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TToT: March Breaks and Time Straddlers – Design and Procurement #10Thankful

I can’t get the image of all that plastic in that whale’s stomach out of my head. Or the gorilla who was shot and blinded. Or fifty human lives lost in New Zealand last week.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yks0RggaluY

But then, I am reminded, we live in a world with rainbows.

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“Watch the rain drop.”

I’m thankful for new Cranberries music. She’s dead, and that’s still unbelievably sad, but this song just released is powerful, even more because of how things are.

I am thankful for a good
classic Irish memoir
to read on St. Patrick’s Day weekend. (All twelve braille volumes of it.)

I’m thankful that another news network put a spotlight on the disability issues radio talk show I do with my brother.

Radio Show About Blindness Promotes Accessibility – CTV London

I’m thankful an interesting documentarian/filmmaker was generous enough to give me a few hours of his time, to ask me several thoughtful questions, to get to know my story a little better. I’m discovering, life’s all in the connections that you make.

I’m thankful for an upcoming Niagara Falls weekend trip with my family to celebrate the start of spring.

I’m thankful for my recent weekend away in New York City with my friend and travel agent extraordinaire, just in time for International Women’s Day festivities.

I’m thankful for rooftops, bars/restaurants/nothing but the roof.

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I stand on one, on a cold International Women’s Day in New York City, with my friend Anita.

I’m thankful for fear that I keep facing.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my fears and not feel so alone. On the stage, the presenter (my “writing mentor” was the presenter) spoke about fear in her talk and then called me up, along with two other ladies, to share what we’re afraid of.

I’m thankful for lovely songs and their singers.

Though I don’t mind winter like some do, I am thankful for this first day of spring.

“Everything is new in the spring,” said Anne. “Springs themselves are always so new, too. No spring is ever just like any other spring. It always has something of its own to be its own peculiar sweetness. See how green the grass is around that little pond, and how the willow buds are bursting.”-
L.M Montgomery, Anne of the Island

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TToT: Back in March and Farewell to Luke – GoGo Go #10Thankful

I have been packing for New York City while still in disbelief about the death of Luke Perry, who played Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210, my favourite teen drama of the 90’s.

I’m thankful for all the television he gave me over the years on that show.

I’m thankful I had a memorable time with a house guest back in February.

I’m thankful to be getting ready to travel for an unforgettable weekend in NYC.

I’m thankful Brian and I were featured on the CBC here in London, Ontario.

We did our show (six month anniversary episode) while a video reporter captured us, on film and camera. Then he interviewed us and published the video and the written piece on the CBC website:

Blind brother and sister help others ‘see’ their world – CBC London

I’m thankful the morning show interviewed us about Outlook then too.

Outlook on London Morning

I’m thankful for Canadian healthcare, for the x-ray I received of my knees and big toes. I’ve had pain in both places for a few years now. I wonder if there’s anything to see in those pictures. I’m just glad I didn’t receive a bill for that medical test.

I’m thankful for a delightful salad of fruits and vegetables.

I’m thankful for the snow, while it’s still around, and for the sound it makes when it’s freshly fallen and powdery underfoot.

I’m thankful
Kristi
is willing to help me still be able to take part in the TToT, even though the accessibility has become an issue.

I’m thankful for February’s birthday celebrations and for the last two years, with many more to come, with my niece in our lives.

I’m thankful for March and for lions and lambs.

“Mad, bad, and dangerous to know.”

RIP Luke.

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TToT: Stoking The Fires and Fanning The Flames, #WorldKindnessDay #Armistice100 #TToT

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

—Mary Oliver

I may have used this quote in one of these already, but I like it so much and am using it again.

On Remembrance Day, here in Canada, I pause for silent reflection. Then, I get pissed off.

I’m supposed to feel gratitude and I do, but I look at all the sacrifice and I can’t help seeing waste. Of course, we wouldn’t have the peace we now have if it weren’t for the actions of so many, but I am angry and can’t feel grateful that mankind continues to get itself into ugly, awful wars.

We teach our children to share, to play nice, and to work it out. Yet, adults repeatedly let greed and lack of compassion and a sense of entitlement for what they may have get the better of them. Nationalism is dangerous, while patriotism even gets stuck in my throat sometimes. I am thankful for peace and for Canada, but I see the wider world in pictures, clearly with borders and laws and still I look for more common decency in the face of the things we all deal with.

I’ve been away from
Ten Things of Thankful
for a month at least. I am returning, on this day in particular, because I am still thankful for so much.

Remembrance Day makes me more mad than anything, overshadowing my gratitude. I take peace for granted too, in my own way. I am sick and tired of conflicts and battles because there’s endless suffering and a long lasting mark is left on nations and on their people.

It’s still going on. Maybe not at a world level at this moment, but there’s no guarantee that things won’t worsen into more widespread destruction.

Saying all that…

I’m thankful for all the kindnesses I’m seeing. I’m thankful for those putting out the fires and those celebrating and highlighting peace.

Armistice Day: moving events mark 100 years since end of first world war – as it happened

I am thankful for the live performances, those willing to play their music on stage, and discovering new music.

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

These are Moscow Apartment and they are a young duo, two amazing musical girls from Toronto who are so musically accomplished at such a young age. I was so impressed.

Teenagers. I can still relate and empathize so much with that time of life, even as I approach my 35th birthday this February.

I am thankful for
Women’s Travel Fest
and my trip to New York in March. The prospect gives me something to look forward to in the new year.

It will be a challenge for me, traveling to New York City for this conference, but I need to keep on taking chances and going on adventures. I can sometimes get so down on the things I don’t have and focusing on things I do have makes it tolerable.

I’m thankful for my sister, who helps me go jean shopping and writing up invoices for my freelance writing work.

I am thankful for a six-week storytelling workshop. It’s getting me out of my comfort zone.

I’m thankful for a
fantasticly fun friend
on our latest podcast episode.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to talk about the issues of
accessibility, equality, and advocacy
on the radio.

So there’s so much going on and I’m just barely catching up, but I always swore this TToT was a positive thing in my life, getting me focusing on the good things. I wanted to return and I wish I hadn’t been gone for so long.

I’m thankful for this gratitude journal of sorts and everyone who has ever run it or participated in it.

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

RIP Stan Lee.

“It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”

—L.M. Montgomery

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Cheesy Words From A Grateful Sister, #SongLyricSunday

I’m grateful for siblings who listen and laugh with me.

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First born…middle child (children) and the baby of the family.

We’ve avoided the traps of sibling rivalry, for the most part, at least. We were all “the favourite” in our parent’s eyes. We are all awesome, in our own unique ways, if I do say so myself, enjoying inside jokes and common interests and our hobbies.

I remember New York City with two of them and a trip still to come with the third is going to be epic.

They’ve given me the gift of becoming an aunt. They’ve shared new music (Bjork/Pinback just to name a few).

I love them all. They, all three originals and two in-laws, all my heroes, even if this particular Bette Midler song is overdone, over played, and over-the-top in their eyes perhaps. This song still makes me cry. They matter. I’m going for it with the sharing of these lyrics, because I would be lost without them:

They’ve kept me going through the hardest of times, their strength and integrity, their strength of character – best people I know.

***

It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.
You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings,

cause you are the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.

Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
so high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

LYRICS

***

This song doesn’t mention sisters/brothers anywhere in it, but it’s what I think of, who I think of when I hear it.

And while
Helen
spends time with her sister, I spent my Saturday on podcast production with my brother.

Today is Earth Day and we have Episode Eleven coming out, with our first guests, and an awesome interview about the natural world and our place in it.

My brother is tough and resilient. He knows his sound and audio. He is loyal and hilarious.

My older brother and my sister-in-law got to celebrate a sunny spring weekend, with their two children, for her birthday.

My sister is working to help people with the dreaded “TAXES” and taking care of her family. They’re lucky to have her attention to detail and her devotion to the three of them.

Having them, being lucky enough to call them my siblings, gives me the strength to go on.

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Echoes Heard Through Chambers, #SoCS

“Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife.”

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My favourite Disney film growing up was The Jungle Book.

It takes place in a setting that seemed so far away, the jungles of India. It’s populated, clearly, with all kinds of animals and it’s premise is whether an abandoned human boy can survive and even fit in among them.

My favourite characters are favourites for a variety of reasons. I like the panther’s sensible demeanour and I like the bear for his adventurous nature and willingness to go with the flow.

The Bare Necessities – Jungle Book

The father elephant doesn’t think a boy belongs, but when that boy goes missing it’s the mother elephant who tries to make him understand that any young deserves to be safe.

The ape king wants to be a man and the boy wants to stay with his animal friends. My favourite is actually the snake, but he only cares about his next meal.

🙂

Well, first off, I had to go to my trusty Dictionary App to confirm the difference.

Bare/Bear, #SoCS

I think stream of consciousness writing can become a very dangerous thing because it could lead me to writing about all the things that worry me about this world now, but I did think of that catchy song from a Disney movie instead, to help me focus on something.

A movie about not fitting in and not being accepted fits well with the atmosphere lately and always.

I have recently been watching a Netflix series by Oliver Stone and it’s a history lesson and a critical look at his country. He spoke in it of the mistrust of foreigners, in America’s past, such as the Japanese during World War II and anyone Jewish, at many points. He spoke of Communism and all the hysteria, but what has changed?

“That little boy is no different than our own son.” The mother elephant in Jungle Book states emphatically when it’s announced the boy is missing.

A line like that passed me by all the years I watched as a kid, but lately it hit me hard. Moving words.

I don’t know how some people can bear knowing the damage they have done or are doing with their words and/or actions. They just don’t appear to care.

It was one year ago that Canada welcomed 25 thousand refugees from places like Syria. That doesn’t mean all Canadians welcomed them.

I care about people having their lives torn apart by war caused by terrorists and governments, whatever the reasons are for the fighting. I care and I wonder how they bear it.

The U.S. seems to be heading in a dangerous direction, their most recently elected leader threatening to cause so much harm, and I wonder how he bares all that he is and people still revere him. They think he will solve all their problems.

The media is in trouble and people don’t know who to trust. Doubt is being planted in the mind of society. The chasm appears to be widening, something people say they haven’t seen before, but if Stone is to be believed at all, these things have existed, in one form or another, all along.

I see positive stories about a pair of Syrian refugees who made it to Berlin and found fitting in to be a huge challenge. All the bureaucracy is hard to navigate and I listened to their story of the dangerous trip over on unpredictable boats. Now they face an uphill battle. So many awful and negative stories are what we hear, about how men from the Middle East are dangerous, with messed up values, raping German women. They are often unwanted and what else is the world to think?

Well, these two men are doing their part to make a difference. They studied coding at a program offered and have developed an App to help refugees and migrants figure out how to set up a bank account, for example. How can anyone have such a lack of compassion that they cannot put themselves in the place of someone who left their home, took such risk, for safety?

I hear doubt about why Canada should offer a hand to people from other countries when we have our own issues. I want to figure out where I bear any responsibility for making things better, but I can’t do anything about so much of it.

I get people jumping down my throat for daring to compare this time to the 30s, as if I am committing some horrible sin. I guess my fear is causing me to act/react that way, but we can all look in the mirror when it comes to fear. Fear is why so much hate develops. I won’t let that happen to me, even in my moments of anger that ignorance was allowed to win, when so many talk of 2016 being an awful year, for reasons we could all take a good guess at.

The U.S. seems to be headed in one direction and Canada gets together and makes a plan for the environment, but I ask which will result in a bigger price paid? People say these ideas our leader has for boosting the environment will cost us, but which cost is the riskier one?

Fear is hard to bear. I know it. I feel it. I fight it. This kind of writing asks that one bare all if they choose to.

I choose to bare it all, my truth that is, without losing honesty or compassion. That makes me proud to be Canadian but I am human too, my vulnerability for anyone to see.

I rely on kindness and compassion all the time. I would be nowhere without both. I am determined to give some back, as much as I can give, even as the world fights hate and bears witness to the worst of humanity.

Here’s a theory I’ve come up with. I figure DT plans to focus on science as long as it means getting to Mars. Then, he can feed all his greedy business masters what they demand and when nature takes her revenge, he will stay hold up in his golden tower in the sky, in New York City, which will be destroyed everywhere else. As soon as the water finally does rise to his floor high up there, a spaceship will be there to take him off this planet and away to ruin the next one.

I worry about a bear from the north, once blending in with ice and snow, as the water warms. What will our refusal to admit that we as humans do bear responsibility for what we have done to this world cost them. Polar bears are feeling it, even if some other fools are not.

Gee, I sure hope I got this bare/bear thing straight. I had to go for the challenge of using both and couldn’t just pick one or the other.

I guess I wish I could go on singing that carefree tune from Jungle Book, but even that happiness ended, if you know the film at all, by a sudden danger from above.

I just wish I could say we as humans have made more progress from the state of the world as discussed by Oliver Stone and today. We still like to feel superior to anyone who looks different or speaks different or lives different. No acceptance. I couldn’t say all I wished to say about that, even if I could write stream of consciousness forever and ever.

It is a necessity that we try to find acceptance, but sometimes I feel like I am trapped in some giant, empty echoing chamber and my words leave my mouth and vanish into thin air, as if I’d never uttered them at all.

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The Countdown To The Town, #GilmoreGirls #AYearInTheLife #SongLyricSunday

It’s almost here. It’s coming back. They’re getting it right.

Lots of shows get brought back, but how many ended with their final two seasons written and run by a different show creator than the one who came up with the idea for the show in the first place?

Well, Amy Sherman-Palladino was the brains behind the whole thing. She wrote each script, with all the fast talk and obscure literary, scientific, and cultural references thrown in. As someone obsessed with writing, I still don’t know how she did that.

So, she had some sort of issue with something and left before the show came to its actual end. Some say that means it never really did.

Therefore, Netflix is bringing it back for a series of episodes, covering all four seasons, to start with.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTnU5MG5Edw

Just for the record Lorelai, I’ve asked that question about John Oliver myself.

***

Note: I went with the full version, written by the iconic Carole King, as the shortened version is one I’ve heard far too often and thought this was the appropriate way to go for SLS.

Full lyrics.

Knowing you the way I do
I only wanna be with you
And I will go
to the ends of the earth,
’cause darling, to me that’s what you’re worth
Chorus
Where You Lead
I will follow
Any-Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need-If you need me to be with you
I will follow
Where you lead
If you’re out on the road
Feelin’ lonely and so cold
All you have to do is call my name
And I’ll be there
On the next train
Chorus
I always wanted a real home
With flowers on the windowsill
But if you wanna live in New York City
Honey you know I will
I never thought I could get satisfaction
From just one man
But if anyone can keep me happy
You’re the one who can
Chorus (2x)
Oh baby, ohh, I’m gonna follow where you lead
I’m gonna follow where you lead
I’m gonna follow where you lead
I’m gonna follow where you lead

Where You Lead (Gilmore Girls) – Carole King

***

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I guess this one could have been applied to last week’s

Song Lyric Sunday,

all about home, but the theme continues on this week with that of a city/town or other place.

I am all about place too, so I could relate and everything, but for some reason I drew a blank last time. Funny I should be able to come up with something right away about home, but no songs jumped to mind.

Well, this one is more a fictional place, the town of Stars Hollow, featured in Gilmore Girls. Still, I’ve continued to watch the series since it ended back in 2017, soon after I’d just moved into my own house.

I am someone who finds a lot of support and comfort from the home I grew up in, which my sister and her family now lives in. I have my home, which she and I first purchased and lived in together. Wherever my parents and my family are is where I consider home. Yet, I still am drawn to all sorts of places, as themes for life.

This fictional town is one of the best creations ever on television in my opinion. It’s full of life and love and unique characters, as home should be. And since I and so many others are eagerly awaiting the countdown to Thanksgiving in the US because that’s when the latest instalment of Gilmore Girls airs, I thought I would write about how even a show can represent home and a fictional town can feel like the comfortable place you always wish to return to.

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TToT: Paper Has More Patience Than People

The title for this week’s post is a direct quote from Anne Frank (1929-1945).

So I am having a bit of a blah day, tempted not to do this, but I know I can come up with ten things and so I’m giving it a try.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Sunday: A History For Today opening Reception and Speaker Series.

For these insightful events happening all summer long at a museum nearby. I felt a bit strange sipping champaign during the reception, but I was there to learn about a very important topic, from someone who knows what she’s talking about. I am writing a series of articles about it for my website.

Julie Couture is French-Canadian, but moved to Europe and has worked at The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, for the last five or more years.

She designed the website and is in charge of the Canadian portion of a traveling exhibit on Anne Frank, her diary, and WW II in schools and museums like the one I was at.

Her talk was very informative and I am looking forward to the other speakers in the series, with five more spread throughout the rest of the summer. This exhibit is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I thought I’d better make the most of it, just in case I never make it to The Netherlands.

For where and when I was born.

Listening to Julie speak I realized how it’s simply the luck of the draw when a person is born. Or not luck at all, as the case was and is for so many.

It’s beyond our control.

Monday: Dr. Ruth.

This might sound like a strange one, but I heard an interview with her. She’s an amazing lady. She’s tiny but strong.

You’ve likely heard the name, but just in case you know very little to nothing about her…

She was born in Germany,

(a common theme runs throughout more than one of the ten this week, as you can probably tell)

into a Jewish family, and lived a normal life, until she was sent away on a Kindertransport to Switzerland, never to see her parents alive again.

After World War II she went to Palestine, then moved to France, and finally to the Us and settled in New York City.

She has studied psychology, sociology and human sexuality. In the 80s she was given her own radio show, answering people’s questions on sex and relationships, something nearly unheard-of at the time.

She has been married three times, speaks four languages (German, French, English, and Hebrew) and has written many books.

It’s strange to hear someone that sounds like my grandmother, yet definitely is not. She has always spoken her mind, not letting the fact that she was Jewish or a woman stop her. She is the sort of tough girl that Hitler and the Nazis did not get a chance to silence. That’s pretty amazing to me and I am thankful she survived, when Anne Frank and so many others did not.

Tuesday: for hot musicians.

(Okay, so changing subjects here for a bit, trying to lighten the mood a little.)

This is a band out of the UK and is made up of just two guys, bass guitar and drums. No other guitar at all.

Royal Blood – Figure It Out

I like the drummer best. Unfortunately, he’s the married one.

For the road trip my brother and a friend are planning for later this summer.

He has been sick or stuck on dialysis and tied to machines for the last several years, unable to travel very far. Before that he was young and didn’t realize how valuable or exhilarating travel could be.

Now he’s free to do what he wants, to really enjoy a summer off, and he is going to get to see a different part of Canada. I’m definitely envious, but mostly I’m thrilled for him.

Wednesday: for my first introduction to a sweet little doll of a baby girl.

I went on a lovely walk with her and her mother. I had to wait until after to meet her, until she woke up, but I will never forget the first time we met.

For the strong mother she is lucky to have. Life is often sad and unfair, but I know they are lucky to have each other.

Thursday: for the stories of Robert Munsch.

My childhood was made a lot more enjoyable with this man’s stories. He celebrated his 70th Birthday and I enjoyed reading a list of 70 things I did not know about him. (Well, I did not know mostly all of them.)

http://www.cbc.ca/books/2015/06/70-amazing-facts-about-robert-munsch.html

My favourite on that list was number forty-seven. Apparently his first date with his wife was a walk around Walden Pond in Boston. The literary geek in me enjoyed knowing that one.

Friday: for Sir Christopher Lee and the role I will always be glad he played.

I was sad to hear of the passing of Lee this week, but it wasn’t all that unexpected. He was ninety-three and had a good, long life.

I wrote a tribute to Lee here.

I will always think of him as Sauroman the Wizard, from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, but check out this recitation of the Edgar Allan Poe poem, The Raven, that he did.

Eerie stuff, but he gives the perfect delivery.

And finally – last but certainly not least…

For the existence of Anne’s diary.

On June 12th, 1942 Anne Frank turned thirteen-years-old and received a diary for her birthday.

“I hope I will be able to confide everything in you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”

Anne was only five months older than my own grandmother when she wrote these words.

“Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I have never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.”

How wrong she was when she said this.

I’m glad she did write it, but Julie did point out that it’s just as important to remember the 1.5 million children also murdered by the Nazis had stories of their own that deserved to be told
Anne’s diary must represent not only her own unique voice, but that of all the others’.

If you have never read it before, I highly suggest you do. Have a great week all.

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