Bucket List, Memoir Monday, Poetry, RIP, TToT

TToT: If You Don’t Control The Narrative, The Narrative Controls You – The Summer Day, #10Thankful

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

—Mary Oliver “The Summer Day”

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for new pillows.

I’ve been using flat, old, barely there pillows for a long while. It was time for something new.

I decided to go with two different levels of firmness and they look the same. This way, I can switch it up and I learned which one I preferred.

Never underestimate the luxury of a decent pillow.

I am thankful for the laughs we have at my writing group.

We do write, but it was another fun time with the gang. I don’t know if a story is destined to come from this one, not from me this time anyway, but other stories were shared and good times all around.

I am thankful for a surprise gift from my neighbour.

I heard a ticking sound as I sat out on my neighbour’s deck last week. I asked her if it was a clock and she showed me her little sun dial.

Well, she got me one with a sunflower on it. If you put it in the light it moves back and forth. She wanted to congratulate me on getting my writing accepted. It’s nice when someone does something like that, totally unexpectedly.

I am thankful the deal with my essay for Catapult was made official, with contracts and a likely date of publication and everything.

This made my day mid week. The editor wasn’t certain when it would get published, until she suddenly emailed me and said she’d had an opening. I try to stay patient these next four weeks or so and keep in mind that things could change, but this will be exciting when it does happen.

She worked, as my editor, and the final piece that came back had a few changes to the final product, but kept my overall message and voice.

And now there comes my least favourite part: the contracts and paperwork.

I am not complaining, really, but I am no good at all that. Has to be done though. Luckily I have a sister who is better at such things. I will definitely be including her here on the TToT when she helps me with all that here soon.

I am thankful I heard back from Hippocampus and may be getting a short piece published with them soon.

They are on my list of spots where I want to see my writing placed. This one is a small foot in the door, but it’s a step in the right direction at least.

I am thankful for a new yoga teacher who wants to learn from me as much as I learn from her.

She says she is very interested in learning, from me, about the best ways to teach visually impaired and blind students who want to take yoga like me.

There are so many ways to do yoga. I never could have imagined. Of course, like anything, you must be cautious that you don’t push things and cause more pain than that which you were working to help relieve in the first place.

I am highly conscious of this fact. I am taking it slow, but my back has a metal rod in it and might not be able to bend the same way as other people. I don’t want to be careless and make things worse, obviously, but this teacher seems open to suggestion and to not pushing me too hard.

It’s just a different situation for her, to try her best to describe the positions for my arms, legs, and whatever else, by being as specific as possible. Watching her simply isn’t an option for me. This is new to her just as to me.

I am thankful for more and more representation of visually impaired characters on television.

I caught the final episode of the second season of a show, filmed here, near to me, in Toronto:
Private Eyes

What first drew me to checking it out was the fact that it was filmed in such a familiar place and then there was the reappearance of my favourite 90s television star: Jason Priestley

Then I discovered that Priestley’s teenage daughter on the show is visually impaired. She reads braille books, uses a computer that talks, and a white cane to get around. I try to watch her character, to follow how the creators write her visual impairment into the show. I am so glad there was a second season and that she was featured so often.

But I will be keeping a close “EYE” on how she is portrayed. It’s important blind people are shown in reality, even on screen and in fictional environments, because people have enough stereotypes and don’t need any more.

I will miss the show over the next year or so and cross my fingers a third season happens.

I am thankful to have family who can replace a roof now and again.

The rain has been finding ways in. It was in pretty good shape when I moved in, ten or eleven years ago. Now, however, the need is growing.

First step, install new water heater. Next my uncle and cousin will replace it, both house and garage. Apparently the second one badly needs it. Funny, I have no idea what everyone’s getting so bothered by. Though, I won’t even go inside that garage at all. Not my scene.

My neighbour asked if she could paint something on the side she has to look at from her deck, to help cover up the ugly. I had no problem with that.

vHCXJCr.jpg

Can you guess what this is?

I am thankful for my parents and neighbour and their kind willingness to help me out with my dog who likes to bark.

He is also terribly attached to me.

My parents watch him when my head is particularly bad. They wouldn’t have to do this, to put up with it, but I hear he’s rather calm and good when he’s with them.

Also, my neighbour opens my door and brings him out when I am away, if she is at home, and ties him up on her deck. He usually is happy to sit quietly while she goes about her day.

Although, this last time, something odd occurred. She just happened to stop by (to give me her gift) right as I was leaving. So we thought she could get Dobby on his leash and just take him with her. Big mistake.

I followed them out the door and left a minute later. As I sat in the car, as we pulled out of the driveway, I could hear him still barking.

It turns out that when he sees me and she physically takes him from me (in his mind), he won’t settle down for her. She soon had to put him back inside my house and then come and get him like she usually does. And that time he settled down on her deck once more and laid quiet.

Huh … hmm. What a dog.

I am thankful for songs like this one, songs that have helped me through difficult times.

“One thing: I don’t know why…it doesn’t even matter how hard you try. Keep that in mind, I designed this rhyme, to explain in due time.”

In The End – Linkin Park

“Time is a valuable thing. Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Watch it count down to the end of the day; The clock ticks life away.”

Back around the year 2000 I was in high school and struggling just to keep up. Finally, I couldn’t do it anymore. Daily headaches were making concentrating to do well in my classes supremely hard and nearing impossible. In the end, I took fewer and fewer classes and finally had to quit all together, without graduating. This is not an easy thing for me to speak about, but it’s nagged at me for years ever since and I do plan to finish sometime in my current decade of my thirties.

These lyrics are about getting so far (years and years of school, including missing over 100 days in seventh grade for dialysis and a kidney transplant, almost being held back), but then I ended up catching up in the eighth and graduating, starting high school with my friends and peers, before falling behind all over again. It was a year or so later that things grew worse once more.

“I tried so hard, and got so far. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter. I had to fall, to lose it all. But in the end, it doesn’t even matter.

It felt for years like no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t matter. I was still behind and stuck and lost. This song brings a tear to my eye, even today, even as I am working to jump start my life and writing and things.

RIP Chester Bennington

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TToT: At the Heart of the Star, Not the Shape of It – Ten Years and Ten Things

“Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”
–Stephen Fry

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

I think Mr. Fry and Mr. Wilde to be two incredibly wise men.

A Rainbow over Titanic Belfast.

I’ve decided to stick, somewhat, with the theme of storms and rainbows that I’ve been going with for most of the month thus far. Since we’re nearly finished with the month of August, I can start fresh next week, but I’ve added a little something more, to make this final week of summer, for the most part, its own.

10 Years Later

I have been thinking about the last ten years since Hurricane Katrina happened. My life wasn’t directly affected by that storm. I remember watching it on television, all the horrible news reports that were coming out of New Orleans, and wondering what my grandmother might have thought of it, as she had just died a few weeks earlier.

Now, I come across so many things, in the course of my week, that I want to share because they make me happy or because I just think they are note worthy.

The TToT has become a place where I can make note, as I don’t know if all the technology and extra information since my grandmother’s death and Katrina, if it’s all that good or not, but I like to share it anyway.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For the first so-called autumn evening of the season.

I know it’s not officially fall yet, but this week I felt the air coming in through m open window, and it smelled like fall.

When I say that people flip out. Yeah, I know the sooner fall comes and summer ends, the closer we are to cold and snow of winter (I know), but maybe I want fall to start now, even just a little bit, and maybe it can be an extra long one, so as to not bring on winter for months and months.

But I’ve already come across things like this, a sure sign that people are starting to think pumpkins and changing leaves:

Ontario Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, Hayrides, and More, Find Halloween and Fall Fun in Ontario! – Pumpkinpatchesandmore.org

and

Haunted Mansion Drops in Price But Still No Takers

For my brother arriving back in Ontario, safe and sound, after one hell of a summer road trip through Canada’s Maritime provinces.

Although we were communicating, every few days while he was gone, it was nice to receive the full rundown, both over the phone and in person.

For see shells, red rocks, and other seaside treasures.

For my brother’s effort in finding me something Anne of Green Gables related from his time on Prince Edward Island: postcards, a fridge magnet, and even a little straw hat. He says he considered, for a moment, getting me the full sized version that I could wear, but on further consideration, went with the miniature one instead.

🙂

Good idea.

For lunch out with family, even a three-year-old nephew who thinks he should stand up on the bench seat, but we block him in. He just wants to be closer to our heights at the table, and that is equal to him standing when we’re sitting. I can’t say I blame him for that.

For the perfect combination of Irish culture and Italian food.

The name Muldoon’s Pizza speaks for itself, but our waitress had a rather thick Italian accent.

For another guest posting spot:

#BeReal – KERRY KIJEWSKI

Thanks, Hasty, for the chance for being real, as this is on the list of things that scare me, thus means it’s completely worth doing.

For my returning brother’s highly appreciated assistance with technology matters this week.

He helped me figure out that I could fix one more thing, made wrong by the computer issues I dealt with back in the spring, by downloading software from the Internet.

When It Rains It Pours

I can, once more, use my scanning device, known as an EyePal, to start work on the final few high school courses I need to complete my high school diploma.

Close But No Cigar

Of course, now I have no more excuses. The only person standing in my way is me. This is something I have battled with for years, since I was unwell and unable to graduate, and I have been left feeling unaccomplished, ashamed, and embarrassed for years since that time.

I have made some progress and am half way to my goal. I have completed two out of the final four credits necessary, over these last few years, and that means I am all the more close to being finished.

This scares me because I then have to decide on what my next move should be. As long as I have something standing in my way, be that technology problems or lack of the education necessary, I don’t have to make the really tough and frightening decisions about my future.

No more excuses means facing my fears, head on!

For the chance I’ve had, of late, to get to know an old friend, a friendship that has become new again.

I attended a farewell party, a drop-in brunch as it was called, and got to wish her well as she and her husband start fresh in California.

For more opportunities to face my fears and work on my issues with crowds and unfamiliar situations.

I attended this goodbye party, with a friend, and we both faced our nervousness at these things. OFten, much of what we are afraid will happen doesn’t end up happening, and the worst turns out to be all in your mind. We wanted to wish someone well and, by going together, we had the support we needed.

Then, my friend and I were at our local county fair and we very nearly had a reunion with an old friend of ours.

She was actually a best friend. At one time, it was the three of us, inseparable. We have grown apart from this old friend and I had it on pretty good authority we may run into her, as the county fair is a common place to find her and her family every summer.

We ran into her sister and her father, but just missed her by a narrow margin. I can’t decide if this was for the best or not, unavoidable or something else altogether. Missed opportunities are disappointing, because you never know if they were meant to be, but I guess not this time.

Things have to come together, at just the precise moment in time:

You’ve Never Seen Clouds Like This Before

I don’t like to turn down things. In fact, I’m making a huge effort, in my life, to not turn down chances and opportunities when they present themselves. It’s a work-in-progress, but I am determined not to let my shyness and awkwardness win out.

The Milky Way Over Yellowstone is Impossibly Beautiful

So whether it’s the destruction of a storm (past or present) with the anniversary of Katrina or this week’s Hurricane Erica. Or maybe it’s another terrible story of a shooting of two news persons. I see no reason to shy away from living life and paying attention to the beauty of the world, all of which makes for a much brighter existence.. That’s why I write down what I’m thankful for every week.

I listened to two interesting things this week. One was a conversation between writer’s Chimamanda Adichie and Zadie Smith and the other was an interview with poet Mary Oliver.

Between the Lines: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with Zadie Smith

I could listen to conversations such as these, all day long. They teach me about writing, about feminism from strong females, and about facing my fears.

In other words:

Never Surrender – Cory Hart

So whether it’s the beautifully explored character development in and of a novel or the splendid simplicity of nature in poetry – I liked the idea of examining a star, or anything for that matter, not only by the shape or form it comes in, but by what’s at its heart. You never know what you’ll find in both.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

–Mary Oliver

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