Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Interviews, Kerry's Causes, Piece of Cake, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TToT, Writing

TToT: Da Da Da, Sa Sa Sa – Black Moon Yonder, #10Thankful

Here’s a little flashback to finish off the week and begin a whole new one.

me on bike
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For the record, I don’t generally like motorcycles. They are loud and they make me nervous, but this one wasn’t moving.

I’m not enjoying this perpetually dreary start to October. I haven’t been enjoying this cold I’ve picked up and had for over a week now. And I’m certainly not and never have been enjoying the nonsense of the US election, as they count down, one more month to go.

Music will help. Music and good deeds and fresh fruit.

I am thankful for all the beautiful violin music that author Anne Rice shares on her Facebook page.

I much prefer this version to the original Coldplay song.

It’s a shame Anne Rice has quit posting political articles and she doesn’t even attempt to have discussions about politics right now. I miss her views, though I didn’t have to deal with all the nasty comments. Her page, her rules.

I’m glad she still shares music though, mostly violin stuff.

I am thankful for rough bikers.

me with bikers
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I used to hang out with quite the group, wouldn’t you say?

This was who sponsored my trip to California when I was sixteen, through
The Sunshine Foundation, Canada.

I am glad to see bikers, somewhere out there, are doing it again. This is where “don’t judge a book by its cover” couldn’t be more applicable.

A Cycle Broken – The Guardians of the Children

I am thankful that, despite my cold symptoms being rather irritating, the second episode of the podcast
Ketchup On Pancakes
is complete and we’ve beat our previous episode
(Episode 1: Intro To Us)
by extra time, going more like 70 minutes, instead of the previous one hour.

We went over time, but it is a good episode, which includes us adding in more sound and effect, compared to our first try.

We plan to create a shortened, all make-it-up-as-we-go-along episode next time though.

Actual new episode still to come in the next week or two.

I am thankful for an interview I finally got posted.

The Other Awkward Age: My Interview with Jennifer Niesslein

I am thrilled about this actually and have been for some time now.

I should have had this posted a while ago, but I was so over-the-moon that Jennifer had agreed to be a featured guest on my blog, that I wanted it to be perfect.

It’s up now and she even shared it with her Facebook friends/followers too. She has been so open to speaking with me. I try not to come off like too much of a stalker, but I really admire the work she does.

I am thankful for help in making it look more visually appealing.

My sister helped me to make the interview stand out from my usual blog posts.

I am thankful, though this cold has been bothersome, that it’s starting to ease up.

Thank goodness for tissues.

I am thankful for the black moon.

It was the perfect way to say goodbye to September and usher in October.

The Dark Side of the Moon

I am thankful for the autumn arrival of my favourite in-season apples.

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This is my diet for the time being. What else do you need?

I am thankful for a rather productive weekend, even with everything.

And finally this evening, I am thankful for
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
and another new episode, because he makes me laugh, even when talking about some pretty crappy things.

Off to see if I can find his latest thoughts on the week that just was.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, Writing

Seven Essays I Meet in My Literary Heaven

Today I am sharing this post from a few years ago, written by a brilliant woman I greatly admire, and whom I’ve learned so much from about what makes an essay shine. Interview with Jennifer to come on this blog very soon, so watch out for that.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

heavenA guest post from Jennifer Niesslein, founder of Full Grown People, the essay magazine:

1.     The Essay that Manages to Be Funny, Poignant, and Thought-Provoking All at the Same Time. I think I like this kind of essay because it most closely mimics real life: the humor and the pathos and the mysteries of being human. Shaun Anzaldua and Jody Mace are fabulous at this, and I don’t why they’re not household names.

2.     The Essay that Takes Me Someplace. Listen, I live a sheltered life. I’ve been out of the country once and that was to Toronto for a conference. (The black squirrels weirded me out.) My favorite place is home, where my robe is waiting. So when I come across an essay that transports me to Montana, or Ireland, or Italy in a way that feels like the writer is carrying me in her pocket?…

View original post 342 more words

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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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Denial Vs Self Preservation, #SoCS

I am writing, for a little stream of consciousness therapy today, but what to write about?

I could speak about the recent passing of Nobel Peace Prize writer, teacher, and Holocaust educator Elie Wiesel.

He wrote about the loss of his family and horrifying imprisonment in a concentration camp in the memoir

“Night”.

I saw an old interview with him on Charlie Rose.

I could, but I can’t. I won’t.

I read news about his death. I reflected back on the reading of his memorable memoir, which I read over ten years ago most likely. I thought about his story and I vowed to carry on being a witness, (indirectly) of the horrors, which humans are capable of, but I just can’t dwell on all that too hard.

I would again have to hear things I don’t want to hear, things about concentration camps during World War II. I know about all that, more than I’d like to, being obsessed on this period in history, many times in my own life.

But now, with all that’s happening in the current climate of killings, anger, ignorance, and inability or unwillingness to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, I just can’t.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

I am having issues with concentration lately.

I can’t seem to focus on one thing. My writing. My blog. My violin. My thoughts.

I feel all over the place. I want to do so many things, but don’t last long on any one of them.

I’ve lost it, whatever “it” is.

I want to know what is going on in the world around me, but every time I listen in, I hear something worse than the time before.

It’s on my Facebook and on the news on TV. I take breaks from both, but this just leaves me feeling disconnected. Is what I’m doing, in my own life, is that worth drowning the rest of the world out entirely?

Don’t I need to be aware, as a grown woman in today’s society, of what’s going on?

But it’s all race debates, class debates, political debates in the US.

It’s government disarray in the UK.

It’s a growing migrant crisis in Europe.

It’s ISIS central in the Middle East.

I want to get out there, to experience more of the world, instead of just reading about it, though I love reading in its place. I can’t not read, yet my Safari App on my phone keeps bursting with the many articles I open up and vow to read. I don’t make it back, yet I keep on adding to the cue.

That is how I feel about my life, yet I know the chaos going on in my brain is only a sample of what’s happening everywhere.

I have a problem with concentration, but I expect I’m not the only one.

Today, to speak about

CONCENTRATION

has been no problem for me.

I can’t stop myself for very long, but during those breaks from the outside world, I am not in denial. I am practicing self preservation in the midst of so much I cannot control.

So, I write. I blog. I make “music” (of sorts) on my violin. I work on creative projects with my brother, (both song lyrics and our new podcast).

I create because I must. I spread a little genuine kindness and compassion through all these things. I hope I can make the world a better place. Lets all try a little more of that.

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TToT: Where Rugged Coasts and Grassy Hills Collide – Don’t Look Back, #10Thankful

“the beautiful spring came; and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”

–Harriet Ann Jacobs

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What a week! (Read on to find out why…)

Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys

I remember not thinking this so much as it was in progress, but now that I am looking back on it, I have felt pure exhaustion, for some reason.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For my first official violin lesson.

I didn’t know if a whole hour would be too much for me. Playing violin is going to be a physical tax on my body, as I have a lot of pain, a lot of the time, but this is like going to the gym, for me, in a way. Sounds less taxing, but it isn’t much less, not really.

I have been just teaching myself, along with a few instructions from my uncle, so now it’s time to learn proper technique. It will be a slow process, a progress that takes time to build on.

I think of it like using an iPhone when you can’t see. At first, when I tried my brother’s phone, it all seemed tricky and difficult. But once I got a feel for it, where on the screen I could locate specific App’s or where on the keyboard to place my fingertip, if I wanted an A instead of a Q. Once you develop the sense memory required, like my new teacher says, it will come to you.

For my new violin teacher.

She has been playing the violin since she was four and teaching it since she was fourteen. I guess that means she is qualified to teach me.

🙂

She is outgoing and a willing participant in teaching violin to someone she can’t just show by doing. She must show me, most times, by hand or with verbal instruction, but she has been eager from the beginning. I am thankful and appreciative for the enthusiasm she has shown thus far.

For my brother’s faith in me, in asking me in the first place, to write the lyrics for his final assignment in his Music Industry Arts program.

The song is called “Don’t Look Back” and I hoped it would convey a feeling, but I don’t think many will pick it out from my words.

People’s first impulse is to think most songs are about love, but although this one could be, it’s about losing something else entirely, something valuable.

I was afraid I couldn’t write lyrics. I did it. The week started with only vague ideas and unclear groupings of words. It ended with a song, still in rough draft, but on its way to becoming a thing of beauty. This is because my brother had faith and put the lyric creation in my hands. I just hope he is pleased with the results. I know, after listening to what he’s come up with so far, that I am more than pleased.

For a slimmed-down Writer’s Circle.

Things come up and people get busy. I myself have missed a Wednesday or two, for my brother’s accident or for a bad night of my own. I understood.

It was just the three of us: Bernie, Theo, and myself this time. That’s okay. It was nice to have a smaller group once, but I missed a few other members who weren’t there.

There seemed to be a lot more silliness and a little less serious writing. Good times though. I brought a mystery object. It was a little bear with a heart shaped locket with my photo and my dad’s photo from my kidney transplant. Theo even took pics of it, to show someone, to go along with the wild talking bear story he came up with.

For Ireland.

I love the Ireland commercial narrated by Liam Neeson. His beautiful Irish accent is perfect for it.

sheepcoastline-2016-03-21-00-08.jpg

I know about the beer and the celebrating, as I have had a bit of that St. Patrick’s Day fun here in Canada, but no green beer can compare to the real place.

For one incredible, once-in-a-lifetime adventure in my favourite place in the world.

Luck of the Irish

It was my dream to visit Ireland and I had a blast with friends, old and new.

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I crossed this bridge with my travel companions, in front and behind me, and I made it to the other side.

She Travels Without Sight: Crossing Ireland’s Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Blind

I speak more about the experience in the above interview with an awesome travel blog.

I am thankful for that experience and that it taught me that sometimes, in life, you’ve just got to go for it.

For Irish music and Irish musicians.

Only When I Sleep – The Corrs

Of course, as much as I love that one, my favourite Irish group is, without a doubt…

God Be With You – The Cranberries

God I love Ireland and The Cranberries too.

🙂

I wrote a post to mark the twenty year anniversary of the release of my all-time favourite of their albums.

Ode and Lament: Ode to “No Need To Argue”

I am forever thankful that this album came along. It taught me about Irish history, about Irish poets, and oh so much more.

As I rode the tour bus along the winding highway I heard a familiar sound coming out of the bus’s PA speaker. It was a song by The Cranberries and then our guide announced we would be stopping at the grave site of W.B. Yeats.

I was blown away by the peaceful feeling I got from that spot. I thought back on that song and the words about the “Lake Isle of Innisfree”.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

World Poetry Day is in March after all.

For another chance to showcase a man, through an interview I conducted, who sets a brilliant example for the males of the world and the website willing to give me that opportunity.

Shining a Light on Preventing Abuse Against Women-an Interview with Garry Atkinson – Good Men Project

Thank you Jeremy McKeen and Garry Atkinson.

For the first day of spring.

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I like this photo, or what I’m told of it anyway, because although it is officially spring here in the northern hemisphere today, it is cold and snowing in some parts. I liked the image of spring flowers and snowflakes in the air.

For all the things that bring me happiness.

Music Makes Me Happy, #1000Speak #InternationalDayOfHappiness

So, as I said, what a week! What a week of music and of the growth promised by the colour green.

So Cold In Ireland – The Cranberries

For spring, music, Ireland, even when they are cold.

😉

For all these things and more.

Yeats’ Grave – The Cranberries

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

–William Butler Yeats

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Super Week, #FTSF

I think many may struggle, as I know I did, with coming up with something for a sentence starter such as the one this week.

I know I’ve recently stated here that I know very little about Superwoman or Superman for that matter. Could I relate enough to write anything at all?

I do know that I’ve always wished I could fly. Not fly like we humans do. I’ve done that, well I’ve flown as a passenger (have never flown a plane). I am actually afraid of flying in a plane, but my other dream is to travel more, so I work through my anxiety. After all, it is freaking wildly amazing humans have figured it out like we have.

I’m talking more like a bird when I say fly. I want to feel the wind in my face, hear the rushing in my ears, feel the pressure and resistance in my limbs as I soar up above the trees and the houses. Always a little jealous of those geese as they fly overhead.

Of course, the other thing I’d like to do would be to apparate, like in Harry Potter, as then I could get places on my own, even with the limitation of sight loss. However, that is for another future post.

🙂

As I cannot, I had to think why I would consider myself “super) and I thought back on the week that just was.

I felt like superwoman when I wrote my first lyrics…lyrics that were then promptly taken and added to a background of music and sung by a talented singer.

I had a good week. I had my first official violin lesson, wrote my first song, and had an interview I conducted (on the subject of a male’s perspective on feminism) syndicated on Good Man Project, to round out the week.

Even then, I could still end up feeling like I didn’t do enough with this most recent seven days. I hate that.

I did what I didn’t think I could, by producing a note on an instrument I adore.

I did what I never thought I could do, by sharing a feeling through the words in a song, now being set to music.

I want to share my message of feminism, equality, compassion and I found a way to get that message just a little bit farther than I would have otherwise.

I feel how slow going it is to even learn one simple song of Twinkle Twinkle, but then I realized how writing is an art which requires just as much time to learn and grow and develop skill and style as violin or any other musical instrument. I am still working on all those things with my writing and I will be for a long time, just as I still have to master an instrument I’ve loved for a long time too.

I’ve been admired for many things, things some might classify as “Superwomanish” in my life. I often don’t think of my disabilities that way, as they are just my normal, everyday life, but this whole thing is subjective anyway.

I guess I held back because I found the idea of equating myself to “Superwoman” as incorrect or wrong in some way.

I can’t speak of the family (husband, children, household) that many women manage with grace and patience every single day. My mother did it. My sisters do it. Many of the writer/bloggers I read and admire do it too.

I can’t speak of some big, important, necessary career that so many take pride in.

And so I guess I feel like Superwoman when I accomplish something, a goal or skill I’ve wanted to take on and tackle, and I did that this week.

Yet, I didn’t know what to say, but I suppose I can’t let that stop me, and so here I am, to tell you about the week that was.

🙂

Hope it’s okay that I took this image from Superwoman Lisa,

go here,

to check out her beautiful brand of wisdom.

This has been a post for the Finish the Sentence Friday prompt, brought about by

Collecting Smiles

&

Finding Ninee

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TToT: Daylight Savings and Snowdrops, #10Thankful #PledgeForParity #WorldKidneyDay

“”They tried to bury us. They did not know we were seeds.”

–Mexican Proverb

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Spring is close now, an additional hour of light.

THE SNOWDROP – HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN

The flowers are appearing. Growth is possible.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For an excellent spotlight interview on the American program 60 Minutes with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Not sure how many people saw it, but I was watching, and I was proud and thankful to have him speaking for my country.

He spoke about being born into a politically royal family, his feelings on boxing and how it’s all about risking being knocked down but then getting right back up again, and he was asked what Canadians would like from our neighbours, what we’d like the US to know.

Oh boy! This was the interviewer’s attempt to start something and some Americans were very definitely offended and showed it on Twitter.

Justin Trudeau on 60 Minutes: Twitter Pulls No Punches For New PM

But I thought it was funny when an image on screen of Justin’s Father, with his supposed wife and mother to his children, actually turned out to be a shot of Pierre on a date with Kim Cattrall. Thought Americans at least were familiar with “Sex and the City”.

🙂

For the ability to be there when my sister needed me.

I want to be available to watch my nephew when she is at work, whenever possible. He’s learning, growing, changing so fast.

The other day, when she walked out the door, he stood there and clung to me for what felt like ages and ages. It was as if, without words, he was reassuring himself it would be okay…that his mother was gone but that he still had me. I never wanted that moment to end and wished it could have gone on longer than it did.

For snow drops.

There are flowers all over the place, starting to spring up.

😉

Then, the other day my mother (lover of all growing things) placed a small flower, on its stem, in my palm. It felt droopy, and I was then informed it was called a “snowdrop”:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galanthus

I personally would have named it a snow-flop, but I liked the name and the transitional image of winter evolving into spring again.

For IWD2016

International Women’s Day 2016 – Pledge For Parity

I was trying to cut back a little on blogging during the week,

(Cracks in the Ceiling)

but I felt I had to write on March 8th, to say my piece, my peaceful piece.

🙂

Speaking of recognizing female voices…

Sophia Bush Speaks Her Mind On Feminism

For the discovery of a new song and artist.

She came on the local college radio station and I immediately liked the song, its signature Electropop sound.

I looked into her further later and discovered I knew one of her songs already, but I found a new favourite.

Halsey is another young and emerging artist, like Lorde for example, but she has a definite Ellie sound to her.

I am happy to have found another like Ellie Goulding, but a change from Goulding too because sometimes certain memories that go along with a specific singer or voice can still hold painful recollections. I’ve found a new voice to focus on for a while, even though I will always love Ellie in a way nobody else can top.

For bookstores.

I love standing in them. I love being surrounded by my favourite things, books, but I can only be in them for a short time before the fact that I am unable to simply reach out, grab a book, and start to read will wash over me and I will realize my limitations. It is at this point that I am thankful and grateful, but I must flee because the urge to burst into tears becomes a difficult one to hold back.

For World Kidney Day

Exactly twenty years ago was when I was first diagnosed with kidney failure. It was March, 1996, and finally my family doc sent me to a paediatric specialist, who immediately confirmed what my blood tests already showed. I was very sick and needed dialysis within a few months.

That was a scary time and, even all these years later, I will never forget what it felt like to be so ill.

For the option of doing dialysis to treat end-stage renal failure, like the kind I was in twenty years ago.

I am lucky to have a kidney from my father, for nineteen years now, and I was lucky, at that time, that there was such thing as dialysis as a treatment for kidney failure. Other organ failure did not and does not have just such a stabilizing treatment option, which is no cure, but is better than nothing, better than the alternative. I am lucky to be here.

For a successful visit in Washington, D.C. between the first families of the US and Canada.

The two men (Justin Trudeau and Barack Obama) they are a lot alike, see the world similarly.

No matter what else is going on with the US and their elections for a new president for November, now, in Washington, I liked to see peace, lighthearted humour, and harmonious relations between our two countries.

Trudeau might just be starting his time in office, while Obama and his rational good sense is on the way out, but I just liked the week that was. It made a nice “bookend” to the interview that started my week off right.

Finally, for the fact that I seem to be able to escape many people’s issue with losing that hour last night.

I had a nasty headache, sure, but I really don’t think I can blame that on Daylight Savings.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night from the pain, but I usually don’t detect a problem in my sleep pattern.

I am choosing to give this whole Daylight Saving thing the benefit of the doubt because I get headaches all the time, and I have a feeling I can place the blame squarely on something else entirely.

As I finished off my weekend and welcomed the lost hour and its additional light to come, my head began to pound. This song and all the signs of spring promise better days ahead.

Haunting – Halsey

In this song Halsey speaks of “diving in deep” and the song ends off with her, or it sounds like she is under water, scuba diving. It’s awesome!

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

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

I knew the anniversary,

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

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

The presence of

#1000Speak

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

FEBRUARY – Compassion

Planting the Seeds of Compassion

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

MARCH – Building From Bullying

Bystander

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

APRIL – Nurture

Nature and Nurture: Bloodroots and Blood Ties

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

MAY – Connection

Connection and Disconnection

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

JUNE:

Everybody’s Got A Story

This one speaks for itself really.

JULY – Acceptance

The Trouble With Being Real

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

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

🙂

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

If a Tree Falls in the Forest

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

SEPTEMBER – Honesty

Eggshells, Broken Glass, and Scissors

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

OCTOBER – Compassion

Who Is Malala?

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

NOVEMBER – Gratitude

And Then There’s Books

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

DECEMBER

Compassion For Christmas

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

JANUARY – Forgiveness

Both Sides of the Forgiveness Story

I speak of looking at forgiveness from several angles.

Thank you,

#1000Speak,

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

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

Love Is In Da Blog, #BlogLove

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Steps and Strides, #SingleStrides #LoIsInDaBl

In honour of Valentine’s Day being only two days from now, a very special edition of

BLOG LOVE,

with a writer, adventurerer, and blogger I’ve interviewed here once before.

I just thought there is no better place than today’s

#FridayBlogLove

to re-introduce:

SINGLE STRIDES

If you are looking for travel, she’s got it. If you’re looking for reflections on love, heartbreak, and starting over again – it’s all there, in one place.

WHY THE BEST THING YOU CAN BE IN LIFE IS DREADFULLY AFRAID

Sonya writes things that reach the heart of the matter. Her words often touch a nerve in me that makes me sit up and take notice of the world around me, of my own self, to become more aware of my surroundings.

She helped me through a hard time. I found her blog at the exact right moment. She writes about how to learn to love yourself, as well as be prepared when other kinds of love come along, and on this Valentine’s Day weekend I wanted to showcase the kind of love of oneself this fabulous writer is advocating.

Also, you can check out my earlier interview with her from last year:

SPOTLIGHT SUNDAY: SINGLE STRIDES

One Step at a Time – Jordin Sparks

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TToT: Happy Days Are Here Again, #10Thankful

A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

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I watched a Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelt clan: Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor.

I had heard of them all, especially Franklin and Eleanor, but I enjoyed learning about the history. My mother mentioned she didn’t know what to do with me becoming all political all of a sudden, but I assured her that was never going to happen.

I simply wanted to learn about the people themselves, what times were like back then, and how we got here. All the political stuff wasn’t my main focus. I payed more attention to the polio that Franklin was stricken with. I wanted to know how disability was handled in those days and how he made it all the way to the White House.

Then there was his wife and all the social activism she took part in and the work she did for women’s rights. I was planning a post on feminism for mid week, so I was particularly interested.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

“Your cares and troubles are gone. There’ll be no more from now on.”

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN

This was a big song in the early thirties and when FDR ran for president, after the crash of the stock market in 1929 and the subsequent depression throughout the thirties and leading up to the outbreak of World War II in 1939.

The Happy Days song was a theme song, a slogan used for Roosevelt’s campaign. At one point, during the documentary, there is one of the first actual film and media clips on record, at least one of the first to appear in the documentary anyway. Franklin’s little granddaughter is the one to deliver that line, which was cute even all these years later, but although her grandfather would bring his country out of some extremely terrible times, the slogan “Happy Days Are Here Again” wasn’t exactly the case and wouldn’t be for more than ten years.

World War II and the Cold War and so on. It all just got me thinking of when we’re ever really happy, as whole countries or as individual citizens, but that doesn’t mean that gratitude is not the place to start.

The psychological benefits of gratitude closely mirror those of meditation

American Thanksgiving, I wrote my

1000 Speak post (the link was open for a whole week),

and then there was yet another shooting outside a Planned Parenthood. What a week.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For my country and my province.

Yeah, Canadians are known for their modesty, most of the time, but lately we have been in the news for many acts of good will and open minds and arms.

Most notably, since being top story in the news around the world, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge of 25,000 Syrian refugees accepted into Canada.

The deadline is now at February, but at least we’re doing something and taking action to offer our doors wide open for anyone who wants to start fresh.

But also…Christmas in October.

terminally ill Ontario boy celebrates Christmas early in hometown

and

Ontario brothers capture incredible photo after bravely rescuing bald eagle

For the chance to share a valuable male perspective on feminism.

Purple: My Interview Wit Garry Atkinson

November 25th was International Day For the Elimination of Violence Against Women. I am very interested in feminism and write about it as much as I can here. It’s important to me and often somehow it gets twisted into something it is not. I want to change that.

The interview I did, is one man’s point-of-view on what feminism means and what it means to be one, to him personally.

After fifty years, Gloria Steinem is still at the forefront of the feminist causehttp://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/10/19/road-warrior-profiles-jane-kramer?mbid=social_twitter

For something to look forward to in 2016.

A little taste of what I might be getting.

I love a good concert and I chose the lawn “seats”, so I really hope for no rain that day in June.

I consider myself lucky every time I see another of my favourite bands live. It is the best feeling in the world, when the music I love surges through me, the performers so close.

For an invitation from a lovely group of fellow writers and bloggers.

I have been gradually building these blogging relationships with this particular group of bloggers from

the TToT.

Well, they hold a big Google Hangout vidchat, as they call it, and they asked if I wanted to join them.

I liked having a place and people to talk about writing with and I told them about my travel blog. Maybe they will be kind enough to offer some feedback at some point.

http://www.theinsightfulwanderer.ca/

I am new to Google Hangouts, but they were patient with me, even when I hung up accidentally.

Oops.

🙂

It is nice for me, after so many months of reading and commenting and interacting, to get to put voices to the names. It will take me a few weeks to get a handle on exactly whose voice is whose, but I will get there soon enough. It’s just harder because I can’t keep track of who may have joined or left the chat because I can’t see the separate little windows on the screen.

For a very special 60th birthday celebration.

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All the family came together on the final Saturday afternoon of November, to celebrate the best husband, father, and grandfather (PA) we could possibly have.

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For some very special 60th birthday cupcakes.

cupcakes-2015-11-29-02-00.jpg

Who doesn’t love cupcakes? How could anyone not be thankful for cupcakes?

🙂

I have a cousin who makes cakes and she does all sorts of designs and flavours.

I can’t see them, but I can feel the fondant.

For my brothers.

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I am just lucky to have them, all three of them. Whether it’s when one carries my bag out to the car for me and gives me a ride home, to all the times he and the other two make me laugh, to the amazing father’s two of them are to my niece and nephews.

My older brother and I had a nice conversation, which isn’t always so easy in the group with everyone there. He was telling me about how his job is going. He is a photographer and Studio Manager.

Think Global

He has been there for ten years and he is well known in his department for his talents, his hard work, and his integrity. I was happy to listen to him tell me about what his duties include and what an important and reliable part of the team he actually is at that place.

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For goodbye hugs.

I am always a little sad when my niece and nephew are leaving. I love our byes at the door. It’s only one month until they will come back, next time for a few days, just after Christmas. It’s like we have Christmas twice in our family. Who wouldn’t love that?

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My nephew holds onto me with his little gloved fingers and I say bye again.

For small businesses, locally run, such as my cousin’s hair salon.

I did an interview with her last March and November 28th was Small Business Saturday.

Keep Calm and Get Your Hair Done: My Interview With Alaina From Glow Hair Studio

I think it is important to balance out the giant corporations and brans with the people who work so hard to offer quality options, products and services, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

For two of the most generous parents anyone could ask for.

That is all. They are just great to everyone they meet, especially their children.

I’m thinking this Christmas might not be so bad after all. I wasn’t quite myself last year around this time, but despite everything, it may turn out alright – happy days once more.

The only time i ever heard that old slogan, until I realized where it originated was when Brandon and Kelly got back together on Beverly Hills 90210.

Yeah, well for those of us who were huge fans of the young adult nighttime drama back in the nineties, it was a big moment. I remember how happy thirteen-year-old me was when my two favourite 90210 lovers were finally reunited, after two years of will-they/won’t-they.

🙂

What can I say? It got me through dialysis and that lousy year. Life gets more complicated as you grow older and it’s harder to find the sort of pure happiness you used to feel as a kid. This exercise in being thankful helps.

“I am angry every day of my life, but I have learned not to show it; and I still try to hope not to feel it though it may take me another forty years to do it.”

–Louisa May Alcott

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