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TToT: Chameleon in a Room Full of Mirrors – Penblwydd Hapus #10Thankful

“You are strong because you are imperfect and you are wise because you have doubts.”

—Clementine Churchill

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This is a reminder of the little girl I once was. My sister found this card in the library book my nephew brought home from school last week.

What are the odds and my first thankful after musing on what it’s like to turn another year older, all while discovering those reminders of the girl you used to be.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the short story I managed to come up with at my writing group, even if my braille display did crap out on me (dead battery) right before I finished it.

It was a short story about a young girl, living in Europe, only a few years before the breakout of World War II and she is celebrating her birthday with a skating party with friends.

I will finish the story and read it out loud at the next writing group night.

I’m thankful for an inspiring first meeting with some new peers living with chronic kidney disease.

We met to discuss how those of us who’ve been and are currently living and dealing with kidney disease can help a new generation of those going through or about to go through it.

Some were on dialysis and some, like myself, were transplant recipients. One was even newly diagnosed and didn’t know where to start. I hope we didn’t overwhelm that person too much.

So much excellent discussion went on. It felt empowering, more than I’ve felt in a long time, as I’ve been off of dialysis for so long that you start to forget what it was like. I have this chronic condition, transplant or no transplant, and may need help from these same sorts of people again one day too.

I am thankful, also, for the guy next to me who got up and brought me a new plastic fork after I broke mine trying to stab a cucumber out of the pasta salad on my plate as the presentation went on.

I hate those cheap plastic forks.

I’m thankful for Apple Music.

Now, for a monthly fee (after the first three free months) I have millions of songs at my fingertips, right on my phone for streaming.

I’m thankful for a surprise right before my birthday.

Native Traveler, awarded gold in the audio story/blogging category from the NATJA

The host submitted the Native Traveler show with my piece on No-limits Travel for the Blind to the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA) awards , among a couple of others.   The show won Gold in the radio broadcast category!.

North American Travel Journalist Association awards list for 2017.

I’m thankful for the card, flowers, and butterfly for my keychain, all from my wonderful neighbour.

The card was one of those singing ones.

The butterfly has now become a symbol with meaning between the two of us. I am keeping it with me. I like to trace my fingers around the wings. I used to love to draw bright, colourful butterflies when I was younger.

The flowers were fragrant, but the stalks were so heavy that my mom had to prop up the flowers, using a cooking pot and some cardboard.

I’m thankful for all the well wishes from family and friends, on Facebook and off.

I wasn’t feeling so well on my actual birthday, but it was nice to hear from people. It cheered me up a bit.

I’m thankful for the cake my mother made for me.

Cherry chip with a cheesecake swirl and white chocolate icing.

She is amazing with certain kinds of cake. It was made with love and care. Thanks Mom.

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I’m thankful for a snowy day on my birthday.

I felt unwell, stayed inside the whole day, but I was glad to know what was going on, a snowy world, just outside my window.

It was a perfect February day, even if the next one brought rain and then freezing to produce slick conditions for walking.

Someone on my blog wished me this and I had to look it up, but was super glad they’d said it:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/penblwydd_hapus

I’m thankful I can learn new things, even and especially at thirty-four years old.

Penblwydd Hapus to me.

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TToT: Mother Nature and Cloud Iridescence, #10Thankful

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

—THE STORY GIRL
🎨 Peder Mørk Mønsted

New month, new slate. Here we go.

Ten Things of Thankful

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am determined to stand by the ocean.

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

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

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

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

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

She is taking care of me, however she can.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m thankful it’s February.

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

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

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

Hello February. You’ve arrived, Finally!

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Silence Is Acceptance, #MeToo #HolocaustMemorialDay #JusJoJan

There are many things I would like to speak about, on an ongoing basis. Listening to stories of survivors of the Holocaust, their strength and bravery in speaking on such horrid things, makes me feel like not enough is said as of yet, from all of us and that we all must say something.

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There are a lot of things going on, past and present, that I’d like to
address
and then something stops me from saying anything at all. Fear, but of what?

Just Jot It January, #JusJoJan

I am stuck on the Holocaust and I have been for a long long time. I take breaks from thinking about it, to preserve my sanity, but ultimately this historical event creeps back into my thoughts. I am lucky I can take those breaks. I didn’t experience it, though I know many who did have gone on to live perfectly wonderful lives. It feels haunting, even if I often wonder how I’d have moved on if it had happened to me.

I want to speak on things, to write about them, to make sure people don’t forget. Mistakes are repeated. Humans are doomed to repeat what once was. We can’t seem to help ourselves.

If I speak up on such things, I am told I worry too much, as if I am supposed to forget that if I had lived during the time of World War II I would be considered a waste, as one of the disabled.

Yes, if I’d lived in Europe during that time, if I lived anywhere back then, and even if I lived here, years ago, kidney disease would have killed me.

Morbid, perhaps. Speaking up, or addressing the things that haunt my mind, this unsticks those cobwebs from the furthest corners of my brain.

I am lucky to have an address and a roof over my head, even if my heat does keep crapping out on me. I am lucky to be living in 2018 and celebrating that I was born after the inventions of dialysis and organ transplantation.

I saw Nazis marching in North America, I hear that Poland just made it illegal to mention Poland’s involvement during the Holocaust, and I wonder what to say, what I can say about these furious subjects.

I see people are saying things aren’t so bad, and they aren’t really, but they are for some people and they could be, any day, for more of us. We need to stay vigilant and on guard to halt dangers from reoccurring.

Sexual misconduct and resignations as a result are happening in Canada, in Ontario politics now too. Forget presidents and porn stars. This is not so hard to get, is it?

The men who complain this is going too far, that they can’t even talk to women now, make me want to bang my own head against the wall repeatedly.

Pop culture. Politics. Personal space. Is it really so hard for men to not act inappropriately with women and young girls? Really? Reeeeeeally?

It is maddening. I want to keep addressing all these things, to make people get along, and to practice tolerance and compassion. What is it going to take?

TELL ME!!!

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Lay Down Your Weapons #RemembranceDay #SoCS

I am trying to write about war.

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On this November 11th, I try to put myself in the place of, say, my grandmother. She lived through World War II and yet I feel like I never even scratched the surface with her. She spoke of that time in her life, more than most, but yet not nearly enough.

I am trying to get down the words, at least a beginning to what could become a novel some day. November is not only Remembrance Day, but it is also National Novel Writing Month and, at this rate, I am not likely to make the fifty thousand words that is the ultimate goal.

I have a near stroke when I think of the setting I want my story to have. I worried that this piece of writing required too much research. NaNoWriMo isn’t supposed to be about doing research. That comes later. Just write.

In a way though, I feel I’ve kind of being doing my own form of research, for many years. I’ve been fascinated by history for as long as I can remember, most especially World War I and II and the 20th century. I’ve watched documentaries and read up on lived accounts of those years. Still, as much of an empath as I feel I am, it is hard to put myself in that place.

How would it feel to be living during World War I or World War II anyway?

I listen to true and up close accounts of soldiers, in the trenches, between 1914 and 1918 and the rats and the mud and the stench of death all around you.

I’ve listened hard to personal accounts in interviews, Jews and other victims of the carnage. I am writing a story about a woman, her mother, and trying to raise three young children/grandchildren during such days. I am trying to put myself in their shoes. That seems, though I am a human too, to be a difficult task, a goal, one I am fighting hard to reach.

I love my country, am happy to be Canadian, but I am no patriot. I wish political parties and affiliations didn’t exist. On a day like November 11th, I don’t glorify war, just like I don’t glorify it any other day of the year. My goal, in learning about it and writing about it, is to try and make it not repeat itself, like I have that power.

All the talk of bravery gets to me. Of course, it would be scary to be caught in a war, but to make the decision to go and fight in one is different altogether.

I feel like I am being disrespectful. I know it’s a sacrifice to risk losing a leg, an arm, or one’s life to war. I speak the truth of it, but what it is is ugly and awful and, I believe, unnecessary.

I heard a song on the radio earlier today, one that very nearly brought me to tears, about how we’re all one, all family, every one of us. We are from different countries, continents, cultures, and races certainly. Some say this makes us different in ways that cannot be altered. Others sing those songs of coming together as one, in humanity.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday, #SoCS (Remembrance Day Edition)

I wish walls were never built and lines never crossed in anger. I am not in control of most of this. Losing limbs seems, to some, to be a possible price to pay for freedom and democracy. I just want to write about war. I don’t want to see any more. People say, when it comes to us imperfect and often boastful humans, that will never be the case.

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Echoes Heard Through Chambers, #SoCS

“Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities. Forget about your worries and your strife.”

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My favourite Disney film growing up was The Jungle Book.

It takes place in a setting that seemed so far away, the jungles of India. It’s populated, clearly, with all kinds of animals and it’s premise is whether an abandoned human boy can survive and even fit in among them.

My favourite characters are favourites for a variety of reasons. I like the panther’s sensible demeanour and I like the bear for his adventurous nature and willingness to go with the flow.

The Bare Necessities – Jungle Book

The father elephant doesn’t think a boy belongs, but when that boy goes missing it’s the mother elephant who tries to make him understand that any young deserves to be safe.

The ape king wants to be a man and the boy wants to stay with his animal friends. My favourite is actually the snake, but he only cares about his next meal.

🙂

Well, first off, I had to go to my trusty Dictionary App to confirm the difference.

Bare/Bear, #SoCS

I think stream of consciousness writing can become a very dangerous thing because it could lead me to writing about all the things that worry me about this world now, but I did think of that catchy song from a Disney movie instead, to help me focus on something.

A movie about not fitting in and not being accepted fits well with the atmosphere lately and always.

I have recently been watching a Netflix series by Oliver Stone and it’s a history lesson and a critical look at his country. He spoke in it of the mistrust of foreigners, in America’s past, such as the Japanese during World War II and anyone Jewish, at many points. He spoke of Communism and all the hysteria, but what has changed?

“That little boy is no different than our own son.” The mother elephant in Jungle Book states emphatically when it’s announced the boy is missing.

A line like that passed me by all the years I watched as a kid, but lately it hit me hard. Moving words.

I don’t know how some people can bear knowing the damage they have done or are doing with their words and/or actions. They just don’t appear to care.

It was one year ago that Canada welcomed 25 thousand refugees from places like Syria. That doesn’t mean all Canadians welcomed them.

I care about people having their lives torn apart by war caused by terrorists and governments, whatever the reasons are for the fighting. I care and I wonder how they bear it.

The U.S. seems to be heading in a dangerous direction, their most recently elected leader threatening to cause so much harm, and I wonder how he bares all that he is and people still revere him. They think he will solve all their problems.

The media is in trouble and people don’t know who to trust. Doubt is being planted in the mind of society. The chasm appears to be widening, something people say they haven’t seen before, but if Stone is to be believed at all, these things have existed, in one form or another, all along.

I see positive stories about a pair of Syrian refugees who made it to Berlin and found fitting in to be a huge challenge. All the bureaucracy is hard to navigate and I listened to their story of the dangerous trip over on unpredictable boats. Now they face an uphill battle. So many awful and negative stories are what we hear, about how men from the Middle East are dangerous, with messed up values, raping German women. They are often unwanted and what else is the world to think?

Well, these two men are doing their part to make a difference. They studied coding at a program offered and have developed an App to help refugees and migrants figure out how to set up a bank account, for example. How can anyone have such a lack of compassion that they cannot put themselves in the place of someone who left their home, took such risk, for safety?

I hear doubt about why Canada should offer a hand to people from other countries when we have our own issues. I want to figure out where I bear any responsibility for making things better, but I can’t do anything about so much of it.

I get people jumping down my throat for daring to compare this time to the 30s, as if I am committing some horrible sin. I guess my fear is causing me to act/react that way, but we can all look in the mirror when it comes to fear. Fear is why so much hate develops. I won’t let that happen to me, even in my moments of anger that ignorance was allowed to win, when so many talk of 2016 being an awful year, for reasons we could all take a good guess at.

The U.S. seems to be headed in one direction and Canada gets together and makes a plan for the environment, but I ask which will result in a bigger price paid? People say these ideas our leader has for boosting the environment will cost us, but which cost is the riskier one?

Fear is hard to bear. I know it. I feel it. I fight it. This kind of writing asks that one bare all if they choose to.

I choose to bare it all, my truth that is, without losing honesty or compassion. That makes me proud to be Canadian but I am human too, my vulnerability for anyone to see.

I rely on kindness and compassion all the time. I would be nowhere without both. I am determined to give some back, as much as I can give, even as the world fights hate and bears witness to the worst of humanity.

Here’s a theory I’ve come up with. I figure DT plans to focus on science as long as it means getting to Mars. Then, he can feed all his greedy business masters what they demand and when nature takes her revenge, he will stay hold up in his golden tower in the sky, in New York City, which will be destroyed everywhere else. As soon as the water finally does rise to his floor high up there, a spaceship will be there to take him off this planet and away to ruin the next one.

I worry about a bear from the north, once blending in with ice and snow, as the water warms. What will our refusal to admit that we as humans do bear responsibility for what we have done to this world cost them. Polar bears are feeling it, even if some other fools are not.

Gee, I sure hope I got this bare/bear thing straight. I had to go for the challenge of using both and couldn’t just pick one or the other.

I guess I wish I could go on singing that carefree tune from Jungle Book, but even that happiness ended, if you know the film at all, by a sudden danger from above.

I just wish I could say we as humans have made more progress from the state of the world as discussed by Oliver Stone and today. We still like to feel superior to anyone who looks different or speaks different or lives different. No acceptance. I couldn’t say all I wished to say about that, even if I could write stream of consciousness forever and ever.

It is a necessity that we try to find acceptance, but sometimes I feel like I am trapped in some giant, empty echoing chamber and my words leave my mouth and vanish into thin air, as if I’d never uttered them at all.

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NaNo NaNo NaNo, #NaNoWriMo #SoCS

I want to write a novel and
this
is a small bit of what it will be about.

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Three years ago, this very month of November it was, I took a stab at writing my first
novel.

I took part in
National Novel Writing Month
because on their site it said: “The world needs your novel.”

Really? Mine? Hmm.

I had an idea for a novel in my brain for several years. It was a family story about how three generations of a family deal with losing someone they love.

I wrote fifty thousand words in thirty days. The website that year wasn’t all that accessible and so I did not get much farther off from registering. I did not keep track of my word count like everyone else online. I did it on Twitter instead. It didn’t matter that the website for the organization was a bit of a nightmare. All that really truly counted would be the words I would write.

No flashy completion badges for me once I crossed the finish line. I knew in my heart that I’d done it and that was all that mattered.

Three years later and I haven’t done it again, but I did buy the t-shirt.

I did not take a month or two, Christmas off, before returning to my first attempt at a novel like is suggested. I did what they said. I wrote to get to fifty thousand. I would edit later.

Or would I?

I have the words somewhere, I hope. I don’t keep track of all my documents on all the laptop switches since 2014, oops. I emailed a copy to myself, but that may be gone.

Was this one more in a long line of mistakes, failures, and regrets from my writing journey thus far?

I sent it to a friend, even as rough as it was, whom I trusted to give it her honest opinion. Maybe she has a copy still. I wouldn’t count on that.

I was not a planner, as is the case many times in the rest of life. I was a pantser. I didn’t have a plan. I just started to write from my themes of family, loss, grief, and resilience.

I can’t let that idea go, but a novel is such an enormous task to take on.

I would have loved to participate again this year. I have faith that the website has improved for visually impaired and blind users. I now know someone locally, one who is from my local writing group and is in charge of support for writers doing NaNo in our immediate area. My writing group is talking mostly all about NaNo all month.

I would have abandoned my first novel, still in progress somewhere, to try writing this newer idea which has shaped and formed in my mind in the three years since that first attempt.

This one is historical fiction, unlike that first one which took place in a more contemporary setting.

This one will be mostly fiction, but loosely based on family. It takes place in Europe during World War II. It’s about a woman who is a mother of three small children throughout the war. There is struggle and bravery all around her. Her decisions aren’t easy ones.

We who study history know all about the Holocaust, about big events such as D Day, which are both important, but what was life like for other people who were going about their business and living their lives when war broke out?

***Just practicing with early versions of my elevator pitch.

I would have taken a crack at this, but apparently I can’t handle a project of this size and my continual violin lessons at the same time. I haven’t got the brain power to muster for both.

Maybe next year, once I’ve been playing violin for more than a year. Maybe.

So much going on. World events are wild, whether it’s war in the twentieth century or world upheaval in the twenty-first.

My brain is full near to capacity at the moment.

When a story sticks in the head like this one and the one before have, I don’t think I will be getting them out of there anytime soon.

NaNo, NaNo, NaNo sounds like a taunt to me, that I couldn’t hack both writing and music lessons, but this isn’t your ordinary, everyday writing. This week is a tense one, and who knows where we’ll all be next week this time. Hopefully all those brave enough to take on writing fifty thousand words this month will still be writing. I do think it makes for an excellent distraction.

Now I stop writing and it’s time to practice my violin. I just like to do an update on where I am, with every passing year, as November and NaNo again rolls around.

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TToT: Memory Use and the Overall System Footprint – Call and Response, #InternationalDayOfPeace #Graceland #10Thankful

It was a slow day And the sun was beating On the soldiers by the side of the road There was a bright light A shattering of shop windows The bomb in the baby carriage Was wired to the radio

These are the days of miracle and wonder This is the long distance call The way the camera follows us in slo-mo The way we look to us all

The way we look to a distant constellation That’s dying in a corner of the sky These are the days of miracle and wonder And don’t cry baby, don’t cry Don’t cry

It was a dry wind And it swept across the desert And it curled into the circle of birth And the dead sand Falling on the children The mothers and the fathers And the automatic earth

“The Boy in the Bubble” discusses starvation and terrorism, but mixes this with wit and optimism. Simon concurred with this assessment: “Hope and dread – that’s right. That’s the way I see the world, a balance between the two, but coming down on the side of hope.”

Hope and dread. Hope and dread. Hope and dread. These things run through my head…my head…my head.

My nephew is learning so many new things at school, even already after his first few weeks.

How do I know this?

The other night at dinner he started asking about carrots and how they grow, in the earth, from seeds. Such a basic concept of a lovely natural process.

Seeds planted. Something growing, sprouting up, from once there was only dirt under foot.

I am thankful for all the time I got to spend with my aunt.

Her life is a mystery to me. I get stuck on trying to imagine it. I only knew her for the last few decades of her life.

She was my father’s half sister. She was born in Europe during World War II. She came here to Canada, all by herself. I will forever wonder about all that.

The last time I saw her, as herself, she had made the trip to her mother’s funeral. We didn’t think she would come, for several reasons, but she came and I was nervous to give my tribute to my oma, whose relationship with her daughter was different from ours.

I hugged my aunt, after a day at the graveside, and an evening reminiscing about the life Oma lived, all of us sitting on the deck, around a table. I hugged her and left.

The next time she would have faced tumour treatments, her brain badly effected. She clung to me, our last real moment of contact, and one more familial thread is lost..

Without my parents making a decision to introduce us, I would never have known her mighty spirit.

I am thankful for the light chatter of young voices on a hard day of reality confronted.

On the night we received the news, I heard a one-year-old playing lovingly with her doll (all thanks to WhatsApp) and I interrupted a family in the middle of their beloved spaghetti dinner.

I needed to hear these little people, to remember that there are beginnings as well as those endings we wish would never come.

Na na na na na na na na Max Man!

🙂

Thanks to speaker phone, we discussed colours, what we want to be when we grow up, and what our favourite foods are.

I sat back, listening to my niece describe all manner of shades of many many colours. I needed that just then.

I am thankful for a world attempting to live more peacefully.

Justin Trudeau spoke about what “Canada has gotten right, not perfect.” That we believe diversity brings us strength to fight hatred and violence.

With all the meetings of UN in New York through the week, I listened to several speeches, President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau in particular. All still so complicated. Peace exists in pockets. I just happen to live in one of those at the moment. No guarantee it will always be that way.

I am thankful for another educational Ken Burns PBS documentary.

I was unaware of the story of this couple.

I am thankful for a room full of writers

I had a question about writing, about the writing journey we’re all on, and I thought who better to bring it to than that select group of people. They are just learning as they go along, just like me, and I wanted their take on a particular situation I’ve gotten myself into.

Their input did not totally squelch my concerns, but we did have a lively discussion about writing contests and when a scam is a scam. I did not want to bring down the other writer in the group to have received good news like myself. He may choose to go a different way with it, but I am still undecided. We all want our writing to have a chance out there in the wider world.

I am thankful for light in the depths.

Edith Widder: the weird, wonderful world of bioluminescence – TED

This sort of thing is not visible to me anymore as such, but just hearing this scientist’s enthusiasm made me believe in the hope of all that magic to be found, especially in the ocean.

I am thankful for the perfect autumn weather.

Thursday was nearly thirty degrees. It was humid but yet there was a coolish breeze, enough to make a meal out on a patio still rather lovely. Yep, there was at least one bee this time, but not on me. Not that I knew of anyway.

I wasn’t having a great week. I was feeling unwell and having more computer troubles. I wanted the first day of fall to feel like fall.

By Friday the temperature had dropped ten degrees or more. I was in Heaven. Fall had arrived.

I am thankful for speedy and readily available medical care for myself and for those I love.

I felt lousy, but I needed blood taken and tested. I got it. Results available online now and oh how far we’ve come, to be able to check our own blood levels, without having to ask any doctor.

Then my family needs treatment for chronic medical conditions, tests run to check out symptoms, diabetes, and diet changes are called for. Hopefully those I love can remain healthy and live for a long time still.

I am thankful for a lovely day on the go.

It began at a secondhand store. Not exactly my kind of place, as I have a strange aversion to old, used things. I am also drawn to their stories. My sister was shopping for maternity clothes, not as easy as it sounds.

We kept my nephew occupied in the halloween decorations section, specifically interested in a doorbell with an eye that opened and and a voice that cackled.

We had lunch at a “pizza store” as my four-year-old nephew refers to it. All you can eat, but still we ate thin crust pizza, to stick, as close as we possibly can, to our diets and health restrictions.

Then I had my violin lesson. Brahms’ lullaby, played for me on piano and violin, so hopefully I can master the entire song by next March.

I went, with my brother and a few people, to attend a bit of speaking about video game production and radio.

A Journal Of Musical Things

This guy, the one with the website, he has been on a Toronto radio station for years. My brother listened to his radio programs. We heard he was visiting and we decided to go and listen to what he had to say.

Finally, we walked downtown, a Beatles festival happening, and capped off the day with a relaxing glass of wine and delicious dessert on a patio and then a cup of coffee, latte, before I felt a sore throat coming on dampen my mood. Nothing could truly dampen my first Saturday of fall.

I am thankful for an album, which becomes an experience in itself.

This album was brought back to my attention, but this week it has great value, in its overall feeling of hope and peace.

It is a magical record, full of the voice of Paul Simon, but yet with a distinctly African tone. Anyone who has never heard it has been missing out.

These days albums in their entirety are all but extinct. Songs that stand alone are what gets the public’s attention. This album, named for a tourist attraction, a musical and cultural icon of a place, a spiritual experience for some, that is what this album is for me.

It’s a collection of songs, taking me on travels, experiences of sorts, to a place called Africa, where my young self couldn’t imagine. This album was playing in our house, thanks to my father, and this can clearly be heard on an old home movie when I was three.

There was the almost mystical affection and strange familiarity I felt when I first heard South African music. Later, there was the visceral thrill of collaborating with South African musicians onstage. Add to this potent mix the new friendships I made with my band mates, and the experience becomes one of the most vital in my life. block quote level 1block quote level 1

Graceland – Album By Paul Simon (1986)

I did not want to visit Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley, so much as I wanted to learn about South Africa, about the troubles and the ruining of lives Apartheid caused, when I was too young to realize, when the concept of black and white wasn’t something I thought anything about. Now I think about it often. No superiority. No ranking of human life.

What was unusual about Graceland is that it was on the surface apolitical, but what it represented was the essence of the antiapartheid in that it was a collaboration between blacks and whites to make music that people everywhere enjoyed. It was completely the opposite from what the apartheid regime said, which is that one group of people were inferior. Here, there were no inferiors or superiors, just an acknowledgement of everybody’s work as a musician. It was a powerful statement. block quote level 1block quote level 1

Graceland transcended racial and cultural barriers. ” Graceland was never just a collection of songs, after all; it was a bridge between cultures, genres and continents, not to mention a global launching pad for the musicians whose popularity been suppressed under South Africa’s white-run apartheid rule,” said Andrew Leahey of
American Song Writer.

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