Blogging, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Special Occasions, The Insightful Wanderer

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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Memoir and Reflections, Song Lyric Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer

All Of My Life, #SongLyricSunday

“There’s too much I need to remember. And there’s too much I need to say.”

—Phil Collins

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That’s how I feel, on this final day of September, 2018 and so off I go, into October.

This song makes me feel sad. It makes me long for something. It makes me wish for something, though I don’t know what:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6hqjzPQA4M

As the final months of the year approach, October first and then November, before December rounds things off, I think of my parents because they both have birthdays in the next two months.

This song, especially, makes me think about my father. He is responsible for my love of Phil Collins in the first place and I’m grateful for that, for him.

***

All of my life,
I’ve been searching
For the words to say how I feel.
I’d spend my time thinking too much
And leave too little to say what I mean
But I’ve tried to understand the best I can
All of my life.

All of my life,
I’ve been saying sorry
For the things I know I should have done
All the things I could have said come back to me
Sometimes I wish that it had just begun
Seems I’m always that little too late
All of my life

Set ’em up,
I’ll take a drink with you
Pull up a chair,
I think I’ll stay
Set ’em up, cos I’m going nowhere
There’s too much I need to remember, and there’s too much I need to say

All of my life,
I’ve been looking
But it’s hard to find the way
Just reaching past the goal in front of me
While what’s important just slips away
And it doesn’t come back but I’ll be looking
All of my life

Set ’em up…
I’ll take a drink with you
Pull up a chair,
I think I’ll stay
Set ’em up, cos I’m going nowhere
There’s too much I need to remember, and there’s too much I need to say, ah yeah

(Guitar solo)

All of my life, there have been regrets
That I didn’t do all I could
Making records upstairs, while he watched TV
I didn’t spend the time I should
It’s a memory I will live with
All of my life.

(sax solo)

LYRICS

***

I’ve been away on vacation for a few weeks, but now I’m back and on this
Song Lyric Sunday,
I immediately thought of this song when I heard the prompt word.

I’m searching for something, for someone, some place, still looking, and I wonder if I won’t be doing that all of my life long.

But, also, don’t you just love the saxophone in this one?

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Thoughts and Prayers Lead to Nothing But Fury, #Review #SoCS

If I were to add one word to the beginning of this week’s
Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt,
it would be “free”.

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the latest from documentary film maker Michael Moore is a clever spin on a previous doc he’d made in the early 2000’s – from 9/11 to 11/9. Not even #45 could have planned it better.

Moore highlights the water crisis in Flint, Michigan and the mass school shootings in Parkland, Florida.

Scenes of protests all over his country, from marching for women’s rights to those of teachers.

A West Virginia politician goes as far to say that America has never been “GREAT”.

As far as democracy is concerned, those countries who shout the loudest about possessing it, rarely really do, rarely ever did. Women couldn’t always vote. African-Americans couldn’t always vote.

It is a hard look at not just one side of the political isle or the other. I came out of it thinking less of Barack Obama than I used to, with his stunt of asking for a glass of water to drink, in front of so many wounded and sick and traumatized citizens of Flint.

Was that a stunt? Did it happen like that? Did the media not showcase it? Or did I just choose not to hear about it at the time?

I can hear about any stupid thing a politician does and make up my own mind. I don’t ever want to be ruled by any one man or woman, anyone governing over me. My freedom is worth fighting for, but not by all the violent wars this world’s ever fought.

I know any group of people can lose their freedom, just like that. If it can happen to one, it can happen to another, it can happen to me and those I love.

A prosecutor of Nazi war criminals is interviewed and he speaks of the peril we’re all under, when children are separated from their parents, anywhere. Anyone who has seen what he’s seen, who has asked a Nazi how they could take part in the murder of 90,000 human beings, just to be told that they were told by their leader that those human beings were a threat – and I choose to listen to this spokesperson for history and what it has to teach us.

Nobody wanted an entire film of just #45 and I am at the top of that list. I couldn’t stand to hear his ugly sneering voice for two hours. No way!

I do remember where I was that night (November 9, 2016) and how it felt. I was making a podcast and I wasn’t one of the many Moore shows clips of, laughing off the prospect of a DT presidency. I don’t like to say “I told you all so,” but I think it when I hear the silly, derisive laughter, all those who laughed it off as a big joke. The joke becomes our reality before we know it.

The man is a symptom of the bigger disease, a rotten symptom like gangrene, I grant you, but a symptom all the same.

Money. Power. Greed. All ugly.

Since this film was made, more current events have taken place in the US, with nomination for the highest court in their land. This is setting off women, the #MeToo movement, like nothing else in a while. Women are sick of the status quo, just as survivors and the rest of us after a mass shooting are sick of “thoughts and prayers”. I haven’t even suffered from serious sexual assault or abuse in my life and I am furious about the misogyny that exists everywhere we look.

I am in Canada and we have our own set of problems, but I know how close Michigan is to where I live. The poisoning of a community’s water supply happened there, is still going on, and I think what class or race can mean, in terms of whether you are heard or taken care of or ridden off entirely.

I know Michael Moore puts a spin on his subject matter when he makes one of his classic documentaries. I go into it with an open mind. I have to admit though, it’s scenes like the one where he tries to make a citizen’s arrest of the Michigan governor, asks a representative of said governor to take a drink of a glass of Flint water, and going as far as hosing down the governor’s mansion with poisoned Flint water that are the things I love about the outrageous filmmaker. He has the freedom to take such actions, to make such films, and he keeps right on exercising that freedom.

I have the freedom to write these words, now, but will I always?

As long as voices like MM exist; yet, (not putting all our hopes on one filmmaker/man/woman/politician is probably best) and it’s when we all act that we hold onto the freedoms we hold so dear.

You may think I’m being dramatic, but as long as freedom is still my own, I can draw the comparisons between Hitler and Trump, from the 1930’s to now because history is a tool with which to evaluate where we are in the present moment.

I ask myself, time and time again, how a society of intelligence and culture like that of Germany at the time could have let it happen. It’s not such a mystery and yet I can’t wrap my mind around the answer.

I am choosing, with my own free will, to learn these lessons, before it is too late. It is already (too late) for so so many, those who lost their own freedom long ago. I still hold some of mine and I am grateful for that. I am awake, wide awake and I am grateful for any piece of media which shines a light on the problems that exist.

He ends his film with the sound of a pained and passionate female voice, one I’d heard at the time and winced at the fury I heard bubbling just below the surface of her words. Watch out world.

So forget thoughts and prayers. We women are at the front of the line when it comes to defending our freedom and no longer hiding our fury.

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TToT: Anniversaries and Possibilities – Desert Roses and Rain, #BloodMoon #LunarEclipse #10Thankful

“There comes a time when the world gets quiet and the only thing left is your own heart. So you’d better learn the sound of it. Otherwise you’ll never understand what it’s saying.”

― Sarah Dessen

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I’ve been thinking of the concept of time lately. I’ve been thinking about the timing of life’s greatest surprises.

I’ve been thinking, the last few days, of the girl I was (in my early twenties) when I lost my grandmother and the person I am today (in my mid thirties) – because of her and thanks to so many others.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful to them all.

My family have lost both my cousin and my grandmother in the month of July and we never forget.

I’m thankful for the time I had with my grandma and that I can remember her on this day and every other.

When we lost first my cousin, followed almost precisely one year later by my grandmother, I was adrift in my twenties and things wouldn’t become clearer for several years.

When I think of how much I miss those loved ones and the person I was when they were still here, I wish to turn back time, but then I stop, pause and ponder, and my present and future beckon.

I’m thankful for moving writing like this.

Orange by Susan Block – The Citron Review

I’m thankful for the hope that much waited for political change can bring.

From my standpoint, born in Canada, Ive recently been lucky to hear stories, firsthand, from another’s place in the world.

As much as I worry about where we are, I know there’s a big big world out there, one still fighting hard for something better.

I’m thankful for music.

Listening to music helps me sort out my feelings. It has recently become energizing and lyrics and feelings music provokes, this awakens me to the possibilities.

I’m thankful for a blood moon and a lunar eclipse, even if I can’t see all of that.

Our Favorite Photos of the ‘Blood Moon’ Eclipse – National Geographic

Do I wish I could see these? Yes, I do.

But I can still see the moon and I can feel the power it has over the earth and everything on it. The way it moves the tides is a powerful example.

I can love the fact that it is “blood,” “orange,” or “Red” and I don’t stop, won’t stop imagining what that looks like.

I’m thankful for my ability to cry.

When I heard the news, I cried, letting my hot stinging tears trickle from my eyes, onto my pillow and down into my hair.

Whether it’s from a sudden great loss or a rush of extraordinary emotion in the face of something real, crying (even a little) reminds me that I am loved, of my ability to love, simply to feel alive.

I’m thankful for the feeling that I’m flying.

Desert Rose – Sting

I’m thankful for the desert.

I know very little of this climate, up close, other than the sands I stood on on my Yukon trip last year.

Carcross Desert – Atlas Obscura

Not exactly the same as in this song I realize.

Whether Sting is singing about the desert or rain – from the sands to the ocean deep, as in my favourite IMAX movies.

I remember the first time I heard the above song. I was in high school and my friend’s mother had picked us up at the movies. We were driving in her van and Desert Rose came on the radio. I was blown away, as there was nothing else really like it on the radio in Canada and I felt like I was being transported, somewhere far far from my home.

I’m thankful for the rain.

Last time it was fire and this time it is rain.

“Ever since I met you on a cloudy “Wednesday,” I can’t believe how much I love the rain.”

(Lyric from a Chantal Kreviazuk song, which I’ve altered only slightly.)

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TToT: Making A Mossy Rock Start To Roll – Blue and Sparkle, #10Thankful

Music, for me, is like life. It illustrates life, the blue and the sparkle of it. I include three songs, throughout this post, and they range from get-up-and-go (high energy) to somber and reflective of the state and weight of the world. But, first, I start with a celebration.

Jes3u4c.jpg

Happy 39th you guys.

Something to celebrate, to start things off. And, now, on to the thankfuls.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for my parents and their example of a solid and rooted life together.

I like to think of them (1979 them) and the parents they were to us (growing up) and now the grandparents they are (so adored).

I’m thankful for the lost and the found.

I thought I’d lost something that is important to me. Thanks, to my mom, for finding it.

I’m thankful my team’s paper on the importance of braille is finally out.

Improving Braille Availability in Canadian Public Libraries

I’m thankful Canada has this woman representing and working for us.

Chrystia Freeland wants to Fix the Twenty-First Century – The Walrus

I just love that her name is “Freehand” and she is fighting hard, with the US, over the whole NAFTA thing.

Some of us take a free land, our freedom and land, for granted. It’s existence isn’t necessarily guaranteed to last.

Not everyone agrees on NAFTA or tariffs, but I don’t know where this is heading. All I know is that it’s nice to see a strong female leader, here in my country.

I’m thankful I got to play Legos with my nephew.

I always loved those little blocks. I could be an architect and build a structure, a house, with a backyard and fence. It was one way I could create, with my hands, and make something I could touch and feel.

Great creative outlet.

I’m thankful my niece painted my nails, light blue and a sparkle on top.

She is quite the little artist. I love that about her. She chose my colour with careful thought. She is a pro.

I’m thankful I get to listen and have a conversation with them both.

We talk about eating spiders and other things. It’s the best conversation I’ve had in a long time. It’s nice to talk with little people who know nothing about adult issues and don’t care. They don’t follow the news, like I likely didn’t when I was there age, but my niece is entering the third grade this fall. I can remember back when I was that age.

I loved that my nephew showed me his fish and my niece loves to play with my dog because it just doesn’t make sense for them to get one, with their busy lives.

I’m thankful when my niece takes my hand and leads me somewhere.

I’m thankful for side hugs.

I’m thankful for music. And, especially this week, this music.

It speaks to things we’re all going through.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday, The Insightful Wanderer

Sweet Release, #SongLyricSunday

“If you cannot stand beside me – there isn’t love, there is only pride.”

—Lara Fabian

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This one line from the song always truck me as the realization at the end of love in a relationship.

She is a French-Canadian singer whom I first heard twenty years ago now. Wow, I’m old, but here she is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtlW8CFHjQE

At a certain moment, you realize, letting go is not giving up, but before that can happen, you have to learn the difference between the two.

They are sneaky buggers and they like to be confused for one another, but if someone isn’t willing to stay, letting go is the best way to find peace and happiness again.

***

Silence and quiet again my life
Far from these moments I wish I was
Passion and truth we were about
Before the shadows stole the beat of our hearts

After all we have been through
I can only look at you
Through the eyes you lied to
I’m givin’ up, givin’ up, I’m givin’ up on you

After all if there is no way out
If you cannot stand beside me
If there isn’t love there is only pride
I’m givin’ up, I’m givin’ up this fight

Undo this leash you say I tied
When only our fears are to blame this time
And what am I to you? Just spit it out
I’m not afraid of the words that you hide

After all we have been through
I can only look at you
Through the eyes you lied to
I’m givin’ up, givin’ up, I’m givin’ up on you

After all if there is no way out
If you cannot stand beside me
If there isn’t love there is only pride
I’m givin’ up, I’m givin’ up this fight

Where do we go? Where did it all crash?
When did it start to fall apart?

Silence and quiet, passion and truth
Shadows, only shadows

After all if there is no way out
If you cannot stand beside me
If there isn’t love there is only pride
I’m givin’ up, I’m givin’ up

After all we have been through
I can only look at you
With the eyes you lied to
I’m givin’ up, givin’ up, I’m givin’ up on you

After all if there is no way out
If you cannot stand beside me
If there isn’t love there is only pride
I’m givin’ up, I’m givin’ up this time
Givin’ up, givin’ up this fight
Givin’ up, givin’ up
I’m givin’ up, givin’ up, I’m givin’ up this fight
I’m givin’ up, I’m givin’ up tonight

LYRICS

***

“And what am I to you? Just spit it out. I’m not afraid of the words that you hide.”

I love this line too, as she shows her frustration, through her singing. Though many really do want something long unsaid to just finally be “spit out” by the other person, the fear of those words really is the thing that is standing in the way of full disclosure and the ability to clear the air.

As a sequel of sorts,
this one
was her follow-up song, though not as popular in my past. Still, it shows that there is more to come.

On this
Song Lyric Sunday,
I wanted to share a selection from Canada, where we are proud to have music from both English and French performers, as a representation of our bilingual land of culture and art in a shared cultural space.

Check out some of her French-speaking stuff, if you have a chance. I would have chosen it, if I’d tried harder to learn French back in school, but I gave it up, something more of English-speaking Canada is probably guilty of.

It’s never too late I suppose.

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