1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Song Lyric Sunday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Never Enough, #SongLyricSunday

I guess I don’t have a lot to say, on love, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching.

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I choose to remain silent this year, as far as my own love life is concerned, but I have enough past experience to draw upon. No problem.

Song Lyric Sunday, #SongLyricSunday

Well, I know about insecurities in love. I can’t believe there’s one single person who hasn’t felt it. I wonder about some more than others though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5_Hn_cLIvI

It’s a void a lot of us attempt to fill, but rarely ever is enough enough.

***

There will be no consolation prize
this time the bone is broken clean
no baptism, no reprise and no sweet taste of victory.
All the stars have fallen from the sky and everything else in between satelites have closed their eyes, the moon has gone to sleep
unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
here I am inside a hotel choking on a million words I said cigarettes have burned a hole and dreams are drunk and penniless
here I am inside my father? arms all jagged-bone and whiskey-dry whisper to me sweetly now and tell me I will never die
unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
here I am an empty hallway broken window, rainy night I am nineteen sixty-two and I am ready for a fight people crying hallelujah while the bullet leaves the gun
people falling, falling, falling and I don? know where they?e falling from
are they unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
hoping that the kindness will lead us past the blindness and not another living soul will ever have to feel unloved….unloved….unloved….
unloved unloved….unloved

Unloved – Jann Arden/Jackson Brown, Lyrics

SONGWRITERS RICHARDS, JANN ARDEN
PUBLISHED BY LYRICS © UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING GROUP

***

So, when I thought of those feelings of never being enough and those all-to-common fears of not being lovable, I went with this old Jann Arden duet I’ve loved for a long time, since I first discovered this songstress of Canada, back in the mid 90s.

If you grew up in a stable and loving family, like I was lucky to have had, it isn’t for lack of being told it. I always felt it.

It’s different with romantic love. It comes with a lot more baggage and demand and distraction and disillusionment. I felt unloved and unlovable by any man and I know part of that was feeling more like someone in need of supervision than as an equal. I have told myself that my blindness was a constant burden and a roadblock to ever being enough. This is where insecurity can haunt you and hold on tight.

I hope it loosens its grip a little.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Spotlight Sunday

Music Makes Me Happy, #1000Speak #InternationalDayOfHappiness

“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.”
–Oscar Wilde

“Aw, Dobby’s sad,” my three-year-old nephew says about my dog, sounding sad too.

I am constantly in awe at how very small children sense sadness in other people and in animals. They sense it, feel it, and acknowledge it, hoping the big people in their immediate vicinity will recognize it and make it all better, like their parents do for them.

Sadness is the opposite of happiness?

I guess, but there are many shades of both.

On this,

International Day of Happiness,

I wonder if I am happy, if the world is all that happy either.

Standard of living, poverty, oppression all play a role, but I believe there are those who have very little (in material possessions) yet are happier than some who have more.

Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado

Of course material possessions don’t automatically guarantee happiness. This got me thinking on what does make people happy, all across the world, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s one universal thing, other than love I’d think, and that one thing is: music.

This week I did what I never thought I could. I wrote lyrics for a song. I know my singing talents are few at best, but I know I can write, can convey a feeling through words.

Soon after I’d written and worked with my musician brother to set them to the song he’d written, he and a singer recorded it. I’ve heard a rough draft and, after the shock I felt at hearing my words laid out through song, I felt pride and happiness.

Music comes in so many forms and it evokes so many, varied, unique yet universally applicable feelings and emotions. It connects us all around the world. It brings people together. How can any of that not produce happiness?

So, as I’d seen recently on Facebook that people were listing the albums that most affected them, I thought I’d try it. Maybe someone will discover some new music that makes them happy or will be recalled to a time, of happiness, or something else, but at least we’re feeling something. I believe that is important to realizing we’re all human, fallible, deserving of love.

(These are all listed, not in the order of their original release, but in the order of which I feel happiest upon hearing them.)

🙂

First, Jann Arden even has an entire album she’s dedicated to the feeling of the day, as the album is called “Happy”, but here are ten other albums that don’t need to say it, although sometimes they do, to make me happy.

***

No Need To Argue – The Cranberries

“Unhappiness where’s when I was young, and we didn’t give a damn

‘cause we were raised, to see life as fun and take it if we can.”

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

I discovered this Irish group at a time when I was very confused and scared. This album in particular brought me peace from the storm that was raging in my world. Peace was much needed. Listening to this one, still to this day, makes me happy.

Heart of Stone – Cher

“Memories haunt you, feelings you won’t forget
Learn to live a lesson in love, walk away without regret.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_of_Stone_(Cher_album)

Nostalgia is not a big enough word for what I feel about this Cher album. I listen and I am immediately brought back to a simpler time, to happy childhood days.

Vespertine – Bjork

“I have a recurrent dream
Every time I lose my voice
I swallow little glowing lights
My mother and son baked for me”

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

This album is a favourite of my youth. The lyrics are wonderfully weird and I feel wistful wild happiness when I listen.

Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette

“I’m broke but I’m happy. I’m poor but I’m kind. I’m short but I’m healthy. Yeah!”

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

I was still a little girl when this hit album was released, but it made me happy, even if I didn’t understand a lot of the things she sang about at that time. It got me through a really hard time and it helped me feel happy, sad, angry, scared. It taught me a lot about self expression.

Halcyon – Ellie Goulding

In March 1011, when asked about the album’s musical direction in an interview with gossip website Dean Piper’s World, Goulding stated, “It’s started to sound very dark and very weird. This album is going to be even more emotional (…) I wanted to make it so there is hope. I want to make an effect whether it’s happy or sad.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halcyon_(album)

Without sadness I don’t think happiness would mean nearly as much as it does. I feel both emotions, in quick secession when I’m listening to it.

Songs from the Big Chair – Tears for Fears

“And I believe that if you’re bristling while you hear this song
I could be wrong or have I hit a nerve?”

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

More nostalgia with this one. Simply a kick-ass bunch of songs. It is from my favourite decade of music, released almost exactly one year after I was born, and I consider to be a gift my father gave me. Well, my father or my big brother, but which one doesn’t really matter because they have both made me who I am. They both have done so much that has made me happy.

Surfacing – Sarah McLachlan

“Make me a witness. Take me out, out of darkness, out of doubt.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surfacing_(album)

Being a teenager is hard. This album brought me happiness through its powerful lyrics. It’s imprinted on my mind and heart.

It’s Not Me, It’s You – Lily Allen

Don’t you just love the title of this one? Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode. Know which one I mean?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_Not_Me,_It%27s_You

Jagged Little Pill was written when I was still a little girl, but I discovered this album when I was finally grown. It sort of became my outcry on so much I saw as I was now a grown woman myself. It makes me happy to hear it and to know I can do this. I can get past so much. I can handle whatever life throws my way.

Left of the Middle – Natalie Imbruglia

“‘cause intuition tells me that I’m doin’ fine
Intuition tells me when to draw the line
Should have turned left
Should have turned right
But I ended up here
Bang in the middle of real life”

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

This one reminds me of my first taste of independence. I loved it then, it made me happy, and I will love it always.

Rumours – Fleetwood Mac

“Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop. It’ll soon be here. It’ll be here, better than before. Yesterday’s gone. Yesterday’s gone.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumours_(album)

Before my time, again, but I like it for the classic record it is. It makes me happy to listen to its snappy beats and its catchy melodies.

***

There you are. There were the ten albums that make my list, music to make me happy.

I am listening to music as I write this post. It’s increasing my level of happiness. I do it often.

Now, I realize this, of course isn’t always possible. Since Bobby McFerrin told us to simply “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in the eighties, it sounded like a good solution to all of our problems. Unfortunately, not all that practical all the time, but I hope there exists, somewhere out there, a piece of music…or an entire album for that matter, that makes you happy.

And so I hope everyone can find a little piece of their own brand of happiness, on this day set aside for that very thing, if not all the days of the year.

I have no doubt there is a deep connection between happiness and compassion. When we are happy we want to spread it around, (like the sharing of a song), which is compassion in my mind.

I am happy also that I can take part in yet another

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, RIP, Shows and Events, TToT

TToT: Peppers and Leaves #10Thankful

Why did I write? Because I found life unsatisfactory.
–Tennessee Williams

10 THINGS OF THANKFUL

I don’t know if I can complete this challenge today, but here is a lovely list that I can share, from someone else.

The Building Blocks of an Extraordinary Life

Oh wait! I got some.

This week has had its good points, for sure, but it’s ended on a negative one and I needed to count my blessings even more than I needed sleep apparently.

And so, I am writing.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For Terry Fox.

The Relentless Terry Fox

He is a household name for Canadians. We hold him up as the spokesman for cancer, even all these years after his death.

There are so many diseases out there, but we’ve all been touched by cancer. He did an amazing thing, walking across Canada, with his artificial leg. He and I are part of the artificial body part club. And although he died four years before i was even born, I will always remember the Terry Fox run, at my school, every September.

During those years that I was too sick, myself, to run, I thought of him, running.

My sister-in-law does the run, every year, as a tradition with her mother. It’s something they do together and which means a lot to them both. Maybe she will carry on that tradition with my niece.

For the 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion blogging movement.

#1000Speak

I know the reality. It has been many months, the eighth month of doing it, and the number of participants taking the time to write a blog post about the theme of compassion and linking it up with the others has lessened over the past few months.

Why did I think the drive for more compassionate vibes put into the universe could last?

It’s sad that this is just one more thing that can not be sustained, not unlike love or happiness, in many cases.

I still have hope for it, and my role in it. I thank it for giving me something positive, like this weekly blogging challenge does, for keeping me hoping for more good in this world and for the chance to focus on the positives.

For a friend trusting me with her most prized possession.

Unfortunately, she had a death in the family and needed someone to watch her baby girl for a few hours, while she attended the funeral service.

I was honoured she asked and that I got to spend the morning with a sweet little girl. She played, danced, and napped in my lap on the front porch swing. I hated to give her up when her mother returned.

I like to think she is seeing me enough, that she’s begun to recognize me when she sees me each time, a little more and more.

For scones and scrubs.

I enjoyed some delicious scones: peach and strawberry. The peach ones had a touch of cinnamon and the strawberry ones reminded me of strawberry and vanilla muffins.

So decadent and obviously made with real cream and butter. I never realized how wonderful scones were, not until recently.

And for scrubs. I realize the two make a strange pair, but I wanted a pair of comfy pants, just to hang around in, like someone that I know once did, and he was right.

I am loving the comfort and I can pretend that I am a nurse.

🙂

For my favourite season.

12 Beautiful Photos of Canadian National Parks in Autumn

September 23rd was the first day of fall and I couldn’t be happier.

So many people hate winter and fall comes before. I feel it gets a bad rap personally, because of this, but, in my opinion, it truly is the most transformative of all of the four seasons.

I never could see the colours of the changing leaves, not even when I had more sight, but there is something about that leaf scent in the air and the smell of a bond fire in the crisp, cool air – all of which I am grateful to have, living in Canada.

For lunch with friends.

Again, I got to spend an hour or two with the same adorable girl and her equally lovely mother.

An old friend was home for two family weddings and she joined us. It was nice to catch up and she’d said we needed to have some cake to celebrate my recent publishing success.

Well, she had to cut out and get back to wedding prep on the family farm, but she made sure to treat us to the lunch and to add a piece of cake to the bill when she generously paid.

The cake was hazel nut and amazing too.

For the chance to live near and to spend time in a diverse city like Toronto.

I came for a visit and it always amazes me, when I am here, just how many different people, from all places and races, that are all living in one city like that.

For a new cultural experience at a Cultural Days event.

I attended my very first Pow Wow.

A few weeks back I introduced a friend to rural, small town life and she returned the favour by introducing me to a big city pow wow in the park.

It was just nice to witness a gathering that was obviously filled with nothing but positivity and pride in one’s culture.

The Native Peoples of Canada are something I only learned about in school textbooks growing up. I didn’t get to be in contact with them. This was a place and a time for a broader understanding. I felt a connection there, as I imagine many people must feel when meeting me, a blind woman, or anyone with a disability for that matter. It’s something new and different, which takes time to get used to.

The music and the dancing were the entertainment. It was drumming and chanting and, I’m sure, colourful costumes. Not to mention vender after vender, selling skins, beads, jewelry, herbs such as sage, and so much more.

For Toronto’s TTC.

I said something horrible to a friend and I felt embarrassed and ashamed after. I just hope it’s not the sort of thing that is unforgivable because I know, in life, that there are some things that are said that can’t be unsaid.

She’d gone out of her way to invite me into her home and didn’t deserve to be attacked. I don’t know where it came from and afterward I broke down. The ride on the streetcar gave me time to collect myself and take some deep breaths. I needed that time and the ride so I could compose myself.

For peppers: green, red, orange, and yellow.

Like the leaves that are green in spring and change into other bright shades for fall, I thought of the beauty and the splendour of peppers and leaves. I hope for the changing of seasons and the colours that come along with that change.

But I do love those green ones best.

🙂

I was riding a Toronto streetcar and thinking, feeling really, that although I was surrounded by people, I’d never felt more lonely.

That made me think of the Jann Arden song

The Sound Of…

and the question of when we feel lonely and when we feel alone, the difference between the two, and how the two interchange.

That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.
–F. Scott Fitzgerald

Being in Toronto just got to me I guess, not turning into the weekend I’d envisioned when I’d decided to go, and I took that out on someone who did not deserve it and on a city that didn’t either, rather than deal with the feelings I was increasingly feeling.

Being in a city like Toronto makes me feel inadequate because I see so many people, all going about their lives, and I know I don’t fit in here.

Whether it’s feeling like my blindness is a burden on others.

Or that my body betrays me at every turn.

I need to be thankful for something.

Note: Kerry asked me to finish this TToT post, as she met a guy in a grocery store, in Toronto, and went out clubbing with him all night long. She hasn’t been heard from since.

P.S. Only kidding mom and dad. You had to be there.

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Special Occasions, Travel Tuesday

Oh Canada

Today is Canada’s 147th Birthday and so I wanted to celebrate by bragging about why I love my country. I don’t usually brag about anything, but Canada is worth it to me.

Okay, so I don’t like maple syrup or poutine, (yes, I realize this could get me kicked out). There are, however, plenty of things I do love in their stead. Here are just ten.

1. My Oma and Opa chose Canada and they came here and worked hard to make a new life. They raised a good family and that is how I came to be here at all. I love that they were welcomed here and that they were given the chances to make all this possible. They were proud to be Canadians and to raise their family here and I am proud because of them.

2. I love our flag. The red and white always made such a bright contrast for a visually impaired person like myself. Maybe my favourite colour is red because of this and my earliest memories of the main symbol of our nation.

3. I love the music Canada has produced. I love artists such as: Sarah McLachlan, Jann Arden, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Chantal Kreviazuk, Diana Krall, Joni Mitchell, Blue Rodeo, and Alanis Morisette. These musicians represent Canada with their beautiful voices, their moving lyrics, and their distinct sounds. I love them for making me smile, making me cry, and for helping me deal with the hard things in life.

4. I love the literature of my country. I love brilliant writers such as: Lucy Maud Montgomery, Margaret Atwood, and Alice Munro. When Alice won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature I was so very proud and I felt honoured to be a woman, a Canadian, and an aspiring writer.

5. I love the land itself. I love how vast and sweeping it is. I love all the open space and our Canadian north. I love how we value nature and all its natural resources. I love the Great Lakes and the St. Laurence River and the oceans surrounding us. I love the Prairies, the Rockies – from the lush forests to the expansive Arctic .

6. I love the places I’ve traveled and the ones I have yet to explore. I love Niagara and its power which awes me every single time I stand at the railing overlooking the Falls. I love Toronto (Ontario’s capital) for its acceptance of all humans (coming off of 2014’s World Pride celebrations) and for the mixture of cultures and countries it houses all in one city. I love the Maritimes out on our east coast and Vancouver Island out on our west. I love having a little piece of another language and culture right in the middle of all the English-speaking provinces. Quebec is where I received my beloved guide dog all those years ago. I hope to see as much of Canada in the years to come as I possibly can.

7. I love the pride Canadians have in this country and as a result, in themselves. Despite the things the rest of the world think about us and the stereotypes that exist; it is true we are kind and welcoming, for the most part, and are known for it all around the world. We do come off quiet and reserved in contrast with some other countries, but as a quiet and reserved person I feel I am living in the right place. In fact, in my opinion these qualities are highly under-rated. We may not treated our native peoples properly over the years, but it is because of them that Canada is what it is today. I hope we are on the way to making it right and to righting the wrongs of our past. We disagree about the environment, politics, and when it comes to Canada’s role in foreign matters and militarily. Sure we have our problems and don’t always agree. We are by no means perfect but these disagreements just make for a successful democracy.

8. I love how this pride extends to our sports teams. Again, I could get kicked out for admitting I am not quite as enamoured with the game of hockey as the rest of the country, but I do love the image of a backyard or pond rink in winter. I have good memories of Saturdays at the arena with my family or late night roaming an empty one with my siblings while my father played. My brother loved playing hockey in his youth and my father loved being a part of a team as goalie. My family are not Leaf fans or any other Canadian team in particular, but what hockey means to our fellow Canadians it means to us too.

9. I prefer baseball over hockey. I love The Toronto Bluejays and no…I am not just saying this because they happened to win today of all days. I remember sitting tight between my father and brother in our basement, on the couch when Joe Carter scored the home runs to win the 1992 and 1993 World Series and I could hear the pride in their voices as they cheered. The Bluejays are our only team here and we have high hopes for them making the playoffs this year. Going to a game at the Sky dome is an experience in fun and an atmosphere of high energy and enthusiasm.

10. And last but certainly not least, I love the health care we are lucky enough to have here. Again, many could voice their complaints and sure nothing is perfect, but I know of what I speak. I am proud of innovators such as: Dr. Frederick Banting and Tommy Douglas for insulin and universal health care. I know nothing in life is completely free, but after all the surgeries, hospital stays, and medicines my brother and I have needed over the years I am thankful for the universal health care we have. I would feel forever guilt-ridden if I had caused my family to end up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for the care I required. Not all countries around the world would have payed for all the care me and my brother received over the years and my family would be so far in debt if we weren’t living in Canada.

So there are just ten reasons why I love being Canadian. I will now enjoy a wonderful firework display from the comfort of my front porch with my nephew and be thankful I live where I do and enjoy the freedom and the beauty I enjoy.

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians today and I want to wish my neighbours to the south an early Happy Fourth of July. We all need to be grateful for the blessings we have and celebrate our countries and how lucky we truly are to live where we live.

What are you most thankful for where you live?

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