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TToT: Speaker of Latin, Scratcher of Words #10Thankful

I am currently watching The Handmaid’s Tale and in the latest episode the poor handmaid is locked in her room as a punishment for not reproducing. She spends time on the floor of her closet, as she slowly loses her grip on reality, and finds a line written in Latin, carved in the wall: “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”

DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for my back yard.

For a yard in town, it is a nice size. When we bought the house, there was no place to sit and enjoy it, until we had a deck built and a door out onto it. This was a few years into living in the house.

Now I can sit out there and enjoy the weather, if I don’t feel like the noise I get from sitting out on my front porch. I kept a BBQ from a past relationship and we are having a family gathering out there soon, to celebrate My sister’s birthday, among other things.

It’s perfect, with lots of space for the kids to run around back there.

I’m thankful I could help my sister out.

She was invited to a Mother’s Day tea at my nephew’s school. She could have brought my baby niece along, but it was nice I could stay home with her, so my sister and nephew could have a nice morning together with the rest of his class, without any of the distractions a three-month-old might cause, as cute as she is.

I got my niece to nap as soon as my sister left, but it was a close call to keep her sleeping, with my dog who likes to bark right there and the cardinal who likes to bang against the glass of my sister’s patio door because he sees his reflection and doesn’t understand what that means.

Luckily, my niece was just that tired.

I’m thankful to know that my brother has a friend who is looking out for him.

He messaged me one night, asking if I’d heard from my brother that day. I had and knew he had gone out for the night.

None of us knows when another seizure could strike, so it’s just nice to know he’s being thought of.

It makes me feel better and I thought it was just a nice thing for a friend to do.

I’m thankful to have been interviewed for my friend’s podcast.

You can check it out here.

I am thankful for a phone call on Mother’s Day.

I am not a mother and I don’t know if there is a day for us aunts.

I was on my way to see my nephew and his parents for dinner, when I received a phone call as I was getting dressed and ready to go.

At first I heard no voice speaking, but I did hear a background I guessed right away. Then, a little voice spoke to me.

My nephew was calling. His father told me after that he just said he wanted to call me. I don’t receive a call on Mother’s Day usually, but I like to think my nephew could sense that and was calling to lift my spirits.

Sure, he mostly asked about my dog, whom he usually loves, but I prefer to think of it that other way.

I am thankful for my mother and all the warm and wonderful mothers out there.

Mother, May I?

I’m thankful for my mother’s help when my television goes silent on me.

These days, it’s not just a television. Then you have the cable box and the surround system speakers and DVD and I can’t possibly use all of these with only one remote.

A lot is visual about it and when one wrong button is pressed or if you don’t aim straight at the cable box when you turn it on, all hell breaks loose. I guess it’s too much for a blind girl to be able to figure it all out, use it without running to her mother every week.

Luckily, she helps, no matter how often I request it.

I’m thankful for a delicious Mother’s Day meal.

It’s BBQ season and everything tastes better cooked that way. One of my favourite parts of warmer weather.

My mom also made a taco salad for the occasion, because she wants to bring something. It was a meal in itself.

My brother-in-law and nephew made the cupcakes for dessert.

I’m thankful we don’t live in The Handmaid’s Tale.

I am completely creeped out by this series, but this week I just had to mention that Latin bit.

Everyone keeps comparing the story to today’s times, or where we could be heading, even though we like to think of women’s rights as improving a lot in the past one hundred years.

I do hope we never do go as far as they have gone in Atwood’s story, but you never know. I do feel better to watch, with curiosity and horror, and then go back to my real life and feel how lucky I have it, to be as free as I am.

This story should be a lesson for us all, but it is scary when I think that there are a number of people who might want some of these Handmaid story elements to be true.

There is some mention, by some of the repressors, of the UN and Toronto Star. Is Canada still free, but the US is the one so messed up? It’s strange, as Atwood is a Canadian writer. I wonder why she set it like that.

I’m thankful my violin teacher is back.

It has been almost a whole month, since she went on her trip to South America, teaching violin. I am happy for her, that she got such an opportunity, but my violin playing has stalled as I’ve been on my own with it.

We will see what we get out of that. Though, after I was in Mexico, upon returning my skills weren’t as badly effected as I’d feared they would be. (Update next week.)

Not letting the bastards grind me down…a work-in-progress.

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Mother, May I? #TGIF #MothersDay #FTSF

“You didn’t raise us right.”

That might not sound like something a child (even a grown one) should say to their parent, but we say it all the time. It’s one of those inside jokes in our family and you’d have to be quite familiar with how we roll to get the humour in such a statement.

I see it as a commentary on just how hard it is to be a parent, something we’re all realizing as grown children and a fact my brother and sister (both fairly new to parenting) are especially coming to understand. Parenting is hard and our parents did well, incredibly well.

Our mother was half of that effort. Happy Mother’s Day Mom. XOXO

***

Oh, Mother sounds like the beginnings of a swear word to me, but I can see that being one of the many parts of being a parent, a mother, as motherhood sometimes causes swearing (hopefully under one’s breath) to occur.

I’m reminded, every March, that Mother’s Day isn’t celebrated the same time of year in all places around the world.

When I think Mother’s Day, I think floral arrangements, but a big reason for that is my mom’s particular love of flowers, plus spring in full bloom.

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The magnolia is one of my mom’s favourites.

As for Mother’s Day long gone, I think of bringing flowers to my oma, my dad’s mother.

Recently I have been thinking more about a serious topic, with the new video honouring the mother of a seriously ill child, especially as I think back twenty or so years to when my mom had her husband in an operating room, undergoing surgery in one hospital, while having her youngest daughter (me) in an operating room across the street at Toronto’s Hospital For Sick Children.

What strength she had to have shown that day. I was so focused, at the time on myself going into surgery. I was just young enough that I didn’t really think of such things, per se, as what my mom might be going through, the thought of possibly losing a daughter and/or a husband that day, however slim the chances.

Now, this year, I wanted to write an article where I interviewed some of the moms in the video and mine, but I was unable to secure a publication spot. I will write this piece, sooner or later though. In fact, I think my own mom and I could co-author a book of our own together.

So much of what she did for me, fighting for the integrated education I had, she did with such determination. She would have gladly written/spoken about it, and has done. I hope to write about it, from my perspective, at some point too. The world needs to know there is a mother like mine out there.

My mom heard I was receiving a few odd and rather spammy comments on my blog and warned me to cut back on posting on my blog for a while, to lay low, and yet here I am.

It’s not like I don’t value her advice. In fact, there’s nobody whose opinion I value more.

I always take it into advisement and, this time, while I saw her point, I decided I couldn’t not write my blog. I recognized her suggestion as that of a worried mother, one always a little afraid of what the Internet might attract. I couldn’t very well fault her for worrying about me.

I can never express everything my mom did for me, to get me through the tough times, and to celebrate the happy times, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try anyway.

***

I spent a night at my sister’s house, the one we grew up in as kids, staying home with my infant niece while her mother went to a Mother’s Day tea with my nephew, at his school, the same school his mother and I attended growing up.

We discussed the soother, a tool many mothers choose to give their babies. My sister didn’t with my nephew and isn’t with my niece. She has tried to avoid it. This brings up the whole judgment thing, mothers judging each other and also themselves, and everyone knows how common that is and also how toxic it can become.

I respect my sister’s decision. I respect the soother rout many moms choose to take. Neither one is the wrong one, same as breast fed/bottle/formula or the many other choices mothers must make, both big and small.

I did wonder, as I held my niece and played with my nephew, hearing about the funny kick in the air thing he did when he got off the bus and heard that I was still there, about my own thoughts on Mother’s Day.

I leave all the hard decisions to my sister, knowing in my heart that she will make the best decisions for her children, just like our mother did for us. This leaves me and my thoughts once all the crying, cooing, and little boy questions and stories have given way to me being on my own again tonight.

Mother’s Day is a time where I’ve celebrated my grandmother, now my own mother and the mothers of my precious nieces and nephews. It’s when I hear all about mother/mom and try not to think too hard about what I might never be or have or do. Will I ever be a mother myself?

As each March/May comes and goes, I feel as though the possibility of my becoming a mom grows ever slimmer. Will I ever make peace with that, if that ends up being my lot in life?

I don’t know, honestly. It may, very well, be the best thing. Truthfully, it is painful for me, when I see a mother and their baby, no matter the age, even as being a daughter is one of the best parts of being me. I see the way a mother talks and interacts with their child. I wonder what that feels like.

Do I have that, to some degree, of course. I feel the force of the bond and connection between myself and my nieces and nephews, a feeling I was unfamiliar with, just over six short years ago. Is this the same, or even close to what they feel?

I do derive some comfort when I’m told that the two intensities of emotion and love aren’t all that far apart, sure I do. Is it enough to take away all the sting of it?

I am lucky. I know that. That’s about all I know. I love my nieces and nephews, my sisters who are mothers, and my mother too. I wish flowers and family for you all.

***

This has been another edition of
Finish the Sentence Friday
and an awfully special one at that.

Kristi is the host, like always, but this week she has
Lisa from The Meaning of Me
joining her.

Happy Mother’s Day ladies. Two of the best mothers I’ve met in recent years.

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TToT: Catch and Release, Push or Pull #10Thankful #WorldOceansDay

Ever have one of those weeks?

ORdinary Day – Great Big Sea

The bad news stories keep going from bad to worse. What can I do about all that?

😦

One day everything just seems to work out and fall into place. The next, all seems to go wrong.

Figuring out new computer stuff, wanting to go back to the old, even if that can’t really be. Wanting to punch something, cry, give up on technology all together because it’s just too damn hard.

Well, it was then that it hit me, at certain moments this last week, few days, I realized I needed this TToT more than ever.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For the oceans of this world.

We don’t treat them right. We need them. I need them. They are peaceful, tranquil, or fierce and wild. Either way, their depths astound me. Their vast array of life boggles my mind, fills me with thrills.

June 8th was World Oceans Day.

Did you know? What do you love about the oceans?

For the chance to treat a friend to a birthday lunch.

For a lovely day of sunshine and music in the park.

I could have shared photos of this, after being unable to share any in these posts for a few months now, but the new mail program I have, coupled with the fact that I have saved far too many emails and now feel like I’m drowning in them, this prevents me from even accessing the email just sent to me with pictures of my brother and his friend playing their music in the park.

They were hired by the London Arts Council to play at various events and locations for the summer.
It was a beautiful day of sunshine and no humidity and I sat and enjoyed it. So proud of my brother for getting out there and taking these opportunities that present themselves.

Any time I happen to walk past someone playing music, in a park or on the street, in London or Toronto wherever it may be, I stop and take it all in.

Music is art. It is peace. It is passion. It is truly a gift and our society doesn’t appreciate it nearly enough for what it brings to our lives.

For music.

As I was just saying…as always, but then, I am stressed or tense or whatever, and then I listen.. I relax. I become a little less tense.

And so I post music in my thankful post, to start and also at the finish, instead of the photos I cannot see and cannot get to.

For heroes.

Karl Frederik Arndd.

LArs Peter Jonsson.

I am thankful for people like these, the Swedish P.H.D. students who stepped in and stopped a terrible crime, violation-in-progress, from even further damage done by a coward I won’t even name.

Instead, I list the names of the two decent human beings who deserve to be recognized.

That shows me, even when things seem bleak, that humans aren’t completely irredeemable.

For a transplant tape.

I have so many boxes in my basement. I went looking for a tape and, shock of shock, I found it. I just happened to place my hand on a random cassette tape, sitting free in a box full of so many different bits and pieces of my life.

Well, my brother had lost his copy, the one he made of that day, those days and weeks and months in June, 1997 and bits of those who aren’t here now, of that girl I was.

For lessons and stories.

Next we digitized a treasure of a cassette.

One afternoon my grandpa sat with my brother and he told stories of his childhood, long gone by.

He was a one-of-a-kind storyteller. My brother and I listened, more than ten years on, and we laughed, we contemplated, and I know we both took to heart the values he passed on to us.

I want to transcribe his stories and make them into a short book. I think all the world could stand to read it, to learn some of the lessons a man like my grandfather had to teach.

For a beautiful burst of creativity,.

We will make our podcast, one of these days, but it takes more planning and preparation than I really realized I guess.

But we worked together and came up with what I think is the catchiest, most kick ass intro.

It incorporates sounds of sizzling, flipping of pancakes, along with clips from our childhood, set over top us today.

My brother is a pro with his audio program, which allows him to put musical sounds and audio clips into separate folders, and then put them all together.

I don’t know how he does it, like editing in writing, but with sound.

I guess I produced it with him. I call myself producer of the segment. I gave my thoughts on what sounded good and we created something, together, that I think starts off our upcoming podcast on the perfect note.

For my ever-present, calm mother.

All wasn’t smooth sailing.

😉

When we’d feared damage to some of my brother’s recording equipment, we were both expecting the worst, but then, in comes my calm and steady mom.

I’ve often heard motherhood can be a thankless job, but I think my mother deserves to be celebrated, even if Mother’s Day is only technically once a year.

She calmed us both down and stepped in to fix the problem.

For violin teacher and lesson and instrument.

My teacher works with me. She gives me keen and clear instruction and guidance. She guides my bow, my arm, my technique.

I am learning new things about my violin, my instrument, my bow, my arm/hand, things I need to know to become a better violinist. I hope I can, one day, call myself that for real.

Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes – Paul Simon

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Solid as a Rock, #SoCS

Welcome! To the:

Special Mother’s Day Edition

of

On the eve of Mother’s Day.

She is everything any child could have wanted in a parent, and this was apparent, to me, for as long back as I think I knew what being a mother meant.

Steady. Dependable. Wise.

Mother’s know best. She seemed to be the one that statement was written for.

Of course, as I grew up, I began to see her as a person, just as fallible as the rest of us, but just shy of perfect, but this, I realized, was much too giant a burden to place on the one woman I look up to and admire above any other.

It’s apparent, to anyone else who meets her, that she is one hell of a parent, of a mother.

She has been, to me, giver of life: teacher, advocate, guide, voice of reason, comfort, rock, sounding board, confidant, compass, conscience.

If you were to look up “parent” in the dictionary, her picture would be there.

This week’s stream of consciousness writing seemed like the perfect time to let her know what a huge influence she has had on the woman I’ve become.

I have a million examples I could include here, but I have a better idea for that, still to come. But, just for today…

She is exactly the kind of woman, daughter, wife, parent, friend, human being I’d want to be, if I only could be, would be, ever were lucky enough to be.

Happy Mother’s Day Mom. Xoxo.

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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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