1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, RIP, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: My Morning Mangos and the Path of Totality – “Le Mot Juste” #10Thankful

To be honest, I didn’t even want to do one of these this week, not at first.

I was horrified at how many people seemed to be defending the wrong people, ones with hate in their hearts rather than those trying to stand up to them. I was railing at the unfairness of the argument, that I know how important free speech actually is.

I know all the arguments about freedom of speech and that anyone trying to silence that in any way, through protests, that this is not necessarily the best way. I wish I could come up with a better way to combat hate speech, even if it is still considered a part of free speech. Violence breaking out between people is the reason I dislike protesting, but I really have no new answers.

I heard firsthand that someone who was at that rally was from north of the border, from my province in Canada and I felt sick.

Then I heard there were white supremacist rallies planned for B.C. and Quebec City and I felt even worse.

All this had me rather depressed, but still…the saga continues and, yet, I am thankful.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for fresh peaches and for mangos.

Sometimes, my brain gets a little mixed up and thinks a mango is a turkey dinner, but in fruit form apparently.

Yep. You heard me right.

I’m thankful I had a doctor’s office to be seen at right away when I really needed it.

Once I said the magic words of bladder infection, I was in. After all the unknowns of invisible illnesses, no tests to show there’s even a problem or any pain at all, it’s nice and refreshing to take a test, of any kind, and have it tell the doctors something useful and something to explain my symptoms as I’ve reported them.

I’m thankful for an understanding violin teacher.

We are the kind of teacher/student that, I’d like to think, are understanding when life suddenly happens and canceling is the only option.

I do try not to do it last minute, but in this case I can’t say otherwise.

I’m thankful for antibiotics.

I know over use and all the news reports of over prescribing. There is a time and place for most everything.

I am just grateful we have them when we really do need them.

I’m thankful for an anniversary of a writing freelance resource that has been my ticket into that world.

It’s another of those good vs bad situations with a platform like Facebook. In this case, it is serving a helpful purpose in my life and in helping me to advance my writing career.

I never could have guessed, one year ago, that I would get work from such a spot.

I should have something to show for that in the next month.

I’m thankful things stayed relatively calm for the rallies that did take place here in Canada.

The ones rallying in Quebec swear they are not racist, that it’s about legal immigration, not white supremacy.. Even the difference between the wild and out-of-hand events of Charlottesville, Virginia and the rather uneventful ones here in Canada perfectly illustrate the tameness of this country in most things, compared to what happens in the US most times.

The protesters in Quebec came across looking like the aggressive ones, as the main rally couldn’t begin while the protesters were outnumbering the ralliers and, in the end, things went off rather quietly, for this country anyway.

I’m sure those there might disagree with my assessment of the situation.

Rally in Quebec turns violent after protesters opposing anti-immigrant rallies clash with police – Toronto Star

I did find it amusing and ironic that while the rally was happening and the protesters were protesting in Quebec City, there was a Pride parade going on with Justin Trudeau and the PM of Ireland in Montreal.

I’m thankful for my brother’s help in audio recording for the SiriusXM project I’m working on.

He is an audio wizard. He’d say there are others who can do such things faster than he can, but I know you all would agree if you could have been there today and when you hear what we’re coming up with.

My words and direction and a few sounds I picked up while I was actually in Mexico and he with his computer program that cuts, moves, fades, pastes, moves, etc.

He’s got quite the sharp ear for it.

I’m thankful the blind were taken into consideration to experience the eclipse with everyone else.

eclipsesoundscapes.org

It’s nowhere close to the real thing, but it’s a start.

Thanks scientists and app developers.

I’m thankful that a solar eclipse is even possible.

Isn’t our galaxy astounding?

I’ve loved all that since I was a small child. I never believed being an astronaut was in my future, because of the math thing, but I’ve never met a space documentary I didn’t like.

Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler

And finally…

I’m thankful that nobody I know looked directly at the eclipse without protection.

At least, I don’t think they did. I’d better go and check with everyone I know to be certain.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vGIfbHRepQ

I had to include an ode to the voice role Jerry Lewis did for one of the classic Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors Halloween episodes. That character was brilliant.

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Blogging, FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, TGIF

Frozen In Time, #TGIF #FTSF

The sixth grade gym teacher said: “RUN!” And so his students ran. They ran and ran and ran laps around the school yard, a simple little country school.

The class ran and ran, including one tired classmate, being practically dragged along behind her sighted guide, finally unable to run another lap, not even one more step. She fell to the ground, feeling and smelling the cool tickle and scent of the grass against her cheek, but feeling close to death, hardly caring if she ever got up again.

She was. Close, horrifyingly close, but nobody knew it.

A long, long time ago and very far away, there lived a frightened little girl. She felt like she couldn’t hack it, any of it.

Homework was a nightmare. Math especially filled her with dread at the prospect.

The doctor dismissed her symptoms.

“Her stomach pains are just the start of menstruation,” the GP stated emphatically.

He said it, even as the mother kept bringing her daughter back, time after time. Finally, her shaky hand and general appearance of being unwell would seem to warrant blood tests and a referral. Thank God for that.

Twenty years ago seems so far away to me now. If it had been too far back or longer than long, things wouldn’t have turned out like they did. Medicine has come a long, long way.

Dialysis. Transplantation. Twenty years ago all this was possible. Just twenty years before that and the twenty before that, not so much.

Sometimes it feels like another girl lived all that, another life, and one that wasn’t me. Was I really that frightened little girl?

This week’s triumphant return of mine to Finish the Sentence Friday, brought to you by:

Finding Ninee

&

Life is Like a Hand Grenade

Life is a little like that. Sometimes, things blow up for us, all around us, and we’re left to pick up the pieces.

I’m still picking up those pieces, shards of the life I had then and a life that could have been.

It is what it now is, because of that long, long time and far far away.

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Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, SoCS

Dungeons, Dragons, and Sorcerer’s Spells #JusJoJan #SoCS

I’m good with this week’s

Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt,

but only because Linda promises it doesn’t require doing any math to take part, swearing she wasn’t even thinking of math when she decided on the prompt.

🙂

Such a huge relief when I heard that.

#SoCS

How strange that she didn’t even think of math (odd and even). How odd really.

😉

But you wanna hear something even odder?

One moment I’m taking another creative workshop (creative writing) and the next I’m creating in a whole other way, the Dungeons & Dragons way.

Now if there’s ever anything I never imagined myself doing, it would be playing that game. Well, now I can say I did it, can tick it off of my bucket list of things to try, even though I never even had it on my bucket list to begin with. Learning to play violin, like I intend to begin on my birthday next month maybe, but not this.

I immediately think of

odd/even

as a math thing and there was plenty of math involved in this game, but there was also a lot of using your imagination. That I knew I could do.

Admittedly, the only place I’d really ever seen anything about this game was on Big Bang Theory. Well, when I actually got invited to find out more for myself, by a few people from my Writer’s Circle group, I figured I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see for myself, the real thing in action.

I can’t believe how intricate and complex it is and how many rules there are. I could hardly keep up. There is so much that goes into it, but I tried not to judge, for one day, instead to just find out firsthand.

I chose to be a sorcerer.

🙂

I could do magic. I was neutral. Hmmm. What else? What else?

I could throw my spear, send out my cat on missions, daze my enemies, or detect magic.

It took something like three hours, just to choose characters and their traits, powers, abilities or whatever the proper terms are. There are manuals and manuals for this thing, I discovered. There are several additions, as it’s been around for so many years now.

It’s a strange and alien world to what I’ve known thus far, but now I can add it to the ever growing list of experiences I will likely never forget. I am just trying, as the new year progresses, to go for it, taking any opportunities that come my way. I couldn’t not go and see what it was all about.

What’s odd to one person is another’s normal. Who’s to say what’s “odd” anyway, even if something has a cultural oddness attached, even if most people wouldn’t play a certain game, others love it for so many reasons.

I got to see a few of those reasons. I got to watch it, in all its imaginary glory, as so much adventure and danger and fun, sitting and rolling a few dice and going on quests in your own head and with the heads of those around you.

Odd, but there was no sign of a dungeon or a dragon at all. Oh, but there was a crypt and a giant celestial fire beetle? Huh?

🙂

There are so many rules for so many things,

in role playing games and in this blogging challenge,

but you just never know what you might discover through it all.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Feminism, Happy Hump Day, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions

In The News and On My Mind: School’s Back In Session

“Watching the news in the evening is a bit like being on an emotional Tilt-aWhirl. “Isis now sets people on fire.” “Harper Lee has a new book out!” “Some oddballs are bringing measles back because they’re scared of autism, which is a bit like saying I’m worried about birthday candles, so let’s start a forest fire.” “It’s going to be gorgeous this weekend!” “Look, a politician being deliberately rude.” “And also, look at these adorable puppies!” My limbic system does not work that fast!”
–JEG

Labor Day was Monday and now it’s back to school. This week is, thought by many, to be the end of summer.

A lot of what’s been going on in the news, I’m not sure, should be talked about. I’m not sure those I am referring to deserve to be mentioned by name, so I am going to try my best not to.

Instead, because these stories are still on my mind and, many are extremely bothersome, I will focus on recognizing those who do deserve it, just to balance things out a little.

***

Not sure how I feel about the British monarchy, but I did watch

“The Queen”

in theatres, on its release, and again, on television the other night.

It’s sixty years of Queen Elizabeth and Britain is celebrating her this week.

At the moment, those making the news with names I hesitate to mention include: a “comedian” who believes fat shaming is acceptable, another “comedian” who has gone on the record and defended rape, and the continuation of the circus around next year’s US elections.

There is a difference between honesty and bullying behaviour. It’s a fine line and I don’t know where that line is. We’re much too serious these days, we must learn to laugh at ourselves, but that can hurt when you constantly feel as if you are the one being laughed at and the universe always seems to be making jokes at your expense.

I don’t know what right anyone has to say any woman is “unrapeable”. I’m sick and tired of men like this, making stupid statements like that, falling back on the “innocent until proven guilty” line. I also don’t care how important of a TV sitcom doctor/father icon anyone was for the African American community during the eighties.

As for all talk of building a wall and kicking people out, splitting families up, this is likely a non issue anyway, but, I must admit, I do look forward to Colbert’s Trump jokes over the coming months.

Then there’s the judge who is becoming some kind of right fighter for the cause of religion and biblical belief. She has the right not to do anything she doesn’t feel sits well with her and her God of course, but she does not have the right to go against the newly set law of United States, as it has been set. The world is becoming a more accepting place, overall, and those who wish to fight this will get left in the dust of the past. Why do we seem so keen to stop progress and challenge love? It’s fear. We can’t let fear rule over common sense.

There’s been more news, stories every day, about the flooding of mostly Syrian refugees, into neighbouring, European countries. Boat. Train. On Foot. They keep on coming.

Images are powerful. I heard something about the image of a dead child on a beach. I can’t see it, but the visual in my head is still heartbreaking.

Germany is being praised for its acceptance of these people, so desperately in need and so is Iceland.

What about Canada? Would we here step up as well? What if I had to flee my home? Wouldn’t I want a safe place to open their arms wide for me and my family?

The decline of the once so self righteous Ashley Madison cheating website continues and I was, admittedly, happy about it from the start.

Then, last week, a literary website that featured a short essay of mine back at Christmas ran into some issues. There was a hack or a virus and the person running the site wasn’t sure everything would survive.

How Cranky is Our Little Editor? – Brevity Magazine: Precise Literary Nonfiction

I have included a link, in a past blog post of my own, to my essay on that site. I was worried that would be lost forever, as sometimes backlinks fail. This has happened with things I’ve written, guest posts I’ve done previously.

Surely, my glee at the misfortune Ashley Madison’s been having wasn’t resulting in karma being directed right back at me, was it?

🙂

I offered up that possibility, on Brevity’s Facebook page, that it may have all been down to it being my fault, and thus issuing my sincere apologies to them, assuming this might be the case.

All the names of those caught using the cheating website have slowly been released. This included a member of America’s most notorious TLC family of religion, and multiple children, so recently known to have been outed for sexually abusing his sisters over the years. Not to mention, the head of the cheating website himself.

He swore, although he ran it, he never used it personally. Yeah right!

One of my favourite late night television segments joked about the hack:

Jimmy’s Thank You Notes – Ashley Madison

Although the fate of Ashley Madison may be in question, Jimmy is right. Like a phoenix that rises from the ashes, it could always become OKStupid! This is because I believe people would continue to share their private details and take foolish risks and engage in secret keeping against those they claim to love.

Again, I hate to pick on them and specifically the guy who ran it. Anyone who can convince so many men and women to hand over their most precious personal information (names, addresses, credit card info, fantasies) may think he’s clever, but may not be making the wisest of choices, even for himself.

As the new school year begins, there is more of an uproar on the newly revised sex education curriculum in the schools here, last updated back in 98 and as school has begun, certain parents are keeping their children out of the classroom.

I don’t know what these parents are imagining. It’s as if they are picturing daily sex ed classes, all day every day, all year, from September until June, with a continuous bombardment of sexually descriptive indoctrination, but, from what I heard, the sex ed program is only days long and isn’t even scheduled to begin until the spring. So, these children aren’t missing anything, right now, other than the usual: math, science, and language arts. The only damage being done is that the children are pulled out of regular classes, with their peers and friends, into a make-shift class, organized by the fearful parents themselves.

I like how Canada and the US seem to be so afraid of the proper education, our priorities so horribly messed up on so many things, but something as important as sexual health and physical safety are left up to the internet and tales told out on the playground. Maybe we should have Last Week Tonight’s John Oliver explain the whole thing to us all:

This week, not only has school resumed, but the late night TV wars are beginning.

I like Stephen Colbert and I have been looking forward to his taking over of David Letterman’s spot.

I watched the premier and it didn’t feel all that different. Speaking of the cheating website’s troubles:

“With this show, I begin to search for the real Stephen Colbert. I just hope I don’t find him on Ashley Madison.”

Sure, he is now no longer playing a role, but just being himself. I just couldn’t tell. The tone in his voice and his style of speaking were very nearly what they were on The Colbert Report. I am glad because that’s what I like about him, all political affiliations aside.

I’ve always loved Conan and Fallon is always entertaining. I rarely have stayed up until midnight to watch, often preferring to check specific clips out on Facebook and YouTube after-the-fact:

Letters From Kids – Suggestions For Jimmy

A lot of these shows have been bringing the children into their skits lately. The other Jimmy has been asking kids a lot of interesting questions in his segments. It’s always a slam dunk with the audience.

***

I just saw a goofily-captioned picture of a puppy right next to a photo-story about the awful things we did in Hiroshima 70 years ago. How can we be the same species who loves cute puppies and came up with such a terrible idea as an atomic bomb? This being human is a strange thing.

Indeed, JEG, indeed it is. Let the stories about cute puppies and children always be there to balance out the horrible headlines about injustice and hatred.

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Fiction Friday, NANOWRIMO 2014, National Novel Writing Month, Writing

NANOWRIMO 2014: End Of Week One

November is here again. I can’t believe it.

Last month, every

Frightful Fiction Friday,

was set aside for phobia stories, all Halloween-based because it was October.

Last Saturday was the start of a new month and I couldn’t believe it was time for National Novel Writing Month yet again. It’s amazing how fast a year goes by.

Every Fiction Friday for the month of November I will be posting an update on my progress with writing 50,000 words in the thirty days of November.

Last year I only just found out about this huge initiative at the last moment. I dove right in and managed to reach the goal, by writing a first draft of the novel I had had rolling around in my brain for several years.

The site

http://www.nanowrimo.org

Allows you to make a profile, keep track of your daily word count, and to speak and connect on the forums and through local writing groups.. People come together with a common goal and support one another in meeting the challenge, through American Thanksgiving, work and school, and more and more holiday and family gatherings.

Unfortunately, I found their website, as a visually impaired person, overwhelming and tricky to navigate. this time I got a little farther, but on entering my word count I must have done something wrong. I want to write, but instead I am messing around with numbers.

I would rather go to

https://twitter.com/KKHerheadache

to keep track of my own word count.

As much as I love the idea of writing all month long, I don’t like that attached to the term “word count” there just so happens to be the word “count” because that means numbers and math, two things I hate just as much as I love words.

I HATE MATH!!!

This year, once again, I signed up on the site in the hopes that I would find it easier to work with. No such luck. If I am going to focus on writing thousands and thousands of words in such a short time, I am not about to fiddle around with something that only brings me frustration, when I could be writing.

Also, it is a bit of a drag that there aren’t really any local chapters of writers in my area who are participating. This takes away from some of the community feeling of NaNoWriMo for me, but the isolation still seems to be low enough. I guess it’s all in the mind, but I could write a novel any time. Why do I need a specific month to do it?

On this second year I started off on a great foot, beginning immediately at midnight on November 1st and writing fiercely into the early hours of last Saturday morning. This resulted in several thousands of words from the get-go, but who knows if I will make the goal at the end of the month. I have to be okay with it if I don’t. Who else would I be letting down?

Unfortunately, I did not keep this momentum up every day this past week. Every other day is more like it, and I still haven’t hit 10 ,000 words.

I can offer only this excuse to myself or anyone of you: last year this time I did not have one blog, let alone two. I may be writing more this year than I ever have, but my time is more divided than ever.

Week One: 8731 words

Next week I will talk about what I am writing.

Are you taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year? Have you taken part before and have decided not to be a part of it this year? Is it your first time?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this growing movement.

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Memoir Monday, Special Occasions

Mother’s Day, Memories, and Mathematics

I remember so clearly staring at the white sides of the transport trucks against the backdrop of the white highway median as we drove, just Mom and I, to the children’s hospital that April day.

“Are their going to be needles with this one?” I asked nervously.

“Yes, afraid so,” my mom broke the news to me.

I was twelve, still afraid of needles, but would soon get over it; I would have no choice in that. On this day however, I was dreading having the three or four it would take to get this renal scan done.

I had been recently diagnosed with kidney disease and was still in the midst of undergoing the tests necessary to assess the amount of progression. I had been X-rayed, scanned, poked, and prodded for weeks. It took forever, it felt like, to finally be diagnosed in the first place. Mom fought for me the whole way and never gave up. She knew when something wasn’t quite right with her daughter and she wouldn’t stop and she didn’t, until the doctors found out what it was.

Now she was preparing, that very evening, to leave for a planned trip to Europe, with Dad and my sister and brother, to visit family. Mom and Dad promised next time they would take me and my younger brother. All the plans were made. We were to be looked after and to stay with different family and friends over the weeks of their absence. My new pediatric nephrologist assured my hesitant parents that their newly diagnosed daughter would be fine while they were away.

This particular Friday afternoon I was looking forward to staying with family and friends, but sad that my family were leaving. As I waited on the exam table, the nurse injected the dye into my arm while my mom stood next to me, distracting me with any number of discussion topics she could come up with. I then had to be back three more times, a needle every hour, to test how my kidneys were filtering.

In between these sessions Mom and I killed time at a table in the cafeteria. I sat at our table, a bandaid on my one arm and a thick dark marker in the other hand. I would soon run out of arms for needles or for completing homework.

I stared at the page of math problems again, for the millionth time it seemed. This was a common theme lately. The math problems in front of me were gibberish. My mom tried her best, in that calmest of calm ways she has, but my arm was sore and my mind was racing. I was flustered all the time and math was becoming my worst nightmare. Sixth grade math was kicking my ass.

I was asked recently about my most favourite memory with my mother. This one image remains in my mind, almost twenty years later. I didn’t want her to leave and I was afraid of all the needles and the recent news of my kidney failure. Math had become a struggle and I was lost.

As I sat at that cafeteria table with my dark marker and my black lined paper I forced myself to remember how to do the math problems my sixth grade teacher had assigned. I was close to tears and scared, but she was right there with me. Her calming voice and reassuring tone made me think I would be okay. Nothing could touch me while she was there.

This is a fitting and a perfect metaphor for what my mother means to me and others. She was the thing that got me through math and through kidney disease. She took care of everything and I was never scared when I reminded myself she could make it all bearable.

Mothers have a special role in all our lives. The mother-child relationship can not be replaced. Nobody loves you like your mother loves you. Mine is my rock and my driving force. She grounds me to reality and to the positive of life.

When I was struggling it felt like there was no math problem she couldn’t figure out, no problem, big or small that she couldn’t solve. I have learned everything from her and she is responsible for the woman I am today.

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