Feminism, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, TToT

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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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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TToT: Where Everybody Knows Your Name and It’s Raining Compassion, #10Thankful #LoIsInDaBl #HisNameIsGeorge

“Nothing was done for us, but the result was that we lived in our imagination.”

–Harper Lee on childhood

I decided to combine my latest TToT with Love Is In Da Blog this week and

SONG LYRIC SUNDAY.

I was asked what my favourite song from childhood was.

Cheers Theme Song

This one came to me as I watched a tribute special to James Burrows, director of such television sitcoms of my childhood and beyond as: Cheers, Frasier, Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Mike & Molly and several others like Taxi and Will & Grace.

I thought back on all the kids songs I loved when I was one and there were many, but not one song in particular came to mind. Then, I thought about how it didn’t necessarily need to be a children’s song.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

I am thankful for my childhood. That’s a bit of a broad over generalization I realize, but listening to “Where Everybody Knows Your Name” made me miss it. I had a good one. Sure, I could very well be idealizing it now, but if it had been unsafe or unkind I wouldn’t be able to say it.

Sure, I had things that were hard, but they were not things that all the love in the world couldn’t help overcome, which is what I did have in abundance.

I hear that theme song from Cheers and I am automatically transformed back to my early childhood, as far back into it as I can recall anyway, with the way my family would all be in the basement and around the TV. That was back when a family really only had one television and we did not have cable, let alone a satellite dish, so our choices were limited and all the family would gather and watch one show, at a time, together. No electronic devices other than the television set. No cell phones or tablets to distract us from being a family. Not even a computer at that time.

I am thankful for the violin.

I may be including this one in my TToT every week from now on, as I learn and practice and, hopefully, improve.

I am thankful for my uncle’s patience and the time he’s giving to showing me the ropes.

He came over this week with “Violin For Dummies” and I was not offended.

🙂

He’s family and he’s not that far off. I’ve got a lot to learn. He’s got me working on a scale, starting with the open G string. Little bit at a time.

I am thankful for another successful Writer’s Circle this week.

The mystery object was a roll of duct tape with peace signs on it. Yeah, you heard me. I’ve heard of duct tape with bacon and with Duck Dynasty on it, but I had to struggle and I still needed the other group members to remind me what a peace sign looks like.

Since I couldn’t really picture it clearly, I decided to just write my story for the evening about the tape and leave the peace for another time.

I received one comment that my story was “cute”. Not sure if that’s exactly a good thing, but I took it and a few other comments that left me satisfied.

I am thankful for how well my brother is doing in his music course.

He shows me his assignments and they are songs he actually had to put together. The teacher gives all the students all the separate parts of a song, each instrument in a separate file, all the vocal tracks, and it’s the student’s job to turn them back into a song. It’s like a giant puzzle, but when he showed me the song and I realized he’d put it together from bits and pieces, (mixing as it’s called) I was so proud. I am so proud.

I am also thankful my brother agreed to come along, to check out what the game of Dungeons & Dragons is all about with me, as it was only my second time and I wasn’t sure yet if it is for me or not.

He knows me so well that I figured he might be able to give me his opinion on how he thought I seemed to fit in.

I am thankful that there have been a few days this week where I could feel spring in the air.

Of course, I enjoy February, bit of a bittersweet bond with this month, but I don’t usually like signs of warmer weather around here when it’s winter still.

I like winter when it’s wintertime, but, a few times when I felt the warmth of the sun and smelled the fresh spring scent on the breeze, I did start to look forward to more of that, I must admit.

I am thankful for

Here are all my posts for #1000Speak since its inception.

https://kkherheadache.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/celebrating-a-year-of-compassion-1000speak-loisindabl-bloglove/

I am thankful my brother talked me into listening to some relaxation/meditation/trance tracks.

I resist often, but I do need any ideas I can take to help me still my thoughts from time to time.

Waisting All These Tears – Cassadee Pope

I am thankful for Harper Lee and the story she created.

I thought about writing a tribute to her here when I heard the news, but I’ve honestly already written so much about her on this blog over the last year, with last summer’s release of Go Set A Watchman, that I felt I had already said it all, as best as I could, in those previous posts.

RIP Ms. Lee. That’s all that’s really left to say.

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One Touch Is All It Takes #LoIsInDaBl #SoCS

I wouldn’t do that if I were you…

A common phrase, but how do we go from that to trying to actually put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, even for just a moment?

We hold their hand for just a second, that’s how.

It’s Saturday and nearly the first full week of February, meaning it is time for

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

and also,

Love Is In Da Blog, #LoIsInDaBl

This week’s prompt word is

FINGER,

and hopefully not the middle one.

🙂

I am used to going about my business, knowing how I may be feeling inside, but also realizing that anyone who may come across me would have no idea and vice versa.

What if?

The first time a tiny baby grips your finger you truly know what life is all about.

It happened for me, multiple times, and I never forget.

When my niece or nephews hold onto my finger(s) and take me along for a ride, into their world and their imagination, I go willingly and happily because I know I won’t ever have that chance again.

One of the best parts of a relationship, one I miss dearly, is the feeling of my fingers entwined with the fingers of the person I love. No sensation has ever made me feel more secure, even while it lasts.

Fairly recently, those few days when my brother was in that hospital bed, hardly responsive at all, all I could do to stop myself from collapse was to reach out and touch his still fingers, to know he was still with us and that I would get my little brother back.

I read the world with a single finger, with my own two hands. I read braille and I type on my keyboard. I slide a single finger across my phone’s touch screen and I can speak to someone. These are all tools to open up the world and to understand another.

Empathy is often spoken of by speaking about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, but it’s really all about human touch. That touch of a hand or the grasping of a single finger is sometimes all it takes.

If we want to know love, to be loved, we need to reach out and take another’s hand. That’s the sort of human connection we need more of to truly understand another’s struggles and triumphs.

In a month of discussion on the subject of love I had to share my thoughts about how all this can be achieved, to know I am not alone in wanting more connections formed among us for a better world.

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Dungeons, Dragons, and Sorcerer’s Spells #JusJoJan #SoCS

I’m good with this week’s

Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt,

but only because Linda promises it doesn’t require doing any math to take part, swearing she wasn’t even thinking of math when she decided on the prompt.

🙂

Such a huge relief when I heard that.

#SoCS

How strange that she didn’t even think of math (odd and even). How odd really.

😉

But you wanna hear something even odder?

One moment I’m taking another creative workshop (creative writing) and the next I’m creating in a whole other way, the Dungeons & Dragons way.

Now if there’s ever anything I never imagined myself doing, it would be playing that game. Well, now I can say I did it, can tick it off of my bucket list of things to try, even though I never even had it on my bucket list to begin with. Learning to play violin, like I intend to begin on my birthday next month maybe, but not this.

I immediately think of

odd/even

as a math thing and there was plenty of math involved in this game, but there was also a lot of using your imagination. That I knew I could do.

Admittedly, the only place I’d really ever seen anything about this game was on Big Bang Theory. Well, when I actually got invited to find out more for myself, by a few people from my Writer’s Circle group, I figured I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see for myself, the real thing in action.

I can’t believe how intricate and complex it is and how many rules there are. I could hardly keep up. There is so much that goes into it, but I tried not to judge, for one day, instead to just find out firsthand.

I chose to be a sorcerer.

🙂

I could do magic. I was neutral. Hmmm. What else? What else?

I could throw my spear, send out my cat on missions, daze my enemies, or detect magic.

It took something like three hours, just to choose characters and their traits, powers, abilities or whatever the proper terms are. There are manuals and manuals for this thing, I discovered. There are several additions, as it’s been around for so many years now.

It’s a strange and alien world to what I’ve known thus far, but now I can add it to the ever growing list of experiences I will likely never forget. I am just trying, as the new year progresses, to go for it, taking any opportunities that come my way. I couldn’t not go and see what it was all about.

What’s odd to one person is another’s normal. Who’s to say what’s “odd” anyway, even if something has a cultural oddness attached, even if most people wouldn’t play a certain game, others love it for so many reasons.

I got to see a few of those reasons. I got to watch it, in all its imaginary glory, as so much adventure and danger and fun, sitting and rolling a few dice and going on quests in your own head and with the heads of those around you.

Odd, but there was no sign of a dungeon or a dragon at all. Oh, but there was a crypt and a giant celestial fire beetle? Huh?

🙂

There are so many rules for so many things,

in role playing games and in this blogging challenge,

but you just never know what you might discover through it all.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

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Just Jot It January: Black, White, and Green With Envy, #JusJoJan

How do they do it? They make it look so effortless, so seamless, and so perfectible.

#JusJoJan

I live in a black and white world, greys and colourless views, but I know very few things are black and white in reality. Why then do I stare and stare at other people and buy into the idea that their lives are the essence of perfect?

They make it seem so effortless and I feel the effort in everything I do, every day.

I feel like if I am not better, if I can’t figure out how to be better than I currently am that I will lose the attention of anyone at all. I fear losing people, but I try to push back my feelings of jealousy and envy at all they have, or all I perceive them to have.

I know envy is a sin. I know it is frowned upon. It certainly isn’t attractive, by any stretch of the imagination.

There’s the woman with the perfect sense of style, perfectly put-together outfits, making being a woman appear so effortless. She has the perfect life, with the best friendships, the most wonderful career, and the love of a partner who is her equal and her world. Effortless.

I never had anything. I never will. Nothing is effortless for me or ever will be.

There it is…all the negativity I usually keep pent up inside, but letting it out won’t help. Stop it anyway, I tell myself, over and over again.

The negative talk started young, when I felt I was fighting so hard for all I could get my hands on – everything it seemed everyone else already had and might currently be taking for granted. I couldn’t quite live up to the image I saw of other girls. I could see through a very narrow field of vision, tunnel vision, as my visual ability allowed, but this didn’t let me see the truth as it actually stood.

What reality was I seeing when it came to others and then how did I fit into the picture?

How brutally would I end up disappointing them all, when they saw how bad I was failing? How could I allow anyone to see this? Better that I hide away from them all, quick before I was revealed and I could not hide one second more.

Black and White – Sarah McLachlan

Truth is is nobody has it all figured out, at all times. No one. How can I get that through my thick skull?

Linda explains how in life, with age, some things become harder and others aren’t so bad:

Just Jot It January 11th – Effortless

Check out the

No Facilities

blog, host of today’s

Just Jot It January.

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Memoir and Reflections, TToT

TToT: Oy Vey – Whatever! #10Thankful

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What a week. Oy vey is right. Sometimes children can boil it down to the truth of the thing best of all.

Hey Jude

This song was playing on the radio, in the car, both on the way to Toronto and on the way home after. Each with a difference of a day and a half and a lot of hope and fear. That was one of the worst days of my life.

I couldn’t think, like all the words and thoughts I’ve ever had, all the fear and it couldn’t all fit through, getting stuck in a narrow pathway of reality.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For my one and only younger brother’s existence. Getting right to the point this week.

For the quick thinking and decision to get him help after he fell.

I’m just so glad he wasn’t alone. He really does have some loyal friends.

I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones

Okay, so no more sedation please, but sometimes a sense of humour can defuse even the toughest of situations.

For Canada’s healthcare system and hospitals, specifically CT scans.

For my older brother’s family Christmas lights and decorations.

I just stood and stared at their tree and I felt a bit less afraid.

For the stuffed Christmas puppy I discovered, from my grandmother to her great grandchild, which I proceeded to cling to all night long, finding comfort like a child would their favourite toy.

For my niece’s bright mind and ever expanding vocabulary of words and ideas.

Her questions and intelligence keeps us all on our toes. I was glad to get to talk to her and just listen, being able to surprise her with a rare and unexpected overnight visit.

For the meeting of new and interesting people, quick support and wise words.

Sometimes it can be an alright thing to have a roommate while in hospital. They cared about my brother and us, and throughout to keep checking up on us, even when they were moved to another room.

For the high pitched chatter of my nephew to make me smile.

For the imagination of my nephew and for the chance to be Cookie Monster for a few moments.

For the generosity of my brother and his wife, to offer me shelter and warmth and a comfortable couch.

What a way to both begin and end a week.

For the brother I’ve always known. My fear was that he might be lost in there, gone somewhere I could not follow.

There you go. There’s a bonus thankful because I can, because things could always be worse, and because I can write and hopefully I am on my way to a bit of peace and being able to think straight once more.

River – Sarah McLachlan

Several times this week, a frozen river to glide along, this wouldn’t have been unwanted. Sounds peaceful anyway.

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Fiction Friday, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, Writing

My Mystery Object Speaks

It was a circular, silver jewelry tin I’d received, from my oma, on my twentieth birthday. She handed it to me, in her kitchen, at our combined birthday celebrations. Hers was three days before mine. When I was turning twenty she was turning eighty-three. Inside the tin I discovered twenty loonies, Canadian dollar coins, one for every year of my life.

Why hadn’t I thought of that for her? Would have needed a bigger tin.

🙂

Fast-forward more than eleven years and I placed the silver tin, faded from sitting on a dresser in my bedroom, on a conference table – my contribution to my new writer’s group and the game called: Mystery Object.

It was, I’d recently discovered, an excellent writing exercise. I was pleased I was getting the chance to bring the object for this week’s festivities.

The rules are: someone brings an object, an air of mystery to it, and the remaining time is spent with everyone, after having passed the object around the room, writing a story where the object plays a part, no matter how big or small.

Past mystery objects have included:

— A painted model of a dragon

And

— A ticket stub from a visit to the Eiffel Tower.

I guess I cheated because I didn’t just bring the silver tin, but inside, instead of twenty Canadian dollars, there now rests a necklace, a blue pendant on a chain.

Two for one I guess, but nobody seemed to complain. I’d taken the necklace as the object, originally; however, as I’d needed a case to carry it, in the moment I grabbed the tin and placed the necklace inside.

This gave us all more options. We could write a story about the tin, the necklace, or any combination of the two, more or less.

They even wanted to know the history of the mystery.

🙂

The mystery object meaning the necklace, which a few of the women around the table murmured comments of interest over. The guy with, what I’m guessing is a British accent, he was supportive when I told the group a little bit of history about the blue gem on the chain.

“It was originally a Christmas present for a friend who never came back to claim it. A bit of a falling out with that friend, the end of a friendship,” I told them vaguely, leaving plenty of room for creative licence and imagination.

“‘Looks like you came out on top,” someone said. I appreciated this person trying to make me feel better about the situation myself and my necklace had been through in the past. I appreciated that, as new as I was to the writing group, any one of them would say that, as my relationship to these people is still just beginning to develop, for whatever that might mean.

My first attempt at the mystery object exercise resulted in a narrative, made up of two people in an antique shop. This is one of my favourite settings for a story, since my senses were set off strong upon entering an old building, converted into an antique shop in my town, on a dreary October day a few years ago.

I have had a dislike for old things ever since childhood, but now I see their stories in the feelings they bring forth in me and in others.

This mystery object exercise is brilliant. I love to see what the other people bring and, in this case, I couldn’t wait to find out where their minds would go when attempting to write about the object I’d chosen to bring.

I know what the silver tin and the blue necklace mean to me, the history they played in my own life, but the trick would be letting all that leave my mind for an hour, allowing me to write fictionally about them. Then I was waiting to hear what they would come out with.

I’ve considered publishing all the pieces I come out with during these bimonthly writing groups, posting them here afterward. I have had the feeling of not being naturally good at writing fiction, as I have been told and felt myself that maybe I do better with nonfiction and memoir especially, but that is why I like this group. I can write like they write, and I get so much from that interaction already, and I’ve only gone three times so far.

This latest time I wrote about a jewelry store burglary and the mystery of why the thief took only that necklace, leaving the rest of the jewelry behind.

I did not finish the story and have no idea what was so special about that necklace. Time was up for the evening, the library closing and the cleaning crew anxious to start their work to prepare the building for the following day’s borrowings.

I purposefully did not volunteer to read my jewelry store tale, preferring to hear the other stories, on the off chance that we would run out of time, which is exactly what ended up happening.

I’d preferred my previous Wednesday night’s fiction writing exercise attempt, starring the Eiffel Tower ticket, dropped from above and onto the Paris sidewalk.

Some of the stories written about the tin/necklace included:

— One rooted in hints of the wardrobe leading to Narnia and a reference to the famous sketching scene in the movie Titanic. (This movie came up, somehow, in our chatter at the beginning of the evening’s meeting.)

— One about a love sick young man and the jewelry he purchased and later returned, bought for the object of his affection.

— One beginning with a wonderful scene of a little girl dying to arrive at her grandmother’s house and ending with that little girl finding a beautiful blue necklace in said grandmother’s spare room, unaware of the history it has.

— One about a spur-of-the-moment dropping of a necklace in a coat pocket and the chase others take to get it back.

I love to listen to the other writers read their stories, how different each one is, but the theme of the past of a piece of jewelry (real or fantastic) was a thrill to me, the person who really does own it.

People feel different about reading their work, depending on the day and what they come up with in the group, but not one person said they weren’t able to write something using my contribution to Mystery Object Wednesday. I was happy about that part. I was pleased to have spurred their imaginations, even if I couldn’t quite let go of what I know about the necklace in my own reality and past.

The true story of the friendship which ended with that necklace, indirectly, is best left for another time, but I just wanted to mark this occasion, as was pointed out to me the other night by one of my new writing friends: if that friend had stayed and taken the necklace, events wouldn’t have been able to lead up to the experience of my mystery object contribution with those who bravely took a stab at coming up with alternative storylines for a blue necklace on a chain.

For next group we’ve all been given a small slip of paper, containing a scenario and we are supposed to use it to demonstrate the concept of a favourite writing rule: show don’t tell.

This is the sort of homework I am more than happy to complete, I think. I will keep posted on what I manage to come up with for that one.

Mystery objects are exciting things, fiction that bursts forth from each and every one. They mean different things to different people and tell a story worth hearing. They are helping me get to know my fellow writers, one story at a time.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, TToT

TToT: Don’t Count Your Owls Before They Are Delivered – Now and Then, #10Thankful

ISn’t it splendid to think of all the things there are to find out about? It just makes me feel glad to be alive-it’s such an interesting world. It wouldn’t be half so interesting if we knew all about everything, would it? There’d be no scope for imagination then, would there?

–From “Anne of Green Gables”

Ten Things of Thankful

So, once more, a lot has changed in a week.

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Canada now has a new majority government, with Justin Trudeau as the chosen one. Our twenty-third Prime Minister.

🙂

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver: Canadian Election

And our Toronto Blue Jays are finished for the season.

😦

Ah well. Can’t have everything.

Two stories, big in my newsfeed this week anyway, were the 20th anniversary of the movie “Now and Then” and the date (October 21st, 2015) which Marty and Doc arrived at in Back to the Future II.

I am pretty sure I saw the first in theatres, with my friends. I’m not certain though. Funny how even twenty years can feel like a long time now. It was the perfect coming-of-age movie for young girls.

Now and Then

Then, the big deal made about Back to the Future. I personally disliked the second of the trilogy, most of all, preferring the first or the third.

Back In Time

I’m not sure if I’d want to have the ability to go backward or forward in time, but as everyone around here have been remembering Toronto’s two World Series wins, back to back, over twenty years ago and then people are comparing what BTTF predicted the world would be like in 2015, back in the late eighties, I don’t quite know where to look. I guess I will focus on the present, or I guess the immediate past, in the week that just was.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For my right, my chance, my freedom to vote.

I wasn’t sure of this, still, as I made my way into my old high school, to the voting station set up in the gymnasium. I wondered if anything I did could really make a difference. I thought how silly it all seemed, with the ads and the fighting between parties, the lies and the broken promises, not to mention the unknown of it all.

Then I voted and I felt empowered. I felt blessed to be a Canadian. I felt satisfied with the contribution I’d just made.

When I’d learned of Justin’s win, on the same night that the Blue Jays won fabulously, I was thrilled for both, for Canada.

I guess, when the person you did not want to win comes out on top, you feel like your vote didn’t matter, but suddenly, when the winner turns out not to be that guy, that’s when you feel as if your vote just might have made a difference.

For the change that’s finally returned to Canada.

For those of us who still aren’t sure, this letter makes it clear.

Justin Trudeau is part of a political dynasty, a little like the Kennedy family, the Clinton family, or the Bush clan. Justin was born in our version of The White House, 24 Sussex Dr, but I discovered that the use of the home for the prime minister is quite recent. Pierre Trudeau was one of the first to live there as Prime Minister of Canada. I did not even know this. I was not far from this place, last winter, yet I knew little about it.

History of 24 Sussex

I am learning a lot about Canada since Justin was voted in. I guess I feel a renewed sense of pride in my country and am curious about things that are going to make a difference, as is the hope of so many fellow Canadians I believe.

For crepes with friends.

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It’s a little like Words With Friends. Okay, well actually it’s not, but there were a lot of words exchanged.

🙂

I met a friend I’d made online, for the first time, in person. We went to a little restaurant in Toronto, one she’d recommended, called Crepes Club.

At first I wondered if you needed a membership or something, but turns out it was just a place with a lot of crepes, both of the first course and dessert varieties.

Here’s the interview I did with Lorraine last year.

For a delicious latte.

Nothing goes better with crepes than a latte, I think. I was told it looked pretty, with a design made with the chocolate and whipped cream on top, but all I noticed was the taste.

For a chance to tour the new Toronto location of Ronald McDonald House.

“The oldest and the most devastating pain there is: not the pain of childhood, but the remembrance of it.”

–Toni Morrison

I’d stayed in the old one, with my family, back in the late nineties. I admit, I was a little sad when I’d heard about the move, as I loved that place when we’d stayed at the old one. It made me remember those days wistfully, but things must change and the improvement was undeniable.

For the existence of just such a place, for so many families with sick children.

These families don’t need to be worrying about things like lodging and meals, when they are dealing with fear and pain, life and death.

Everything is there for them. Groups and organizations volunteer to come to the house and make meals for the families, multiple times a week, so that parents can have a break.

This is something relatively new, not available when we stayed there, but I see what a difference it makes.

For the little touches that make Ronald McDonald House feel like a home, temporary maybe, but still a home.

I liked the library, of course, but there was a giant moose on the main floor, a fireplace, big fish tank, and a colourful painting on the wall.

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I could not see this painting, but it was raised and I felt the lines and the bumps. I immediately thought of that famous Bobby Ferrin song from the eighties. It’s hard to be happy and to just put on a smile, when you are feeling sick and/or scared. It’s hard to be a child and to be ill, but there is plenty to be happy about if you’ve got your family around you, nurses and doctors who care, and a place like Ronald McDonald to depend on.

For another box of my books.

After the Scars: A Second Chances Anthology

We sent for more. I’ve given a few to people and I’m waiting, still for mine, but it should be arriving, with a bunch of bookmarks.

As exciting as this still is and as thrilled as I still am about my words being in print for the first time, in published form, I want to continue to grow with my writing.

For the discovery of a local writing group in my area.

I don’t know why I waited this long to look into its existence, but it meets at the library in my town, every first and third Wednesday evening of each month.

I will go and check it out in a few weeks. I am excited to see what it is all about, what sort of people, from what age group, it is made up of.

Speaking of libraries:

Twitter battel alert: Toronto and Kansis libraries face off over Jays/Royals series

For the graceful and winning way the Toronto Blue Jays went out, with a rain delay, a bang, and in glory.

They played a great bunch of games, coming back from where they’d been during the summer, to give Toronto and all of Canada something to hope for and cheer for, all the way into OCtober.

Sure, there was disappointment, the to-be-expected claims of tampering and fixing of the game, conspiracies, outcries, but for the most part, we accepted our loss with pride and resignation, with renewed hope for next year.

It was just nice to see us all being proud of our team, our players, ourselves and the coming together of so many, big sports fans and regular fans, like me I would say. I felt the disappointment, going to bed before the final score came down, so I can only imagine how one of the die hard fans took the news.

Geez! I really hope my going off to bed didn’t jinx them or something. Imagine if the whole loss was all down to me and something I did or did not do?

We still handled it well and it was a great few weeks we had there.

Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy

Success is not final, Failure is not fatal: it’s the courage to continue that counts.

Winston Churchill

The TToT is brought to you by: The Internet – all those wires running at the bottom of the ocean

Would you go back in time, or ahead, into the future, if you had the chance?

Now and then: I can get just as drawn into what once was as the next person, I often can’t stop thinking and worrying about the future, but I am trying to zoom in more on what’s going on in the here and now.

Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.

–Doris Lessing

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