When asked by author Angela Yuriko Smith what we’re looking for, Editor-in-Chief JT Lachausse replied:
“We want what you haven’t seen. Allow me to be dramatic: Imagine that every piece of art is represented by a stone. Many stones make up the mountains and buildings, but even more hide beneath the surface. We are so familiar and fond of the overground rocks, but in the caves and oceans-deep, there are stories that tell things wildly. Desperately, furiously, without great laborious sanitizing or editorial puncturing.”
Not an easy time to be female and in charge of a newspaper like that, having to make the hardest of decisions, so much at stake.
I am thankful I got a chance, before the movie, to speak to the manager in charge at my local theatre.
He couldn’t be of much help with the issue of audio description at Woodstock’s movie theatre, but he gave me the card of the head office out in B.C.
I am still determined to work, this year, on changing this policy of there not being enough demand, so I can see a movie and not have to make family or friends describe while they, too, are trying to enjoy the show.
I am thankful I could listen in on a conference call about Braille Literacy Canada
and the importance of braille today.
I am thankful for family and their warm, heated homes to flea to, when I wake to a freezing house and such icy cold tile floors.
Here I am and bursting with thankfulness, just like the fall colours now at their peak. My favourite season will be gone before I know it.
I missed last week, which I don’t like to do, but I had a good reason. I was filling up on things I’m deeply thankful for, living my reality, starting with this.
Fall colours and violin
It soon became tricky, trying to hold my bow, as my fingers grew colder and colder. I wished I could see the vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows which were in full display up north east, earlier than where I live. I am thankful that such views bring my mother such happiness.
I am thankful I got to play my violin, as brief as it was, even with the few songs I know, in a place of natural splendour.
I went on a road trip, to say goodbye to a loved one. Upon returning home I was so emotionally spent that I decided to take a week off and come back again, here and now, with a double dose of reflective thankfuls.
I’m thankful to have gotten to know a remarkable woman. My aunt started a life on her own, away from anyone when she arrived, and built a life for herself and a family, here in Canada. She worked hard, raised two children, and made a mark for herself in the restaurant business.
It wasn’t until later, the mid 90s, that I was around to meet and to get to know her. I just thought the past was well represented, as we passed a remnant of days nearly gone by, with the phone booth, saying farewell to what once was, with the introduction of modern technology of cell phones, becoming the unavoidable reality.
My aunt was tough and resilient, like her mother, my oma.
She did not want a funeral or even an obituary. Was it because she did not want to bother anyone, even after her death? Or was it just that she couldn’t deal with the thought of us making a fuss after she was gone?
Well, on the chance of incurring her displeasure, I have needed to grieve and pay tribute to her, in my own few ways anyway. I am thankful I got to do that and to know how other loved ones are finding their own peace. It was important that I see them all again, to know they are going to be alright without her.
I learned to love “Operator” thanks to my father. Now though, it’s going to be forever the song that I now dedicate to my aunt, whose fierce spirit I felt as I stood just inside the booth, on a chilly autumn Sunday, in a Canadian national park, near her home, in Ontario. We all have regrets. I just hope my aunt is now at peace, wherever she is.
I’m thankful for lichens and morning glories.
I’m thankful for fall colours (red, orange, yellow) and for the possibility of either pink or blue. I’m thankful for the red blood that makes up a family.
I’m thankful for delicious food and the supporting of important causes.
pink hamburger bun
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I wanted to find out what a pink hamburger bun tasted like.
It was obvious to those I asked on Facebook and to my mom, even though my father and mother both said, up close, it could have been a sweet, dessert red velvet hamburger bun. The correct answer was it was dyed pink with beet juice, which I wasn’t so sure about at first, but did end up giving just a hint of sweetness.
Then there was a wonderfully tasty bbq chicken salad, from The Kitchen Eatery and Catering Company,
located in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada. It also just so happens to be my cousin’s lunch counter/store front and the catering business she is growing. If you’re ever in the area, I recommend you check it out. Beef sandwiches and pies named after her family members. She has not yet named a signature dish for my aunt, but I see that happening in future.
Pies were the order of the day, with Thanksgiving in Canada being in October. The coconut cream pie was delightful, with every bite of fresh cream and coconut I tasted. She explained her lessons in crusts for meat pies vs dessert pies, one taught to her from her mother and the other from her father, a big part of her team.
She has worked a lot of years to build up a dedicated crowd of regulars. She makes good food and puts her all into everything, and it shows. Both her parents taught her all they ever knew about the restaurant business and preparing the best tasting and quality food for any potential customers. We were lucky to be some of those, this time round.
I am thankful that I got to check out her place and the food. She was very gracious as a host. I am thankful I got to see the kind of family love that exists, even after losing her mother, my aunt. It isn’t easy, but we discussed what my aunt would think, if she could truly see what my cousin is creating. She would say she is crazy, but she would be proud I am sure.
It’s a little like my favourite fictional Green Gables, as in the age of the building. It is the type of older building I’ve always felt uncomfortable in, yet as I grow older, I continue to see the value in the history and the ghosts of those who may once have lived there. It’s a place with great character. Leave it to my mother to find such a place.
I am thankful for the discovery of meditation music, when my mind is full of memories of loved ones, and sleep is not always so easy to come by.
He had many relaxation albums, going back to the 80s.
This composer put on a brilliant live show before his own death. I wish I could have been in attendance, but I’m thankful for his haunting nature sounds, mixed with piano, guitar, and the authentically Australian sound of the didjeridu.
I am thankful for some much needed guidance with my writing and the path I’m attempting to walk..
Next year will be twenty years with my father’s kidney and I feel like I need to recognize that, to do something big, possibly using my skill with writing.
I’ve felt a bit stuck on that lately, likely because, as the date of June 5th, 2017 grows ever closer, I fear not paying proper attention. What if my time with my transplant is coming to an end? I’m just afraid to get my hopes up too high.
I also am working really hard to find a healthy balance between the every day tasks of growing as a writer, the actual act of writing, with the ones I often suppress, which must include getting out and taking chances to meet people and make connections.
And so there you have it. A few extra thankfuls to catch me up with what I missed during my absence.
And so I’m glad I got to go there, as hard as it was in some respects, to stand on the border of Ontario and Quebec, to feel the wind tunnel, once past the shelter of the trees, and into the openness of the river.
But isn’t that the way they say it goes
Well let’s forget all that
And give me the number if you can find it
So I can call just to tell ’em I’m fine, and to show
I’ve overcome the blow
I’ve learned to take it well
I only wish my words
Could just convince myself
That it just wasn’t real
But that’s not the way it feels
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.
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.
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
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.
The heat seemed to be absent when I woke up earlier, but that’s all set right and so there’s no frozen fingers as I type this now.
I’ve decided to take a blogging break during the weekdays, to focus on some other writing (un-blog related) and for focusing on practicing my violin, which I have rented for the next two months. I begin lessons, officially, starting this Monday night.
I am working toward finishing my memoir. Also, I have the baseline for an essay topic for an online publication I’ve wanted to contribute to for a long long time. Come September will be ten years since my sister and I bought a house, with the help of our very generous parents. I think this should make an excellent subject. Next I must brainstorm further ideas.
I keep seeing publications I would like to contribute to, but I must prioritize and sort out what can be worked on first and what can wait. There are a few things, possibly in the works, in the early stages. I hate to jinx myself at all.
I am nervous about my violin lesson in a couple days time. I waltz around my kitchen, kind of like dancing as if nobody’s watching, but instead I’m holding my violin proudly. I stop for a brief moment to question the risk in doing this, as I could very well drop the instrument or whack it on a wall that I do not see.
Not my violin and so I slow myself down, curb my enthusiasm a little bit, but I hold the bow outstretched into the middle of the room. I don’t know what it is exactly, but something about holding both in my arms/hands just feels right. Holding a bow, I guess I can understand, to a point, how it must feel to hold a gun.
That’s a rather drastic statement for me to make, but the item I’m holding couldn’t wound or kill. Yet, I feel a strong sensation run through my arm, into my hand and the fingers I’ve likely placed wrongly in position.
I prefer to compare it to holding a wand, like I’m a character in one of Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. The bow chooses the player. When I hold it, I can detect its power at a deeper level, at the core of the bow in my hand, which can (if utilized in just the right way) produce beautiful sounds which is better known as music. Or, magic.
I attended a violin recital at the University of Western Ontario last night. It was not packed, as most attending may have been students. However, let’s face it, Friday night and most of them were out doing something a little more exciting.
Depends on with whom you’re posing just such a subjective question.
I liked that it wasn’t a crowded event and we got excellent parking. I sat in my seat and let the music take me away somewhere. I closed my eyes and let the two playing the violins and the piano accompaniment whisk me off into a dream-like state of bliss, all unsettled thoughts of US clown-like candidates forgotten for a time.
The violin players were a UWO music professor and a visiting musician, all the way from Brazil.
The first part was the three of them, then the piano was absent, and finally the guest played solo.
First half was sharper and I was transferred back to the mid-20th century. Some of the time I felt like I was an actress in a silent film, with violin as the soundtrack.
Then, I was in a Disney movie from the 40s or 50s. Perhaps I was little Bambi, being chased through the forest.
Next moment I was half expecting the “WEE…WEE…WEE” sound of the shower curtain being yanked aside, as Mrs. Bates began her wild slashing of poor, caught-off-guard Marion Crane.
At one point I heard someone in the audience clicking away, trying to get a few pictures for Instagram or Snapchat, but the professor immediately put a stop to that, with a stern reprimand and wave of her bow. Kids these days!
I was entirely unaware how one is to conduct oneself at a violin recital. Do I clap? When do I clap, if at all?
I was told to clap only when other people clapped first. No problem there. I did just that. I even heard a few little cheers, from someone behind me, but not sure that was ideal.
Then the player from Brazil stood up, speaking in his thick accent, and tried his best to explain the pieces he was about to finish off with. One, he said, was a piece really anyone could create. Perfect! That’s me.
I imagined, as he played, I composed it. I pictured myself up on that stage. I had listened to how the two violinists complimented one another in their playing. Fast paced. Slowed right down.
The last piece was called “Flower of the Night” and I tried to imagine, but all that came to mind was a scene from an Anne Rice novel.
His solo stuff felt much warmer, more romantic sounding, and I melted into my seat, eyes closed, and let the sound flow through me. I’ve never been to Brazil, but I felt as close as I may ever get, as he played his last notes.
I left giddy and inspired to keep trying. Likely not ever progressing to the level of those I heard last night. I continually ask myself and am asked what my eventual goal for learning to play violin is. I am thirty-two, to be honest, and I don’t intend to go pro. I just want to be able to close my eyes, hold that bow to those strings, and feel the music.
So what have I been up to? What am I up to really?
with a first line that gives a story away before it even starts:
“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?”
This quote was always my favourite, not that one about love meaning you never have to say you’re sorry.
Sure, it starts where it ends really. It was no accidental slip of the tongue. Some might not like it, but it certainly scratched that itch I sometimes have with books, where I want to know how the story will end, but I still read it, in my room until the tears were streaming down my face. It was enough for my mother and brother to come in from the kitchen, where they heard my sobbing, to see if I was hurt.