going to be a fifty-four season or a fifty-five season, let alone two-thousand-fourteen.
We started in a tent.

How much is kept?

We take two costumes and the main props from all the productions each year.

I ask her specifically about something from Shakespeare’s time period and how that survives:

Bugs, moisture, heat…those are your biggest problems.

For four hundred years it was okay in somebody’s house. In order for it to last that long…biggest thing is moisture and sunlight…just to keep things from fading. That’s why you keep the lights down. It’s quite extraordinary.

So what is one way costumes and props are preserved over the years, in the festival?

For things like sweat and body odour…the best thing is vodka. You spray the costumes with it.

All the blood, sweat, and tears that go into that…all those performances.

This museum was once someone’s home and is now an old house, storing old things. It now houses so much from a past long gone. In Shakespeare’s case, long long gone.

Next time I will write about the reason I went to the museum in the first place: Shakespeare’s First Folio.

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