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Viewfinder, #JusJoJan #Outlook

Here’s my view. It’s taking a while to find what that is, but this blog allows glimpses of some of the insights I seek.

Welcome to 2020 on this blog and off of it too. New decade and I overwhelm myself when I look back on the last one. So, instead, I try to live in this moment.

I do like having this first month designated for finding my direction for the year head. The blogging world has given me many tools, including this
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
for jotting down thoughts to hopefully unscramble them.

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Day one of
Just Jot It January
because January 1st was a restful New Year’s Day and a Wednesday, which will be my break day throughout the rest of this month and this blogging exercise.

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Today’s prompt is about taking a photo and posting/sharing with any jot that might go along with the image.

This image is one taken on Monday, my day to travel a distance of less than an hour, to my brother’s town to record the half hour radio talk show on disability/blindness. I do this with my brother.

We have guests on occasionally, mostly we like to do interviews, but this time it was a friend and we had him in the background, as more of a guest host really, as we did a round-up of 2019 for Outlook.

After which we went out for lunch to celebrate the holidays. We’ve known him since before we can remember.

Thing is, I am blind and I still find managing the world of the sighted difficult, specifically when it comes to photos. They are an important part of life for most people, or at least a common enough occurrence. Hell, my brother is a photographer and a damn good one, but my memories of pictures that capture a particular moment in time fades as the years pass me by.

I wasn’t born unable to see photos at all. I am at that point now though.

I find many things about losing more sight frustrating, but then I try to tell myself it doesn’t really matter, to focus on the things that do make sense to me.

I don’t take the pictures housed on my iPhone currently. My mother took this one, one of four she ended up leaving, after she deleted some. She told me what they were, but I forgot the order of the four and am on my own today as I post this.

I usually like to include a caption in words, when I post a photo on my FB page or on the public pages I run. I do this for any other blind people, like me, who don’t see the photos and still want to know, to feel included as best we can.

This time, I don’t know if the photo I have chosen is just my brother and myself or if our friend is in this shot. We were at a restaurant that had a Christmas tree and some photos were taken in front of it. The other, at our table.

I fight with my frustrations, the sighted world being one of them, but I wanted some photos to choose from, to post on the FB page of the radio show we do. It’s called Outlook and past episodes can be found at our podcast archive page:

https://soundcloud.com/ketchuponpancakes

There are more and more forms of technology now, including photo recognition apps, but they are far from perfect. I often grow more frustrated when trying to use them than I would if I didn’t bother.

I will find a more upbeat and positive outlook for my 2020 and here, hopefully, as the month goes on. It’s there and coming.

I think it’s important to share and show the frustrating moments, as well as the times where a more optimistic tone can be struck. I have both inside. That’s what this first month is for, finding a balance, though I’ve been away from this blog for far too long and I need to warm up to it again.

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Summer In Progress, #TGIF #FTSF

Well now – summer, 2018 is halfway gone. I know. I know how loathed I am by people when I point that fact out, but tis true.

Q: What did I learn this summer so far?

A: Don’t visit Florida in July. Far too humid.

It was
the summer of
Orlando, Florida.

It was the summer of
National Federation of the Blind conventions,
jitters of the first-timers, and memories made.

A group of members left Canada (from the Canadian version of the NFB) and spent a 4th of July (Independence Day) in one of the states of the union. From a distance, fireworks could be heard, after one of the many downpours came and went just as quickly.

My summer really started on that cloudy Wednesday.

It’s been the summer of seminars, speeches, and banquets, which included one free palm read.

An early morning solo swim, where the night before the pool deck, dark and silent, held a certain charm of its own.

Airplanes and the world’s quickest flight home.

My summer has now included a chest cold and a shattered iPhone screen, tire driven over, when I did not secure it safely inside my purse, but I now listen more closely to the rhythm of my heart.

Halfway through the summer and another FTSF with host Kristi and co-host
Kenya G. Johnson
of Sporadically Yours.

Next up: autumn, my favourite of all seasons, though this summer hasn’t been half bad.

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The Tyranny of Now, #SoCS

Ah, what can I say, really? *throws hands in the air*

Some things feel so futile. Ah, the futility of it all.

Sometimes, I tell you…
mankind –
the whole thing blows my mind.

***

Your Memories on Facebook

Kerry, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 2 years ago.

(Awww, thanks Facebook. Apparently, I was feeling perplexed.)

March 18th, 2015

Yesterday I visited a Holocaust exhibit, a series of black and white photos of men and women who lived through it.

It was at the Kitchener Museum.

Then I went home and came across the mad rantings of a KKK member on television.

Last night apparently St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with wild colours of green from the Northern Lights at several spots around the world. Proof that the beautiful things still exist and can outshine all ugliness.

It’s still all so baffling to me.

—Then and now…

***

I resist speaking of it here, trying to hold in my frustration, but this felt like the worst day yet, in some ways, full of ridiculous words and attitudes, and I can’t believe the dismantling of the U.s. happening before our very eyes.

This week we see, is Holland smarter than those who came before them, when deciding possible fate of their country? Is it, indeed possible, for man or woman to learn a lesson in this day and age?

Maybe so. Maybe.

Germany, standing stoic and silent in the presence of such nonsense and self interest.

Destruction. Such a farce. That a fool of a man can gain such power in this world, boggles the mind. And so the whole world gawks, laughs, and cries at what now exists, feels unstoppable.

And all I think the world feels about it too, a growing shame, but I respect so many who are citizens and throwing up their hands, just like me, feeling somewhat secure (for the moment) here I am, in Canada.

When I heard the prompt “man” I immediately thought of one…one man I avoid saying anything about here, whenever possible.

This is not a political or current events blog. It’s just me.

I can’t predict, from day to day, but it’s such a feeling of disgust, and in time this post could be scrutinized too, with reports of phones and other devices being checked upon entry, or possible non entry as the case may now be.

Does crossing over one border in particular even seem like the wise option for the foreseeable future anyway? How much will cross border visits, tourism fault from the tensions that keep increasing?

Places like Canada may suffer for the border share, a part of America, just as much as the U.S.

How it feels that we now have human beings sneaking across from them. The issues this creates, as humanity sometimes feels scarce and then, there are those, some willing to fight for a compassionate solution. And Canada then makes the papers, glowing reviews of our virtues, bestowed by the New York Times.

We are a country and we fumble as we try.

And then…the best and the brightest, hesitating to attempt the land of the free, once full of such promise. Now, will Canada reap the benefits?

Meanwhile, the whole world suffers and seems to spiral into turmoil. Of course, this could just be my personal theatrics. Who can say really.

Man, oh man!

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Shades of Blue, #SongLyricSunday

I was at a spa recently and found myself standing in front of a wall full of nail polishes and was asked to pick which one I would like.

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How do I do this, when I can no longer see the colours and shades, or even scarcely recall what they looked like?

This week,
for Song Lyric Sunday,
Helen went with a band which brought back some memories.

So Cold
is not my entry for the week. I just came across it when listening to Helen’s choice and I did feel the singer’s intensity. I suppose it is helpful for getting out feelings of aggression or frustration with life, like the things none of us can control, like losing sight or loss of a loved one or any number of things.

Not wanting to follow too closely to Helen though, here is my official song choice:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WX2TXMJXS4o

I have had a deep connection to this band for years, getting me through multiple hospital stays, over and under the trials and beauty of loves…ah!

Then, a friend of mine since we were ten years old applied to medical school in Ireland and my dream of visiting became a reality.

This friend, she stood with me at that wall of colours I could no longer see and she went with her favourite purple and, though my first instinct was my favourite red, I ended up choosing navy blue.

***

“So Cold In Ireland”

Here is a story
of hope and of glory.
He’s eighteen years old
and well I fell in love.
But after that,
where have you gone, from me?
The one that I loved endlessly.
We used to have a life,
but now it’s all gone.
Mystify…
Does it have to be so cold in Ireland?
Does it have to be so cold in Ireland, for me?
Are they ready for me?
Where have you gone, from me?
The one that I loved endlessly.
We were to have a child.
Yesterday’s gone.
Well I knew the time would come.
When I’d have to leave.
Go on.
Look what they’ve done to me.
They’ve taken my hand…
And it’s killing me.
Killing me, killing me, killing me!
Does it have to be so cold in Ireland?
Does it have to be so cold in Ireland, for me?
Are they ready for me?
But I’m afraid I’m returning to Ireland.
I’m afraid I’m returning to Ireland.
I see, that there is nothing for me.
There is nothing for me.

LYRICS

***

My friend was visiting family and friends like me, back here in Canada, but maybe…it may be that this is no longer her home anymore.

Now the holidays are over once more and she has officially returned to Ireland, to her life. Her daughter is Irish and I love that. It is her home, possibly their home, forever. I will miss them. I miss Ireland.

This time of year I don’t get depression as such. I just feel the time of year and blue felt right, but even blue nails don’t last.

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Long Month, Long Life #SongLyricSunday

I’m spending this final
Song Lyric Sunday
of 2016, talking about a song that explains something about me.

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What best describes me this time of year?

Well, this one is a part of a Christmas from my past, my childhood, which is part of a bigger picture of myself.

The memoir I’ve wanted to write for a long time had certain songs ingrained in the narrative, as so many feelings at specific moments of my life define where I was at various stages of growth and development through the years, filtered through the truths of song lyrics.

This one denotes a Christmas, twenty years ago, one where I was ill and had been for months by December, 1996, on kidney dialysis for six months by that time.

***

A long December and there’s reason to believe Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember the last thing that you said as you were leavin’ Now the days go by so fast
And it’s one more day up in the canyons And it’s one more night in Hollywood If you think that I could be forgiven…I wish you would
The smell of hospitals in winter And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls
All at once you look across a crowded room To see the way that light attaches to a girl
And it’s one more day up in the canyons And it’s one more night in Hollywood If you think you might come to California…I think you should
Drove up to Hillside Manor sometime after two a.m. And talked a little while about the year
I guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower, Makes you talk a little lower about the things you could not show her
And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself To hold on to these moments as they pass
And it’s one more day up in the canyon And it’s one more night in Hollywood It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean…I guess I should

Lyrics: A Long December, Counting Crows

***

“The smell of hospitals in winter. And the feeling that it’s all a lot of oysters, but no pearls,” stands out strongly from the rest of the lyrics, but a long long December/year for sure was how it felt.

All that year I had felt like crap and had felt unheard by doctors and a world who didn’t understand, but frankly, neither did I, for a long time before I received a proper diagnosis.

I heard this song on repeat, a big radio hit at the time, driving back and forth to the hospital and by December, 1996 I was ready for that particular year to come to an end, but the song and the memories would always stay with me.

My luck had been bad and I could only hope for a much improved 1997 and beyond.

This song is a snapshot of me at age twelve and it’s only so poignant because I can look back now, some twenty years onward, from that sick girl I was, to the woman I am now.

Sometimes life feels like things will never be better, like we’re destined to always suffer with something, but time does reveal how that can change.

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TToT: Yearnings of the Heart and Soul – Seriously? #10Thankful

Red or blue? Coke or Pepsi? Apple or Android?

What a week. Ruined colours for me forever.

Okay, not really, but my examples do showcase our differences and what separates us, the teams we often feel we’re on and the people we most closely identify with, as opposed to those other people. I wanted to cry all week, but couldn’t quite get the tears to come. So I play this song.

By now, we all know who the next guy in charge of the US is going to be, and he’s eating that worldwide attention up like we all knew he would. Then Leonard Cohen died. People say these things are final and we must get over it, well that first one, and so I can’t simply listen to a song like Don’t Worry, Be Happy and accept the way things in the world seem to be going. I am afraid of that and I’m afraid I can’t.

Saturday Night Live found the best way to help out the grieving Americans and to pay tribute to a favourite poet/artist at the same time.

Then there is this song which comes from the “This American Life” series:

Seriously?

I was afraid of where this election was leading and this song is the perfect mixture of intense jazz, sad realism, lyrics that make me want to cry and cry out because I don’t know what has gotten into the US and not just them. I am critical but I know that if it were happening here in Canada, I wouldn’t want to be forgotten and forsaken. I would want help in understanding and whatever else and these things tend to spread eventually anyway and already seem to be doing just that. My knowledge of history has me rooted in fear and apprehension, but thankful to be Canadian at this time. I feel powerless amongst my existing and somewhat even more clearly defined thankfuls.

I’m thankful for the chance to express my thoughts and distract myself with a task during the night of the US election.

We thought we would do a before/after, from our Canadian perspective. Our hope was to focus on a lot of tough issues discussed and a few laughs thrown in there from time to time also, to try and lighten the mood a little wherever possible, but I haven’t been laughing for a while, not about this stuff.

It didn’t look good to me, not from the start, and in that case I did not relish being right with my instincts. We recorded a bit during the night, as the results came in and again the next day, once the results had time to sink in somewhat.

Bad dream or a sign that the end is near? Yes, either way, I had a sound effect for the occasion. If you aren’t sick of hearing about it in a few weeks, our podcast and the third episode should be available on iTunes. After all, we wouldn’t want to forget this event would we? Well, now we have it recorded forever.

I’m thankful the election is over.

I did feel relieved. It was painful and surreal. Now those long months are behind us and the nightmare of the next four years is just beginning.

I’m thankful for The Paris Climate Agreement, a step in the right direction.

So many countries have gone together on this. Who knows what will happen going forward, but I am proud Canada is represented and hopefully doing our part.

And then there’s the setting aside of ocean reserves, with the three oceans Canada exists within and the work President Obama has done. Oil spills, like the one on Canada’s west coast recently, these can do a lot of damage, and hopefully Prime Minister Justin Trudeau understands this. I am proud to be flanked by the three, Pacific, Arctic, and Atlantic.

Whether it’s the ocean in the northern hemisphere or the opposite pole, down at the bottom of the world, I hope we realize how valuable it all is.

I’m thankful that my family reads my blog as much as they can.

And they put up with me and some of the things I say here.

They never quite know what to expect I’m sure and, truthfully, neither do I most times when I sit down to write.

They are incredibly supportive and I can say the things I want to say, though I hope I never hurt any of them too much in the process. I am lucky to be able to speak my mind, as I do appreciate at this time of year.

I’m thankful that I discover new and different music through the music expert in my life.

My brother is the music guy and he has so so many internet radio stations and is always playing something new and different to my ear. This one was just the kind of fast tempo I needed to perk up my spirits. I hadn’t heard anything quite like it.

I’m thankful for strong women who are fighting for women and minorities, even as I feel the bleakness of powerful forces out there.

What Hillary Clinton’s Fans Love About Her

So many wanted to see a female president and a secret Facebook group for her popped up and certainly left a mark.

Then there are wonderful women like this one.

She is a strong woman too and she is leaving her own mark, on me certainly.

I’m thankful for those who fought, though I do find it difficult to wrestle with my conflicted feelings on war and everything that goes along with it.

Leonard Cohen recites “In Flanders Fields'”

Instead of sharing one of his songs, I thought this might be better.

It’s one of my favourite poems, though the subject matter is one I struggle to understand.

I’m thankful for beautiful TToT bloggers and their messages of hope and peace.

Bluebell Sounds,
which sound divine.

Just Remember This,
a kiss is just a kiss.

Cruising Through,
most of us just doing the best we can do, but with lovely memories and photos in this case.

I’m thankful for the peek into the rest of the world from a story I’ve loved since childhood.

‘there’s always more to the story’

This song is for you Clark and for Almira.

I’m thankful for more comedy to keep me smiling.

I love Vince and Jimmy.

I was escaping into some Lord of the Rings movies to distract myself from the things I fear, but the similarities to the power men crave and the ring, a physical symbol of that greed, it was all too obvious. But there is hope amongst the uncertainty.

And so I am determined to end this post on a positive note, among all the bad news, the protests going on around the US, and my spot, from where I sit, feeling helpless, here in Canada.

What are the things that bring us together? These are the things we have in common.

If we cut our fingers, we all bleed.

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And Then Some, #SongLyricSunday

Okay, so, I just slammed the door a little too hard when letting my dog out a moment ago. The force of the slam knocked a clock from my wall that my grandparents gave me after one of my life saving medical procedures as a young girl.

They are both gone now and I will never get the clock so many of my cousins and my older sister have that was the wedding present from Grandma and Grandpa. This was the only Ruby/Melvin clock I will ever possess and it made bird noises. They loved birds and the noises they make, even if we could never guess what bird made those noises when the clock struck on the hour.

Sounding a little dramatic am I? I agree, but, you know, glass everywhere and memories shattered.

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Okay. So I wanted to start out with a story, but every part is one hundred percent true. It is the perfect way to end a bad week, but I will try not to judge myself too harshly, if you won’t judge me for my theatrics.

Deal?

Firstly, this song uses ice cream as a metaphor. Who doesn’t love that? Second, I first heard this song on a CD I purchased, shortly before receiving the clock I began this post with the demise of, and it was one to be found on an album full of songs, by women, about female empowerment. Third, who is fighting for her place in that area this coming week, especially?

Well, it’s a good message anyway, about not judging, as hard as that is for us all, no matter what we might say.

***

Squint your eyes and look closer I’m not between you and your ambition I am a poster girl with no poster, I am 32 flavors and then some
And I’m beyond your peripheral vision so you might want to turn your head ‘Cause someday you’re going to get hungry and eat all of the words that you just said
I am what I am, I am 32 flavors and then some God help you if you are an ugly Course too pretty is also your doom ‘Cause everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room God help you if you are a phoenix and you dare to rise up from ash A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy while you are just flying past
I am what I am, I am 32 flavors and then some I’m taking my chances as they come I am 32 flavors and then some, I’m nobody but I am someone, someone…
I’d never try to give my life meaning by demeaning you And I would like to state for the record… I did everything that I could do
I am beyond your peripheral vision so you might want to turn your head ‘Cause someday you’re going to be starving and eating all the words that you just said That you said
I am what I am, I am what I am I am 32 flavors and then some I’m taking my chances as they come I am 32 flavors and then some I’m looking for truth and there is none 32 flavors and then some I’ll never forget where I came from 32 flavors and then some I’m nobody but I am someone 32 flavors and then some I’m taking my chances as they come 32 flavors and then some Looking for truth and there is none

SONGWRITERS ANI DIFRANCO
PUBLISHED BY LYRICS © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

LYRICS

***

I don’t know Hillary Clinton. I know—shocker, right?

🙂

I doubt the kind of person she is, sometimes too. I try to keep control of my judgments. I doubt myself and my own instincts. Then I wonder what is true and what isn’t and I hate that feeling.

I don’t know her and what she has or hasn’t done for sure and behind closed doors, and even so I can’t say I won’t be upset if she looses, but this song is really about all judgment, even though she has dealt with worse, more scrutiny than I will ever know.

This song is one I thought fitting for this week’s
Song Lyric Sunday
for obvious reasons and for all reasons not to judge too harshly, that we may or may not know.

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