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TToT: Cherry Blossoms, Bluebonnets, and Clover Leaves # March Madness, #10Thankful

Stella! … Stella!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjHr-6Zl5P8

Okay, well if you aren’t already familiar with the play
A Streetcar Named Desire,
perhaps you won’t get my joke. I’m referring to the big “winter storm” in the eastern United States and here in Ontario and into Quebec and the Maritimes.

First it was the winter storm Stella and now it’s the Spring Equinox and first day of spring.

St. Patrick’s Day. World Happiness Day.

Either you’re drinking massive amounts of green beer or the day passes and you don’t do a single Irish thing, but you can’t help hearing about it. It’s the same with a day we are told to be happy.

World Happiness Day 2017: ticket to joy or time to ditch the smily face?

All these days.

Ten Things of Thankkful

I am thankful for snow in winter.

I like and appreciate it, during its season, but it is cold and I do happily move on from it by March/April.

I am thankful for flowers and birds and baby animals in spring.

Last year, I started off one of my TToT posts with some background about cherry blossoms, but today I am including a few others in this week’s title.

I can’t see them and their colours, but I am often obsessed with flowers, especially cherry blossoms at this time of year. I don’t know why those specifically.

Then I watched the new Anne of Green Gables series on CBC last night and there is a part where a cherry tree is featured.

If you know those books, Anne spots one when she first arrives off the train, before she meets Mathew and Marilla for the first time. She imagines climbing it and sleeping up in it if nobody had come to pick her up that day.

The blossoms are mentioned more throughout this newly updated version, and I took that as a sign of sorts, that spring has sprung.

I am thankful for anything Irish.

Don’t take my word for it. Don’t just drink some green beer. Visit Ireland and see it for yourself.

It was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t regret it and neither would you.

That’s why, whenever March 17th rolls around, though I love the music (like what Ed has done in the song above, anything else can’t quite live up to the real thing.

I am thankful to be working on a new piece which should be published in one week.

I am thankful the editor informed me of the stock photo she thought about including with my piece before simply going ahead and using it, without my knowledge.

It was a photo of a girl with her eyes closed. Part of what I do regularly is to educate people on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. I wish, sometimes, I didn’t have to do this. I wish people could understand without me having to explain it.

This may sound like I’m being self righteous about this kind of thing, but even if a girl with her eyes closed may say, right away to readers, “this woman can’t see,” it feels highly stereotypical and won’t help progress with people’s understanding and acceptance of those of us with disabilities.

Touching Life

I am thankful for the feeling of my baby niece’s soft head under my chin as I held her against my chest.

I held her while she slept. She has so much hair and it is so lovely.

I am thankful for her ability to already raise her head by herself.

I held her while her oma warmed up her bottle and I couldn’t believe how strong she already is. She will be one month old this week.

I am thankful for my four-year-old nephew reading his books to me.

Okay, so he didn’t so much read as explain about his favourite dinosaurs, but he did spell out “L i t t l e” on the sign as we were picking up a pizza.

So, he’s on his way. I try to explain to him that I can’t read his library book to him because my eyes don’t work. His response still is “my eyes work” as a way of comparing or reassuring himself or maybe just to inform me. I’m not sure, but, If I’m going to have a bonus thankful this week, it’s that his eyes do, indeed, work.

I am thankful when one of my really bad headaches subsides.

I am thankful for a doctor who understands when I can’t make it to my previously scheduled appointment, do to said awful headache, and their ability there to reschedule so soon.

I am particularly upset when I hear all the talk, south of the border, here in Canada, of U.S. healthcare. I want the kind of care I get, for every person who has lived with awful headaches, needed major surgery, been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease or illness, or who lives with a disability to not worry about not being covered or having to pay giant medical bills.

People in Canada complain about long wait times, convince themselves that our neighbours have the better options for medical treatments, and some may have terrible experiences with Canada’s healthcare system. All I know is my own experience and that of my family.

Healthcare shouldn’t be about insurance companies, deductibles, premiums, and whatever else I keep hearing, is all I hear when I hear the debates going on in the U.S. They talk of consumerism and shopping for the best health plans. Healthcare isn’t about shopping, even if so much of our society is all about consumerism. This is, in some cases, about life and death. It’s about feeling unwell or being able to be happy for more than only one day a year.

Ugh! It all gets me so fired up honestly, because I know what it’s like to need my country’s medical system. I have disability and medical conditions I depend on being treated for. I am lucky here. I hate how too much of the world still doesn’t get it.

It was a week where I could care less about the actual March Madness, as I am no basketball fan, but…as for some other madness:

The Tyranny of Now

It’s precisely why I need to count my blessings and why everything on my list today is needed more than ever and deserves the recognition in my own life.

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The Tyranny of Now, #SoCS

Ah, what can I say, really? *throws hands in the air*

Some things feel so futile. Ah, the futility of it all.

Sometimes, I tell you…
mankind –
the whole thing blows my mind.

***

Your Memories on Facebook

Kerry, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 2 years ago.

(Awww, thanks Facebook. Apparently, I was feeling perplexed.)

March 18th, 2015

Yesterday I visited a Holocaust exhibit, a series of black and white photos of men and women who lived through it.

It was at the Kitchener Museum.

Then I went home and came across the mad rantings of a KKK member on television.

Last night apparently St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated with wild colours of green from the Northern Lights at several spots around the world. Proof that the beautiful things still exist and can outshine all ugliness.

It’s still all so baffling to me.

—Then and now…

***

I resist speaking of it here, trying to hold in my frustration, but this felt like the worst day yet, in some ways, full of ridiculous words and attitudes, and I can’t believe the dismantling of the U.s. happening before our very eyes.

This week we see, is Holland smarter than those who came before them, when deciding possible fate of their country? Is it, indeed possible, for man or woman to learn a lesson in this day and age?

Maybe so. Maybe.

Germany, standing stoic and silent in the presence of such nonsense and self interest.

Destruction. Such a farce. That a fool of a man can gain such power in this world, boggles the mind. And so the whole world gawks, laughs, and cries at what now exists, feels unstoppable.

And all I think the world feels about it too, a growing shame, but I respect so many who are citizens and throwing up their hands, just like me, feeling somewhat secure (for the moment) here I am, in Canada.

When I heard the prompt “man” I immediately thought of one…one man I avoid saying anything about here, whenever possible.

This is not a political or current events blog. It’s just me.

I can’t predict, from day to day, but it’s such a feeling of disgust, and in time this post could be scrutinized too, with reports of phones and other devices being checked upon entry, or possible non entry as the case may now be.

Does crossing over one border in particular even seem like the wise option for the foreseeable future anyway? How much will cross border visits, tourism fault from the tensions that keep increasing?

Places like Canada may suffer for the border share, a part of America, just as much as the U.S.

How it feels that we now have human beings sneaking across from them. The issues this creates, as humanity sometimes feels scarce and then, there are those, some willing to fight for a compassionate solution. And Canada then makes the papers, glowing reviews of our virtues, bestowed by the New York Times.

We are a country and we fumble as we try.

And then…the best and the brightest, hesitating to attempt the land of the free, once full of such promise. Now, will Canada reap the benefits?

Meanwhile, the whole world suffers and seems to spiral into turmoil. Of course, this could just be my personal theatrics. Who can say really.

Man, oh man!

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TToT: Where Rugged Coasts and Grassy Hills Collide – Don’t Look Back, #10Thankful

“the beautiful spring came; and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”

–Harriet Ann Jacobs

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What a week! (Read on to find out why…)

Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys

I remember not thinking this so much as it was in progress, but now that I am looking back on it, I have felt pure exhaustion, for some reason.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For my first official violin lesson.

I didn’t know if a whole hour would be too much for me. Playing violin is going to be a physical tax on my body, as I have a lot of pain, a lot of the time, but this is like going to the gym, for me, in a way. Sounds less taxing, but it isn’t much less, not really.

I have been just teaching myself, along with a few instructions from my uncle, so now it’s time to learn proper technique. It will be a slow process, a progress that takes time to build on.

I think of it like using an iPhone when you can’t see. At first, when I tried my brother’s phone, it all seemed tricky and difficult. But once I got a feel for it, where on the screen I could locate specific App’s or where on the keyboard to place my fingertip, if I wanted an A instead of a Q. Once you develop the sense memory required, like my new teacher says, it will come to you.

For my new violin teacher.

She has been playing the violin since she was four and teaching it since she was fourteen. I guess that means she is qualified to teach me.

🙂

She is outgoing and a willing participant in teaching violin to someone she can’t just show by doing. She must show me, most times, by hand or with verbal instruction, but she has been eager from the beginning. I am thankful and appreciative for the enthusiasm she has shown thus far.

For my brother’s faith in me, in asking me in the first place, to write the lyrics for his final assignment in his Music Industry Arts program.

The song is called “Don’t Look Back” and I hoped it would convey a feeling, but I don’t think many will pick it out from my words.

People’s first impulse is to think most songs are about love, but although this one could be, it’s about losing something else entirely, something valuable.

I was afraid I couldn’t write lyrics. I did it. The week started with only vague ideas and unclear groupings of words. It ended with a song, still in rough draft, but on its way to becoming a thing of beauty. This is because my brother had faith and put the lyric creation in my hands. I just hope he is pleased with the results. I know, after listening to what he’s come up with so far, that I am more than pleased.

For a slimmed-down Writer’s Circle.

Things come up and people get busy. I myself have missed a Wednesday or two, for my brother’s accident or for a bad night of my own. I understood.

It was just the three of us: Bernie, Theo, and myself this time. That’s okay. It was nice to have a smaller group once, but I missed a few other members who weren’t there.

There seemed to be a lot more silliness and a little less serious writing. Good times though. I brought a mystery object. It was a little bear with a heart shaped locket with my photo and my dad’s photo from my kidney transplant. Theo even took pics of it, to show someone, to go along with the wild talking bear story he came up with.

For Ireland.

I love the Ireland commercial narrated by Liam Neeson. His beautiful Irish accent is perfect for it.

sheepcoastline-2016-03-21-00-08.jpg

I know about the beer and the celebrating, as I have had a bit of that St. Patrick’s Day fun here in Canada, but no green beer can compare to the real place.

For one incredible, once-in-a-lifetime adventure in my favourite place in the world.

Luck of the Irish

It was my dream to visit Ireland and I had a blast with friends, old and new.

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I crossed this bridge with my travel companions, in front and behind me, and I made it to the other side.

She Travels Without Sight: Crossing Ireland’s Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge Blind

I speak more about the experience in the above interview with an awesome travel blog.

I am thankful for that experience and that it taught me that sometimes, in life, you’ve just got to go for it.

For Irish music and Irish musicians.

Only When I Sleep – The Corrs

Of course, as much as I love that one, my favourite Irish group is, without a doubt…

God Be With You – The Cranberries

God I love Ireland and The Cranberries too.

🙂

I wrote a post to mark the twenty year anniversary of the release of my all-time favourite of their albums.

Ode and Lament: Ode to “No Need To Argue”

I am forever thankful that this album came along. It taught me about Irish history, about Irish poets, and oh so much more.

As I rode the tour bus along the winding highway I heard a familiar sound coming out of the bus’s PA speaker. It was a song by The Cranberries and then our guide announced we would be stopping at the grave site of W.B. Yeats.

I was blown away by the peaceful feeling I got from that spot. I thought back on that song and the words about the “Lake Isle of Innisfree”.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree by William Butler Yeats

World Poetry Day is in March after all.

For another chance to showcase a man, through an interview I conducted, who sets a brilliant example for the males of the world and the website willing to give me that opportunity.

Shining a Light on Preventing Abuse Against Women-an Interview with Garry Atkinson – Good Men Project

Thank you Jeremy McKeen and Garry Atkinson.

For the first day of spring.

img_5790-2016-03-21-00-08.jpg

I like this photo, or what I’m told of it anyway, because although it is officially spring here in the northern hemisphere today, it is cold and snowing in some parts. I liked the image of spring flowers and snowflakes in the air.

For all the things that bring me happiness.

Music Makes Me Happy, #1000Speak #InternationalDayOfHappiness

So, as I said, what a week! What a week of music and of the growth promised by the colour green.

So Cold In Ireland – The Cranberries

For spring, music, Ireland, even when they are cold.

😉

For all these things and more.

Yeats’ Grave – The Cranberries

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

–William Butler Yeats

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Luck of the Irish

I felt like I had found the elusive four-leaf clover. I was lucky to finally, after all the years of dreaming, be on my way to Ireland, a place I had wanted to visit for so long, but like my love of writing I can’t quite pinpoint how it all began.
Perhaps it began with my love of The Cranberries, my favourite band since I was twelve, from the first time I heard the mixed tape of songs an Irish boy on our school bus had made for my sister.
Then I received two of their albums on cassette as get-well gifts when I was in hospital. The haunting voice of Dolores spoke to me in a way I did not quite understand. The accents were beautiful to listen to. Or perhaps I wanted to see the home of Helen Keller’s beloved teacher Anne Sullivan. Something about the culture, the history, and the people has intrigued me and called to me from somewhere deep inside or far far away. I can’t really say for certain.
It was settled when my old friend was accepted to medical school at the historic and prestigious Trinity College in Dublin. She and I had both wanted to see Ireland and we used to dream of going there one day together to explore it. Now she was going first and I promised myself I’d make it over too.
People don’t look at me an automatically see someone who is spontaneous. I like to think things out and weigh all possible options, but as I spoke to my friend a few short weeks before she was to go back there for her final year of med school, that all changed. She mentioned in passing how her and a friend of hers were going back a few weeks early, to tour around the country, At this, I jumped at my chance to join them. How many times did an opportunity like this present itself to me? The answer was almost never. I had less than two weeks to get my ticket and pack. That was plenty. It was the biggest rush of my life thus far.
On this day when Ireland and its traditions are celebrated with gusto by so many, I couldn’t resist the urge to write about this place, with which I have a strange connection I can’t exactly figure out. I feel I was meant for it and it was meant for me in another life, meant to live in that is. If it weren’t for my need to be close to my family, I would have gone there that summer and maybe never returned.
Before I started this blog I feared I might not be able to come up with enough things to write about once I got going. Perhaps that will indeed become a problem in the months or years to come, but at this early stage of the process I can barely type fast enough to keep up with the ideas my brain is coming up with. I had to start here, on this Saint Patrick’s Day. I hope to continue my Ireland tale on a new post I like to call Travel Tuesdays. It may not be a weekly thing, as the days each week on my blog are filling up fast, but I have been lucky enough to have traveled and seen enough places in my first thirty years to write for the foreseeable future.
We had a great time, for me the trip of a lifetime and I kick myself now for not having been able to write down the things I did and the places I saw as I experienced them. It was impossible to both experience Ireland and have the time and energy to write about it as it happened. It’s like when I want to just read a novel and take it all in, but I must make notes and analyze the story as I’m reading, something being taken away from my ability to absorb everything and just rely on my memories and my mind to recall what’s important at a later date. This can be a risky thing to do and some things are lost, but it’s how it had to be.
The thing I most love and admire about my friend, now a doctor, is her free spirit and her ability to take the risks and chances the rest of us only dream of. She allowed me to have my dream in some small way and I will forever be in her debt and think back fondly on those late August days, of which still feel like a dream to me.
I don’t need to swig green beer on March 17th every year to celebrate. I carry a little piece of Ireland around with me every day, now that I can say I was there. Sometimes dreams do come true.
When you think of Ireland, on Saint Patrick’s Day or any other, what do you think of? What comes to mind?
I highly recommend all of you visit Ireland at least once in your lives and stay tuned, in future weeks, for the rest of my Irish tale. after all, I went there with my free-spirited friend and anyone who knows her knows anything could happen. Oh the adventures we could and would have.

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