Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections

Measurements In Love and Mathematics, #JusJoJan

This sounds suspiciously like measurement. Translation, math I mean.

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I guess, in relationships, we’ve got to learn to give an
inch
or two. That’s what’s known as compromise, right?

Sometimes, I wonder if I am any good at relationships and love at all, that maybe I can admit when I am wrong, okay. Other times, if I am truly passionate about something, I can get rather heated in defence of my principles.

Maybe, it’s less about measurements of love and relationships and more that I don’t think I’ll ever be enough for someone. I think I’m better with human relationships than with mathematical measurements, but perhaps not so much.

Yeah, I’m incredibly cheery all this long January of the jot.

Thanks,
John Holton,
for the rather mathematical sounding word for the 17th of January.

The depression many feel during this long month, for me, will only be increased with the mathematical, but there’s always a jot to be found in there somewhere.

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TToT: Whether In Mirrors Or Lakes (Special Reflections Edition) #RIP #BeardGuy #JusJoJan #10Thankful

Another week has gone by. We’re back at another
Ten Things of Thankful
and,
like last week,
I’ve figured out how to link these two.

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I like me a good
reflection
blog post.

In doing that is how, where and why I discover my gratitude lists from within.

Thanks to this feature blogger,
for this word that’s fitting,
right along with a list of thankfuls.

I am thankful for
the reflections
of other creatives.

I am thankful for other bloggers. They offer endless reading and character in their owners. I can reflect back on all the bloggers I’ve gotten to know here, and even over on BlogSpot.

I am thankful for soda water. I have always loved water, back when I used to get a glass of the refreshing liquid, out of the jug in my oma’s fridge or from the tap, in the glass from my grandma that I now drink out of to remember her and the love of water we both shared. I like to drink less pop/soda and so bubbly water is refreshing and a nice compromise, no sugar.

I am thankful for violins in their beauty as my favourite instruments. I can reflect in how far I’ve come since I started to learn, from starting soon after turning thirty-two to soon turning thirty-five.

I am thankful for this blog, which will soon celebrate five years in existence here on WP.

I am thankful for WP. It is a platform I can at least minimally use, as a place to share my writing. I remember back ten years ago or so, when I tried to set up a blog here, but then I had different voice software and it was nearly impossible. Oh how far I’ve come, along with the technology I use every day.

I am thankful for the haircuts I get at my cousin’s salon, as I reflect back to the earliest days of me dying my hair, in my early twenties. She started out at someone else’s salon, and now she runs her own.

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Caption: me with my re-darkened hair for winter, in my new outfit.

I am thankful for gently used clothing. I can reflect on the person I used to be, afraid to wear anything secondhand, even though I’ve always loved and believed things used by others come with a story. I found a few things at the little shop she has, including a pair of boots to take when I travel in a few months, assuming #45 doesn’t hold his government hostage on an ongoing basis, making airports chaotic by the time I am scheduled to fly.

I am thankful for dinner with my father, lunch with a friend, and a spot on my municipal accessibility committee where I was well received my first time there.

I am thankful for the Christmas tree that is now a light tree, just outside my living room window. Thanks to my mom. Thanks, also, to my brother who is going to help me get a better deal on a plan for my phone.

These are simple yet powerful thankfuls, alongside all my reflecting.

I am thankful for this song. I used to love it, for a long time, without realizing who it was. Then I heard the news of the death of one of the members of the group. They had a memorial of music, in his memory, not far from me.

I can reflect on the year since Dolores of The Cranberries died suddenly and I understand that life is short.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bt-FHaFVH8

RIP Beard Guy.

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The Beauty Is In The Process, #JusJoJan

I love the violin, love everything about it, including the instrument itself. It is curvy, smooth, and so dear to me now.

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As I returned from a break from my weekly lessons, this first full week of the new year, I reflected on all I’ve learned and how far I’ve come.

Still, I won’t ever entirely
master
the instrument I love so much, but that’s to be expected.

My bow stays straight now, which is an achievement. My teacher sees my progression of skill, even if I have trouble seeing the same.

I am fascinated by everything to do with this beautiful instrument. When I started, that’s all I knew. I knew I loved the sound and I had no idea, at that time, all that a violin is made up of. I got a rather pleasant sound out of it, even on my own, before the lessons first started. This leading me to believe it might not be as hard as I’d always heard.

Was it harder than learning the piano? Would it be more difficult to learn to play than the clarinet, which I played briefly, in high school?

I knew I loved it and wanted to learn to play, more than I’d ever wanted to learn to play guitar. You played it with a bow, but I’d never really seen one, let alone held one in my hand.

I was turning thirty-two, (it’ll be three years now) next month. I rented a violin for my birthday. I liked it so much, with no guarantee of how the practicing would go, where it might take me or not. Yet, after only a few months, when I went back to renew the rental, I walked out as owner instead.

I didn’t grow up loving classical music and still don’t love that style. I do have a lot more appreciation for it now though, whenever I listen to some. I do see, after knowing my own violin teacher for all this time, all that it takes (the commitment and the skill) to become a strong player. I mean strong, physically, which is something I couldn’t have known until I myself felt all the muscle groups it takes to play.

I want to set myself a 2019 resolution, if I can bring myself to use that word, for what I want from the violin this year.

I’ve have a lousy practice schedule. I don’t play for very many people. I don’t realize, well enough, how far I’ve actually come.

I do know, something inside me, it keeps me going with it, when setting it aside and just not picking it up often feels like the easier option. Of course, it would be easier, but why would I want to take the easy rout anyway?

I think often on what it takes, the mastering of something, anything but especially a tricky instrument such as the violin.

Some people would be super impatient by now, with the level of progress I’ve arrived at, but I choose to not look at my situation in quite that way.

We spend our lives, working to master one thing, before we think we can move right on to something else. I’d settle for having confidence to be able to play a violin part, a solo, on a song my brother wrote. That would be nice.

I’d like to master the craft of writing and the art of it too. Same goes for the instrument that I love. Fingers crossed, but I think I’ll ask other people to do that, as I need my fingers, uncrossed, to be able to play.

Next week’s practice theme: harmonics.

This has been day six of
Just Jot It January
and the word giver for today was
Sadje
to round out the first weekend of the month.

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Boy, Oh Boy, #RIP #SongLyricSunday

December gloom.

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I haven’t been participating in
Song Lyric Sunday
for several weeks now, but December brings with it a whole lot of emotion: both joyousness and gloominess.

I’ve been thinking about those who were once boys, who eventually turned into men, and of whom we’ve lost in the month of December.

This song reminds me of family who were lost, seven years ago, as we approach the anniversary of his passing:

This is a month of joyousness at Christmas, but of sorrow in life lost to suicide too. The two contrasting emotions are stark when I experience them now, every year since.

***

If I die young
bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh uh oh

Lord make me a rainbow,
I’ll shine down on my mother
She’ll know I’m safe with you when She stands under my colours,
oh and Life ain’t always what you think it oughta be,
no Ain’t even grey, but she buries her baby
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well, I’ve had just enough time

If I die young
bury me in satin.
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

And I’ll be wearing white
when I come into your kingdom
I’m as green as the ring on my little cold finger
I’ve never known the lovin’ of a man
But it sure felt nice when he was holding my hand
There’s a boy here in town says he’ll love me forever
Who would have thought forever could be severed by
The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys and I’ll wear my pearls
What I never did is done

A penny for my thoughts,
oh no I’ll sell them for a dollar
They’re worth so much more after I’m a goner
And maybe then you’ll hear the words I been singin’
Funny when you’re dead how people start listenin’

If I die young
bury me in satin
Lay me down on a bed of roses
Sink me in the river at dawn
Send me away with the words of a love song
Uh oh (uh oh)

The ballad of a dove Go with peace and love Gather up your tears, keep ’em in your pocket Save ’em for a time when your really gonna need ’em oh

The sharp knife of a short life,
Well I’ve had just enough time

So put on your best boys, and I’ll wear my pearls

Songwriters: Kimberly Perry
If I Die Young lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

***

Here we go again, I thought, as I was given the news and had to tell my loved ones the horrible details.

This wasn’t my family’s first time dealing with suicide of a loved one. Different side of the family, but same shock and grief.

As I recently listened to cassette tapes with my brother of our childhood, I listened to old Christmas parties and of all the kids playing, the boys playing rougher, as sometimes they are known to do. I never did hear him, as he was always a quiet boy, but I heard other cousins calling his name. Stevie, he was often called.

December is my month of pure happiness, as I remember the innocence I felt, as a young girl this time of year.

Now, that happiness is tinged with a gloominess that slices this month in half for me, as far as the festive mood I try to find.

John Lennon was also a boy once, in the biggest boy band of the day, in the 1960’s, and he is being mourned all over again, as every December rolls around.

This is my favourite John Lennon song to end this post:

A song of a sincere apology given after jealousy.

RIP John and Steven.

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TToT: Foresight, Hindsight, Insight, #Problem #Solution #10Thankful

Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy birthday to L.M. Montgomery, who was born 144 years ago today!

“‘Old Prince Edward Island’ is a good place in which to be born – a good place in which to spend a childhood. I can think of none better. We Prince Edward Islanders are a loyal race. In our secret soul we believe that there is no place like the little Province that gave us birth.”

– L.M. Montgomery, The Alpine Path: the Story of My Career

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Caption: Kids, with Grandpa, about to blow out birthday candles.

I’m writing this on the final day of November, even though this post is dated days earlier. I missed last week’s
Ten Things of Thankful
and I’m too lazy to try to figure out how to reset dates in WP and I don’t want to bother starting a new entry for this. It works as is.

I’m thankful for my father on his 63rd birthday.

I’m thankful for my favourite writer on what would have been hers too.

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Caption: The bedroom she was born in.

I got to visit that house when I was in Prince Edward Island in September.

I love that my favourite writer and my favourite father share this day.

I’m thankful for last weekend, a trial run of the 2018 KFC (Kijewski family Christmas) as we like to call it.

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Caption: Grandpa and Mya watching gingerbread houses being decorated.

I’m thankful for a night out at the movies with siblings.

I’m thankful for brownies.

I’m thankful for a second
Fantastic Beasts film,
where more of the world leading to Harry Potter was revealed.

I’m thankful for another episode of
Outlook,
where we interview (or he us) a lifelong friend and brother.

I’m thankful for an unforgettable night of stories performed from the heart.

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I am standing up, in front of an audience, to tell my story, a dying art.

I’m thankful four of my family members could be there to see me do that.

I’m thankful for a doctor who goes above and beyond.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GHXEGz3PJg

This song was playing as I left the
TAP Centre for Creativity
and I thought it fit because we all have a hunger to be heard.

Finally, RIP Bush Senior.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/21750/4-simpsons-controversies-didnt-end-lawsuits

The Simpsons has made fun of all recent Presidents (from Nixon on) and has taken a few shots at some of the famous and forgotten ones who came before, but they have a special relationship with Bush Sr. Surprisingly, this began with Barbara, who in a 1990 interview with People , said The Simpsons was “the dumbest thing [she] had ever seen.” The writers at the show had Marge send off a letter defending her family (and implying that certainly Washington had some dumber people/things to see). Mrs. Bush wrote a prompt, polite response.
The next year, 1991, the Bushes were featured in “Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington.” Barbara gave a private tour of her bathroom and George moved decisively to remove a corrupt congressman when he learned through the pipeline that “a little girl [was] losing faith in democracy.”

The real controversy began January 27th, 1992, when Bush declared to a meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters: “We are going to keep on trying to strengthen the American family, to make American families a lot more like the Waltons and a lot less like the Simpsons.” The Simpsons quickly wrote and animated a new sequence for “Stark Raving Dad,” which would be rerun three days later. Bart and his family watch the clip of Bush’s speech and Bart replies, “Hey, we’re just like the Waltons. We’re praying for an end of the depression, too.”

It was not until four years later that The Simpsons got the final word—in “Two Bad Neighbors,” George and Barbara move in across the street to the Simpsons. While George immediately takes a liking to Ned Flanders, he dislikes Bart, whom he sees as disrespectful.

Bush: You know, in my day, little boys didn’t call their elders by their first names. block quote level 1block quote level 1

Bart: Yeah, well, welcome to the 20th century, George. block quote level 1block quote level 1

The episode casts Bart as Dennis the Menace and George as cranky Mr. Wilson until Bart accidentally destroys Bush’s hand-typed memoirs, in which he claims, “And since I’d achieved all my goals as President in one term, there was no need for a second.”

Bush spanks Bart and won’t apologize for interfering with Homer’s parenting. This leads to an escalation of tension and pranks until the inevitable fistfight in the sewer. The Bushes move away after Barbara forces Bush to apologize in front of Mikhail Gorbachev (after which Homer demands an apology “for the tax hike”). Homer gets along much better with his next neighbor, Gerald Ford.

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

It’s satire and could be seen as mocking. I don’t approve of politicians talking about family values though, in order to win an election, as to be political you can’t possibly totally practice all that you preach. Still, I see being made into an episode as an honour and I show it as a goodbye to a man who lived a good long life:

I had to explore this, from a strictly cultural (Simpsons) point of view, because people are complicated. This show hasn’t been for everyone, a certain generation a lot less likely, but it is sad to have no sense of humour.

A man who was in charge to be forever known as the American’s With Disabilities Act president will be remembered for it. He was someone’s husband, father, and grandfather. He made decisions that not everyone would have agreed on, but he was more of a respected politician than what the US has as POTUS at the moment, by a long long shot.

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Thankful When Last Month Was Thanksgiving: A Weekend of Thankfuls (Part 1) #FTSF

I am thankful for Thanksgiving in Canada, which comes in October, making it much more likely there’ll be fall leaves and not snow – not yet.

I took a break from the thankful exercise I usually take part in,
(Ten Things of Thankful)
for a bunch of weeks, which didn’t feel good. I’m not sure why I needed a break from the whole thing.

I think it has helped me incredibly over the last three or so years. I have my days of feeling down on life and so I need to work hard for the gratitude I can and do feel.

Writing it down on my blog, keeping track of special occasions and interesting finds in music or in the news or my RIP tributes and the quotes I like to start and end my posts with.

I think everyone should have a gratitude journal, but most do not.

I must focus on the things that are good in my own life, or else I’d drown in the lack of things, those things I always thought I would have or do but don’t.

I am thankful for Canada and for parades and for Santa Claus. He brings magic to the world.

I am thankful for those I’ve met at the six week workshop on telling our stories. I am thankful for the family and the father I’ve been blessed with, when so many haven’t been so lucky. The lack of such things can really mess with a person’s self worth or lessons on what love is – caring more about the other person and their happiness than for your own.

I am thankful 2018 was such a busy year for me and I am thankful for the coming year, the 2019 yet to come.

I am thankful for
Finish the Sentence Friday
and the
awesome bloggers
who put it on each weekend.

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TToT: Stoking The Fires and Fanning The Flames, #WorldKindnessDay #Armistice100 #TToT

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

—Mary Oliver

I may have used this quote in one of these already, but I like it so much and am using it again.

On Remembrance Day, here in Canada, I pause for silent reflection. Then, I get pissed off.

I’m supposed to feel gratitude and I do, but I look at all the sacrifice and I can’t help seeing waste. Of course, we wouldn’t have the peace we now have if it weren’t for the actions of so many, but I am angry and can’t feel grateful that mankind continues to get itself into ugly, awful wars.

We teach our children to share, to play nice, and to work it out. Yet, adults repeatedly let greed and lack of compassion and a sense of entitlement for what they may have get the better of them. Nationalism is dangerous, while patriotism even gets stuck in my throat sometimes. I am thankful for peace and for Canada, but I see the wider world in pictures, clearly with borders and laws and still I look for more common decency in the face of the things we all deal with.

I’ve been away from
Ten Things of Thankful
for a month at least. I am returning, on this day in particular, because I am still thankful for so much.

Remembrance Day makes me more mad than anything, overshadowing my gratitude. I take peace for granted too, in my own way. I am sick and tired of conflicts and battles because there’s endless suffering and a long lasting mark is left on nations and on their people.

It’s still going on. Maybe not at a world level at this moment, but there’s no guarantee that things won’t worsen into more widespread destruction.

Saying all that…

I’m thankful for all the kindnesses I’m seeing. I’m thankful for those putting out the fires and those celebrating and highlighting peace.

Armistice Day: moving events mark 100 years since end of first world war – as it happened

I am thankful for the live performances, those willing to play their music on stage, and discovering new music.

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

These are Moscow Apartment and they are a young duo, two amazing musical girls from Toronto who are so musically accomplished at such a young age. I was so impressed.

Teenagers. I can still relate and empathize so much with that time of life, even as I approach my 35th birthday this February.

I am thankful for
Women’s Travel Fest
and my trip to New York in March. The prospect gives me something to look forward to in the new year.

It will be a challenge for me, traveling to New York City for this conference, but I need to keep on taking chances and going on adventures. I can sometimes get so down on the things I don’t have and focusing on things I do have makes it tolerable.

I’m thankful for my sister, who helps me go jean shopping and writing up invoices for my freelance writing work.

I am thankful for a six-week storytelling workshop. It’s getting me out of my comfort zone.

I’m thankful for a
fantasticly fun friend
on our latest podcast episode.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to talk about the issues of
accessibility, equality, and advocacy
on the radio.

So there’s so much going on and I’m just barely catching up, but I always swore this TToT was a positive thing in my life, getting me focusing on the good things. I wanted to return and I wish I hadn’t been gone for so long.

I’m thankful for this gratitude journal of sorts and everyone who has ever run it or participated in it.

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

RIP Stan Lee.

“It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”

—L.M. Montgomery

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