Bucket List, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel, TravelWriting

I Am Brave Enough, #Travel #Mexico #Disability #kindnessofstrangers

It’s the name of Lindsey Stirling’s most recent work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOmc9uG1Ndg

Instead of a New Year’s resolution, it has been my question/statement to myself about 2017 and my own determination to make my life what I’d like it to be.

Well, I’m back. I made it. First, to start with how mind blowing Mexico was, but more about that later. I have a lot to say on it, as a writer, still trying to process.

About the part that scared me silly though, traveling by myself:
It isn’t easy to have to wait to be taken from counter to counter, gate to gate, plane to plane. There are some advantages. It can be nice having someone push you around, along with your luggage, but I particularly liked the one transportation vehicle they used, specifically in the Detroit Airport. I liked that one. The two guys who took me, from the first to the last, they were friendly and pleasant.
You are first on the airplane (early boring) and last off. Different flight attendants and others likely know different things about how to help someone who is blind. Some are more hospitable than others. Sometimes I felt ignored and sometimes I felt well taken care of.

I honestly have to say I liked Dallas Airport the least. I didn’t realize how big it is there. The porters are different. Some easier to communicate with than others. It was a far distance to go, on my way there, and luckily I had a few hours because I was left at a gate, which changed. I sat there and suddenly heard them announcing a different flight than the one I knew I was there for. This was when I decided to speak up and get some help. Thankfully, another porter with a wheelchair was called and I was taken to the correct place. Unfortunately, then there was a problem with the plane and I sat there for more than an hour, nearly two. I was afraid I would miss the opening night festivities in Mexico, at my workshop. I didn’t.

I am writing about this, even with all the array of wonderful things I could be writing about my week in Mexico, because I feel there is a need to explain what it is like to travel when you have a disability. I doubt people realize.

The last time I flew anywhere I had a hand to hold tightly when my anxiety of lifting off the ground and into the air got too much. I felt kind of alone on my journey there this time, with no hand to hold, but I realized I needed to experience that. I needed to sit and be okay with being alone, right where I was, doing exactly what it was I was doing there.

I had all these images in my mind of all the strange and wonderful souls I would meet while traveling, in airports and such. I met hardly any on my trip to Mexico. That’s okay. I was on my own journey.

I met a lovely porter to start off my traveling, in Detroit. He told me his name and asked me about where I was going and what for. I told him of my fears of traveling by myself and he assured me it would all work out. He was right.
He got me a bottle of water and brought me safely to my gate. He made sure to park my luxury vehicle right next to the desk at the gate, so the people wouldn’t miss me there.
I tell you, you hear a lot of behind the scenes drama and things when you sit in that spot. Interesting.

So, I was the only one in my row on the first flight (Detroit to Dallas). It was an experience anyway. Behind my row there was a young woman, traveling from visiting her boyfriend, and the older woman beside her took an instant liking to her. The two of them then went on to talk the entire flight. The older asking the younger about her plans and her dreams. I secretly wanted that sort of experience from traveling. Would I make any connection like that? Did people resist approaching me? And did I shrink back from reaching out to anyone either?

It was still all so overwhelming, this traveling by myself. I was on constant alert, fearing I would end up lost or misplaced. I didn’t dare listen to my music or be distracted in any way. I was depending on other people for my very safe arrival, but how much of it all could I take on myself, to take my own power back?

I had help to find the check in desk at the airport in Mexico for my trip home, from the shuttle driver. He took my hand and brought me to them. I was so flustered I forgot to tip him. I felt so bad when I realized. I didn’t want to be so wrapped up in myself and my own worries that I did that sort of thing. I wish I could repay him somehow.

The porter they called to take me spoke no English and she asked if I could speak Spanish. At least, that much I could understand she said. I told her no and that one of the only words in Spanish I know was the one for water. Thanks to my niece who learned it from her Spanish speaking babysitter.

She had to go help someone else and found a woman who spoke English to stay with me. The woman then proceeded to tell me all about her life until I heard a familiar voice.

It was one of the women from the workshop. I could tell it was her, first, by the clunking sound of her shoes. She could keep me company, but the English speaking lady had to go. Still, you meet some interesting people when traveling.

I felt, at times, like the girl from the workshop was having to help me with my stuff, not relax while waiting for her flight, but that is all on me to not look at things life like that so much.

The porter returned and we went to our gate. She took me to the chairs while the girl from the workshop went into a special lounge for those with special bonuses from the airline. The porter then left me in the wheelchair. It probably seemed easier for her, in her mind, but I didn’t want to have to sit in it while waiting an hour or so for the flight. When the girl from workshop came back she agreed and we found two seats. This still required dealing with the wheelchair and my luggage, along with her things. She brought me a yogurt drink from that special lounge. It tasted so good in that moment.

We spoke a little and she helped me to the bathroom. We had to manage our luggage because leaving it unattended would not be a good idea.

My biggest concern, other than being left somewhere, was the bathroom situation. Anyone can find a bathroom in an airport if they need it. For me, I would have to depend on whichever porter I happen to be with if I needed to go. Many of those were men who hardly spoke English themselves. Not the best of situations, but best there was. Otherwise, I would be on my own and would have to find someone, a stranger or airport employee walking by, to help and show me where a bathroom was. Not fun.

I sat in my row, on my way home, and looked at a Mexico I could not see, through my oval airplane window. Suddenly, amongst the dozing I did and the boredom of sitting there in a row with a guy and girl I didn’t speak to, the familiar voice suddenly said my name, handing me a bag of warm mixed nuts. More perks from first class. That was the last I saw of her. I was truly on my own again.

The airport in Dallas was chaos. They had only one porter when I got off the plane and there was also a man in a wheelchair who needed assistance. His wife ended up guiding me, helping me with my luggage, while we followed the one porter and the husband through the lines and crowds. She did not have to do that, but she did. They were both very kind.

I suddenly heard protesting to my left. I couldn’t make out all they said, something about the US, no Trump, and no KKK.

It was a bit nerve racking as I followed the woman and her husband through customs and I forgot about the bottle of water in my bag still, from the girl from the workshop. I wish they didn’t have to take it from me. Silly regulations. I even got patted down at the airport in Mexico, by a girl who had to try to ask if it was okay first, but did not speak any English. Now I was having my bag inspected. Oh the joys of airline travel.

Finally we found our correct gates and the porter left me at mine. I thanked the mysterious couple, the ones who asked me about my time in San Miguel and told me about the house they rent there, and I sat and hoped for the best.

The people at the desk did their job. A nice lady helped me to the plane. I found my seat and a friendly woman, traveling alone for the first time too, she was feeling anxious and asked me if my folded up white cane was drum sticks. I liked her at once.

The flight went by a lot faster, long long day, with someone to talk to. She asked me about my writing and my blindness and family. I asked her about her five children and the plans they had to move from Detroit to Dallas. Her and her husband had just put an offer on a new house there. I wondered at the differences, the separate lives of so many, including this stranger who took the time to speak to me and I spoke back.

I was afraid, the entire time. I was afraid and still I didn’t want to let that stop me anymore. I did it once and I know I can and will do it again, until I am no longer so afraid. I know even sighted people can be afraid of such things, when traveling alone, when being afraid to fly or confused by flight numbers and gate changes. I know. I know we are all the same somehow while oh so different.

I appreciate all the help I received and all the assistance and the company kept. To all the strangers I will never see again. To the amazing souls I met in Mexico. To my amazing mentor for all she did for me. To my family who supported me. I say thanks. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I am brave enough.

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Humbled and Hopeful, #JusJoJan

Well, I’m back. I’m back to this blog and to join in with the final few days of
Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan.

I’m not particularly thrilled about it to be honest. It’s not anything other than myself.

I’m not blue exactly. I do think of this month as the dark blue month, but now the red month is fast approaching and I am so tired.

It’s a good tired of course. Those who know me, they would tell me to stop complaining. I just got back from a week in Mexico and I had something happen to me that was beyond description. I will still try though, as that’s what I do.

I just had a long travel day yesterday. The news here in Canada and around the world sucks. I am trying to take in all I did and all I saw and everything I experienced when I was away at my writing workshop paradise.

Yes, that is what it was for me. How can I feel blue at all when I so recently had such an enriching time?

I don’t know. I didn’t want the week to end truthfully. I had my own oasis, a beautiful and comfortable room and a perfect balcony place to go and write or just to take in the world from a magnificent viewpoint. I never wanted to leave that spot. I recorded, with my phone, simply the world from up there. No talking. Only birds singing, distant dogs barking, church bells clanging, and children and families going about their days in houses nearby. I heard a continuous rumble of the traffic out beyond and I knew the world didn’t stop while I was hidden away and writing with a group of the most intelligent, friendly, and compassionate people and other writers I’ve ever known.

So, if I am blue, it’s not for the fact that I don’t realize what I am lucky to have or having had just gotten to do with my week. It’s just that I had such a time that the rest of my life, in this moment, seems like it can never compare again. These are silly musings, perhaps, but I feel them right now. I can’t believe, when I reflect back, what I just did and I fear I will never do it again, though I’ve been told by many that I absolutely will and I know in my own heart that they are right.

Now I am home again. I am here and I am listening to my brother and his band playing superb music. I think about that beauty of art, the kind which was all the incredible works of writing that I heard the other night, and the visual art I was shown that is Mexico’s to share. I put that against all that is cruel and ugly and I grip the stunning bracelet I bought myself to remember Mexico by. It gives me strength to face life. I am humbled and hopeful.

I may allow these final days to be forever known as my two blue days and then I will begin a new month, a new birth year, to be the start of the rest of my life. What just happened to me in Mexico is proof positive that anything is possible.

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TToT: In My Head I’m Swept Away – Collective Arts, #10Thankful

Things are changing. I guess that’s a normal part of life. I wonder when it might be that this concept doesn’t feel so strange to me. I complained that these things are fading away, like this here ten things of thankful exercise, and then I’m the one who has faded away from even attempting it. Since the end of 2016 and the start of 2017 I’ve been preoccupied and all over the place. I still am.

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I liked Lizzi’s attempt at coming up with
fifty
and not just ten, back around Christmas. I thought, since I am on my way to parts unknown very soon, I’d try for somewhere between ten and fifty, to cover for those I’ve missed in recent weeks and the week I’m sure to miss coming up.

January throws me off somewhat, no matter the year.

This is meant to be a bunch of things I’m thankful for from the year that just was and some of what I’ve been thankful for lately. I will set a timer and see how long it takes me to come up with fifty items for this list of mine.

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For the perspective a year can give.

For snow globes.

For winter in Canada.

For the violin.

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For the bow in my hand.

For the strength and muscles needed to play.

For people willing to fight back, stand up, speak out.

For reason, logic, and common sense, which isn’t quite common enough.

For the challenge of learning to adapt and familiarize myself with new things.

For the discomfort that often causes because it helps me grow.

For the variety of sizes in Pesos.

For a Spanish language program I can listen to, shuffled up in my iTunes library.

For the syncing of all info and contacts even.

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For KFC (Kijewski Family Christmas).

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For journals and diaries.

Sophia showing Auntie Kerry her journal.
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For treats made especially available at Christmas.

For all things tactile, like the letter S.

For being exposed to new people.

For a first date.

For the smell of coffee.

For the scent of cinnamon buns when I step foot in the mall.

For people watching, even the way I do it.

For music of all kinds.

For salad.

For the stars and moons of all kinds.

For rainbows.

For sunsets and sunrise.

For mild and frigid.

For the sound snow makes, that crunching, when it is really cold here.

For a female Canadian on our money…the money with braille on it.

For my violin teacher.

For a spa experience.

For a shopping trip with a friend.

For hearing my name coming from the smartest of smart almost-two-year-old little girls, only here for a visit.

For my cat’s strange and sweet behaviours.

For my cat and dog ALMOST ALWAYS getting along.

For travel agents.

For the life lessons from those who push me to require more of myself.

For rice cakes.

For the coolness offered by the frozen food section of a grocery store.

For snow covered country inns.

For buffet breakfasts.

For scrambled eggs.

For podcasts.

For perfecting family pancake recipes with Ketchup.

U8krqnI.jpg

For inspired ideas.

For audio technology.

For song lyrics.

For the ability to provide a jam space in my basement for a bunch of talented and creative musicians.

For creativity.

For outdoor concerts.

For personal invites to travel and write and meet others who love both those things.

For family days at the beach.

For giving myself a year to focus on me.

For borders, be they on countries or the sections of a country.

For Netflix docs.

For photos I cannot see.

For governmental programs that help make life easier and more hopeful.

For opportunities for my brother to play his music outside.

For coffee shops.

For intimate and cozy live concert venues.

For Halloween candy.

For wine and pizza.

For manicures.

For new writing opportunities.

For laptops.

For braille.

For hard decisions.

For blogging.

For miracles and magic.

For little puppy/rabbits.

For first days of school.

For the chance to do an interview with an editor/writer I admire.

For peg dope.

For sul ponticello.

For cello music.

For long tones.

For drag and drop audio.

For fireside chats with a train to be heard somewhere far in the distance.

For pasta Tuesdays.

For packing/to-do lists.

For my mother’s talents with a needle and thread.

For doctors who listen.

For medication coverage.

For tolerance.

For pizza with family.

For catching up with an old friend.

For my first violin concert and my second and my third.

For everything in the ocean.

For space and the eight/nine planets.

For morning glories.

For phone booths.

For talented family in the kitchen.

For family sharing food.

For my cat’s soft fur.

For a world full of accents.

For comedians.

For the chance to laugh rather than crying.

For Niagara Falls.

For heated car seats.

For mint filled cookies.

For secondhand clothing.

For the chance to face my fear of secondhand items.

For gavels.

For jokes, knock knock or other.

For rewatching old movies.

For good neighbours.

For unexpected book sales.

For the sound of skating.

I should probably stop here. This is just a start to a list. It goes to show just how much there really is to be thankful for, if you take the time to look, list, and add them up. I topped 100 things in this list and I think I’ve made my point.

I am starting to panic about why I’ll be missing TToT next time. I have so much to be thankful for. I just must learn to trust in all of it.

Bonus Thankful: airplanes and the responsible pilots who fly them.

Mucho Gusto!

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International Day For Persons with Disabilities 2016, #IDPD2016

Helen Keller…Stevie Wonder…Ray Charles…Rick Hansen…Stephen Hawking…

The Rick Hansen Foundation

There are so many more of us out here, only looking to have rich, full lives like anyone else, but what often stops us is not only society’s barriers, but our own.

***

Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually on 3 December around the world. The theme for this year’s International Day is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want” . This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.

***

One note on the society part – some of you may not want to think a lot about it, if you don’t have to, because then it becomes clear that the possibility for anyone to become disabled is indeed a possibility for anyone..

I am a Canadian woman, living with a disability. I didn’t acquire my disability through an accident later in life. I did not develop it overtime, but from birth and still, who knows which direction my remaining vision might take.

On the day before the
United Nation’s International Day For PErsons with Disabilities
I felt a tired feeling that I sometimes get. I panic and assume my sight is worsening, but I am not sure, if that makes any real sense. I close my eyes and decide I will try to get back in to see my retinal specialist soon.

I don’t know what, if anything, he will be able to tell me, offer me as hope that I won’t be completely blind one day. He will probably see no changes or signs of the mysterious eye disease that took my left eye twenty years ago. He will speak to me of gene therapies in various stages of development, but I don’t know what hope lies in that for me. Maybe it will be my future. Maybe not. I’ve learned not to bank on anything.

That’s a part of my DNA, just like the genetic eye disease. I am conditioned to either think the worst or simply not want to hope for the things I may really really want, always fearing that the disappointment from possibly not getting them will break me. It hasn’t broken me yet, which does give me reason to be optimistic though.

I wanted to be able to see the truly unique show violinist Lindsey Stirling put on recently. Instead, I listened to all I could and relied on my helpful sister to fill in the blanks. I wanted to throw my white cane away and yelled my displeasure, and through the wish, but instead I sat and listened even harder.

I want to draw like I used to when I saw colours and when everything in my world was more clearly and brightly defined. I can’t. I want to scream in frustration but I’m resigned instead.

I want to take up the latest craze of adult colouring books, but I don’t.

Of course, nothing is really stopping me. I may not, as an adult, see the lines I may have hardly seen as a child, which are now nearly invisible to me. I could still get myself a Harry Potter or any number of other themed colouring books with a theme which fits my interest, and be damned if I miss colouring in the lines by a mile.

But I don’t. I don’t scream or rail at the world in an uproar. I find other ways to spend my time.

I want to travel and to go through life with an independent spirit and loads of self confidence, but I don’t. I try and I work at it, but I’m scared.

I find a travel series, a BBC documentary, available to me on Netflix. It’s Stephen Fry, whom I love, and he is doing a road trip across the United States in his British cab. I know him from his narration of the Harry Potter books and for his intelligent and witty character. After watching him visit all 50 states I now know he hates being on a horse, dancing, and skiing. He loves science and culture and literature.

Stephen Fry In America

I watch him on his trip and I long to go on one of my own, but I fear getting lost in the big, expansive world and I worry that my white cane will attract only pity. I want to grip it with extra determination and go anyway. It’s all in my attitude, right?

I can’t drive a cab across the country. I want to believe I will see more of the world anyway, even without definition of sight.

I don’t try to revisit childhood experiences of mine by colouring. Instead, I watch a travel show which I’ve heard of but only now decided to give a chance.

HELLO GOODBYE, #HelloGoodbye

The host speaks to one woman in her sixties, widowed after her late husband’s long battle with illness, but who has now found new love with a man from England. Her happiness is infectious. Her newly found love walks down the ramp in the arrivals terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport and gets down on one knee. Love is lost and can be found again.

I feel warm just by watching and listening to her story.

The host also speaks to a young man and his parents. The son is on his way to participate in Rio, at the Paralympics. He was paralyzed from a diving accident and now plays wheelchair rugby.

And then there was the grandmother, daughter, and grandson saying their goodbyes. The young guy and his mother are heading back to Britain after a visit with Grandma. The mother has RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa). She carries a cane, but the son speaks of wanting his mother to have companionship with a guide dog, as he will soon be going out on his own and doesn’t want her to be alone. He has worried about her safety all his life. She admits to being unsure about going for a guide dog once they get back home, but her son’s words cause her to rethink things.

She grips her white cane. I grip mine. She has been losing sight for years. I’ve been blind since birth and losing since. Am I any further along in accepting my circumstances and my white cane than she is?

People ask me all the time if I am ever going to get another guide dog. I don’t quite know what to say. Yes, they may provide the necessary confidence boost for many. I consider it.

I don’t think any dog will ever compare to my Croche, But is that all it is?

I can’t put another animal through what I put Croche through. She was so well trained and so fittingly suited in temperament. She was given to me and I was trusted with her. A lot went into all that. We were a team, but I failed her.

My ever growing illnesses caused me to sleep and her to dutifully stay by my side, but she was prevented from shining. She was my pal, but I don’t take the responsibility of a working dog lightly. I don’t know what my future will bring and I can’t bring myself to bringing another animal into that.

I want to curse what stops me, but what often stops me is me. And so I would just end up cursing myself, again and again.

Or, I could take hold of my white cane and use it for betterment, for working for some of my dreams, and for hardening my resolve and building my often feeble confidence.

My feelings of shame when I walk with my cane are hard to describe and hard to fight off. I will never be happy if I don’t try. Fear and disappointment stop me from even trying. What a waste that would be.

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TToT: Dog Days of Summer – Memory Locations and Yahoo! #10Thankful

“Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.”

“I have a message for my fans. Whatever you want to do in this world, it is achievable. The most important thing that I’ve found, that perhaps you could use, is be passionate and enthusiastic in the direction that you choose in life, and you’ll be a winner.”

—Steve Irwin

I’m just here, on this final long weekend of the summer, watching Crocodile Hunter videos on YouTube. I loved him. Not sure how it started, but I loved him for his Australian accent and for his larger-than-life personality, but mostly because he had so much passion for animals. He seemed to know, instinctively, what his passion in life was, when I did not feel nearly as sure of my own. I guess, the more I listened to him speak, I suppose I hoped I would figure that out, like something from all that energy and enthusiasm he used to put forth might rub off on me.

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And so I dedicate this week’s Ten Things of Thankful to Steve because I was hardly even writing at all when he died and I didn’t get to write any sort of tribute back then.

Dog Days Are OVer – Florence + The MAchine

Thankful for popcorn, not candy.

🙂

Sounds like a trip to the movies, doesn’t it? In this case, when normally it’s such a difficult choice between those two things when approaching the concession stand, it’s not a matter of any choice this time.

It’s another catchy and memorable line to help me break up notes in Twinkle Twinkle on my violin.

It is a little hard to explain, but it’s one more reason I am loving the surprises each time I have a lesson. I am learning faster than one might imagine. I have my moments of course, long way to go yet, but I am building the foundation for my future as a star violinist, at least in my own circles in which I currently travel.

I’m thankful for a glass of champagne and some delicious fried chicken tacos after my violin lesson.

A lovely evening, late dinner out on a patio. The drink wasn’t to celebrate anything in particular, other than another successful lesson. I thought that worthy enough of a beginning of the week celebration just then.

And then, don’t get me started on those appetizers. Wish they had been my whole meal.

Have you ever eaten coleslaw in a taco? Topped with the kind of fried chicken that could beat KFC any time.

I’m thankful that Brian and I were able to, after a few starts and stops, get most of Episode Two: Ingredients Listed recorded of our podcast, Ketchup On Pancakes.

I had it all planned out, and it takes a certain amount of planning to be ready to record.

Then something is missing. Either one or both of us just isn’t feeling it. There needs to be a certain kind of mood and I knew it might be this tricky. The whole structure of our podcast is how we interact as siblings. That relationship can’t or at least it shouldn’t be pushed or else we end up sounding less like ourselves and more like we think two people on a podcast should sound. That is definitely what we don’t want.

We are going by no real time table at this early stage. We are taking our time and not rushing or pushing it. It comes out naturally, organically, when it’s meant to be.

Thankful for all the lessons I’m learning about editing.

This is nothing new, or shouldn’t be, for anyone who claims themselves a writer. Editing is part of life and ever more is it becoming so as I write more.

Well, this is a manifestation of that same skill development I’m learning. It is hard, when it is something you’ve created, to cut some of that out. It just isn’t practical to keep everything. An hour is what we’re aiming for with this podcast, when many are less than, but we are following our own instincts and not paying attention to what anyone else may be doing.

And so I create and then we execute that creative vision and then we cut out and trim and edit and narrow down.

Hope to have our second episode finished sometime this month. A lot more to learn.

I’m thankful for the arrival of September.

I realize what this signifies to most people. I don’t long for extreme cold and snow either. I just dislike extreme heat and humidity. Just because September means one month closer to winter isn’t enough of a reason to dislike it. Now, if I were going back to school in any traditional way I might understand.

To me the cooler nights and decrease in hot hot days is when I’m most comfortable. I love the way the scent in the air changes. I love the apples.

I’m thankful for the release of a truly modernized take on travel, place, travel based writing, and so much more.

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR-AND-CHIEF – Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel

September 1st was the day their first publication came out. I like that their first one is focused on firsts.

I hope to have a piece I’ve written published here one day.

I’m thankful for bees.

I spoke of apples above. Well, I wouldn’t have my apples if it weren’t for bees.

And so, after one patio lunch this week which included sharing my meal and a lovely final day of August afternoon atmosphere with them, I can gladly say: thanks for not being too loud with your buzzing and thanks for not stinging me. Oh, and thanks for all you do with the pollinating of the flowering buds on the apple trees.

With all the fear of Zika virus lately, so much so that lots of bees were killed in the States from some attempt to kill dangerous mosquitos – I am able to carry my long standing phobia of bees and put it in its proper perspective, enough to appreciate the apples I hope to enjoy in the days and weeks to come.

Millions of bees dead after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes

Of course, I am not at any immediate risk from those virus carrying mosquito pests, threatening the lives of so many unborn babies either. There’s got to be a better way to handle it.

I’m thankful for birds and Canadian birds especially.

I thought of this the other night, hearing a flock of geese outside, and proud to live where I live, that they are known as Canadian geese.

Whether it’s the squawking of a bluejay or a sea gull or even the cawing of the crows I don’t like quite so much.

Then there’s the haunting sound of the loon.

http://nationalbird.canadiangeographic.ca/bird.asp?name=Common-loon&id=1005

I’m thankful for the first of two men to have a profound affect on me.

September 2nd is the anniversary of the death of J.R.R. Tolkien.

http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/lord-of-the-rings-creator-tolkien-dies

I am currently working on writing about Tolkien’s participation in World War I where he easily could have been taken far too soon, depriving the world of so much.

When he did die, many years later, he died an old man.

Not everyone is so lucky.

I’m thankful for all that Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter) gave of himself, until his heartbreaking death ten years ago.

“If we save our wild places, we will ultimately save ourselves.”

“We don’t own the planet Earth, we belong to it. And we must share it with our wildlife.”

—Steve IRwin

Larger-than-life. No doubt.

Interview

I’ll never forget when I heard of his death. I was moving out of my childhood home and into my very first house.

I didn’t exactly find it to be an unexpected end to a life. All that time around all kinds of creatures and it was bound to happen. It was a fluke thing, when all other days he had come out alive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeydzMjP4Oo

Very few people devote their whole lives to animals. I wish there were more Steve Irwins’ in the world because animals are constantly about to be found on the nearly extinct list and people are afraid of things they don’t understand, animals included, and that is why Steve did what he did.

“I have no fear of losing my life – if I have to save a koala or a crocodile or a kangaroo or a snake, mate, I will save it.”

“If we can teach people about wildlife, they will be touched. Share my wildlife with me. Because humans want to save things that they love.”

—Steve Irwin

Crikey!

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Shows and Events, Travel, TravelWriting, TToT

TToT: Narrative of a Floating Life – Jellyfish Armageddon, #10Thankful

When you’ve got nothing left, you’ve got nothing left to lose.”

Sweet Jane – Garrett Kato

This week I was reminded just how much I have to lose. That means I haven’t even come close to having nothing left.

Not everyone can say that. We here in Ontario, Canada, we experienced our own little incident with radicalism recently. He was attending a mosque just down the street from where my brother lives. They tried to help him, but unfortunately he was a very angry and disillusioned young man.

We are not immune here, in Ontario, in Canada, in North America, but that doesn’t suggest we should then turn toward hate all our own.

In a week where privileged young star athletes act poorly in Rio, when another image of war torn Syria features a small child, and where more attention is given to that athlete than to floods and fires and the suffering of children to begin with,

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I search out blessings and I remember to look for the bright side of life.

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That I got back to it, art I mean.

My Blue Period and My Decade Adrift: Water, Water Everywhere

I’m glad I got back to it and hope to do more of it.

That a friend saw my picture on Facebook and offered her knowledge from her art school days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Wave_off_Kanagawa

So unbelievably cool. That’s what I love about art, what I want to put into it, even if it comes out looking nothing like how I’d imagined it would.

For an empty theater to watch a sweet movie with the perfect person for the occasion.

Review found here. – Bad Moms

Touchy subject sometimes.

In spite of that, I liked this film. I hope the mother I saw this with enjoyed it as much. Motherhood, toughest job around.

For a small step in the progress of my lessons and for my violin teacher taking the time to record herself playing the two basic songs I am learning technique on.

I thought the other day about how learning the violin, for me, feels meant to be. It feels natural, or oh so close to.

It’s as if I am walking in a forest and I’ve come to a stream just a bit too wide for me to jump across. I can see the opposite side and I just need to find a bridge or even some stones to get me to the opposite bank.

The other side, where violin music comes to me, flows through me, naturally, that’s in view.

For fresh food grown in my back yard.

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Of course, without the work of a couple cousins who do this sort of thing for a living, a dedicated ex boyfriend, or the gifted hand of my mother and her knowledge about all things gardening, I wouldn’t have had any of it.

It’s a nice feeling to hold a fresh cucumber in your hands and bite into it, knowing it only came from your own yard. Something rooted in the natural world so close and yet so far from myself. I owe others who care to make nature such a part of things so that I can enjoy it.

For the extra effort some are putting into me and my future.

I often feel like an extra weight or burden for others, including family, friends, and any other relationship. I guess having most kinds of relationships with me can demand certain things of people.

I hope I give back, as much as possible, in my own unique ways. I hope I bring something to each situation as it comes. I pledge to do that once more, for all who took the time out this week to help me not to give up on my future growth and progress.

This is my promise.

That I got to speak with an amazing Canadian travel writer.

Breathe Dream Go

For me though, it would likely be more like: dream, breathe, and then go. Take the deep breath and dive in. My dreams are waiting for me, out there somewhere.

We had a brief but helpful phone conversation where we spoke about solo travel as a woman and finding the confidence necessary to become comfortable traveling alone.

Our situations are quite different, but she has experience and knowledge and I was grateful she took a few moments out of her day to return my call and speak to me for a short time.

For another full moon.

I understand the science behind the moon, its phases, and the pull of the tides of our oceans. I think it’s rather magnificent.

I also understand how some feel those forces mess with their mood. I can see that.
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For me however, a full moon is my best shot of actually seeing it up in the night sky. When it’s at its brightest and roundest I have a better chance at spotting it and I cherish that opportunity.

But yet, when I can’t find it in all that darkness I still know it’s out there somewhere. That’s my best lesson in faith, whatever your beliefs or religion might be.

For medical and surgical advancement and the ability of doctors to perform gall bladder surgery.

My mother had it done and so did my sister. It causes a lot of women especially a lot of trouble.

Now it is needed again and I am glad those in need this time around can receive the surgery and hopefully recover from here on out. Modern medicine in this part of the world saves lives and halts so much pain and suffering. We are lucky and blessed to have it so readily available to us around here.

That we here in Canada could come together for one night.

The World Can Learn a Thing or Two From Canada – The Planet D

I admit that The Tragically Hip aren’t my favourite band. I am, by no means, their biggest fan. Still, it was a strange feeling of oneness last night. The Rio Olympics were preempted and the CBC instead broadcast this final concert by a Canadian iconic musical group and their singer who may not have very long left to live.

What would it be like, what would any of us say or do if we knew we had so little likely time left to live?

Hmm. I wonder.

This month,

#1000Speak

focuses on

thankfuls

and

blessings,

with this final thought and the related song to go along with it.

Living On The Bright Side – Angela Saini

When a bulb burns out I see
Even in the dark, it feels sunny to me
Skipping in the shadows, every corner holds beauty
There is always light if you look closely

http://angelasaini.com/track/1039590/living-on-the-bright-side?feature_id=286532

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TToT: Blessings and Thankfuls – RIP, Pinky and Gerti #10Thankful #FTSF #1000Speak #AbbyOnTheMove #HowISee

I dedicate this week’s 10 Things of Thankful to the tragic, cruel, and untimely death of Pinky the flamingo and a dear family loved one far away.

This week It’s my pleasure to be linking up and joining not only the TToT, but also with Kristi from

Finding Ninee and “Finish the Sentence Friday”

and the blessings crew, connected to

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, #1000Speak.

When it comes to blessings, many have been bestowed upon me in my life. That’s why I continue to write my weekly thankful post, going on fifteen months now.

https://summat2thinkon.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/10thankful-banner.jpg?w=700?w=700&#8243

For a big third birthday and the special little boy celebrating it.

He is such a smart and friendly little boy and my nephew, I’m proud to say.

He received a bunch of superhero themed birthday presents.

The Hulk hands, veins and all, they reminded me of those foam fingers people wave around in the air at sporting events.

They felt a bit odd to some of us, but my nephew loved them and that’s all that matters.

He then proceeded around the yard, bringing his newly formed, giant hands down on chairs, as Hulk, and roaring his mighty displeasure.

🙂

For art and those encouraging us to create more of it,

Ivy Walker and her “AUGUST! 30 DAY ART CHALLENGE!”

I am drawn to this challenge and Ivy is one of the good ones, always supportive and hosting an always interesting blog.

I just struggle with not seeing anywhere near to do any sort of visual art in the last several years. I can find blessings, but losing my ability to see colour has been a tough reality to accept.

I will never stop celebrating and appreciating art, in all its forms.

So thank you Ivy, for everything you do.

For my childhood home and my access to it even after I’d moved out and so had my parents.

My sister loved that house so much that she lives there now with her own family.

This means I didn’t have to give up the place where all my early memories were made. I can see it whenever I need a reminder that I am safe, loved, and always welcomed home again.

That I got to meet one of the closest people in the world to my oma while she was alive. That my parents took me to Germany to visit my oma’s cousin, as I’d probably met her several years previous to our trip in 1998 but I could not recall.

RIP Gerti. You are at peace now, with my oma perhaps. If you are, I am certain there are some most excellent talks happening between you two, (half in English and half in German) like the good old days.

That I got to hear the song that means so much to me, one I wrote lyrics for that are very close to my heart, and now have life and breath brought to my words.

After I listened and let it all just sink in, I am dying to share “Decade Adrift” with the world, but I must hold back because it is not complete just yet.

It is still so strange a feeling to hear someone sing words I wrote. I love it though, don’t get me wrong. It’s an incredible feeling actually. I am blessed that anyone at all would use my words in a song, like my brother has, that he’s put so much energy into. Then to hear them sung capably is just the best thing.

For a special Mexican writing workshop discussion on Skype with my writing mentor.

We had one of our hour long Skype conversations, but this time we didn’t just speak about my writing in general, in other areas. We spoke about when I travel to Mexico to attend her multi sensory writing workshop.

She explained how the week will likely go. I listened, leaning in so as not to miss a single detail.

She is making so much happen for me and I owe her so much for that.

For my brothers and their determination and computer knowledge and persistence, for Imgur, and a once more functional wireless keyboard.

Every single time I find myself starting fresh with a different computer, I must set things up the way that works best for me, for my writing and blogging and VoiceOver settings for all of those things.

So, maybe you’ve noticed lately, I have not included photos in any of these posts.

Well, it’s because I’ve had to get used to a new Mail program, updates, and so much more. I struggle with whether or not to include photos at all, as I can’t see them and, unlike words, images are unclear and vague concepts to me now.

It’s nice, however, for most of my readers here, of which can mostly see and do enjoy images. I wanted to get this stuff all straightened out and then, to top it all off, I couldn’t get my keyboard working through BlueTooth anymore.

And so, one trip to visit my brother and with the help of my ever trusty younger sibling, we’re (that’s to say I’m) BACK IN BUSINESS!

My brother discovered I needed something entirely new to me which is a program called Imgur. He, well both my brothers, they are much better at following instructions and all the proper steps to make such changes work properly.

My oma (spoken of above) once gave me a stuffed bear wearing a suit, glasses, and a hat, on a stand. She told me:

“Here’s a man for your bed.”

This was my European grandmother, not realizing the hilarity many would find in that one innocent statement.

Well, now we keep the joke going by saying I need a man, but in this case, for practical everyday reasons – a guy, to help me with all the tedious computer and technology stuff I struggle with.

So, instead of waiting for a man/guy, I have my awesome brothers and their readiness to help me fight through these issues that seem to be never ending.

For an enjoyable day spent out in the back yard, in lovely August weather, with family.

If I am starting to use photos once again, I wish I had certain photo evidence that carrots can, indeed, grow on trees, apple trees to be exact.

😉

A squirrel likely had a carrot in its mouth and left it dangling from the apple tree in my brother’s back yard. He is a photographer, but did not get this as any sort of photographic proof.

But balls were thrown. A dog was pulled along on his leash by an excited little girl. Gardening was discussed. Birthday presents were opened enthusiastically by all involved.

For this most excellent little sighted guide.

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She is now at the age where we can play “guess which one of your aunt’s eyes is the real one” and she understands. Not freaky at all, right?

She gives her little left hand to me and her right to my brother and leads us out of the restaurant, all in a bendy row, our white canes out as well, just in case..

**Our Mission is to demonstrate that more awareness needs to take place for visual impairment and blindness.

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For the awareness campaigns I am able to take part in, such as

#AbbyOnTheMove

Abby Style

and

#HowISee.

Black Or White

(Just in case you were ever curious.)

🙂

Dark or light. It’s neither one nor the other by the way.

These are my thankfuls/blessings in life for this August, 2016 and beyond.

Carry On – Nora Jones

And now I’ve finished, with a song, and now I, Kerry, I will take Nora’s advice and carry on.

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