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TToT: At the Heart of the Star, Not the Shape of It – Ten Years and Ten Things

“Oscar Wilde said that if you know what you want to be, then you inevitably become it – that is your punishment, but if you never know, then you can be anything. There is a truth to that. We are not nouns, we are verbs. I am not a thing – an actor, a writer – I am a person who does things – I write, I act – and I never know what I am going to do next. I think you can be imprisoned if you think of yourself as a noun.”
–Stephen Fry

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

I think Mr. Fry and Mr. Wilde to be two incredibly wise men.

A Rainbow over Titanic Belfast.

I’ve decided to stick, somewhat, with the theme of storms and rainbows that I’ve been going with for most of the month thus far. Since we’re nearly finished with the month of August, I can start fresh next week, but I’ve added a little something more, to make this final week of summer, for the most part, its own.

10 Years Later

I have been thinking about the last ten years since Hurricane Katrina happened. My life wasn’t directly affected by that storm. I remember watching it on television, all the horrible news reports that were coming out of New Orleans, and wondering what my grandmother might have thought of it, as she had just died a few weeks earlier.

Now, I come across so many things, in the course of my week, that I want to share because they make me happy or because I just think they are note worthy.

The TToT has become a place where I can make note, as I don’t know if all the technology and extra information since my grandmother’s death and Katrina, if it’s all that good or not, but I like to share it anyway.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For the first so-called autumn evening of the season.

I know it’s not officially fall yet, but this week I felt the air coming in through m open window, and it smelled like fall.

When I say that people flip out. Yeah, I know the sooner fall comes and summer ends, the closer we are to cold and snow of winter (I know), but maybe I want fall to start now, even just a little bit, and maybe it can be an extra long one, so as to not bring on winter for months and months.

But I’ve already come across things like this, a sure sign that people are starting to think pumpkins and changing leaves:

Ontario Pumpkin Patches, Corn Mazes, Hayrides, and More, Find Halloween and Fall Fun in Ontario! – Pumpkinpatchesandmore.org

and

Haunted Mansion Drops in Price But Still No Takers

For my brother arriving back in Ontario, safe and sound, after one hell of a summer road trip through Canada’s Maritime provinces.

Although we were communicating, every few days while he was gone, it was nice to receive the full rundown, both over the phone and in person.

For see shells, red rocks, and other seaside treasures.

For my brother’s effort in finding me something Anne of Green Gables related from his time on Prince Edward Island: postcards, a fridge magnet, and even a little straw hat. He says he considered, for a moment, getting me the full sized version that I could wear, but on further consideration, went with the miniature one instead.

🙂

Good idea.

For lunch out with family, even a three-year-old nephew who thinks he should stand up on the bench seat, but we block him in. He just wants to be closer to our heights at the table, and that is equal to him standing when we’re sitting. I can’t say I blame him for that.

For the perfect combination of Irish culture and Italian food.

The name Muldoon’s Pizza speaks for itself, but our waitress had a rather thick Italian accent.

For another guest posting spot:

#BeReal – KERRY KIJEWSKI

Thanks, Hasty, for the chance for being real, as this is on the list of things that scare me, thus means it’s completely worth doing.

For my returning brother’s highly appreciated assistance with technology matters this week.

He helped me figure out that I could fix one more thing, made wrong by the computer issues I dealt with back in the spring, by downloading software from the Internet.

When It Rains It Pours

I can, once more, use my scanning device, known as an EyePal, to start work on the final few high school courses I need to complete my high school diploma.

Close But No Cigar

Of course, now I have no more excuses. The only person standing in my way is me. This is something I have battled with for years, since I was unwell and unable to graduate, and I have been left feeling unaccomplished, ashamed, and embarrassed for years since that time.

I have made some progress and am half way to my goal. I have completed two out of the final four credits necessary, over these last few years, and that means I am all the more close to being finished.

This scares me because I then have to decide on what my next move should be. As long as I have something standing in my way, be that technology problems or lack of the education necessary, I don’t have to make the really tough and frightening decisions about my future.

No more excuses means facing my fears, head on!

For the chance I’ve had, of late, to get to know an old friend, a friendship that has become new again.

I attended a farewell party, a drop-in brunch as it was called, and got to wish her well as she and her husband start fresh in California.

For more opportunities to face my fears and work on my issues with crowds and unfamiliar situations.

I attended this goodbye party, with a friend, and we both faced our nervousness at these things. OFten, much of what we are afraid will happen doesn’t end up happening, and the worst turns out to be all in your mind. We wanted to wish someone well and, by going together, we had the support we needed.

Then, my friend and I were at our local county fair and we very nearly had a reunion with an old friend of ours.

She was actually a best friend. At one time, it was the three of us, inseparable. We have grown apart from this old friend and I had it on pretty good authority we may run into her, as the county fair is a common place to find her and her family every summer.

We ran into her sister and her father, but just missed her by a narrow margin. I can’t decide if this was for the best or not, unavoidable or something else altogether. Missed opportunities are disappointing, because you never know if they were meant to be, but I guess not this time.

Things have to come together, at just the precise moment in time:

You’ve Never Seen Clouds Like This Before

I don’t like to turn down things. In fact, I’m making a huge effort, in my life, to not turn down chances and opportunities when they present themselves. It’s a work-in-progress, but I am determined not to let my shyness and awkwardness win out.

The Milky Way Over Yellowstone is Impossibly Beautiful

So whether it’s the destruction of a storm (past or present) with the anniversary of Katrina or this week’s Hurricane Erica. Or maybe it’s another terrible story of a shooting of two news persons. I see no reason to shy away from living life and paying attention to the beauty of the world, all of which makes for a much brighter existence.. That’s why I write down what I’m thankful for every week.

I listened to two interesting things this week. One was a conversation between writer’s Chimamanda Adichie and Zadie Smith and the other was an interview with poet Mary Oliver.

Between the Lines: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with Zadie Smith

I could listen to conversations such as these, all day long. They teach me about writing, about feminism from strong females, and about facing my fears.

In other words:

Never Surrender – Cory Hart

So whether it’s the beautifully explored character development in and of a novel or the splendid simplicity of nature in poetry – I liked the idea of examining a star, or anything for that matter, not only by the shape or form it comes in, but by what’s at its heart. You never know what you’ll find in both.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do

with your one wild and precious life?

–Mary Oliver

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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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