1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, Travel

It Is What It Is #SocialDistancing #SoCS

Spring has arrived.

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As it stands, we
welcome
our new reality, even as we resist what that means.

I listen to two US sources, along with the national news here in Canada too.

I’ve been listening to Michael Moore and his podcast since before Christmas, when his main goal was to fight to get #45 out of office. It’s become something else now that most of us couldn’t have seen coming.

I’ve been listening to Rachel Maddow and in her most recent episode, she ended the show by announcing the death of an NBC colleague who lost his life to covid-19 and she lost control and became choked up as she said it.

Most of us aren’t that close to this yet, but who knows what the next weeks and months could bring upon us all.

Panic. Don’t panic. Panic. Don’t panic.

I am one who learned about this coronavirus with a slow dawning, a realization that’s just now beginning to scare me. It was only end of January that I was still relatively oblivious and planning an adventure to walk the Thames River Path in England. This new reality hit me soon after.

Since then, I’ve been around some people, but I now feel the instinct to totally isolate from all people.

Every time I send someone out to run an errand for me, they could potentially pick up this virus themselves. Should I stop this, for their sakes and mine?

I get paranoid with germs (for years) and now. Where are they? How close by are they? Which surface are they living on?

I’ve been cushioned here in my town, in my county, but reality inches ever nearer. I listen to accounts from doctors and nurses who are already seeing emergency rooms and ICU’s full of the sick, numbers then reported on the nightly news and 24/7 online.

I take deep breaths, sitting here and when I step outside, the now spring air streaming into my lungs as I go out with my dog.

I went for a walk, fell and twisted my ankle and skinned my knee, but I got back up again and kept walking. I wanted to feel myself, moving through the world, grateful I am still well.

I went to a medical appointment and it was a breeze compared to how it usually is. The doctor and his pain clinic moved out of the hospital setting and into a recently abandoned medical practise next door. I was in and out, no waiting in a waiting room with a dozen other people, but straight in to the room, after I’d been given a mask to wear. I haven’t worn one since being on dialysis back in the late 90’s.

I sanitized my hands and got my nerve block injections for my headaches, that I’ve been receiving for almost a year now.

I questioned whether I should have gone there, gone out at all, but things moved along so quickly because many patients did decide to cancel.

I worry for my parents. They aren’t in the highest risk group, but they are over sixty.

I worry about my sister, doing her work in the midst of this time of year which is tax season, ever so slightly delayed like school and everything else.

I worry for my brother-in-law who works in a factory.

I worry about my older brother who needs to go into work to support his family.

I worry for my younger brother who had a kidney transplant in 2013 and who has had other medical issues, before and since then. He and I are both immunosuppressed, not currently on dialysis or a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy, but I don’t know how this new strain of virus might act if either one of us were to catch it. I’ve never had pneumonia and the idea of basically drowning when the lungs are overloaded is terrifying.

I worry for my sister who has asthma and her husband who is a type one diabetic, who just recently recovered from mono. They have two young children and I’m only thankful that my nieces and nephews are at much lower risk of contracting this.

My father and mother work still, front line workers really, as she works in a group home and taking care of vulnerable people and he takes people in wheelchairs where they need to go in his specialized cab.

Here in Canada we have a wonderful healthcare system, but we see what’s happening in Italy and we must learn all we can. I feel better sometimes, most of the time, hearing the news here in Canada and feeling I’m safest here when compared to anywhere else, but things can keep getting worse with every case reported and all the ones that aren’t quite yet.

This is not at all how I saw 2020 playing out.

I had a friend who was traveling and another who’s about to. I can’t do much about that, but I still worry. So many who would have not gone and those still trying to get back home.

I have an old friend, from childhood, who moved to Ireland for medical school and is now a doctor there. I don’t know how much risk she’s at since all this, but I keep track of the news of this virus out of that country too.

I can’t control any of this and the last thing I wanted to do was see this happening, but we’ve been warned of a possible pandemic to come. Well it’s here, sweeping across the globe bringing with it waves of destruction and instability.

I worry about people’s jobs and the economy that I understand little about. I studied history and the Great Depression in the 1930’s. I learned about the Spanish flu of 1918 and how that washed over humanity during that time. We’ve come far with medical knowledge and still we are left battered by something so tiny, invisible and deadly in many cases, but people think it’s like any other flu season we’ve known in our lifetime.

I know it may be petty, but I’ve started calling #45 covid-45 because of his unique ability to be cruel and ignorant and incompetent at a time when the whole world needs effective leaders who also care, even just a little.

I like to listen to flocks of birds out my window and above my head. They fly by and I wish I could fly too.

Our winter was mild and yet I’m pleased to feel spring is in the air. I am finding things to bring me a few moments of peace because I know we’re at war, World War III if you want to call it that, but it’s a battle raging on in nearly all places now. It is just now making it to the northern parts of Canada and in our territories. It’s on islands that want to keep it from swamping their systems. The border between Canada and the US and that between them and Mexico, closed to all but essential trade.

Europe is being ravaged by it and it will get into refugee camps and already war torn regions, places across the African continent and in bustling cities where social distancing isn’t a thing.

For humans, in most cultures, having to stop shaking hands or hugging or kissing of cheeks is so difficult to do. Whereas I’m not struggling with that as much as I am to not touch my own face a thousand times a day.

People can’t believe they are in the position, for the first time, of being prevented from travel to their heart’s desire and content. They, we’ve, I’ve always had that option of traveling and the freedom of choice. Yet, when I hear people complaining that they are bored and dreaming of the moment they’re told it’s safe to do so again, I want to scream. I don’t know why, as I’m among them, but I know we’ve all been spoiled when air travel is so common and wanderlust is a thing.

I have multiple rolls of toilet paper here still and am not letting that stress me out, but I don’t like what I’m seeing of people out in grocery stores. I go back and forth between feelings of panic and calm, though I am never sure what I’m panicking about. I can’t pinpoint anything for sure in my buzzing brain.

I can’t concentrate on writing the things I’d planned on writing so far this year. I can’t manage anything more than stream of consciousness writing at the moment.

My dreams are vivid and my waking hours are spent trying not to bombard my head and heart with opinions and facts and statistics.

This is a numbers game, as the saying goes, but this time this is no game we’re playing. I’m no good at numbers games at the best of times.

People who are already greedy or selfish will only look for ways to enrich themselves in this, all while I know this virus can take hold in any one of us, doing as much or as little damage as it sees fit.

People are afraid and in denial as a form of self preservation, but the world is also populated by resilience and brilliant minds already at work.

I’m getting by on the stories that keep coming out, stories of courage from front line workers and from communities coming together to pick up groceries and medications for those who can’t.

We’re depending on our medical professionals and our food delivery drivers and those in the factories and the plants, but they have families and bodies that are vulnerable to getting sick.

I am used to hiding away in my own solitude and I don’t want to start worrying, any time I’m around another person, but maybe now is the time to isolate from friends for sure and now even family members.

I don’t know what to think.

So we are welcoming spring and wondering what’s to come. Some say we’re making more of this than is necessary, like young people who celebrated spring break and think they’re invincible. None of us are invincible.

We humans have our social media now and can stay in touch with loved ones and we should. We’re not used to being constricted in our movements and in our socializing. We’re told to stay in our homes, except for those necessities of life, but we can’t handle being cooped up for long.

Will this last weeks or months or more? We hate to think it could. Loneliness even though we can connect easier than any period in history.

I don’t know where I’m going with all this. I take chunks of time off of Facebook and I watch a show from my childhood. I can recall difficult times in my past and how I made it through and that helps, but this is a new one on me.

I think of my indoor cat now and what his life consists of. Human beings won’t stand for that for long, but I’ve seen some beautiful examples of people in places like Italy and Spain making the best of these circumstances. Each of us and our governments are dealing with this in stages, but sometimes swift measures are necessary ones.

I’m trying to wait this out, to ride it out, but I don’t know what to expect and I know emotions are running high.

I envy the innocence of the children in my life right now, but I’m now afraid to be around them, around anyone. I hate that feeling.

How are all of you coping with all this? I know I’m not alone and neither are you.

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Blogging, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer

Stretch and Still #SoCS

Unsure if anyone truly noticed the absence of activity here these last few months. That’s right-it’s been two months since I’ve written on this blog.

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The
silence
has felt strange to me, a void of something I’d been doing for five years of my life.

It’s like anything else, a muscle that must be worked. Without the work, I find myself forgetting how to do simple tasks that were always a main part of this blogging process for me.

I’m evolving, I guess is what it is. I’m doing new things that aren’t involving this blog directly now. It feels like a lousy excuse, but nobody else holds me to this place but me.

I am on radio now. Ooh, look at me! Ha!

I am writing, not less, but differently. Wait…less sometimes too. Scary stuff to me and the silences make that thought hard to stomach.

I don’t stop thinking, but that continues on in a silent stream of consciousness action. Just not here. Never here anymore it seems.

So I heard this week’s prompt and I knew about the silences. I knew it and so I’m writing through it.

The silence scares me, I admit. It threatens to drag me away somewhere. I cling to the edge of this blog with my fingernails (threatening to break), wondering whether it wouldn’t be easier to just let go.

No no…I don’t have to. This is my place and I am comfortable here, but maybe it’s harder and more of a necessary challenge to pull away sometimes, or risk never growing at all.

I spend a lot of silent moments and I think of sound as the opposite. Then I know I don’t have to be silent when I’m here. The point of being here is to not stay quiet like I’m drawn to being.

I sit in silent contemplations. I will always, but I love this place too much to leave it for long.

Two months does feel long enough, but I know I am always welcome here.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, SoCS, Spotlight Saturday

One Continuous Motion and the Cooling #JusJoJan #SoCS

I am tracking my plans for 2019 as I take part.

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Or jotting is more accurate.

For today’s instalment, it’s my
television
that is front and centre.

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I can also write from a stream of consciousness POV about my thoughts on how I hate working out, but I do need to build up my strength.

The blowing snow today is the kind of wintery wonderland I love to see, as part of why living in Canada is a beautiful thing. As far as exercise goes, I am indoors and on my exercise bike. It is an old one that I started riding back when it sat in my oma’s furnace room, along with the fruit cellar I used to go into to get a can of Coke. As a kid, maybe some sugar gave me more energy to ride that bike, but now I stick to soda water.

I am in definite need of a new seat for the thing though. I rode for about 10-15 minutes the other day and I got up to 35 today, but my arms have been sore all day and they stretch a little too far to reach to hold onto the handle bars and my butt is so sore, it is painful to get off the bike when I’m done. The knitted seat cover has its charm and it came from my oma, but maybe there’s something more comfortable out there, even fit for this old thing.

I can’t say I like sweating, but I know I need to break into one to be getting some benefit. Although, there is something refreshing about getting of the bike and feeling the cooling all over my skin that the process causes.

But back to why I speak of needing my TV. I have music channels on there that I crank up, with my speakers out here, and I focus on the steady roar of the bike and the sound of those songs that keep me moving my legs in one continuous motion.

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Thankful When Last Month Was Thanksgiving: (A Weekend of Thankfuls Part 2) #SoCS

The role gratitude plays in my life is not to be underestimated.

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Without it, I would be less likely to focus on the good things in life.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS

I love stream of consciousness writing and I choose to roll with it, whenever I can let myself care not for the things that might come pouring out from my brain and through my fingertips, onto this blog, and what that might end up sounding like to any perspective readers.

One of the other blogging exercises I take part in
(Finish the Sentence Friday)
had me writing
stream of consciousness
on the subject of thanks and giving thanks, but with a five minute time limit.

Tomorrow I will write out a list of what I’m
thankful for
and those things that make me grateful, the role each one of ten plays in my life.

It’s Thanksgiving in the States in a few days and they are extra focused in on the things they can be thankful for, despite all the troubles going on in that country.

I know the role certain people play in those troubles, but I try to roll with it, with life, because I am here in Canada and can only watch from a not too safe distance, as whatever happens happens.

I am trying to focus on the role I can play in my own life and how it goes from now on, while I choose to roll with it, whatever happens because I can’t control everything, or even most things.

I can control what I choose to do with the years left in my life. I can think of snow globes and of the fun it was, to be a child during the weeks that are coming up (of Christmas and winter and my birthday), as I imagine myself rolling down a snowy hill.

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Solidify, #SoCS

Round and round the seasons go.

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Okay, well there’s four seasons, which technically makes it feel more like a square than a circle, but I’ve always felt, myself, like a square peg that’s trying, always, to fit into a circular hole.

I like circular things: cookies, pizzas, etc.

Years come and go and my life, sometimes I feel like I’m going in circles, round and round.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

Okay, so this is my first time back doing this Saturday blogging prompt in a while and I might be a little rusty at writing down my thoughts, stream of consciousness style, with a word to write from.

I just have to use the word, but I started with it as itself, as even a part of another word.

Ground. Around. Surrounded.

I enter September, gladly and enthusiastically, waiting for something to happen.

Years ago, this month filled me with dread. I never looked forward to school picking back up after a carefree summer vacation, like some kids you’d ask. Some were, at least, looking forward to seeing their friends and all that, but I was feeling the unsteadiness of the new and different that a new year of school brings.

Just as I’d found my footing, solid ground underneath, I’d be thrown for a loop and have to start over again.

That’s life, the starting over, as I’ve done dozens of times since I last set foot in a classroom. There is, I admit, that familiar sense of terror and now I feel such relief, that this month can remain my favourite transition into my most favourite month, rather than new everything, new grade, new teacher, new set of challenges with learning and keeping up and passing tests.

Socially, I could never quite find my footing, falling to my knees, to the ground for support, wishing I were smarter, friendlier, cooler like all the other kids were. Nothing to hold onto when I’d grab.

Constant interruptions meant I couldn’t count on much, trust in anything really. Since that first grade (kindergarten) where the September calendar was red and green, construction paper apple cutouts, right until I just couldn’t stay there any longer.

Now, I see school again, in my mind and I am there to learn, to make my life better. Along with that, back comes all that stress and I run from that possibility, trying to find meaning and purpose without any further education.

It goes round and round and round inside my head. I can do more, be more, learn more. I could.

For now, I look forward to the month where I eat nothing but apples. I remember those construction paper apples and I hold the real thing in my hand.

Paula reds they’re called. Semi sweet perfection.

When, again, this month of starting over comes round, I meet it with all the hype it promises me.

My niece and nephews are starting school (third grade/first/senior K) and I know they feel nerves too, at the challenges (educationally and socially) that I felt before them. I am so proud. They have so much room to learn and to grow and I nervously await this first day of school, for each of them, though I know they will be awesome.

It’s the daily lunches and the packing the backpacks. For their parents, along with so many others, it is a bunch of feelings, watching them go off again, slowly or fast, becoming their own well rounded human beings.

Critical thinking skills. Socialization. Mathematics. Spelling. Reading. Science. History.

Problem solving. Teamwork. Independent learning skill.

I forget what it is that kids are learning now. I hope it will take them where they’ll eventually want to end up.

I have lots of regrets, and yet I haven’t given up on myself. I am a student of the kind of life long learning my active mind craves, though my body struggles to keep up.

I don’t miss the moment to moment stressors of an educational environment. I don’t miss waking up early to catch that bus. I may feel like I’ve missed it since then, some school years sticking out prominently in my memory, but overall feeling like I didn’t quite fit.

I had an education that I’m grateful for though. I was where I needed to be. I learned valuable things that have stuck with me.

Now I continue to struggle to find my place, where my square-shaped peg fits into the circular. Like we see when a small child tries, learning newly, how to fit a plastic shape into its appropriate slot. We have the urge to rush it, them, when really they need to learn it – and they will.

I must give myself that same room to figure things out. I must learn to be more patient. I don’t like to be rushed, by myself or by anyone else. Also, I am the most impatient of all.

I like to think of the ground, in autumn, starting to harden, to eventually freeze. Most people wish summer would not end. Me, I welcome the change eagerly. I look so forward to this September, like I haven’t in several years. Things are happening, and maybe I am on my way to being, not circular or square, but more well rounded and round and round and round we go again.

I don’t end up saying anything really profound in these, but that’s not the point of them and, as a writer, I have missed that.

As I try to focus on the few writing assignments I currently have, I do desire this stream of consciousness freedom. Though at the back of my mind I try to come to some sort of conclusion to things.

That girl, sitting at that school desk, she didn’t know she’d ever refer to herself as a freelance writer, a writer of any sort. Success, the kind we’re taught about as pupils, may be hard to achieve once we’re on our own. I know it continues to be for me.

So, yes, I don’t know if I have a point, what that might be and don’t know if I’d recognize it if I came to it.

I imagine I could go on doing this, rambling word after rambling word, without the fear of being graded or marked down somehow.

I could.

For the work I’m now doing with the Canadian Federation of the Blind, I do wish I’d been taught more about what’s going on and how the world works. History is important, don’t get me wrong, but how now do I approach my local politicians? How do I stand for myself? How do I speak on my own behalf?

The hamster wheel goes round and round inside my brain. All I’ve ever been taught doesn’t seem nearly enough to make a dent in the problems I see going on around me.

In my head, I run an endless track of ideas and possibilities and what if’s.

Again, it’s September, and I try to fit myself (the square that I am) into that circular hole, be more round. Feel the ground underfoot.

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SoCS, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer

While Wild Ones Wander, So Too Does My Mind #SoCS

Passive voice, in my writing or in my life.

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I may sometimes label myself a passive person, but there are moments when aggressive stances are needed.

Animals in the animal kingdom instinctively sense it, know where it lies in another creature and how or if they can derive any sort of benefit from it.

Human beings are creatures too, of habit, while the wild ones wander.

Personalities are coloured and varied shades of what makes us human, alongside the animals in nature.

I could Google the passive writing voice and read for days and days, but when I go ahead and write, may not always recognize what it looks like.

The term
“passive agressive”
means one thing, when both words are put together, and another on their own. I guess this is the point, the neat thing about this phrase, if you want to call it that, about language in general as well.

Wow. I haven’t taken this Saturday blogging prompt quite so literally in a while.

I think of my fear (rational or not) of an angry swarm of bees. I think a swan, who appears docile, until you get too close.

The fight face of a country or government, put forth by a world war, by a civil one.

War and peace. Is Canada so well known for one instead of the other. Or warring tribes in Canada’s long lived past.

On another lazy Saturday, I ask myself: What is Russia really up to, with the latest election results?

I do wonder, not as much about their people, but about that government itself.

I need to take my suspicious eye off of the country next to my own and think about other places. People or entire nations, I stream of consciousness ramble my way along, all the while, hoping to avoid the inevitable, those who ooze what it means to be aggressive.

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Mothers Are Saviours, #SoCS

Safe to say: Happy Birthday Mom!

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The idea came from a cousin when I couldn’t think of anything good enough on my own.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS

How perfectly coincidental that the big 60 falls on a stream of consciousness day.

So many people care and wanted to be included in my present to my mom, and I am not done yet.

Whether birthday card greeting or nostalgia and memory, it isn’t hard to find positive things to say about her. The things flow from her, through her, if you’ve even just barely met her. I didn’t think the challenge I was putting out there was so hard.

Some people doubt their ability to use their words for self expression and toward another. They feel my expectation, perhaps, but I only wanted them to feel safe enough in saying whatever came to mind when they thought of my mom and the woman they all know and love.

Even those closest to her might have struggled, but that is just because the feelings are a little too close for comfort and, in having to put into words just what she means to them, it may have felt uncomfortable in the moment. I thought it, thought her, worth the immediate feelings of uncertainty as one sat down to write.

I wanted her to know how safe she made me feel, as her daughter, and how she has saved me, dozens and hundreds of times, from my biggest fears and from myself and the world at large.

Anyone can and soon does feel safe in talking to her, in opening up to her. That’s her gift to the rest of us who have the privilege of her in our world.

All the times I felt so sick, so much pain, and like nobody believed it, she saved me and made me feel safe again..

She was surprised by her gift and more is being added, even just today in fact.

A mother should want to do it, protect their children/grandchildren, and she does. My mother for the save.

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