Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

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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TToT: American Robin In Canadian Snow – Gnomes In The Shadows, #EarthDay #WorldBookDay #10Thankful

The snow was not quite all gone from the park; a little dingy bank of it yet lay under the pines of the harbor road, screened from the influence of April suns. It kept the harbor road muddy, and chilled the evening air. But grass was growing green in sheltered spots and Gilbert had found some pale, sweet arbutus in a hidden corner.

—ANNE OF THE ISLAND

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Canada comes together over tragic hockey team bus accidents one minute and we seem to be on the verge of splitting up, as a country because of oil and pipelines, the next. Okay, so I may be a bit dramatic here, but it’s how it all feels to me, in my more dramatic moments.

Now we’re, I hope, coming back together in support, as one, as the news of the van attack on a popular street in Toronto spread today, but who really knows.

I’m missing these, this exercise in gratitude, now and then lately, but I’m thankful still.

Ten Things of Thankful

It is World Book Day and I am thankful for books, old and new.

I got to visit the collection and exhibit of Lucy Maud Montgomery and I sat, for a long time, with an old journal she once wrote in, pasted photos and newspaper and magazine clips into.

I want to go back again and again and again, to find out what her life was like from different years, multiple decades, but I need someone else with me to read Montgomery’s words, and I hate to bother people like that.

I’m thankful for Logan, and people like him.

The kid was no longer a kid, which was how he’d gone out and been able to sign his donor card, to become an organ donor.

It wasn’t made a reality until harsh reality hit.

Still, I want to hug every one of him, people like him, who make such a final sacrifice as that one.

I’m thankful I could celebrate a birthday, attend the party I’d been invited for, even with the lousy freezing rain stuff we were getting that weekend, as a lousy farewell to winter.

My neighbour is someone I look up to, for many reasons, but because she is in her early seventies and she is starting over, on her own. She is doing it all, living life on her own terms, while she knows very well how precious life is.

She took the step I don’t take and decided to throw herself a birthday party, but the weather was horrible, and most people stayed at home. I am glad I live right across the driveway and could come over in thirty seconds.

She’d gone to all the work to make a table full of food. She bought beer, wine, and even coolers.

Happy Birthday CH!

I’m thankful for a “not normal” diagnosis.

I know, from personal experience, how “wonderful” it is to hear a doctor say that about you.

I was worried for a loved one, when that scary “C” word was being used, but the news was not quite that. Keeping an eye on things, for now, but I could breathe a sigh of relief, at least for the moment.

Not normal, huh? … … Um, yay?

I’m thankful for another wonderful meet up with my two writer friends.

These two ladies are such a wonderful pair to get to catch up with now and then. They are both at such different places in life, than each other and than myself, but we all love to write. We support that in one another. I learn from them. I am helped out by them. We, all three, cheer one another on and root for each other.

I’m so glad we met.

I’m thankful for warmer weather, as this is supposed to be spring after all.

I’m thankful for the sounds of spring heard out my window.

I’m thankful I got the chance to be interviewed about a subject that is of great importance in my life.

We hear about mother hood a lot, with so many writing websites being about motherhood. We hear about those women who struggle with infertility. I have seen that pain. I am in that group, the one that doesn’t have children, and I see how complicated the reasons for that can be.

It’s still a painful subject, like I should just get over it and move on, and though I focus on other things going on in my life, it still hurts.

I was approached to be interviewed, by a woman who has been working on a book about women, all around the world, who aren’t mothers. I like that I can speak about this and that she found me and asked me to take part.

Not sure where it will lead, but I’ve now met another lovely sounding woman. So many tough and awesome women in this world, you’d never otherwise know about.

I’m thankful for our first guests on the podcast this month.

The Earth Tongue Wiggled (feat. Liam & Crystal of Wildlife Gardening) – Ketchup On Pancakes

For the April episode, we thought a couple with the greenest of thumbs would be perfect. They talk all things green and growing, if you enjoy some gardening with your spring weather.

They are both funny, creative, compassionate souls and I am proud to call them family.

I’m thankful for a rap song about fungi.

No Sunlight

Nine people lost their lives today, when all they were doing was trying to get out and enjoy one of the first really lovely spring days of the year. RIP to those poor souls.

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TToT: Lions, Lams, Showers, and Flowers – Fools Not Withstanding, #HappyEaster #AprilFoolsDay #10Thankful

“When women speak truly they speak subversively—they can’t help it: if you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want—to hear you erupting.”

—Ursula K. Le Guin

Snowdrops are back and in bloom. That’s how I know spring has arrived, even if it hasn’t made up its mind yet if we’ll get rain or snow.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the hope and promise of women.

While madmen running places like Russia, North Korea, and the US seem to be ramping up their egotistical boasting about how tough their nuclear arsenals are, I think of all whom March’s Women’s History Month represents.

I’m not saying we’d be at peace, completely if women were the ones mostly in charge, but I have to believe it would be more progressive, sensible, and acceptable than where we’re heading right now.

I’m thankful for another podcast and the brilliant production from my brother.

Episode 10 – Ketchup On The Current (March 2018)

If you enjoy checking out a new podcast. If you are doing things around home and needing something to have playing in the background. Give us a listen.

It is a professional sounding piece of audio and I’m sure you’ll agree. We are self deprecating and sometimes silly, but we are real.

I’m thankful for an online radio appearance with Accessible Media Inc.

I was contacted by this
across Canada broadcaster
of content for the blind.

It was their weekday afternoon talk show/news magazine called Kelly and Company and this was
My Tuesday, April 27th episode.

I am probably coming off desperate sounding, but this survey I’m conducting for data on audio descriptive services in movie theatres for the blind goes on through spring and summer still. I need to keep the reminders coming or people might forget what I’m attempting to accomplish.

I’m thankful for a delivery of literary perfume.

Anne Shirley/Avonlee Fragrance

It really is amazing to me still, that I can order something (all online) and have it show up at my door a few days later.

I’m thankful I adore the cherry blossom scent now that it has arrived.

I had no magazine insert I could scratch and sniff, to make sure I liked the scent. I had to trust the product wouldn’t be crap and that I’d like it. Now I wish I could send a sample of what it smells like through the WWW wires to anyone who might be reading this and curious.

I am a lover of perfumes and fragrances, but I can also be picky and sensitive. I am just glad I haven’t concluded that scents cause the headaches I have because my sense of smell is so important to me.

Perfume is a big part of that. I may not be able to know what I look like, but I can do my best to present myself by the kinds of scents I am most drawn to.

And so now I can feel like I am walking in the cherry orchards of a Lucy Maud Montgomery story.

I’m thankful for a recommendation to grow as a writer of many things.

I am not trained in journalism and I don’t know if that its where I’m meant to end up, but I do know that if I want to educate readers on some of the causes I am most passionate about, such things are often taken more serious when written in a more journalistic manner.

I was shown a program where I could find some guidance to become more efficient in this kind of writing and so I will give it my best shot.

I’m thankful for some yoga on a rainy, painful Thursday.

I don’t dislike rain in spring. I only know the rain and the pain, not only rhyme, but they seem to fit and the yoga was a nice way to break up my thoughts on that day.

I’m thankful for hopefully a happy ending in the news.

‘You were our heroes’: A survivor of the Balkin wars helps ex-peacekeepers move past their pain | CBC

It’s a story of PTSD, trauma lasting years and years, and hope for a future of less suffering in silence.

I’m thankful for another year celebrating a special birthday.

He can be witty and he can be wise, when I most need a laugh or a little wisdom. He loves the nostalgia and the authentic sound of vinyl and, at the same time, is totally open and eager to discover the newest releases in the music world.

He is loved by his friends and family alike.

He is helping me bring my dream of writing, into audio storytelling, all to life.

He shares his day of birth with Celine Dion and Vincent Van Gogh.

He is my brother.

I am thankful to know that all the children I love are waking to the excitement of hunting for Easter eggs on this first day of this new month.

“Spring is singing in my blood today, and the lure of April is abroad on the air. I’m seeing visions and dreaming dreams, …. That’s because the wind is from the west. I do love the west wind. It sings of hope and gladness,”

ANNE OF THE ISLAND

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TToT: Under My Skin and Out of My Hands – Cascade and Concatenate #10Thankful

It’s March and I’ve been uneasy with the spring weather we had, just a few days ago, and right back into winter storms, Mother Nature not even missing a beat.

I dedicate this song and this week’s thankful post to my niece Mya Lynn on her 1st birthday, though it was last week already.

You Make Me Smile – Dave Koz

She is fourth in a row for nieces and nephews, all of whom make me smile everyday. Whether it’s Mya enjoying her first birthday cake and streamers, her big brother playing Ninja Turtles with his friends at the party, or my other niece and nephew set, making me a Happy Birthday video from the airport as they prepare to fly somewhere warm for a week – they all make my list, top of the list, each week I do this and all those weeks I’m not feeling well enough to do this. That’s when their ability to make me smile is needed all the more, though I happily take it anytime.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful my ERG test went off without any problems, rather painlessly, though slightly uncomfortable at certain points.

Look at the bright, red light. Don’t blink. Count to fifteen. Now you can look away, close your eyes.

I hear back about what it is my retinal impulses say in a few weeks.

The woman doing the test was cheerful and friendly and helpful as she attached the electrodes to my earlobe, eyelid, and my wrist. Luckily, my right eye is my only real eye and so it was only that side I had to be tested on.

I’m thankful I haven’t caught the flu this year.

So many seem to have caught it, different bouts and strains, more than once. I don’t know. I did have my flu shot, though that topic is controversial.

I get colds, not flus.

I’m thankful a celebration of compassion returns.

Sewing The Seeds

It was February of 2015 when I heard a bunch of bloggers/writers hatching a plan to spread words of compassion throughout the online community, to combat all the awful events on the news, taking place all around the world.

It was a project with a lot of steam at first and it lasted several months, but slowly died down over time. People ran out of ways to write about the topic of compassion for 1000 Voices Speak For Compassion and we all moved on.

Three years later and I found something to say to mark the occasion anyway.

I’m thankful our ninth Ketchup On Pancakes podcast episode was ready for release.

Ketchup On Pancakes – Episode 9 – What’s An iMate?

We are aiming for one a month for the entire year, but we’ll see.

I’m thankful for animal/pet therapy.

My cousin owns a hair salon in her basement. She got a new little puppy for her family last weekend. She is only nine weeks and is hanging out down in the salon with us customers for now.

So, she was the sweetest thing and likes to cuddle with people. She spent my appointment in my lap. It was majorly calming.

I’m thankful for something of a head massage for my sore head at a hair appointment.

As my cousin washed and blow dried my hair, it helped my developing headache, likely from my ERG the day before.

I did not want my appointment to come to an end.

I’m thankful for easy listening and new age nature sounds/music when I’ve got an awful headache.

I found some
Tony O’Connor
in Apple Music when I needed something comforting to listen to.

He has albums entirely devoted to soothing natural habitats such as ocean and rain forrest.

I’m thankful for my cousin who creates the most awesome cakes for any occasion.

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She made one hell of a unicorn cake for Mya’s first birthday. It was delicious, even with all that icing.

I’m thankful for a brother and a friend, both of whom are computer savvy, and who put up with my impatience and my tendency to over think most things.

We had a lot to take care of this last weekend (spread sheets), but we finished off our days together (unofficial CFB executives meeting) by making big plans to look forward to.

I’m thankful for all the renewed joy of having a newborn around this past year, to have that with a little girl who shares my middle name.

In a way, I am deeply sad that perhaps the final baby of the family is growing passed that sweet infant stage, but she is growing into an absolutely adorable little girl with an incredible need to explore her world.

The best is when I am standing there and she crawls over to me, pulls herself up on my legs, and reaches up with her arms out.

Happy Birthday little girl. Xoxoxo Mya Lynn.

March…and lion or lamb…which comes first where you are?

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Ketchup On Pancakes: Episode 6 – Mom and More, #Thanksgiving #Travel #SiriusXM

It’s October!

Blowing out the candles and mya is in the shot too.
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Fall is my favourite month, this year my mom turned sixty, Canada celebrates Thanksgiving, and Halloween rounds off these thirty-one days.

Our 6th episode of the podcast is out and we dedicate it to our mother and discuss travel (Iceland), writing (SiriusXM, Canada), and Brian’s show on university radio (Friday’s from 11:00 to 1:30).

Episode 6 – Mom and More

We hope you’ll listen and feel free to visit our
Ketchup On Pancakes Facebook page
to share your thoughts and like the page while you are there.

Happy October to you all and thanks for listening.

Links to projects mentioned:

https://www.nativetraveler.com/blog-main/2017/9/20

https://chrwradio.ca

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TToT: Peace, Happiness, and Love – June Gloom Lifting #10Thankful

“A large pine tree backlit by a cloud that is glowing from the light of the setting sun. The pine tree is a mass conical-shaped clumps of darkness that angle upwards from the unseen trunk in the middle of the tree. The edges of the tree shows more details, each branch ends in a splaying of fingers of pine needles. The cloud does not show the color in the photo as vividly as it was, it was a glowing orange color that was strong enough to show the spaces between the branches of the tree that stood between the camera and the sky.”

—TToT regular Clark of
The Wakefield Doctrine

I return from a busy time and thoughts swirling. I began this week’s post with that caption of a photo. (To see the photo, must go to the link I provide just above.)

There are a lot of photos I could now share, and I will, of my adventures in the last few weeks. I just thought, as I saw many photos and this includes Clarks’, that I have only descriptions (as vague or elaborately detailed as someone else chooses) to give.

For now, I needed a break from trying to imagine what my eyes can’t see and am going back to a totally wordy TToT post. Instead, I challenge you to read the photo descriptions of Clarks’ that I include here, as a thankful, and try to allow his words and mine to conjure up images, without necessarily relying on the visual.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a writer like Clark deciding to explain the photos he includes.

“Looking Homeward from the woods. The light and shadows cover the lower half of the photo and, together point towards the house. The ground is brown with shadows and light that do nothing to make it less brown looking. Even though the house itself is mostly brown (with dark vertical rectangles, outlined in white that show the windows along the top half) the background above the house shows blue, even though the green pine trees rise through the top of the picture, telephone pole straight, with drooping green arms of branches. The house looks farther away than it is.”

Well done once more Clark. Bravo!

Writers are, or should be, great at describing a visual image. It seems like an excellent writing exercise to me. I appreciate it when it is done, though it can’t completely ever make up for the inability to see with one’s own eyes. I only allow myself to feel the pity of that situation in my own life for short bursts and then I return to thankfuls such as these.

I’m thankful for such excellent writing advice.

With a little summer happiness.

Carrie Snyder says: My current philosophy (and by current, I mean, as of yesterday afternoon), can be summed up thusly: just finish it, including all of your bad (wild, implausible) ideas, and see what happens. As I counselled a student yesterday in my office: the perfect story you’re holding in your head has to get out of your head in order for others to read and experience it—and in order for that to happen, you have to accept that your perfect story will be wrecked in the process, at least to some degree. You can’t take that perfect story out of your head and place it on the page intact. No one can. But there isn’t another way to be a writer. Let your perfect imaginary story become an imperfect real story.

I’m thankful for the opportunity and a first successful conversation with someone from a leading awareness organization of blindness and its issues.

VisionAware

I hope to start writing articles for them very soon.

I’m thankful for a successful first real try at yoga.

I am doing it with my bed as a yoga mat and my teacher a voice through my laptop, for now anyway.

I will buy the mat soon as I decide I will stick with it and I found a teacher who lives in Montreal, so not all that close by. She instructs me over Skype and it works.

My favourite part was at the end when she instructs to just stay lying there, still, for however long it takes to get back up and into the real world again.

So peaceful. I heard a basketball bouncing, off somewhere out my window, but I focused on the light on my ceiling and allowed no intrusive thoughts to interrupt the peace.

I’m thankful I got my entry in on time for the Writing Diversity contest, for a book festival that takes place on Toronto’s waterfront every September.

I left it to the deadline, not good, but it’s done.

I began the month of April submitting one short story to Alice Munro’s contest and ended the month of June with this one.

Each time I feel my story is actually good enough to have a chance, so maybe my confidence as a writer is growing, at least.

It would be cool to get to read this latest story on stage in Toronto if I did win.

I’m thankful a new episode of Ketchup On Pancakes is complete.

Raise a glass or a fist with us to progress and the passing of the years. A lot can happen in twenty of them.

January/February to June/July and Ketchup On Pancakes is back on the podcast scene.

Episode 5 – 2017: “Get Up and Get Going) (Year of the Roooooster) – Ketchup On Pancakes

Are you into astrology? I admit, I am skeptical, but it seems as possible as anything, and highly philosophical, which I like.

This is the year to get up and get going toward something. The time is now. This moment is everything. We are making this year count.

Brian’s laugh is infectious throughout. Both of us aren’t afraid to make fools of ourselves to lighten the mood. In this first new episode of the year (already halfway through), I follow a rooster’s example and Brian shows off his recently graduated audio skill set. We discuss travel, family, achievement, and feelings of self doubt that makes any adventure such a worthwhile challenge, using our trademark sense of humour to keep things real.

Give us a like.

I’m thankful for “The Elsewhere Region,” also known as the local library’s writing group I attend – for many starts to possible stories.

Without this group, I wouldn’t have a started story twice a month or so to possibly shape into an entry, like those I’ve been submitting lately.

I began going to this group to work on more fiction. Otherwise, I lean toward more nonfiction and memoir. That is great too, but this balances out the all too real.

I start a story, never knowing where it might lead. I have many I started and haven’t gone back to, but sometimes, an idea catches on and leads to more.

I am thankful for messy conversations being had.

Inside Messy Conversations About Race – NPR

My friend Kerra did an excellent job being interviewed about the project she has teamed up to tackle. It’s an important conversation to have and to continue having, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

I’m thankful for the chance to consider what my country is all about on Canada Day, 150 and every day.

Part of it was what I felt on my Yukon trip last month. Part of it was the discomfort I experienced as Canada Day 150 approached. It was a lot of things all mixed together.

I don’t wish to revere the man who started Canada, 150 years ago. I don’t wish to say Canada is all a lie. I just wanted to be real about how we all got here.

I do feel lucky to live here. I do.

All the careless playing with fireworks people seem to do. All the celebrating and revelry of one day, as people love a party. I just wanted to get past the one day, to remember all the others. I don’t get why Toronto had a giant yellow rubber duck for the occasion. I don’t pretend to understand it all. I just want to focus on what is good about this land. I don’t know where the future will lead. I only know right now.

Shamaya – Susan Aglukark

I’m thankful for Canadian music, artists, and the history of a country like that from which I live and learn from.

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Episode Five – 2017: “Get Up and Get Going” (Year of the Roooooster) #Podcast #YearOfTheRooster

Raise a glass or a fist with us to progress and the passing of the years.

A lot can happen in twenty of them.

aU3t9Zn.jpg

January/February to June/July and Ketchup On Pancakes is back on the podcast scene.

Are you into astrology? I admit, I am skeptical, but it seems as possible as anything, and highly philosophical, which I like.

Episode Five – 2017: “Get Up and Get Going” (Year of the Roooooster) – Ketchup On Pancakes

This is the year to get up and get going toward something. The time is now. This moment is everything. We are making this year count.

Brian’s laugh is infectious throughout. Both of us aren’t afraid to make fools of ourselves to lighten the mood.

In this first new episode of the year (already halfway through), I follow a rooster’s example and Brian shows off his recently graduated audio skill set. We discuss travel, family, achievement, and feelings of self doubt that makes any adventure such a worthwhile challenge, using our trademark sense of humour to keep things real.

Please, give our Facebook page a like
and feel free to let us know what you think of KOP.

How has 2017 been for you so far?

Hope you enjoy this fun-filled summary of ours.

Notes:

-Description of above photo

It’s of you and Brian.  Not a standard portrait or even candid photograph.
Brian is in the foreground looking to the right, seems to be talking.
You are behind him, looking to the left.  Smiling with your eyes closed (I guess it was bright at the time).
I suppose you two were talking, but I guess while in line it’s almost like Brian is talking to you over his shoulder.
It’s just before you two where weighed.

Resources:

http://astrologyclub.org/chinese-horoscope/2017-year-rooster/

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