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

My 2018 Resolution For Us All, #JusJoJan

New Year, new month, and it’s time for another yearly, month-long instalment of Just Jot It January.

UNAXatY.jpg

I am doing this again, to help motivate me and get me going into a new year.

Last year at this time I did pop in and out for this, but I was preoccupied, full of thoughts of a week-long trip to a writing workshop in Mexico at the end of the month. I was excited and afraid and everything in between.

Just Jot It January #JusJoJan

I think we should all make it our 2018 New Year’s resolution to have less drama in our lives, but of course, as soon as you call it a resolution, people won’t see it through anyway.

And how can we expect such a thing from people, especially young people, when it is all over the place with those running our world?

Well, anyway, I believe it would make a big difference and so I am putting the idea out there for consideration, nearly pleading even.

Am I nuts, the only one who thinks of drama as something we should strive for less of?

I know family can get complicated and this time of year can be heavy with emotion, but it is a bad habit that doesn’t just remain around the holidays. It tends to extend into daily life, for some, and it can turn toxic. I know nobody’s life is free from it, but it would be nice if we could work harder to eliminate it, for children, even as we try to shield them as best we can.

I wish this for everyone as 2018 dawns.

For the first prompt of January, 2018:

But I Smile Anyway with “drama”
as the word of the day.

Advertisements
Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TToT

TToT: Shrill Robots and Thumb Slam, #10Thankful

“I dreamed I saw a great wave climbing over green lands and above the hills. I stood upon the brink. It was utterly dark in the abyss before my feet. A light shown behind me, but I could not turn. I could only stand there, waiting.”

—Lord of the Rings

I was recently brought back to my love of LOTR and this quote jumped out at me when I heard it again. I feel this way a lot now.

People tell me not to be scared, but I can’t help it. I can take up violin and yoga and other things, to keep focused on the positive, but I feel this quote intensely and I wish people would stop trying to make me feel something that has taken root and is, for better or for worse, how I feel.

dfEzHm6.jpg

It’s nearly Christmas and I am making my way through these last few weeks before it arrives upon us. The news around the world, this week, was not much improved from previous ones.

Here in Canada, in the last week or so…
a young man was only trying to stand up for someone else
and he lost his life.

Then, another man and his family were targeted,
in a racially motivated attack,
by a man with a bat in a WAL-MART parking lot.

And this was just in Ontario mind you.

So, I sometimes start off my weekly TToT post sharing my fears and concerns and the things that feel so out of my control and which are so often wildly unfair about the world.

Then I list what I am thankful for, to help me get through the week and focus on the beautiful things and the magic to be found all around me.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a quick reply/acceptance.

From last week’s TToT…the audio piece I did with my brother will be included in the holiday marathon radio show.

The man in charge asked how to pronounce our last name. He isn’t the first to ask that. He also asked how we’d like to be billed and the question was a new one, hadn’t been asked that way before.

Whose name should go first?

I am thankful for more writing support/discussion with those who know and understand.

My two writer friends, I originally found on Facebook, are such a pleasure to spend a few hours with.

We talk writing and I found out one of them wrote a children’s book about Helen Keller.

The other is a knowledgeable scientist/science writer.

I learn so much from them, have learned so much, in this last year since we first met.

I am thankful for a pleasant holiday mall experience.

I found a bright and friendly deer.

I found my favourite holiday scent, vanilla bean. I got myself some hand soap, shower gel, and body spray.

I found a few gifts in my favourite store, that which is full of mostly books, but not all.

I went in for books and came out with a super soft blanket. Still, I hope bookstores never disappear like Blockbuster has.

Santa was, of course, also there.

My Grownup Letter For Santa

I am thankful for my writing group on a bad day.

My internet was causing me problems and I was stressed out by the events of the world. I needed to escape to “The Elsewhere Region” for a few hours.

These people are clever, creative, and fun. It cheered me up in a major way, just being in their presence.

I am thankful for a most pleasant surprise gift from the heart.

5urBImZ.jpg

Anything coloured or any sort of writing/drawing tool makes me sad, as someone who once lived for colours and drawing colourful pictures.

Still, it was a sweet gesture and a bit of an inside joke/had to know the giver, to fully get how meaningful it really was.

Mine is yellow and you can write on just about anything with it. It’s gel and smells like heaven in crayon form.

I am thankful for an enjoyable lunch with a new friend.

On a limited amount of time, a lunch break, I found it hard to both eat and be able to say all the things I wanted to say.

She started out as my travel agent when I went to Mexico, but we formed a kind of special connection since then.

I trust her now, as I plan out future travels in the years to come.

I am thankful for my violin teacher’s invite to an all strings concert.

I knew little about baroque music and I still don’t.

I would have recorded the actual concert I attended, but I was advised against it.

Oddly Shaped Pearl

I researched the word and found out that is what Baroque means.

I am thankful for a new possible public writing spot.

Burnt Brick Cafe

I am thankful for my mom’s delicate and detailed Christmas care.

Clever, original, and inventive.

She decorates my home, even though I can’t see much. I don’t put in the work and she comes over and makes the place feel like Christmas.

This year she only made the pine branches she had look the shape of a Christmas tree, but soft pine this time. I see the bright white lights she adds and then comes the star.

No photo can capture it, but the star wouldn’t stay up on such a soft pine branched tree and so she used one of my old white canes. She put it up the back and this was enough to steady the star on top.

I am constantly in awe at the things she comes up with. It’s always been that way, as long as I can remember.

That’s my mom alright, all three of those, the exact definition of ingenious.

I am thankful for a second favourite Christmas gift.

My sister loves Pinterest and found a Harry Potter quote, printed it out and framed it for me.

This has been the week of surprises, let’s call them semi Christmas presents, both I was not expecting.

As for another Christmas present I was given early, Canada and all the snow might want to put a damper on that one tonight.

Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UV4F2yfEt9o&app=desktop

Just not on this day/night…okay? Please! I wanted to go to Toronto.

More on that next week, if I actually get there that is.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Memoir and Reflections, Poetry, Shows and Events, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, The Blind Reviewer

Oddly Shaped Pearl, #BaroqueMusic #SoCS

I hear the flock of Canada geese out my open bedroom window. They fly along, a gathering in the air, and it sounds to me like they are all having delightful conversation with each other as they fly along. It’s a honking that I hear as a chattering of all the geese gossip that’s relevant in any goose’s world.

I know I shouldn’t technically have my window open in December, but I need to feel the chilly air and to hear those gossiping geese, gathering gliding along through the sky.

I need to find those things that bring me peace, or else I’d have no choice but to turn to liquor to distract myself from so many things that gouge out my gut.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

Wildfires springing up, madly in California, is just the latest place where the fire burns. Those poor horses, caught up in the inferno. Global warming…does it play a part?

Middle East peace…is it forever ellusive?

Fake news is all around us, many believe. I’m starting to greatly dislike religion and what the religious do in its name. Fake news there too?

At this time of year, a time of holiday cheer, I fear…I fear so many things for this world.

Old wooden floors creak and soft carpet underfoot. I have been in a church only twice this year, in the giant one in Mexico and now on the outskirts of the university. Will I go for three, a Christmas Eve church service?

Will I find peace there again?

And then I sit and listen, in those hard church pews I’d forgotten were so hard, to strings, strings, and more strings: violins, violas, cellos, bass, and harpsichord.

I am tense and the first half feels as hard to take in, as hard as bench under me. Then, intermission over with, they begin again and I am at peace, hard bench fading away and I rise to this occasion of experiencing some most eloquent baroque period music.

I have nothing against the horns section or woodwinds. I used to play the clarinet. Strings are where my heart lies though.

I am at attention, as violins speak to violas, back and forth is the chatter, like the geese and their horn section. Like a musical debate of things going on.

Fast or slow. Intense. Dark. Light and airy. I float along or grab on for the ride. I slide along those strings that whisk me away somewhere, somewhere where liquor is not the answer to fixing that gouge in my gut.

Music is. Music is eloquence. Music is my liquor.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Stormy Skies Over Soft Summer Sunlight – Where’s the yellow? #10Thankful

“Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

—The Little Prince

psxnx7E.jpg

I like alliteration in my titles and I like this time of year. I am busy during the days and try not to think too much, about those things that keep me up at night.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful my family and I are safe and far from natural disasters and that my friends are safe too.

Here in Ontario we get tornados sometimes, but we aren’t out west where the fires are, nor are we by the coast where the flooding happens.

Then I woke to the notification of a strong earthquake in Mexico and I feared for my friends living there.

Mexico is big enough that those I care about weren’t touched, but these natural disasters seem to be everywhere lately.

Just not here. Our weather has been beautiful, if not a little cool for this time of year, but I am loving it.

I’m thankful for such a fun and energizing writing group.

A pack of three crayons (red/blue/green) were brought in for the mystery object, those packs you find at a restaurant, to keep the kids entertained. Well, I love crayons, but many of us in the group wondered and commented on the lack of a yellow crayon.

Our group was larger than usual and I liked the energy each person added. I was entirely entertained, myself, by everyone in that room.

The stories were diverse and all about crayons. Ah, the life of a crayon.

There were two new people there and they were both J names. This, somehow, had its own influence on someone’s story. I hope they both come back.

I’m thankful my brother had his adventure and made it safely home from Iceland.

I’m thankful he returned to his radio show.

He is getting better and more comfortable, every time he does it.

I’m thankful for a another Saturday family day.

The guys went to a baseball game and us girls and Max stayed home.

There were family photos taken out in the back yard.

I’m thankful Saturday family day spilled over to Sunday.

It was a lovely afternoon spent sitting in a circle in the yard, with beers, wine, and snacks.

My family are some of the most interesting people I know.

I’m thankful a piece I’ve been working on (from pitch to publication) is finally out, starting all the way back last May.

Lost, and Then Found Once More: On Traveling Alone without Sight – Catapult

Read to the end and the part about the drumsticks.

This is a prelude to my audio piece for SiriusXM.

I’m thankful for two more “acceptances” and for the fear that’s accompanying both.

I wasn’t expecting it, in a way, and I am back to square one. I must come up with a piece of writing that they will want to publish. I worry about not coming up with anything and instead letting them and myself down.

The excitement is there too though. I am honoured, after ending last week with a rejection email to a pitch, to hear anything at all to start off a new one.

I’m thankful to have an available store full of food to shop in.

As I meandered through the isles, the shelves, and the freezer section and prepared foods, I know not everyone has such choice right there in front of them. It felt like a lot, but it is an abundance I am thankful for.

I’m thankful for pumpkin spiced latte.

Enough said.

Standard
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.

Standard
Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Shiny Keys and Bucket Technology – Namaste, #Yoga #Radio #10Thankful

‘”Bully for baby syrups!”

‘”Pray, don’t let us disturb the concert with our sleeping.”

‘”Jerk us out a little more chin-music!”

‘”There’s no place like home with a baby in it.”

—Bram Stoker’s “Chin Music”

I wander through a bookstore and I feel the unfairness of blindness.

I sit in a mall and detect the repeating motion of shoppers passing by in front of me, but I wish I could see more than a blur like I used to.

WyOm9ep.jpg

What a week. Full of the good and the not-so-good things and I am once again driven to list my thankfuls because sometimes blindness really sucks.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful I got an acceptance to a pitch within twelve hours.

It’s a nice feeling. It doesn’t always happen so fast. It was a nice start to the week.

I’m thankful I am being given the chance to write about the affect the Yukon had on me.

This is for a Canadian website/App and the editor said she is pleased to have a piece to publish, different from the usual story of seeing the Northern Lights.

They are a marvel, of course, but I am glad I can offer an alternative viewpoint of a place that is more than just one spectacular visual sight.

I’m thankful for essays I read that make me think and put a new spin on the essay form.

The Medicated Writer by David Ebenbach

I’m thankful for another lovely coffee/raspberry lemonade chat with a friend to distract me from my thoughts.

The news out of the US all week was non stop and ridiculous. I was feeling highly anxious, waiting to hear back about my piece for Hippocampus, and I needed a break from all that.

The place was busy because Ontario’s premier was visiting our town, but things emptied after we were there for an hour or so.

We talked about travel, family, and writing.

I explained to her what it’s like to walk into a crowded coffee shop and try and navigate my way through it. She is like many people who are driven to offer help when they see a blind person. I understand and take them up on that help often. It was just nice to explain how it works because she, like most people, don’t give it all much thought until they hear how it is firsthand.

I’m thankful for the calming yoga session and conversation with the teacher.

I’d heard of
NAMASTE
before, but she ended our now weekly session by saying it and explaining why she does.

It is one more thing I feel kind of silly saying back, but we all like to end with something.

I do love the peaceful end to yoga where I stretch out, blocking out all thoughts, other than that I can put up a barrier to the worst of them, while I focus by staring up at my light and listening to the hiss of my laptop which tells me my teacher is still there.

I’m thankful my brother had a successful first radio show.

CHRW Radio Western

He has unique taste in music, with a musical mind, and he finally gets the chance to share some of that with others.

When people ask me the type of music he does listen to/play, I do struggle to describe it in a single word. It is a lot of things, though not what you’re likely to ever come across on the radio.

He has opened my eyes up to a whole world of music that exists, even though very few people ever find it. Like writers and writing, there is so much beautiful music out there that never gets the chance to be heard by most of us. His passion for giving the unknown musicians a turn seems important to me.

He has named his show
Chin Music
and I think it suits.

I’m thankful for a violin lesson where practice and repetition were points brought home once more.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Rinse. Dry. Repeat. It’s the only way.

I’m thankful for the chance to get somewhere on my own and feel proud of it.

I appreciate the help I receive, for many reasons, as new travel by myself can be stressful and intimidating, but it is also good for me sometimes. The only way I will ever begin to feel any less intimidated is if I practice, kind of like with the violin.

When you can’t see, obviously public transportation is the best way to get somewhere. Then, I like to have an idea in my head of the directions I will be going. I need to see it in my mind and it requires massive amounts of concentration.

No matter the anxiety or the physical pain, the sense of accomplishment at the end is awesome.

I’m thankful I made the final decision to not stay home and instead take someone up on an invitation to meet new people and work on my terrible social skills.

I am terribly shy in new situations. I felt unwell and considered turning down the invitation, but I am glad I went.

I was the only girl there, but it turned out to be an enjoyable hangout on a spacious porch, listening to music, and having a few drinks on a beautiful July night.

It’s just too bad I need a few beers to lighten up. I stop worrying about where I am and I relax. This is fine for one night, now and again, but just attending instead of hiding out by myself helps too.

If I’d gone home, I would have kept thinking about what’s in the news, what a week it had been, and I needed to get away from all that.

I met new people, including someone who came here from Mexico to go to school in Canada. Opening up one’s social circle is a good thing.

I’m thankful for a lovely family day in Toronto.

V5R5k4G.jpg

We met in a mall, couldn’t take the subway because the line was closed down, so had to all pile in the van and drive downtown Toronto. It took a while, but what a perfect day, too hot even.

So we got to spend a few hours somewhere cool, with lots to see, and around so much life.

I am conflicted on aquariums, worrying always if the creatures are happy swimming in those tanks. I wish I could ask those sharks, rays, and other fish.

If my nephew learns to love and respect sea creatures and the ocean, I will be happy.

Like standing at Niagara Falls, anywhere with all that water and marine life is where I can stand and tune out all the hoards of tourists and people. I could have stood beside that shark tank forever.

Then we came back out into the warm day and passed jubilant baseball fans. The Blue Jays were losing and then came back with a grand slam at the end of the game, the second in a week. The Toronto streets are full of energetic shouts whenever their team wins.

Then we had dinner at my favourite Toronto restaurant: The Pickle Barrel. Delicious beet and chicken salad, mango bellini, and brownie cheesecake for dessert.

Mmm.

As I’m heading home, at the end of the day, I can’t see the sky or the incredible sunset and so I feel the unfairness of blindness.

When I Grow Up – Jennifer O’Connor

Namaste.

Standard
SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer

Collapse, #SoCS

This summer has been writing, mostly all about writing, but I can only write about my Mexico trip in so many ways, from a certain number of angles, before I must leave my house again and experience new things.

Za6dqV9.png

I stare at my ceiling and don’t see a whole lot, kind of like my future sometimes, but mostly because I can’t see. Still, the weight of it sometimes feels like a banging, from below and above and from all around.

Just don’t look up maybe.

I fear it collapsing on top of me while I sleep. Water marks where the pounding rain got through are, in my bad dreams, destabilizing the entire roof over my head.

But when to fix it? How to fix it?

I debate when to do something more about that, just what there is to be done to make any possible upgrades to home and life.

If I stay tucked away inside here, I fear I will eventually be sealing myself off forever.

I fear I will forever be afraid to stay and also…afraid to leave, at the same time.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

And so, the roof repairs will soon begin. There are many more stories for me to tell.

Standard