Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Podcast, Poetry, Shows and Events, TToT

TToT: Pink, Blue, and Violet Too – Celtified! #10Thankful

When you’re tired and you find you can’t sleep,
Hear the song of the wise willow tree.
Feel the breeze kiss her leaves,
So soft and so sweet:
When you’re tired and you find you can’t sleep.

—Willow Lullaby

I was taken by surprise when I, again, discovered music, from here in Canada and known as Cassie and Maggie MacDonald. They were from Nova Scotia and visiting Ontario recently.

I’d like to learn/improve violin (even try playing fiddle in my imagination) and also how to speak Celtic. When I was in Ireland I only left knowing one phrase: Pog mo thoin

Strip the Willow Set … Blue Willow … The Willow Lullaby … Down in the Willow Garden…

See a pattern with the song titles forming here?

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the work my brother puts into our podcast together.

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: British C or B Columbia

I am thankful for a beautiful live fiddle concert.

I was tapping my foot along with the faster songs and then slow ones like Willow Lullaby had me solemn.

Thank you to those who suggested/brought me along to the show and to Cassie and Maggie and their interesting between-song stories, excellent sisterly talents, and the folk music and lyrics I am now listening to on Apple Music, on repeat.

Let No Man Steal Your Thyme

This phrase was one of the songs they did and I was caught curious about its meaning. After listening to their version of the song, (Maiden’s Lament), I decided the part about thyme representing a young woman’s virginity was somewhat off-putting, but I rather focus on the empowering message not to waste precious time with someone or something negative or unhealthy because life is short.

I’m thankful for little bottles of champaign.

On a hot day, in a busy bar, I ordered a bottle and drank straight from it. A glass was included, but I’d rather not, which makes me unsophisticated, not allowing the bubbles to breathe. Still, it was easier without and I don’t know enough to taste any difference.

I’m thankful for an excellent fiddle album from a musician with the same name as mine.

Look up Kerry Fitzgerald if you have a streaming service, and even if you don’t. She is from near me, though she tours all over. This album is Fiddle Beatz and the mix of her fiddle (violin music) and electronics, plus parts of her own voice make it awesome.

I’m thankful for a surprise email about organ donation.

Someone I met recently took the time to pick up the card, fill it out, and mail it off. She told me it is because she met me that she saw this through, that my brother and I put a relatable human face to the issue.

And now…a short TToT intermission halfway through.

***

So sleep with the sweetest of dreams;
May you dance in the light of moonbeams.
And sing, “Hey Diddle Diddle,” with the cat and his fiddle:
Sleep with the sweetest of dreams.

***

I’m thankful for something cold to drink on a hot day’s walk home.

I am thankful for Apple Music.

I am thankful for a new Lily Allen album.

Lost My Mind – Lily Allen

I am thankful for indoor plumbing.

I can’t tell you just how much.

I am thankful for first local strawberries of the season.

Strawberries, thyme, and the willow tree.

When you find you can’t sleep the night through,
And your worries, they come back to you:
Rest your head on the pillow,
Of leaves from the willow:
If you find you can’t sleep the night through.

—Willow Lullaby

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

Shades of the Unwell, #SongLyricSunday

I lived in a kind of shadow world, most of my twenties.

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The chronic pain I was living with had covered me over, casting a shadow over my days:

Chronic pain makes you feel invisible, or at least it did me. Shadows flitting, everything fleeting.

I was left to watch them dance across my walls and ceiling at night, wondering what any of it was even for, if I even mattered or had a purpose at all.

What was the point of sleep? Was there even any reason for me to get up in the morning?

***

All day staring at the ceiling
Making friends with shadows on my wall
All night hearing voices telling me
That I should get some sleep
Because tomorrow might be good for something
Hold on
Feeling like I’m headed for a breakdown
And I don’t know why

[Chorus]
But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be…me

I’m talking to myself in public
Dodging glances on the train
And I know, I know they’ve all been talking about me
I can hear them whisper
And it makes me think there must be something wrong with me
Out of all the hours thinking
Somehow I’ve lost my mind

[Chorus]
But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be

I’ve been talking in my sleep
Pretty soon they’ll come to get me
Yeah, they’re taking me away

[Chorus]
But I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell
I know right now you can’t tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you’ll see
A different side of me
I’m not crazy, I’m just a little impaired
I know right now you don’t care
But soon enough you’re gonna think of me
And how I used to be
Yeah, how I used to be
How I used to be
Well, I’m just a little unwell
How I used to be
How I used to be
I’m just a little unwell

LYRICS

***

I wanted people to see me for who I was, who I had been, or could be. I worried nobody would see my value in the world any longer, that they wouldn’t stick around long enough to see me as more than how unwell I felt.

This week’s lyrics (the Matchbox 20 song I’ve chosen) are all about
shadows
and the tricks they play on the mind.

I still don’t sleep all that well, even though I feel again like I have a purpose, though the timing of this post takes me back to those shadow filled long nights of my twenties again.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, History, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel, TToT

TToT: Mother Nature and Cloud Iridescence, #10Thankful

It was a diamond winter day in February — clear, cold, hard, brilliant. The sharp blue sky shone, the white fields and hills glittered, the fringe of icicles around the eaves…sparkled. Keen was the frost and crisp the snow over our world; and we young fry…were all agog to enjoy life. 

—THE STORY GIRL
🎨 Peder Mørk Mønsted

New month, new slate. Here we go.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a nice dinner out with my sister and my brothers.

We went, to celebrate February’s arrival, my upcoming birthday, and my brother-in-law’s birthday in a few weeks.

A few drinks and a free celebration dessert made it a lovely evening. I could relax, finally, for a few hours at least.

I’m thankful when my niece hands me a banana.

It was a plastic toy, but still. The gesture shows she is growing up, soon to be taking her first steps.

I’m thankful when my friend the travel agent helps me figure out some pricing for a trip to BC.

It is for the Canadian Federation of the Blind’s annual spring convention.

At least three of us are going. We will make sure to get in some travel/tourism stuff in there as well.

I am determined to stand by the ocean.

Also, to meet people in person, who I’ve spoken to by phone for months, it will be nice to make their acquaintances, and I hope to speak in front of the entire convention on my project to put descriptive audio services in movie theatres.

I’m thankful for a visit with my neighbour and my brother.

My brother got a ride back here, planning to jam with his band friends in my basement that night. So, I’d previously made a plan to visit with my neighbour in the afternoon and so the three of us had a nice talk.

I’m thankful my neighbour cared to give me some tea to help me sleep with my cold.

She said she could give me apple cider vinegar to gurgle, which she swears takes care of a sore throat for her within hours/a day or two. She said it may taste bad, but it works. Luckily, for me, my throat issues were behind me. Sure, I barely had a voice, but the soreness was gone. It was a stuffy head and I don’t sleep well at the best of times.

She is taking care of me, however she can.

I’m thankful my cold cleared up like it did, when it did, and I hope it stays away for a few weeks at least.

I have an appointment next week to get a new artificial eye made. It requires an entire day of fitting and resizing and taking my current artificial eye in and out, in and out. Not my favourite thing.

With a cold, tearing up constantly, it wouldn’t make the experience any easier.

I’m thankful for my sister’s help with time card/invoice spread sheets/graphs.

To request payment for the contract work I am doing, writing an introduction for a paper on braille, I must fill out a chart thing.

My computer’s voiceover program does read graphs, but I tend to try too hard to visualize them and have to work with what I hear.

I am practicing with my braille display to get a better idea, but just hearing numbers and columns is confusing.

My sister deals with these things, all the time, for her tax business work. She helps me get paid and I am grateful.

I’m thankful my niece is still small enough to fall asleep on my shoulder.

My sister was at the store and my niece had worn herself out, crawling round and around my house, going for mops, crawling behind the couch, and getting into trouble of all kinds.

Eventually though, she started to whimper, for her mother I’d imagined. I picked her up and paced with her in my arms, listening to music and singing gently. Soon she was asleep on my shoulder.

I tried to sit down gently in the chair, trying hard not to wake her, and the position I ended up in was not so good for my neck.

I tried to shift, but she was in a position in my lap and I didn’t want to disturb her. It was totally worth it.

I used to do this with my niece and nephews in the past few years. This may be my last chance, for a long while, to hold a sleeping baby. That saddened me and I held her all the closer for it.

I am thankful for what Britain did to fight off Hitler in World War II.

I went to see The Darkest Hour and I was moved, in many different ways. Churchill’s oratory skill was brilliant and his determination to protect England was challenged at every step, until he was honest and got feedback from the British people. He had little help from the United States at that time, May of 1940. Still, he was honest about the fact that they were on their own and there was no option but to fight to the end.

My feelings on peace vs war, it’s complicated, but I try to understand how things were/are, when making a judgment call on what should/must be done.

If Hitler had conquered the island nation of Great Britain, he could have and likely would’ve moved on to England’s child of sorts, Canada.

I’m thankful it’s February.

I am fickle with my feelings on turning thirty-four on Saturday. It depends on the day or the moment I think about it.

Still, January wasn’t the best of months. Though February also means my niece’s first birthday and her growing up, I am still looking forward to celebrate. The cake my sister has ordered from my cousin, the cake maker, sounds pretty cool.

Spectacular moment “rare rainbow cloud” appears in skies above Brazilian tourist spot – THE SUN

Hello February. You’ve arrived, Finally!

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Sigh – And The Search Continues, #JusJoJan

I say I crave it, but it’s hard to obtain it.

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I can’t seem to
find the silence
in all that goes on.

the buzzing inside my own head. I think too much, about too many unanswerable questions.

I can’t stand the silence sometimes, seconds ticking by. I always have something going, playing, to occupy my thoughts, though they run on and on anyway. When I go to sleep I always have music on in the background or Netflix on my phone. I listen until sleep overtakes me.

I live with sound in the daylight hours too. My computer and my phone have voice software to read my emails and text messages. I have separate sounding notification beeps to alert me to what comes through my phone. I am constantly listening for those.

I listen to the birds and the sirens and other vehicles, just outside my window. I listen for my dog to inevitably bark at something and I listen for a sign that my cat is nearby. He doesn’t meow as much as he chirps you see.

I listen for a knock at my door because my doorbell hasn’t been functional in years.

I listen because I can barely see.

I wrote about
darkness
a few days ago, for Just Jot It January.

I feel blown away that someone’s worst fear would be to lose their sight, but I know the feeling. I also know that the thought of losing my ability to hear is simply unthinkable to me.

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

And the search for silent moments, for peace and quiet, all while thankful I have the ability to hear the sound if I choose, it continues.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Shows and Events, Song Lyric Sunday, Spotlight Sunday

Best Possible Advice, #ChronicPain #SongLyricSunday

Breathe, Kerry. Breathe.

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Chronic Pain Awareness Week is about to begin and so I thought this the perfect time to speak about it.

I will use Song Lyric Sunday and Helen’s prompt about breathing to do it.

Singer Ingrid Michaelson had a few songs that helped me through a bad breakup and things, but this one helps to remind me of how to cope, with both emotional and physical pain.

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

It’s a good one for after a breakup, for a stressful day, physical pain, or even for people living through an awful natural disaster like a wildfire or flood, anything any one of us can’t control.

Deep breathing…I am not the first to think of it and either is Michaelson.

It’s a yoga practice. It’s a coping mechanism. I don’t speak a lot about the pain I live with on a daily basis to most people. There’s a stigma to chronic pain that is hard to deal with, almost as painful as the pain itself. If I mention it, people can’t fully comprehend and many human beings feel the common need to problem solve or judge, even unintentionally.

Do I drink enough water? Do I get enough sleep? Do I get enough fresh air, sunshine, or exercise?

Am I depressed? Do I eat enough fruits and vegetables?

***

The storm is coming
but I don’t mind
People are dying,
I close my blinds
All that I know is I’m breathing, now

I want to change the world
Instead, I sleep
I want to believe in more
than you and me

But all that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now
All that I know is I’m breathing
All I can do is keep breathing. All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing
All we can do is keep breathing now

LYRICS

***

The song starts with a few lines of lyrics about more than just any one kind of physical pain. It also serves as a reminder that we all feel helpless about the things we see going on in the world and want to help. The helplessness I feel about so many of the world’s ills, human suffering, injustices, all that on top of the physical pain I live with every day and it’s enough to make me want to close my blinds and sleep through life, but I only allow myself a day or two of that before I must do something different.

Then the song repeats the simple advice to “keep breathing” and the song is correct – all any of us can do is that. I remind myself of it, at least twenty times a day or more. I tell myself to remember to do it when the stress becomes too much to handle in any given moment, when even thinking about others feels like an impossibility because being me is hard enough.

As the lyrics “all we can do is keep breathing” repeat, the song builds to a climactic point and then returns to where it started.

That’s pain of all kinds. That’s life.

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee #AtoZChallenge

Many people are afraid of heights. I seek them out, to a point.

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This does not mean I mountain climb for fun.

The A to Z Challenge – Z is for Zip Lining

I will admit that being blind means I can’t look out (from the edge of a tower or overlooking a waterfall) and see how high I am. This may detract from some of the fear most people understandably hold.

I may not be able to see it, but my rational comprehension tells me where I am. I will go zip lining at Niagara Falls in June, 2017, twenty years after I went to sleep living one kind of life, waking to a whole new one.

I will do it, surrounded by family and friends, overlooking my favourite natural wonder of the world.

Do not take anything in life for granted. We may not get to all live one way or another. We should be appreciative when we get to experience the things in life that make living so worthwhile.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, The Insightful Wanderer, TToT

TToT: Being the Heroine of My Own Story – Lucky, #EarthDay2017 #WorldBookDay #10Thankful

“There, sitting on the warm grass, I had my first lessons in the beneficence of nature. I learned how the sun and the rain make to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, how birds build their nests and live and thrive from land to land, how the squirrel, the deer, the lion and every other creature finds food and shelter. As my knowledge of things grew I felt more and more the delight of the world I was in. Long before I learned to do a sum in arithmetic or describe the shape of the earth, Miss Sullivan had taught me to find beauty in the fragrant woods, in every blade of grass, and in the curves and dimples of my baby sister’s hand. She linked my earliest thoughts with nature and made me feel that ‘birds and flowers and I were happy peers.”

—Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

I’m trying to have the sense to live in the moment and to enjoy myself in that moment, whatever it might be, like Helen Keller and her teacher Miss Sullivan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rlQqWbp7rY

The only time things seem to make any sense is when I am with my nieces or nephews, holding my niece.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for more time spent, just myself and my little buddy Mya.

She didn’t want to sleep the entire time. She didn’t want to miss one second of her time with Auntie Kerry.

Then Kim told me there are a few photos recently taken where Mya looks like me. I may never have my own children. My sister will never know how much this small thing, one I won’t ever likely fully understand because I can’t see the pictures, means to me anyway.

I am thankful for my last violin lesson for a few weeks.

Last time we missed multiple weeks it was I who was going away. This time my teacher is traveling.

I hope, like last time, I don’t fall too far back in my progress.

I hope her trip is everything mine was to me, all she hopes.

I am thankful for my return to the library.

I haven’t been to my writing group (The Elsewhere Region like I like to refer to it) since February, for a few reasons.

Everyone there seemed pleased to see me, a few even saying they missed me. I missed them and their wonderful imaginations.

We had little scraps of paper with a few lines of story prompt written on them, thanks to one of the members of our group, and mine included: a frog prince, a talking donkey, a cloud castle, and Betty’s wish list.

Who is Betty you ask…well I asked myself that same question. It was the first try for me, in a while or at all really, at writing fantasy. I liked what I came up with, though I have no idea where I was headed with it, but then my equipment decided to cause a problem.

I was reading my story in progress out loud to the group, they were riveted, and then the second half of what I’d written seemed to vanish. I am sure I wrote it, but my technology doesn’t always cooperate.

I am thankful I could answer a few questions about how I’ve learned and lived as a blind person, for a good cause.

My sister’s sister-in-law works with a young boy who is blind. She helps him in his neighbourhood school, but she had some questions about how I’ve grown up, how I learned, and how my mom saw it all from the parent perspective.

She had the coolest keychain on her keys. Instead of a cube with coloured squares, she has three blocks that move from one side to another, and they contain tactile dots. They are braille dots and they make different letters in braille when you mix and match them.

A fun thing to do with your hands. She sounds like an excellent teacher who wants to keep learning the best possible ways to teach her student to be as successful in his life as possible and it seems he is lucky to have her.

I am thankful for a friend reaching out, mentioning me to her friend, and a new and possible connection made in the world of women writing and women’s storytelling.

Thank you Lizzi. Women helping and supporting other women. We can always use the help. I appreciate it.

Who knows what will or will not come of it, but that is what making connections is all about.

I am thankful for a lovely first visit with my new neighbour in my home.

We had a nice talk. Many more to come.

She even warned me about the roofers coming to her house and called me this evening, to check on me, when she thought she heard a noise over here.

I am thankful for this earth.

I watched Bill Maher say that 45 needs to forget “Make America Great Again” and instead “Make Earth Great Again.”

I totally agree. Mars is cool and everything (says this fan of planets since childhood) but we don’t have licence to be careless, reckless, and destroy this planet, just because some want to get there. It is not the answer to our problems of environmental and climate changes. Taking care of this place, the one already with plenty of water and life and the air we breathe, that will benefit us all in the end.

As many said, every day should be Earth Day for us all.

I am thankful for science.

All Around Us and Everything Essential

I thank all the scientists in my life: my oldest friend, my many excellent doctors over the years, my cousin and his wife, my new friend who is also a writer, Bill Nye The Science Guy (for teaching me to love our solar system when I was a child), and to so many who are much smarter than I am in these matters.

I owe science big and I believe those who marched all around the world were warranted in doing so. We need to make a statement. Science is worth fighting for.

I am thankful for another excellent episode of Anne The Series.

A young girl runs through a dark, snow covered forrest, carrying a lantern and wearing only a thin layer of night clothes.

Ahead By A Century.

I am glad Anne and Diana are allowed to be friends again so soon, but I didn’t expect these three things to happen, all in this one episode of Anne The Series: Diana’s sister almost dying, Anne meeting Great Aunt Miss Josephine Barry, and Gilbert suffering a huge loss.

The fist fight is one of the memorable parts of this one, likely brought on by grief and a need to defend a newly growing love and respect, even if the source of that love and respect doesn’t make it easy, like one before her.

Though Anne is conflicted about what her future should be, between romance that most young girls are desperate for and her strong ambition, she knows when she listens to her heart.

This episode is all about letters, long lost pleas that will now never be addressed and unfinished business and apologies.

More flashback with Marilla this time, as a young girl, about Anne’s age. Sadly, youth cannot last and family obligations altered everything, but not necessarily for the worse, for some more than others.

Matthew offers to help Gilbert, Marilla and Gilbert have a enlightening conversation about place and time, and Anne finds a kindred spirit in old Miss Barry, who the writing hints as having had a long same sex relationship with another woman. This was never even alluded to in the series I loved growing up, but the times are changing and I am glad for that. It was one of the pleasant surprises of this week’s instalment.

Some of my favourite themes explored in this narrative are those exploring grief, loss, stubbornness, regret, and how decisions can or may influence the future.

Anne goes to give her apology when she finds an abandoned house, Marilla is stuck with her regrets, and Matthew goes to the bank to make some mysterious financial transaction.

Season finale already next Sunday. That went fast and I hope the break isn’t too long, that a second season is in the works.

“Romance is a pesky business. No sense to be made of it.”
—Miss Josephine Barry

I am thankful for books, but not only them, but books in accessible formats.

On World Book Day, I am not just thankful for books, though I am always thankful for those. It’s being able to read them, hold them, learn from them, and to access them in either e-format, audiobooks, or in braille.

This wasn’t always possible if you couldn’t see to read and it still isn’t always made easy. I just want to be like Helen, with her love of reading and learning. Or Anne and hers.

And so one more week ends and another begins. It’s all still an endless, giant enigma to me.

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