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TToT: Run Time and Take Five – State Smash! #ShePersisted #10Thankful

Another birthday has come and gone and I’m fired up, in a lot of ways and by the positive signs of women persisting, remaining cautiously but still incredibly thankful.

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I know, I see, I’m not the only one.

Ten Things of Thankful, #10Thankful

So, to keep things in the proper perspective, I’ll just launch right into what makes me so grateful.

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(Makers, all, with Anado McLauchlin.)

I’m thankful for this group.

And for these girls.

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I’m thankful for friends, together, in one special spot.

I missed out on seeing for myself just how colourful this place was, but at least I got to take a break, for a minute or two, to sit on the couch with friends.

Thanks, Anado, for letting us into your home.

I’m thankful for newly introduced music, better late than not at all.

RIP Mr. Jarreau.

The guy sure could scat!

Speaking of music and birthdays, I’m thankful to have made it to a year with my decision to learn how to play the violin.

It was on my last birthday that I walked into a music store and rented a violin. I had no idea what I was getting into then. Well, okay, I kind of knew. I knew, but I didn’t really know. Know what I mean?

No?

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I’m thankful for a teacher, to take this photo of my re-commitment, one who hasn’t given up on me, even in those moments when I’ve wanted to give up on ever learning a difficult instrument like the violin in my thirties.

She taught me new finger exercises, ways to strengthen my left hand and the fingers on it. I spent most of my anniversary/birthday lesson wishing for new fingers, longer fingers, but I will get there, one day.

I’m thankful for another birthday.

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I’m still mulling over what that means, on a practical level of course. I had a rather subdued birthday, after spending a week in Mexico, but it did have its high points.

I had blood taken and both arms needed to be poked. I made a dentist appointment. I drank a lot of tea to fight off the beginnings of a sore throat. I had another bad eye day, noticing how blurry everything looked as I ate lunch out with my father.

I did wonder if I will still see anything by my next birthday. I am not freaked by being one age one day and another the next. I do realize, however, that I am getting older. A lot of things bring this fact home to me. I am trying to still live in the moment and enjoy all that life has to offer, but at a certain point I have to think about the future and what I want, really want and what is good for me.

Everything in life has its Run-Time.

I’m thankful for another successful, triple family birthday celebration.

It got off to a slow start, but really kicked into high gear there.

The lasagna was delicious. The kids were smarter than when we last saw them, all the way back at Christmas, if that is possible.

The best thing about each year I gain since they were all born is getting to see how they grow with every passing year, whomever happens to be the one celebrating the actual birthday.

They are all so creative and full of imagination. We adults have a ball watching them interact with each other and with all of us.

My family and I don’t likely agree on every single thing in life, but we are all pretty in sync on most things that really matter. It makes for a lovely coming together of the minds, not to mention senses of humour and attitudes on life.

There is always just the right amount of nostalgia and, this year, there are plans in the works for zip lining in Niagara Falls this spring.

Who else can you count on to try something as thrilling as zip lining with you, on a day that matters greatly to you, but your family? Mine are the best for those sorts of things.

It’s fun to sing Happy Birthday to three people at once. I only sing for two.

Happy Birthday Paul/Steve. You both crack me up and are the two best big brothers any thirty-three-year-old could ask for.

I’m thankful for my sister’s help in figuring out what I need to do, as part of taking some of my next, newest steps in my writing.

The writing is one thing. The business side is quite another. It’s all somewhat scary in its own way.

Filling out forms and paperwork is not my thing. Necessary, I realize. I truly appreciate any help I can get.

I am thankful my bracelet was found after I set it down, in my own house, and couldn’t, for the life of me, remember where I’d stashed it.

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A few of us got jewelry when we visited Anado’s home. We share this in common now and wanted to commemorate the fact.

I knew I would get home and set mine down somewhere, forgetting where that somewhere was. It scratches against the metal of my laptop when I’m writing, so I take it off, but I don’t like to.

Brian said it sounded like I was Gollum from Lord of the Rings when I couldn’t find it, the bracelet reminding him of “My Precious!” and he had a point.

Thanks to my brother-in-law for spotting where I’d left it. I hope I would have remembered, sooner or later.

Made By Anado

This is my reminder of my time in Mexico. It is more than just any old bracelet. It was made by Anado McLauchlin and it reminds me of the makers of this world. It reminds me, when I hold it, of my purpose. It brings me peace to feel all the different bits of it under my fingertips.

And, finally, I’m thankful that this hasn’t ended.

Very grateful that someone has decided to take over the weekly running of the thankful blog hop, to give its originator a well deserved break.

I would have went ahead with these gratitude posts, one way or another, but it’s nice that it will continue on with more than just this blog.

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TToT: Special Snowflakes and Safe Places – Wham! Bah HumBug! Whoosh! #SnowInTheSahara #10Thankful

: You’re a foul one, Mr. Grinch / You’re a nasty, wasty skunk / Your heart is full of unwashed socks, your soul is full of gunk / Mr. Gri-inch / The three words that best describe you are as follows, and I quote: Stink, stank, stunk!

—Dr. Seuss

Two holiday favourites I like to watch this time of year are The Grinch and A Christmas Carol. I wonder at if the real life Grinches and Scrooge’s of this world could grow a heart and see the error of their ways, but sadly, I doubt it by this point.

Neil Gaiman Reads “A Christmas Carol” – NYPL Podcast

Also, as I was sitting in the gymnasium from my youth, watching a new generation of children singing about Santa and snowflakes and all the other traditions of this time of year, I felt the ghosts of my own childhood, all the years I spent in elementary school. I also listened to songs about snowflakes and I thought about that.

I get on my own case for letting it bother me at all that the idea of a snowflake has been hijacked by those who have started referring to “liberals” as “special snowflakes” and saying all the “special snowflakes” need to go and hide out in their “safe places”.

So just what exactly is so wrong with that, anyway? Huh? Hmm?

I want a break from worries. As much as I love the advice I’m often given, to try not to focus on those things that upset me, I refuse to let something as beautiful as a snowflake be a negative thing. Or, as if a safe place is somehow a bad place to be.

Oh, no no no. I…Don’t…Think…SO!

So, here I am, starting this pre-Christmas TToT with a rant or two, but I wish I didn’t have it on my mind to rant about anything at all. I do plan to give myself the gift of a break from all that once Christmas does come.

(this is a real single snowflake showing all of the tiny details)

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I’m thankful for snowflakes.

Snowflakes are special, this is true. They are nature at its finest. They are the most delicate things and I am lucky to have grown up with them, here in Canada. I recently had a fascinating conversation with someone who didn’t grow up with the kind of snow we have here. He spoke of his thoughts about it now. I enjoyed hearing his perspective, so different from mine.

They are all different, snowflakes, and that makes them special, not one being the same as another. They may be delicate on their own, but as more and more of them fall, eventually they become a collection of flakes, which makes snow and the results of enough snowflakes, all packed together, this can become the most unstoppable of forces: an avalanche.

I’m thankful for safe places.

Wait until war ravages where you call home and then see if you look for a safe place to run to.

In a world so full of harsh weather and cruel human behaviours, and a safe place is something we all would cling desperately to.

I thank everything I have for home, which is my safe place/space, where family are and where I know I am loved by someone. I desire greatly to explore the world, but I’m sure thankful I have the safe place right here to return to. If that makes me winy or pathetic to some, so be it.

I’m thankful for solstice. Man, do I love that word.

🙂

December 21st is the first day of winter. I am ready for it.

Snow Falls In The Sahara For First Time In Over 37 Years – Bored Panda

I think there is something beautiful about winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. People are thrilled this means the days, from here on out, begin to lengthen and commence in June. That will be another big month in my life, but for now, I enjoy what transpires in this part of the world and astronauts have seen it and word it best:

***

Generations of astronauts, after looking at Earth from space, have professed a profound new understanding of it. Edgar Mitchell, who, in 1971, became the sixth man to walk on the moon, said, “From out there . . . international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a bitch.’ ” Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong’s crewmate on Apollo 11, expressed similar sentiments in his memoir, “Carrying the Fire,” which was published in the midst of the Cold War. Seeing our home planet from afar, he wrote, prompted an epiphany: “The earth
Must become as it appears: blue and white, not capitalist or Communist; blue and white, not rich or poor; blue and white, not envious or envied.”
Mike Massimino, in his memoir, “Spaceman,” reports having spent almost a full day staring out a window of the Space Shuttle Columbia, watching sunrises and lightning storms (“like a form of communication, like a sequence, like the clouds are alien creatures speaking to each other in code”). On his second spacewalk, Massimino told me recently, he had a spare moment to “take in the view.” He recalls being struck not only by Earth’s incredible beauty—“We are living in a paradise”—but also by its fragility. From out there, he said, especially during night passes, “you can see the thinness of the atmosphere,” a bluish-green line. This sudden perception of Earth as a delicate, intricate system is so common among astronauts that the writer Frank White coined a term for it: the overview effect.
Astronauts are endlessly fascinating to me, in part because they have a knack for poignant quotations. Buzz Aldrin, for instance, described the lunar landscape as a vision of “magnificent desolation,” a grand phrase for a bleak truth. Unlike our paradisiacal, blue-and-white Earth, the moon has no atmosphere and no real sky—just gray dust and black space, such that color photographs from moonwalks appear mostly black and white, as though someone colorized the American flags after the fact.
NASA brought six flags to the moon, on poles outfitted with horizontal crossbars so that the stars and stripes would show, as though caught in a nonexistent breeze. The flags are still there, but radiation is presumed to have left them in tatters—monuments to our love of Earth, or maybe just litter.

***

I’m thankful for the chance to return to my childhood for an afternoon.

It was a tad emotional, I admit, but it brought back a lot of worthwhile memories that had me thinking.

I have so much wrapped up in that building, both good and bad. I found it highly moving to return there. It gave me a lot to think about.

Why Do People Tell Ghost Stories on Christmas? – The Smithsonian

Speaking of ghosts at Christmas time, they were everywhere there.

I’m thankful I got to see my nephew’s Christmas concert.

Oh, aw, ah all those little boys and girls, trying so hard and singing their hearts out. They tried their best, especially the youngest ones like my nephew, to remember the words they practiced and my nephew, for one, was nervous when he walked on stage and saw how many of us there were in the audience.

I couldn’t pick out my nephew up there, as I am unable to see anywhere that clearly upon returning to that school as an adult with considerably less sight, but I am still glad I went, even if he couldn’t see me either.

I’m thankful for safeguards and protection for natural places.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/obama-ban-offshore-drilling-arctic-atlantic-1.3905384

President Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau working together once more, for one of the final acts together, to preserve parts of the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.

They are protected against off shore oil drilling in those places. I don’t know how foolproof it will be, if what they’ve done will stand the test of time and Trump, but we shall see.

I am glad the two men are working together, once more, at something worthwhile. Sure, it may not be protecting everything that needs protecting, but it is something.

I’m thankful for a return to my library writing group.

I had missed a few, but I am glad I returned for this final meeting of “The Elsewhere Region” of 2016.

There were cookies and chocolate with mint and chocolate and raspberry tea. I don’t normally drink tea like the rest of them like to do, always afraid I might spill mine all over my electronics, but this time the tea sounded just too good to pass up. I took precautions, but the tea was delicious. Just the perfect thing for the occasion.

I wrote a story, dialogue and a conversation between two young women. The mystery object one member brought in was a strange family Christmas decoration. It was a frog wearing a fancy outfit and hat and his tag said something about him being named Mistle Toad.

Okay, so I guess he was a toad, not a frog, but it made for some interesting ideas for a writing prompt. We discussed and most wrote about the popular idea of kissing a frog and making it turn into a handsome prince.

My story confused some, but it really illustrates how, like snowflakes, all our writing styles are so diverse and so very much our own.

My imagination is a lot different from many of the other writers in the group. This always makes for a fun time.

I’m thankful for understanding doctors and nurses.

I have a doctor who hasn’t given up on me, even though I am a bit of a difficult case, and who promises I can call and come see her if anything comes up, even if it’s before our next scheduled appointment. That’s the sort of empathy and understanding I have always hoped for.

Also, I have a nurse offering to give me an iPhone case she no longer needs.

I’m thankful for my flu shot.

I know many people think it totally unnecessary. Some have gotten sick soon after getting one in the past and feel it can cause more problems than it helps prevent. I must say that I do take my low immune system seriously enough. If I can ever prevent getting a bad flu one of these times, I will get the shot.

My arm hasn’t even really bothered me this year, since getting it, and after the initial stinging and burning of the injection itself.

For those who are in perfect health, who are young and strong, there’s likely no huge need for it. Either way. I don’t get too worked up. It’s easy enough to get and so I do.

I’m thankful for a surprise Christmas card.

Thank you
Lizzi
for the surprise. I also enjoyed the tactile parts on the front of the card and the surprises to be found inside.

I admit I don’t do up Christmas cards myself. I find it hard, all so visual and I guess I’ve lost a little of my artistic streak, which I could draw on to make cards still for people.

As for Christmas cards, having them sent to me, not many are. I suppose many people think I won’t be able to see them anyway, so what’s the point? I don’t know. I may feel somewhat left out, but there are other ways of expressing holiday cheer. It’s just nice, once and a while.

: He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

Is Montreal’s Christmas tree ugly, or are we just looking at it wrong?

: Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand.

—Dr. Seuss, 1956

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The Elsewhere Region, #SoCS

The group ranged from ages twenty to seventy years. Mention of a CBC radio program about a battle of the generations, baby boomers vs the millennials. This is a place to feel safe, a non-judgment zone, but one

view

won’t necessarily be the same as any other in this room. Age and generation gap, these are just two reasons why.

As with life, in all areas, no matter which generation we’re in, out in the wider world there is plenty of judgment. This world is full of it, which is why this room serves such a useful purpose. It’s not easy putting oneself out there. Reading back to the group helps immeasurably.

Social awkwardness threatens to pull down into the depths of an abyss of social anxiety. It taunts and teases, trying to usher its person away and keep up streams of negative talk. You may have guessed it’s me, that person.

These views and voices echo around inside an otherwise sensible brain.

One viewpoint, in this room, is just as valid as any other. The people gathered around this conference table, in a library, in a town many have heard of, only by its famous shared name, one which any baby boomer should know well enough.

It’s important to listen to the poems of the baby boomer, as well as the somewhat hastily recited stories of the opposite generation, seated across the table. Stories are read, yes, but before, during, and after the stories, there are viewpoints to absorb. There are multiple lives lived and experiences of hardship or hard work or hardly anyone to listen at all. It all comes back to the writing here though. The listening and the writing.

Writing is where view takes shape, in this scenario, as story. It is disguised by made-up characters and varied storytelling styles, but the views are there, if you take the time to look for them. When is a story just a story anyway?

I listen to so many viewpoints in the media and I then repeat to myself how vital it has been for me to take a break this week. On the world stage, there are just too many views to ever possibly take any of them seriously, when often they feel utterly ridiculous. So hard to believe you’re hearing what your ears and your brain find they have to work with.

But then there’s that elsewhere region, where the ridiculous is encouraged, if not in made-up rhetoric than in fiction, but these days it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference either way, any way at all.

Stories need to continue to be told, in such safe places, places where I choose to return time and time again.

I can not say just how much I am learning about the actual act of writing, though each time I receive a comment from one of them I learn to look at a situation in a different way, but I am sharing a laugh and my view with the laughter and views of the other writers/readers.

I grab hold of all that tension in the form of my own social awkwardness and I turn it into the knowledge that my views are just as valid as the next person’s. I sit back while they share something of themselves, okay with the idea that I can share something of myself too.

I’m in yet one more place where my own viewpoint is likely to be miles from that of the person sitting at the other end of the table. I listen then, to that viewpoint from opposite myself, and I let it all just sink in. What brought them to the conclusions they’ve arrived at? How can I possibly hope to understand? Are we more similar than we are different?

The night before and it’s ONLY millennials here. No baby boomers to be found.

Oh, what exactly do I know of the musician I heard perform live the night before? What’s revealed through their music? Do lyrics tell the real story of that lived experience, by any stretch of the imagination? Mine stretches to find common ground, as this night I am the oldest person here, at thirty-two, most likely.

The view from this room, from this plush chair I’ve staked out for myself, as a way to avoid the unknowns of leaving its safety, will this mean the night was a lost cause? Do secret locations, first times experiencing musical shows like this, do the many bodies moving about in this tight space of a bachelor apartment, does it all help my placement in or out of the elsewhere region?

I want to open up. I start and stop and start again. Some things aren’t to be missed and the lack of regret for missing them is enough of a victory for the night, for the week. Yet, going forward I must require even more of myself.

The view from here is one of low vision, hardly any at all, which makes that social awkwardness seem, at some moments, to be insurmountable. It’s not, and there’s a way of putting it in its proper perspective, but it makes me tired. Very tired. Oh so mentally and emotionally spent.

Sometimes it makes me want to speak my truth, in one long and meandering sentence, which becomes stream of consciousness writing gone wild, with no end in sight.

If I feel that heavy social awkwardness threatening to pull me under once more, I repeat to myself all the comforting things I can, which today I’m choosing to explain by my unique position in a place I now lovingly like to call “the elsewhere region,” and I tell myself I can come back from that place or I can find peace in it, if need be.

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

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

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

🙂

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

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

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

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

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For their affect on my life.

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

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

🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TORNADO: Part One, Whirlwind

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

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

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

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

For a nephew who just turned four.

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

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

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

Read here to find out why.

Memorable. Unforgettable. Incredible.

For a fierce game of dinosaurs.

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Sketch

Well, thanks to

Lizzi

and

Ivy,

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

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

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

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

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

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

For this old favourite of mine from fifteen years ago.

Perfect Day – The Cranberries

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

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

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

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TToT: Shake, Rattle, and Roll – Roadblocks and Shake Ups, #10Thankful

link And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world it is best to hold hands and stick together.

I was reminded of this, by way of my initial TToT quote from last week.

link It will be a great day when our schools have all the money they need, and our air force has to have a bake-sale to buy a bomber.

So, yeah Robert Fulghum has all these great quotes, which apply to education and children, youth and imagination, with all the political rhetoric and campaign promises, all the talk of peace vs war and strength vs weakness.

Sound of Silence (Live on Conan)

Lots of shake ups happening here this week. Bad joke. Read on.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For “UNIVERSAL” healthcare here in Canada.

I do get irritated with the mis-information spread, that Canada is the BIG BAD “SOCIALIZED” healthcare, that it’s free. But nothing’s free, right?

So, someone in my family needed it, unexpectedly, at the beginning of the week. I am glad we have access to it here in Canada. When you are dealing with stress and fear and panic, you shouldn’t have to fear a giant bill in the mail on top of the close call of a family member’s health being risked.

It’s not free. It is there when we need it and I am thankful for that.

That my brother had excellent care and that someone found him so soon after he’d had a seizure.

He could have been alone for longer before anyone found him and who knows when he would have received medical attention.

How the brain can bounce back, like nothing happened, though not all residual signs were so soon forgotten.

Of course, those two nights in hospital through off his entire week.

🙂

Understandable.

But there he was today, helping or trying to do what he could to help me with yet another computer/technology issue I have.

As the days go on, you start to forget the feelings of terror that we felt when I got the call this past Monday, an immediate flashback feeling of dread, back to seven months ago when he fell and a head injury stopped him and those who love him in our tracks.

That nothing worse was revealed by the tests they did.

CT scan…EEG…MRI…and there is nothing new to see. Any of our worst fears of tumours or the need for brain surgery are put to rest.

So, I use the shake/rattle/roll image to deal with my remaining feelings (close call) and we keep moving forward.

For another lesson full of concepts conveyed and hope for the unblocking of any current roadblocks.

I have my own issues with learning to play the hardest of all musical instruments, the violin, but I am making gradual progress as the months go by.

Somehow, as slow as that progress often feels, my lessons are full of hope that I can, one day, arrive at the breakthrough.

My teacher and I discuss that feeling of being one with the violin. She comments on how it may sound cheesy, but I reassure her that it doesn’t, not at all. Beautiful is more like it to me.

I manage to feel uplifted and I leave my lesson, for yet another week, feeling like I picked the right instrument for me.

For a release date and clues of what’s to come with the new Gilmore Girls.

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (First official NetFlix trailer)

My violin teacher, myself, and friends (both near and far) on Facebook share in the news of the November premier.

For the discovery of a new podcast.

Bjork Discussing “Stonemilker” On “Song Exploder”

This one is musical and discusses song writing and lyrics.

For a much more positive week in matters of politics for my neighbours to the south.

I don’t know if I can stand three more whole months of this, but at least this second week of political conventions was more “we” and less “I” and I just wish, now that they have both chosen their nominee, they could get on with the business of voting already.

No heads in the sand of denial about what’s going on in the world, but a little optimism and hope can make all the difference.

For glass ceilings coming one step closer to being shattered even further.

Without getting all political and such, as I try to avoid, but I was glad to hear the sound of breaking glass, when it came to ceilings of gender equality. If something has to break, better that than most other things.

For a ride on the waves with the sun gleaming off the water’s surface.

I had one of those inflatable air mattresses and I found the perfect spot, directly in between two sand bars with crashing waves. In this spot, the water was going up and down, but it was a ride I could lean into and let take me where it might.

The sun was going down, as the best time to go to the lake is after four in the afternoon. Much less risk of getting a sun burn.

Fresh cut French fries and live music. It’s a long weekend here and it was Beach Fest.

BONUS: For balllooons and pufflings.

Who doesn’t love balloons, such as Bill Clinton on stage at the Democratic National Convention? And who doesn’t love puffins, especially little baby puffins?

http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/puffin-patrol

Cuteness alert with the baby birds, just as long as we, as humans, remember to keep our balloons away from wild life and nature.

I needed a story of decent people, wanting to help baby birds, to counteract all the negative we constantly hear of in the news on a daily basis.

Still not feeling my best, but I suppose I owe modern medicine a whole lot this week in particular. This week’s 10 things list may not be my best, but I am at my most thankful.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, The Blind Reviewer, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TToT

TToT: Sadness, Euphoria, Sul Ponticello – “BELIEVE ME!” #Disbelief #10Thankful

“Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. a
link hashtag happiness
weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one.

It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas.

And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest.

And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.

~ Robert Fulghum

With all the reality TV run amuck this week, disguised as politics. With an unarmed mental health worker getting shot, right in front of his autistic client. With violence in Munich and Afghanistan and Syria.

I read the above quote and the image of that made me want to spread colour and vibrance and imagination. It made me want to create.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

That I am not American in 2016.

I don’t mean that to come off sounding disrespectful to anyone I know there.

I just do not know how things have arrived at where they are. I can’t do anything about it. I feel like I am taking a front row seat to the spectacle of this election and I am afraid, so I tell myself I am thankful that I have at least some distance.

It’s not all that comforting frankly, but I’m just starting my TToT list. I’ve got nine more to go.

To be a Canadian, living here in Canada.

Honestly, as much as I do love a lot about the US and highly respect many people there, I am thankful to be living in this country.

I say it, I think it, and I feel it in my heart, any way you slice it. Luck of the draw. Again, the comfort is short lived, but it’s something. I don’t know what else to say.

I couldn’t resist the line in the title of this week’s TToT, the one the GOP nominee kept repeating: “Believe Me!” and I don’t. I just can’t believe what I’m hearing.

For a Canadian, female writer, whose blog I love to check in on.

“To be responsible is to be forced to confront vulnerability. That is my observation about growing up, generally. The older I get, the more fragile the structures around me seem. The more tenuous. The more invented , in a way. What I mean is that the security of everything I hold precious and dear, even my beliefs, is supported by a certain level of cognitive dissonance, but also by the suspension of disbelief. To dig in, to help build, to get my hands dirty, to make or unmake, is, for me, to witness the complexity and arbitrariness of experience, of life itself, against which there can be no absolute assurances of safety and security.”

Carrie Snyder – Welcome To My Office

She has taught me a lot and continues to teach me, including the fascinating resources she often shares with her readers.

In this post.

She writes about having lost her own physical voice from illness, but I believe it speaks to a bigger way in which so many people feel like they don’t have a voice to speak up for themselves.

For comedians who make me smile when the sadness threatens to overtake me.

Brexitbot 3000

Speaking of British comedy…there’s nothing better than Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver being interviewed by Jerry Seinfeld, for his show “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee”.

With Oliver’s signature British humour and Jerry’s own unique brand of comedy, which he’s perfected for these fascinating interviews he conducts, with the sound of a soft trickle of coffee being poured in between clips of their coffee shop chatter and banter.

http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/john-oliver-what-kind-of-human-animal-would-do-this

For the developing of my violin muscle memory and “sul ponticello”..

I’m loving the possibilities and more of the terms I’m learning.

Sul ponticello is a style of playing, where you move the bow up closer to the bridge of the violin. It makes a higher sound with harmonics, or so I’m told and have read.

It’s like what’s often said about writing. It’s important to know the rules so they can be broken properly. I’m getting there.

That I can apply for a passport to see the world.

Who knows what will be going on in the world at any later date.

When I do use my newly acquired passport for the first time, who knows who will be running the country I will be flying over to get to Mexico.

So many people are afraid to travel, to leave the familiar of their everyday surroundings, thanks to perpetrators of violence and intolerance and the spreading of fear. I am lucky I can apply for a little booklet which allows me to explore place away from my immediate home.

Of course, I must pay attention to the very real concerns I face as a visually impaired traveler, while at the same time not allowing so much uncontrollable nonsense stop me, getting in my way. I wish that for all of us.

That I have writing group friends who show their concern.

I wasn’t feeling up to attending my writing group this week, which I hate to have to admit. It has slowly grown to be one of my favourite things.

So, imagine my surprise when I received an email later that night from one of the members, checking up on me, making sure I was okay.

For an excellent interpretation of a classic.

Victor Frankenstein

I remember listening to my friend, who was in medical school at the time, telling me a few stories of her classes. It was often more graphic than I was looking to hear, but that’s the reality of medicine, which I have benefited greatly from.

Now, of course, any story of Frankenstein is going to an extreme, but it explores the issues of life and death, challenging mortality.

This film was brilliantly done and the actors played their [parts very convincingly. Also, the descriptive narration I found was some of the best I’ve heard.

For the heartbeat of hope.

It beats in time, with rhythmic steadiness, and I hold onto that. It translates into a very real hope for the future, for so many.

It’s how I am able to go from sadness to euphoria, all in one week.

For beautiful lyrics to explain these times we’re living in.

Timeless really.

Summer, Highland Falls (Live at Shea Stadium) – Billy Joel

They say that these are not the best of times, But they’re the only times I’ve ever known, And I believe there is a time for meditation in cathedrals of our own.

Now I have seen that sad surrender in my lover’s eyes, And I can only stand apart and sympathize.

For we are always what our situations hand us… It’s either sadness or euphoria. And so we argue and we compromise, and realize that nothing’s ever changed, For all our mutual experience, our seperate conclusions are the same.

Now we are forced to recognize our inhumanity, Our reason co-exists with our insanity. And though we choose between reality and madness… It’s either sadness or euphoria.

How thoughtlessly we dissipate our energies. Perhaps we don’t fulfill each other’s fantasies. And so we’ll stand upon the ledges of our lives, With our respective similarities…

It’s either sadness or euphoria.

(Lyrics)

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TToT: Exploding Pizzas, Table Clouds, and Irish Munks – Extended Holiday Edition, #10Thankful

Every tear you cry, every doubting eye All of these things will pass away
All of your big mistakes, your little old heart would break Wishing that I would take them back clickable

Write down the things you don’t want Burn them in a glass
Write down the things you dream of Make a paper plane that flies to heaven clickable

Waiting In Canada – Jann Arden

And buy a ticket for a plane And come and see me, baby
Or drive your car all night By just starlight to Canada
That’s where I’ll be waiting clickable

http://www.metrolyrics.com/waiting-in-canada-lyrics-jann-arden.html

It was an odd sort of grab bag kind of week, filled with emotions, both good and not so good.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

That my broken string could be replaced.

I had a little mishap with my D string. It took three employees of the music store to find one that would fit.

I had it driven home, once more, after the day I was having; I am one-of-a-kind and so I shouldn’t really be surprised that the first try of violin strings wouldn’t quite cut it.

The guy eventually, expertly fitted the correct D string to my violin and all was well again.

Back to the newbie life of a beginner.

For fresh pea season arriving once again.

It only comes once a year. I look forward to it, all the long winter months.

The pea podding is a zen activity.

Do you know those ball pits kids love to jump into.

Well, I love the sound of a bowl full of podded peas. The sound they make, rolling all around, it reminds me of just that.

That I could enjoy another spectacular Canada Day fireworks display.

The weather was cool, just how I prefer it. The company was on its way. The bbq decided to be out of propane.

Plan B: kitchen – sausages, hamburgers, and more fresh strawberries.

The night sky lit up bright and I was blessed to see a bit of the dazzling display, as who knows, by the time another year rolls around, what I may see.

My three-year-old nephew saw a pizza in the sky, circle bursting forth. I love his imagination. I saw huge bursts too. I saw something.

That my brother was given another chance to perform his music, somewhere in his city, thanks to

London Arts Council

They were buskers on the street. Driving by I could hear them out the car window.

Standing there, watching them perform, I enjoyed the shade of the tree they were set up under.

My brother performed a beautiful version of “Decade Adrift”, the song we’re currently collaborating together on.

I really don’t see how his hands can move so fast, on those guitar strings, to produce something of such power.

For an excellent dinner.

It was the discovery of a new delicious vegetable. I had never tasted water cress before. It reminded me of bean sprouts a little. It was refreshing and delicious.

My beer (Great Lakes Blonde) was the perfect choice, and at this place there were a lot to choose from.

The meal was the perfect choice, chicken florentine, along with turtle chocolate cheesecake and gelato.

The restaurant is in an old house, with creaky floors upon entering, but a roomy bench seat and cool air vent after being outside for the afternoon.

For a 100th birthday celebration.

She was the only main character in Gone with the Wind, to die in the film. So, it only makes sense that she is last to live in real life.

100 Years Of Olivia De Havilland

Still going strong and living in France.

Her part in Gone with the Wind is one of angelic purity, but if you stick it out until the end, you see that she is so much more.

Olivia, in that part, reminds me of my own grandmother, from the first time I watched and became obsessed by the film. Each time I watch her play the role of Melanie Hamilton, I think of the grandmother who always believed the best in people.

For old movies.

They are a great contrast to movies of today. They have a sound, distinct, that I love to lose myself in.

Not that they took place in a better time, but it feels like that, so I explore how people thought, acted, and spoke in those days.

For a prime minister who makes the effort.

This year was the first time a current Canadian Prime Minister walked in Pride.

The parade is celebrated, all over the world, as in people travel from all around to attend the biggest LGBTQ celebrations.

With it being Canada Day, I watched videos of recent refugees in tears, so grateful to be in Canada.

It’s a struggle, to be a minority or marginalized, but I am glad my PM is making a statement by showing up.

For the hard/valuable lessons learned from one who was there.

Elie Wiesel died this week. I read his memoir “Night” when I was about twenty.

The way he wrote, describing the sights, sounds, and smells of his horrible time in concentration camps was like nothing I’d ever read before.

For the chance to be a witness.

He said even if those who were there are now disappearing, those who listened to their message while they were here, we are witnesses, not literally, thank God.

But that we took the time to really listen and are devoted to never forgetting, to sharing, and spreading the history.

link When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity.

—Elie Wiesel (1928-2016)

And a special edition bonus thankful:

Canada, the country, to have been born here. This is the thankful that is in the background and foreground of this entire post and always, in everything I write.

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