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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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A Review of Barbara Hurd’s Listening to the Savage: River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies

I listened, to hear things as they are. So many amazing books out there. Rivers lead to the ocean. Listen closely.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

41zGDljwFgL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgBy Alexis Paige

About half-way through Barbara Hurd’s latest essay collection, Listening to the Savage: River Notes and Half-Heard Melodies, I find myself splayed across a granite boulder in the middle of the small river that runs through my backyard in rural Vermont. Obviously, I am listening for crayfish. An avid river watcher, I confess that until reading this beautiful, brilliant book, I had not considered the role of river listener, or river monitor as Hurd calls herself, pointing out that monitor derives from the Latin monere, which means to warn or advise—even to remind or teach, according to my old Latin dictionary. From my back porch, I often eye the river’s movements, its patterns, its shimmer and light; I watch for deer, wild turkeys, ospreys, foxes, bald eagles, and the occasional Great Blue Heron. Recently, in the shallows near the yard, a few kids appeared, pants hiked…

View original post 1,586 more words

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TToT: Memory Use and the Overall System Footprint – Call and Response, #InternationalDayOfPeace #Graceland #10Thankful

It was a slow day And the sun was beating On the soldiers by the side of the road There was a bright light A shattering of shop windows The bomb in the baby carriage Was wired to the radio

These are the days of miracle and wonder This is the long distance call The way the camera follows us in slo-mo The way we look to us all

The way we look to a distant constellation That’s dying in a corner of the sky These are the days of miracle and wonder And don’t cry baby, don’t cry Don’t cry

It was a dry wind And it swept across the desert And it curled into the circle of birth And the dead sand Falling on the children The mothers and the fathers And the automatic earth

“The Boy in the Bubble” discusses starvation and terrorism, but mixes this with wit and optimism. Simon concurred with this assessment: “Hope and dread – that’s right. That’s the way I see the world, a balance between the two, but coming down on the side of hope.”

Hope and dread. Hope and dread. Hope and dread. These things run through my head…my head…my head.

My nephew is learning so many new things at school, even already after his first few weeks.

How do I know this?

The other night at dinner he started asking about carrots and how they grow, in the earth, from seeds. Such a basic concept of a lovely natural process.

Seeds planted. Something growing, sprouting up, from once there was only dirt under foot.

I am thankful for all the time I got to spend with my aunt.

Her life is a mystery to me. I get stuck on trying to imagine it. I only knew her for the last few decades of her life.

She was my father’s half sister. She was born in Europe during World War II. She came here to Canada, all by herself. I will forever wonder about all that.

The last time I saw her, as herself, she had made the trip to her mother’s funeral. We didn’t think she would come, for several reasons, but she came and I was nervous to give my tribute to my oma, whose relationship with her daughter was different from ours.

I hugged my aunt, after a day at the graveside, and an evening reminiscing about the life Oma lived, all of us sitting on the deck, around a table. I hugged her and left.

The next time she would have faced tumour treatments, her brain badly effected. She clung to me, our last real moment of contact, and one more familial thread is lost..

Without my parents making a decision to introduce us, I would never have known her mighty spirit.

I am thankful for the light chatter of young voices on a hard day of reality confronted.

On the night we received the news, I heard a one-year-old playing lovingly with her doll (all thanks to WhatsApp) and I interrupted a family in the middle of their beloved spaghetti dinner.

I needed to hear these little people, to remember that there are beginnings as well as those endings we wish would never come.

Na na na na na na na na Max Man!

🙂

Thanks to speaker phone, we discussed colours, what we want to be when we grow up, and what our favourite foods are.

I sat back, listening to my niece describe all manner of shades of many many colours. I needed that just then.

I am thankful for a world attempting to live more peacefully.

Justin Trudeau spoke about what “Canada has gotten right, not perfect.” That we believe diversity brings us strength to fight hatred and violence.

With all the meetings of UN in New York through the week, I listened to several speeches, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau in particular. All still so complicated. Peace exists in pockets. I just happen to live in one of those at the moment. No guarantee it will always be that way.

I am thankful for another educational Ken Burns PBS documentary.

I was unaware of the story of this couple.

I am thankful for a room full of writers

I had a question about writing, about the writing journey we’re all on, and I thought who better to bring it to than that select group of people. They are just learning as they go along, just like me, and I wanted their take on a particular situation I’ve gotten myself into.

Their input did not totally squelch my concerns, but we did have a lively discussion about writing contests and when a scam is a scam. I did not want to bring down the other writer in the group to have received good news like myself. He may choose to go a different way with it, but I am still undecided. We all want our writing to have a chance out there in the wider world.

I am thankful for light in the depths.

Edith Widder: the weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence – TED

This sort of thing is not visible to me anymore as such, but just hearing this scientist’s enthusiasm made me believe in the hope of all that magic to be found, especially in the ocean.

I am thankful for the perfect autumn weather.

Thursday was nearly thirty degrees. It was humid but yet there was a coolish breeze, enough to make a meal out on a patio still rather lovely. Yep, there was at least one bee this time, but not on me. Not that I knew of anyway.

I wasn’t having a great week. I was feeling unwell and having more computer troubles. I wanted the first day of fall to feel like fall.

By Friday the temperature had dropped ten degrees or more. I was in Heaven. Fall had arrived.

I am thankful for speedy and readily available medical care for myself and for those I love.

I felt lousy, but I needed blood taken and tested. I got it. Results available online now and oh how far we’ve come, to be able to check our own blood levels, without having to ask any doctor.

Then my family needs treatment for chronic medical conditions, tests run to check out symptoms, diabetes, and diet changes are called for. Hopefully those I love can remain healthy and live for a long time still.

I am thankful for a lovely day on the go.

It began at a secondhand store. Not exactly my kind of place, as I have a strange aversion to old, used things. I am also drawn to their stories. My sister was shopping for maternity clothes, not as easy as it sounds.

We kept my nephew occupied in the halloween decorations section, specifically interested in a doorbell with an eye that opened and and a voice that cackled.

We had lunch at a “pizza store” as my four-year-old nephew refers to it. All you can eat, but still we ate thin crust pizza, to stick, as close as we possibly can, to our diets and health restrictions.

Then I had my violin lesson. Brahms’ lullaby, played for me on piano and violin, so hopefully I can master the entire song by next March.

I went, with my brother and a few people, to attend a bit of speaking about video game production and radio.

A Journal Of Musical Things

This guy, the one with the website, he has been on a Toronto radio station for years. My brother listened to his radio programs. We heard he was visiting and we decided to go and listen to what he had to say.

Finally, we walked downtown, a Beatles festival happening, and capped off the day with a relaxing glass of wine and delicious dessert on a patio and then a cup of coffee, latte, before I felt a sore throat coming on dampen my mood. Nothing could truly dampen my first Saturday of fall.

I am thankful for an album, which becomes an experience in itself.

This album was brought back to my attention, but this week it has great value, in its overall feeling of hope and peace.

It is a magical record, full of the voice of Paul Simon, but yet with a distinctly African tone. Anyone who has never heard it has been missing out.

These days albums in their entirety are all but extinct. Songs that stand alone are what gets the public’s attention. This album, named for a tourist attraction, a musical and cultural icon of a place, a spiritual experience for some, that is what this album is for me.

It’s a collection of songs, taking me on travels, experiences of sorts, to a place called Africa, where my young self couldn’t imagine. This album was playing in our house, thanks to my father, and this can clearly be heard on an old home movie when I was three.

There was the almost mystical affection and strange familiarity I felt when I first heard South African music. Later, there was the visceral thrill of collaborating with South African musicians onstage. Add to this potent mix the new friendships I made with my band mates, and the experience becomes one of the most vital in my life. block quote level 1block quote level 1

Graceland – Album By Paul Simon (1986)

I did not want to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, so much as I wanted to learn about South Africa, about the troubles and the ruining of lives Apartheid caused, when I was too young to realize, when the concept of black and white wasn’t something I thought anything about. Now I think about it often. No superiority. No ranking of human life.

What was unusual about Graceland is that it was on the surface apolitical, but what it represented was the essence of the antiapartheid in that it was a collaboration between blacks and whites to make music that people everywhere enjoyed. It was completely the opposite from what the apartheid regime said, which is that one group of people were inferior. Here, there were no inferiors or superiors, just an acknowledgement of everybody’s work as a musician. It was a powerful statement. block quote level 1block quote level 1

Graceland transcended racial and cultural barriers. ” Graceland was never just a collection of songs, after all; it was a bridge between cultures, genres and continents, not to mention a global launching pad for the musicians whose popularity been suppressed under South Africa’s white-run apartheid rule,” said Andrew Leahey of
American Song Writer.

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TToT: Busy Filibustering and Multiple Blooms, #10Thankful #Bloomsday #CityAndColour

“All your friends seem like enemies, when you’re broken down and empty. “So say goodbye to love, and hold your head up high. There’s no need to rush. We’re all just waiting, waiting to die.”

Waiting – City and Colour

Okay, so why are those lyrics so darn relatable?

Kind of depressing lyrics/quote to start things off with, no? Well, keep reading for further context.

Technology update from this week is just more of the same with my mail program. My new computer seems to be unable to function properly because there are so many. VoiceOVer’s favourite thing to say, when it just can’t work well enough to let me even send an email: “Busy…busy…busy…” I’m beginning to hate that word.

😦

Do you ever feel like you’re so far behind and you’ll never catch up, in emails or just life in general?

Well, I feel that way, but I know it’s small in the grand scheme of things, as this week has been full of more heartbreaking headlines and tragedies and some political filibustering too. (Just love that word.)

Once more, I make the effort to find things for which I am intensely thankful.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For a successful video chat connection with my writing mentor.

She helps me narrow in on what I’m doing with my writing. I’m glad the technology allowed us to speak again.

She writes about “multiple blooms” – getting more than one chance in life, to become something or create something worthwhile, to bloom like flowers bloom.

This week, on June 16th, it was Bloomsday, like on every June 16th, going back one hundred years.

Irish writer JAmes Joyce’s Bloomsday explained.

I’ve spent so much energy and time coming down hard on myself because I haven’t read all the things there are out there to read. I haven’t written all I want to write yet. Talking to a mentor helps me realize that’s okay. I work on trying not to look at it like I am far behind in these things. It’s not a race.

So, Bloomsday is a day to celebrate James Joyce and his novel “Ulysses” which I haven’t managed to read, though I started it a few years ago.

For a winner so far for best writing group night.

We are a lovely little core group who mostly show up each week. We help each other, cheer each other on, remember one another’s writing and ask how it’s going.

This time involved popsicles.

🙂

The challenge was to write as much as we could, while holding our popsicles, to see how far we could get before they melted.

This is where I feel irritated because I can’t fit in, necessarily do the same as everyone else, and so I adapt. I write on my Braille Display with one hand, while holding and eating my popsicle with the other. It’s not easy to type braille letters and words with only one free hand. I don’t like to get all sticky from a melting popsicle. I managed two sentences, which ended up turning into a pretty cool bit of writing by the end of it all.

This particular time just seemed to produce some awesome ideas and stories from all of us. A few of us may have been sleep deprived, but that lead to some cool storylines.

For a return from trouble with technology.

And so I’d started a story last time, thanks to unforeseen real life events with the group, mostly unexpected religious discussions, and I came out of that awkward situation with the seeds of the perfect story to submit to a Canadian short story contest.

Well, I finished it last week and brought it to read for the group. They loved it. I could tell they were moved. They commented on my incredible level of insight, which they really did say.

But then I pressed a wrong button, overrode that story with my new one, and so I had the opportunity to rewrite it, this time keeping the basic structure and plot points, but narrowing it down to the word limit of 750, as the contest requires. I plan to submit and I like what I’ve got.

Sometimes things work out.

That I get to witness another year of marriage for my wonderful parents.

They arrived at 37 and it is a beautiful thing to see. It’s teamwork at its best. It’s my foundation. (No pressure there guys.)

For time to sit and observe by the lake that bears my province’s name.

I am trying to become more aware of my surroundings. I can’t go to the ocean so easily, but I am lucky to live near the Great Lakes. This time it was Lake Ontario.

I sat and watched the boats and the listened to the birds and felt the breeze off the water.

For opening acts that don’t entirely suck.

Shakey Graves

Many concerts I go to I am unimpressed by the musical act that opens the show. This time, the guy was weird with some of the things he said in between songs, but I was undeniably swept up in how catchy his lyrics were. The sound was great and I was able to sit comfortably and enjoy his Austin, Texas accent. He was a bit of a musical Matthew McConaughey and, surprisingly, I liked it.

For a perfect night for a concert and a lovely outdoor venue to be able to make the most of it.

I love live music, but all the noise and commotion is often enough to cause me head pain that leaves me questioning why I put myself through that.

The answer is because I get headaches, but I won’t let that stop me from enjoying music that I love.

Well, this is an outdoor venue, by the water. It’s open and I sit on the grassy hill and I let the evening air and the music wash over me.

For lovely time spent with my father.

It was Father’s Day Eve and I knew he’d like the band. I know many would do anything to be able to enjoy something like that with their own fathers. I was happy to be there, with as he said, was probably the oldest person at the show. Well, I felt old listening to all the twenty-something’s all around me. So we focused on the incredible show before us.

For the song lyrics I wrote getting their first live performance.

My brother and his musician friends played a selection of covers and the song he and I wrote, which has a phenomenal singer. The drummer is the best around.

A family reunion and the woman at the helm of it all wanted my lyrics to be played, as entertainment for her family day. I wished I could have been there to hear it, but my brother said the whole thing was a big hit.

For a band like the one I just saw live.

Music and family are, once more, at the heart of my gratitude list.

A band like City and Colour has a very mellow sound. That’s why I love them, the lead singer’s voice. Many of their songs allow me to express the sadness I feel, the crappier parts of life, but somehow, listening to these songs helps.

Comin’ Home – City and Colour

“I know that we’re takin’ chances, you told me life was a risk. But I just have one last question…will it be my heart or will it be his?”

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Magic: Lost and Found, #FTSF #JusticeForTim

I’ve always said that I think all children should get to see and experience Disney World at least once. There’s a child in all of us. Become a kid again.

Oh, sure. I was the little girl afraid of the characters (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy) who walked the park and posed for photos with families. I was the girl afraid to ride Space Mountain. I still count my family’s 1992 trip to Florida as an important childhood memory.

Our parents announced the trip to us one night at dinner. I still vaguely remember that announcement. We were eating chicken and I looked at the flowers on the old plates my mom had at the time, thrilled for two weeks off school and a giant road trip with my family.

We drove in the blue van. We stopped in Atlanta, Georgia. We went to Disney, Sea World, the ocean. It was my first time at the ocean, in my young memory.

We collected shark teeth that we found buried in the sand. We swam in pools and ate oranges. We did Florida up right.

***

In the last week alone, In Florida, a terrible mass shooting took place at a gay nightclub and a little child was killed by an alligator. I don’t mean to single out Florida, I loved my time there, the next two times as well as the first. It’s just…when was it that I realized no place is Disney perfect?

All this shock and sadness and grief and horror in Orlando.

***

When we were in Florida we visited the Everglades. We took a boat ride through the swamps. How many alligators were there in those waters around us? That is their home. How do animals and people live side-by-side and stay out of each other’s way? These are questions that plague me now. They never even crossed my mind when I was eight.

I held a baby alligator. I felt it squirm. His mouth was held closed. I couldn’t possibly grasp what a full grown version of the animal would be like. I didn’t have any fear of meeting one and not surviving the encounter. My parents would keep me safe. The alligators would know I was not food, right?

You think Florida, you think alligators. You don’t hear about a child dying from such a danger, at a resort. It is rare. It is unimaginable.

When it comes to more youthful days, I will always remember Florida with my family. For one family, a father who couldn’t hold on and a mother and sibling who were helpless on shore, Florida will never be happy.

***

I am grown now. I can’t pretend and believe in Disney magic, when the news stories just keep on coming at me.

A baby’s lifeless body was found in a dumpster in a town not far from mine just yesterday morning.

A father was taken from his wife and little girl.

It was May of 2013, and the news reported a young father was missing, after he put his truck up for sale online, and left to take it for a test drive with a few perspective buyers. Those buyers had selfish and evil intentions.

He never came home. His killers would be charged.

I heard the wife plead for her husband’s safe return, but something in me knew that would never happen.

When I heard that a little girl would never get to visit Disney, wide eyed, with her father, I was horrified. I felt ill.

When I thought how I’d feel if someone dared to take my brother away from his child, I through the big yellow envelope I was holding across the room. I couldn’t pretend that all was well and that bad things didn’t sometimes happen to decent people.

***

Today is exactly twenty-two years since that chase which was broadcast on live television. I did not have a clue who O.J. Simpson was. I hardly ever followed the news. I was only ten and I didn’t think much about the worst news stories of the nineties.

Now I know more. My eyes have been opened. I can’t go back to that ten-year-old girl I once was who was off playing, while the adults were glued to some high speed chase of a famous athlete on TV. I can’t go back to being that eight-year-old girl who was afraid of the live action characters that seemed real in some of those Disney rides. Life would soon get more frightening, the real world as it’s often known.

I do live some of my youth through the children in my life now. It keeps me sane. It keeps me believing in a little bit of magic still.

***

The verdict has come down today. After a week of horror unfolding, within seconds spread across social media, I was relieved to hear about some criminal justice done. That little girl and her mother and their family will never get their loved one back, but the killers have been found guilty of first degree murder. They are going to prison.

The power of justice. The magic of youth.

***

This week’s Finish the Sentence Friday hosts:

Finding Ninee, who is exploring reliving childhood through one’s children.

Along with her is

Deborah of Life is Like a Hand Grenade,

stepping in at the last minute.

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Sailing Away and the Bee Tree, #TGIF #FTSF

I hear it, that far off humming from the other side of the driveway.

What’s that noise?

My family start hinting at the origin, somewhere nearby, but not too near.

We’re standing around, in the driveway, with the fresh cut scent of grass in the air.

“Ooh, don’t tell Kerry,” they say, dancing around something they see and I don’t. I know them pretty well and can probably guess.

***

This was no Winnie the Pooh cartoon. I remember his song about being a little black storm cloud, as he attempted to disguise himself in mud, so he could sneak honey from a tree, attempting to avoid detection by the swarm of bees.

This time, in this driveway, it was a favourite tree of my mom’s. The late afternoon warmth of the day made conditions just right for pollination.

This was a nightmare of mine.

Not pollination. I think that’s cool and all, for the bees, but it took some coaxing from my sister, to get me to walk close to the Eastern redbud tree, as the closer I came, the louder the sound of the bees. They were clearly occupied, more concerned with the flowers they were working on, and weren’t about to stop their very important duties, to all land on me, like they would if I were dreaming.

***

I back away hastily, nevertheless, just in case. The sound of a swarm of bees makes me shrink back. That sound gets me moving, faster than most anything else I might hear. Not the fault of the bees at all.

***

Yu know that fear you have that something in your own life will inevitably reoccur at night, in your dreams?

Of course, we don’t normally control that. The things, at least for me, which I fear could show up in my dreams at night never show up, just because I think they will. Always, it’s a surprise, for good or ill.

***

This week’s Finish the Sentence Friday post is about

dreams

and

dreaming.

***

I need to start a dream journal. If I were to do this, I would need to write them down the moment I wake up, because within minutes the memories fade, unless extremely vivid. I have had some of those over the years, of which some really crazy stories could have been written. Ah well.

**I’ve dreamed about clowns. *Shudders

**I’ve dreamed the standard one where I’m being chased.

**I’ve dreamed I was stuck at the bottom of the ocean.

**I’ve dreamed that I moved out to the west coast of Canada, to fulfill my long held dream of studying marine biology.

**Some good and some not so good dreams, for sure.**

**I’ve dreamt I was in an old house, one that smelled rancid, and when I awoke I could still smell it on the insides of my nostrils.

The putrid smell in the dream carried on into my day and I still get that happening on occasion. A strange mix-up of senses, experience, and consciousness.

***

To round off this week’s answer to the sentence I thought I would address one of the most commonly asked questions about blindness:

Do I see when I dream?

I don’t suddenly drift off each night and enter a totally sighted realm. I believe, most times, the brain can’t simply create images where none have been known. I could be wrong, not wanting to speak for all who can’t see, but it also depends on if you’ve been totally blind all your life or not. I have had more sight previously. Perhaps my brain can use a recall method, but mostly I don’t think about it. I can’t even really give a totally clear and concise answer.

You’d think it should be easy to say, but it’s not so black and white. More different variations of grey.

When I sleep, I dream in, from what I can recall, faded light. I think, as my sight seems to be less and less, that element of my dreaming hours becomes less and less important. I like the break I usually get though. In my dreams, I don’t worry about being treated differently. I don’t worry how I’m going to get somewhere, or if I have someone’s arm to guide me, or if I’ve suddenly ended up without my white cane. I just don’t care and, I must say, that break from reality is the best part of dreaming, no matter what I see or don’t see while I’m in the midst of it.

***

This song came on in a restaurant where I found myself eating lunch the other day.

Sailing – Christopher Cross

While I was sleeping, I dreamt his song. I like it. It takes me away somewhere when I hear it, sort of like a beautiful and a peaceful dream should.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, SoCS

Just Jot It January: Tropical Islands, Colourful Fish, and the Buddy System, #JusJoJan

Sounds like paradise, doesn’t it?

When you hear the title “Open Water”, either the image is one of relaxation, tranquility, and nature or terror: it’s the fear of the openness, endlessness, and getting lost. Well, more to the point I mean being eaten by sharks or drowning.

Just Jot It January #JusJoJan

Rules are here.

I had an entire catalog of movies to choose from. I’ve been watching movies, picking from among this list for a while. It is hard to say which title came to my mind first though. I’ve been going through title after title for the last few days, whenever I have a spare moment.

Of course, these are all MP3s, I think it is. They are all audio tracks only, describing the movies because I can’t see and miss a lot of the visual details, but a database like this allows me to watch any movie I feel like, even action (which isn’t my favourite genre, but which has a time and place) and I can watch all the movies I never got to see before.

Shakespeare said “What’s in a name?” I like a good one, that’s for sure. There’s nothing quite as satisfying.

I love a perfectly selected and given title for a story, in this case for a movie. Or a blog post.

🙂

But this week’s prompt is asking for a movie title.

This movie is one I saw in the theatre, probably ten years ago now, when it came out. I heard the title and immediately I was hooked.

I both love and fear the ocean and this title was to-the-point, direct.

Directly chilling.

Many people may not have seen it because it didn’t draw the same crowds as, oh say “JAWS”, but it’s just as frightening, in my opinion.

It was a more independent film, and filmed more like a documentary, which makes it feel even more real. It’s based on true events, which makes me shiver a little every time I think of it. It’s my worst nightmare, to be left out in the middle of the ocean, with nothing but miles and miles of open and empty water everywhere.

I also think the image is haunting, as in it has haunted me, ever since I knew what the sea was, and certainly ever since seeing this film.

OPEN WATER

I just don’t go out there. I can’t see and so the thought of going diving is not an appealing thought, in actuality. In theory it sounds just great. All the colourful fish you could discover out there. So meditative. The part of me that has always dreamed of becoming a marine biologist thinks it sounds like home, or like heaven.

I don’t think I would like it in reality. I would be afraid of being mistakenly left behind out there. In all that open water it’s impossible to know how to get back, how far out you might be, and with no sign of land there’s really little to be done at that point.

#SoCS

I’m combining Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday with Just Jot It January, once again this week:

http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/08/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-jan-916/

&

http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/09/just-jot-it-january-9th-title-socs/

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Fiction Friday, TGIF

Howling At the Moon

The moon does not fight. It attacks no one. It does not worry. It does not try to crush others. It keeps to its course, but by its very nature, it gently influences what other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.

–Ming-Dao Deng, Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony

It draws her in, with its bright light, when the night comes. She is drawn to it, unmistakably, the pull she always felt growing stronger and stronger over time.

From a long time back, she couldn’t explain this if she tried, but lots of people love the moon. She wasn’t alone. Nothing so strange, except there was.

Her love of the night continued to grow too. It felt like home, her hours of peace and pure tranquility, when so many slept. She stayed wide awake throughout the hours of darkness and solitude. Something deep inside of her wouldn’t let her sleep anymore. It became normal and expected. It was invited, instead of fought against.

Walking along, under the moonlight, the waves crashing over the rocky shoreline. She looked up at that moon, thinking about the pull it had on the tides and on her limbs and her very spirit.

Her limbs. Speaking of her limbs.

They were changing and morphing into something alien to her, somehow, so slow and under the overhanging watchfulness of the moon. It seemed to be spying on the progress of this change in her.

It would have begun in puberty, with hair growing, suddenly. It was at the normal amount for her age group, but soon enough it was something more.

She could try to wish it away, to be like the other females, but they would look at her, under moon or under sun, and exclaim:

“Why do your legs have such thick and fast growing hair? That can’t be right.”

It wasn’t. No cream or product could touch the growth once it began. No hair remover, laser, or treatment she tried helped. She was slowly watching the hair move up her legs, out from her arms, dark and rough to the touch.

Hands and fingers, even the thumb. It was relentless, unnatural. She was being stared at, so she hid and only showed her face when the light of the moon was all there was to show herself off with.

The hair, it crept up and around each arm, to her shoulder blades, to the small of her back. Everybody has hair, fine and unnoticeable, over most of the surface area of the body, other than the bottom of the feet and palms of the hands. It should be undetectable, in most places, or you were a freak of nature.

The moon didn’t care. The night didn’t reveal. The solitude was her friend.

One morning she happened to notice the hair taking over most of her face, chin and cheeks, lip and inching its way from the eyebrows to the sideburns. The hair became the thickest, on her head, it had ever been. Where wasn’t their hair most harshly spreading?

The next full moon was just a few nights away. The hair caused her to finally become a shut-in. People knocked on her door and she ignored them all, shying away and shrinking from the knocking that kept coming. Then, suddenly, the moon was at its brightest and she came out.

She’d stare at her hairy hands, now hairy palms, and know there was no denying it, no going back.

The moon pulled her out, all resistance disappearing, and the cold night air nipped at her cheeks, but the hair there kept her warm from its bite. Her fingernails had grown, in those days she’d remained hidden away, and now they were long and like weapons.

She knew what she had become and she did not hide from it, all horror films aside, and she would embrace her fate. She would belong to the night, with so many nocturnal creatures. It was where she belonged now. Her love of the moon made much more sense to her this time. It had called to her, even when she hadn’t realized why. Now she had only to examine her hand to know it and to fully believe.

The howl escaped her before she’d realized what was happening. The moon brought it out of her. It felt as natural as breathing. She was home.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, TToT

TToT: Just a Storm Before the Calm – “Fa La La La La”

No, it’s not from a Christmas carol that I’m singing: Fa La La La La – it’s only August.        
But come on – just try to make that sound and not smile.

🙂

“We didn’t set out to become super heros but life doesn’t always go as planned.”
–Big Hero 6

No, life certainly does not.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

This week is full of quotes, music, and one photograph. This week:

I heard of the passing away of someone an old friend of mine will dearly miss. It’s tragic that a thing like cancer exists and that it took the life of someone who was only starting out in her life really. No twenty-five-year-old should die.

On the other end is former president Jimmy Carter, who announced his recent cancer diagnosis,

with a press conference,

this week and things look pretty grim for him as well.

He seems at peace with it, at his age, and still continues to do his beloved charity work, but who knows how much time he’s got left. Who knows how much time any of us have though.

Which leads me to my theme for the week:

Ten Things of Thankful

For The Diary of a Young Girl. Yeah, for the actual diary, which I finally have as a part of my collection of books on the shelf now.

It took me a while, simply because I feel so silly buying books I won’t be able to read, even books I love so much and that mean so much to me.

But I went to listen to the woman who is playing Anne Frank at the Stratford Festival this season. I saw the play a few months back and wanted to take this opportunity to hear her speak about the role.

It’s extremely interesting to hear her thoughts and feelings on playing such an iconic girl, big shoes to fill, but she does a fabulous job.

Stratford’s Diary of Anne Frank is hard-hitting and deeply enriching – THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Check it out, if you can.

Afterwards I decided to go for it and buy the diary. Seemed fitting.

“He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery.”
–Anne Frank

For birthday parties, with candy bars, delicious cupcakes, and children playing.

My nephew had the big party, compared to the small family one we had on his actual birthday.

This time my sister did a great job at throwing him a Big Hero 6 themed bash. All the various candy she had for the candy bar (the best in latest fads and I’m not complaining) represented something from the Big Hero 6 universe.

I don’t recall what the Sweet Tarts were supposed to represent, but they were damn good.

Who wouldn’t want to live in a place called San Fransokyo?

🙂

My nephew knows every word from this super hero animated film, even as he is learning what each word means – “fa la la la la” is a line, if you can call it that, from the movie.

For time spent at the beach.

I spent the entire time in waist-high water. It was warm and calm. All the waves were in the shallows, but truthfully, the water stayed shallow for a long, long way out.

I have a continual fear of undertows, but I was able to relax and enjoy the sunshine and the peaceful floating I did.

I brought my friend along. I hoped the beach might help, somehow, because it always helps me.

For seagulls, a flock of them..

This one is for my brother, who visited Prince Edward Island this week.

I love the sound they make, the cry, the squawk. To me, that sound is pure bliss of the ocean/lake, even if I hear one in a parking lot, far from the water.

Even for the 80s band. Okay, sure – let’s include them in there also.

For the Great Lakes. I am lucky, although I do not live near the ocean, I do live relatively close to the next best thing to it.

A Great Summer Adventure

I wrote this story, last year, about my visit to all five of the lakes in one summer.

I thought the play on words was pretty clever obviously.

🙂

For World Photography Day.

Well, actually, for my brother’s love, passion, and gift for the art of photography.

In reality, these days never stop coming and this is the first year I’ve heard of this one in particular.

Honestly, they do just make some handy suggestions for the TToT I’ve enjoyed participating in here. I texted my brother a Happy Photography Day and he, too, had never heard of it.

But the spirit of it is his ability to take beautiful photographs of the people he loves and the things he finds interesting. It is a part of what makes him who he is.

kkijewski-headshot-2015-08-23-00-22.jpg

Should be a picture of me, but I can never be sure. Okay, so I probably sound a little bit like I am bragging, saying what I just said, then using a photo of myself. The truth is that this was the only picture I had on hand of his, but I thought I needed some visual representation to go with this Thankful.

For the creation of Winnie The Pooh, which would only be possible with the birth of the boy who inspired the loveable cartoon bear that my nephew loves so much – hell, that I love too. He’s just so darn cute.

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”
–A.A. Milne

For Pinterest because it brings happiness to one who totally deserves it.

It was nice to hear the laughter. Life and storms can be rough sometimes.

For a friend who sent me some new music.

Ioana Grandrabur

I guess he thought I’d like this guitar player because she is a blind guitarist from Canada. Well, she does play some beautiful music, I must admit, she lives in Canada and I do too.

If you are a fan of classical guitar I suggest you give her a listen.

For my father and his continuous concern for me and the things I need, the way he takes care of me, and for his thoughtful gesture of stopping by to check on me.

Of course, one could argue that that’s what fathers do, but they don’t, not all of them anyway.

I am just thankful and grateful and wanted him to know that.

Did you know that when you see lightning, it’s traveling at about 227 million miles (365 million km) an hour?

Thanks National Geographic, for that cool little fact to go with my TToT post this week.

Storm Before the Calm

“I am now almost ninety and my strength is slowly failing. Still, the task I received from Anne continues to restore my energy: to struggle for reconciliation and human rights throughout the world.”
–Otto Frank, 1979

Otto Frank died on August 19th, one year after he said these words. Thought I’d end this week’s post with this, as I just wanted to include him, being that I started my week off with talking about the daughter he refers to here.

Life sure can be rough and sometimes the storms are deadly.

Other times, something good can come from the bad and the water will grow calm and still and peaceful once more.

I’m just happy to be here, this week, and to realize how precious life is, even when it takes a few crummy cancer stories to be the reminder of that fact.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Travel, TToT

TToT: Thunderbolts and Rainbows

“After every storm, there is a rainbow. If you have eyes, you will find it. If you have wisdom, you will create it. If you have love for yourself and others, you won’t need it.”
–Shannon L. Alder

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

I heard about an interesting thing this week, and although I can not see it, I found the image to be an appropriate overall theme for the week that just was.

Photographer captures rainbow and lightning bolt in one electrifying image – TODAY.com

Thunder crashing, lightning streaking across the sky, sometimes followed by the beauty of a rainbow.

And then sometimes, rather more rarely, there’s all three at the same time. Life produces all of this and more and sometimes it does this all at once.

At times I didn’t know if I would even want to collect ten things this week, as the rain seemed to cloud any rainbows that might have been there, but I again think these weeks are the ones when being thankful is most important.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For YouTube.

I don’t know what I did before I discovered all that it had to offer. I can find and watch any documentary, on any subject I want. I can listen to all the songs I love. Unlimited and easy access to media and entertainment like this, for me, is extremely freeing.

For rain and thunderstorms.

I spent some time this week, just listening to the rain falling and the thunder rumbling.

I can not see lightning, for the most part, but occasionally I still can spot it, if the conditions are just right.

I have a vivid memory of driving home from my parent’s friends’ place, one night, with the sky lighting up as we drove. The sky was flash after flash and all was a bright light out the van’s window.

Now I remained inside, listening to the sound of the raindrops hitting the awning outside my window. I loved the cool, rainy air and the science of a thunder storm came back to me. I thought about this powerful charge of particles out there, in the air, and I considered, for one moment, that science is actually the coolest and nature is truly spectacular.

I read a Facebook post from my local radio station. The DJ posed a question: how do you explain what thunder is to your children?

Silly really. I heard the famous explanation as a child of God bowling, but I never believed it. If that were true, I’d also have to calculate that the actual raindrops were God spitting on us and that never sat well with me.

Still…the theme of rain, thunder, and rainbows persisted as the week continued, even just symbolically and through literature.

For my nephew and his turning another year older, as he grows before our very eyes, even if, on some level, we want to keep him just the age he now is.

He actually prefers waterfalls to rainbows.

We had a nice little family dinner to celebrate the day. I re-edited and posted the essay I wrote about his birth and the journey his parents took to bring us all our sweet little boy:

Ordinary Miracles: Part One

and

Ordinary Miracles: Part Two

For the pure joy and happiness of a baby, something so untouched by any real pain or fear.

I spent an afternoon this week with my friend and her baby girl. We had a lovely lady’s lunch, the three of us, and she was extremely well behaved the entire time.

I got to hold her back at my house and, even though she is only fourteen weeks or so, she can stand.

Okay, well I may have been holding her up, but she is already just dying to use her legs. The problem is, they don’t stay straight enough, flopping and collapsing, unable to fully support her body for any possible, miraculous baby genius behaviour, any hope of forward, upright movement.

🙂

She had a ball trying, anyway, on my lap and with my assistance.

With all the rough weather in life, the best rainbow of all is actually the noise of pure and utter happiness made by a young child. She made just that noise. It was the most pleasurable sound, one of the best sounds you could/I will ever hear. It warms your heart and I let the memory of that stay with me as the week went on.

For fresh peaches.

I ate more of that amazing, creamy, soft ice cream I spoke of a few TToT’s back and this time it was with fresh peaches. Even better. Two delicious things put together.

For discovering a tasty chocolate dessert with a friend.

The rest of the meal may not have impressed us much, but you can’t beat the company and on discovering they had three desserts to offer: strawberry cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and deep fried banana split…well, we both agreed that chocolate is the best. We weren’t disappointed.

For the walks we’ve started going on together: my friend, her daughter, and me and I like the exercise I get, even if parts of my body rebel against me a bit.

For Middle Sibling Day.

I’m grateful I get to share that honour with my older sister.

She is strong and determined. She never gives up. She is the best middle sibling around.

I so wish I could take her pain away and get her all she desires for herself. I want to be the little sister she deserves. I want to make it all alright for her.

Glad to be middle siblings together.

For the ocean, seashore, whatever you call it. It’s a wonder of wonders.

More text messages from my brother out east in the Maritimes and I am wonderfully jealous as he tells me of how much he is enjoying the fresh east coast, ocean air of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.

I am thankful there is such a thing and hope to experience it again one of these days, but for now, I am glad he gets to experience it.

Next stop: P.E.I.

Speaking of…

And finally, to carry on with the east coast theme, for:

Rilla of Ingleside

Being from Canada and an avid writer and reader, Lucy Maud Montgomery is my Canadian author idol.

I had read

Anne of Green Gables

in the eighth grade and became obsessed with the films.

I only read the following books years later, or at least, the next several.

I love books and would have read more of them by now. Sometimes, however, being visually impaired does slow me down and delay me from reading like I’d like to.

I get books, in different ways, from varied sources. I read Anne in braille, when someone transcribed it for me. I read the next few when another visually impaired friend, much more tech smart, downloaded them for me onto my Braille Display, an electronic braille device. I found this one online and, as I’ve stated above with my love of YouTube, listened to the audio book.

Rilla of Ingleside is a beautiful book. Montgomery was the only one to write a moving account of what it was like to be female, in Canada, during the turbulent World War I days.

Most people, even if they did not read the books, know who Anne is. Well, Rilla is Anne’s youngest daughter, who is a teen during WW I and she starts out as a directionless young girl, but by the end of those four years, becomes a lot more than that.

I can’t wait to write a review of this book for my blog. It’s remarkable to me, that we can read books written one hundred years ago, and the beauty to be found there can still be so great.

The family has moved away from Green Gables, from Avonlea, and while still remaining on Prince Edward Island, now live in their Ingleside house, right next to

Rainbow Valley,

where the children used to play.

Now, as teenagers and young adults, facing a world war, they go there to talk about world events and tough choices, with one another, or to just think by themselves.

So there’s my rainbow to end this TToT with. I missed this week’s meteor shower, but I can hear the thunder, so I count my blessings.

Here Comes the Rain Again

The thunder strikes and even though, at first thought, that brings on notions of being hit by lightening, with the reaction of having to run for cover, on closer examination I see how the forces are mighty ones.

I think there can be both, thunder and rainbows, if we look for them and find the value in them both, either separately or together as one.

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