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The Beauty Is In The Process, #JusJoJan

I love the violin, love everything about it, including the instrument itself. It is curvy, smooth, and so dear to me now.

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As I returned from a break from my weekly lessons, this first full week of the new year, I reflected on all I’ve learned and how far I’ve come.

Still, I won’t ever entirely
master
the instrument I love so much, but that’s to be expected.

My bow stays straight now, which is an achievement. My teacher sees my progression of skill, even if I have trouble seeing the same.

I am fascinated by everything to do with this beautiful instrument. When I started, that’s all I knew. I knew I loved the sound and I had no idea, at that time, all that a violin is made up of. I got a rather pleasant sound out of it, even on my own, before the lessons first started. This leading me to believe it might not be as hard as I’d always heard.

Was it harder than learning the piano? Would it be more difficult to learn to play than the clarinet, which I played briefly, in high school?

I knew I loved it and wanted to learn to play, more than I’d ever wanted to learn to play guitar. You played it with a bow, but I’d never really seen one, let alone held one in my hand.

I was turning thirty-two, (it’ll be three years now) next month. I rented a violin for my birthday. I liked it so much, with no guarantee of how the practicing would go, where it might take me or not. Yet, after only a few months, when I went back to renew the rental, I walked out as owner instead.

I didn’t grow up loving classical music and still don’t love that style. I do have a lot more appreciation for it now though, whenever I listen to some. I do see, after knowing my own violin teacher for all this time, all that it takes (the commitment and the skill) to become a strong player. I mean strong, physically, which is something I couldn’t have known until I myself felt all the muscle groups it takes to play.

I want to set myself a 2019 resolution, if I can bring myself to use that word, for what I want from the violin this year.

I’ve have a lousy practice schedule. I don’t play for very many people. I don’t realize, well enough, how far I’ve actually come.

I do know, something inside me, it keeps me going with it, when setting it aside and just not picking it up often feels like the easier option. Of course, it would be easier, but why would I want to take the easy rout anyway?

I think often on what it takes, the mastering of something, anything but especially a tricky instrument such as the violin.

Some people would be super impatient by now, with the level of progress I’ve arrived at, but I choose to not look at my situation in quite that way.

We spend our lives, working to master one thing, before we think we can move right on to something else. I’d settle for having confidence to be able to play a violin part, a solo, on a song my brother wrote. That would be nice.

I’d like to master the craft of writing and the art of it too. Same goes for the instrument that I love. Fingers crossed, but I think I’ll ask other people to do that, as I need my fingers, uncrossed, to be able to play.

Next week’s practice theme: harmonics.

This has been day six of
Just Jot It January
and the word giver for today was
Sadje
to round out the first weekend of the month.

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Catching Up On “Just Jot It January” 2019 #JustJoJan #SoCS

I don’t make
resolutions.
and still, I do
like to reflect through podcasting,
by a roaring fire.

I do like the idea of choosing a word for the year. My 2018 word was “stoker” and I looked at it as I was not going to stay quiet anymore. I was going to stir things up a bit, if I could.

As part of the
Canadian Federation of the Blind,
I would make some noise about the inequalities I see all around me.

I learned about how such organizations work. I learned how much work there still is to be done.

I wanted to make my local movie theatre and all movie theatres more accessible and tried, through survey, to ask other blind Canadians their thoughts.

I wanted to make my library, not to mention all public libraries, more equal in the literature on hand.

I felt like I failed, for the most part on both these things, but stay tuned to 2019 and see what happens. That’s precisely what I intend to do.

Okay, so with a new year starting and some Internet difficulties, I am late to the
Just Jot It January #JusJoJan
party, but I am here now, quite possibly breaking some rules to start the month off right.

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I’ve taken part in this January blogging ritual for the last two years I believe.

No, wait, three. Three, really?

Three years with this January blogging activity and now, here we are at four.

Five years with this blog, which I started on my thirtieth birthday, to face my fear of rejection and get my writing out there.

I don’t know how much of a theme it is, beyond the writing that I love, but I chose to call it Her Headache because I write about life and life has brought me headaches of all kinds, painful in the head and in the heart too. It has transformed my life, along with everything new and wonderful happening since entering my thirties.

It’s been great, leading to many wonderful opportunities, but as I start a new year, I struggle to find my footing. As I head toward my five year anniversary
with this blog,
next month, I am unsure where I am going with this space and hope to figure it all out. Jotting down some ideas throughout the month may just help.

From now on, rest of the month, I’ll write something, every day, except on Wednesday, where I take a break.

I am finding this life, this life of mine to be rather
enigmatic,
but that’s the journey, and the journey continues as I jot. So onward I go.

However, I could never forget my usual Saturday blogging ritual.

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This week’s
Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS
(the first to combine this month with Just Jot It January, on Saturday) gives a lot of prefixes to choose from.

I suppose I’ll only go with one, as the day grows late.

I suppose I made it through all the years before now and I’ll do the same this year.

I suppose I am being selfish, worrying that somehow #45 will mess up my travel plans with this silly corner he’s painted himself into, when so many American workers are the ones working and not being paid.

I suppose I should stop worrying so much about all the things that might not happen, most likely won’t ever happen.

I suppose 35 isn’t really so different from being the 34 that I am now.

I suppose this year has a lot in store, even though that little voice in my head likes to try and convince the rest of me that there’s nothing left yet to experience.

I suppose I will just have to wait to find out.

Also, thanks,
VirgoBeauty,
for the first guest contribution to this month of jotting.

Blogging. Jotting. Blogging. Jotting. They won’t all be as long as this one.

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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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TToT: Stoking The Fires and Fanning The Flames, #WorldKindnessDay #Armistice100 #TToT

You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting – over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

—Mary Oliver

I may have used this quote in one of these already, but I like it so much and am using it again.

On Remembrance Day, here in Canada, I pause for silent reflection. Then, I get pissed off.

I’m supposed to feel gratitude and I do, but I look at all the sacrifice and I can’t help seeing waste. Of course, we wouldn’t have the peace we now have if it weren’t for the actions of so many, but I am angry and can’t feel grateful that mankind continues to get itself into ugly, awful wars.

We teach our children to share, to play nice, and to work it out. Yet, adults repeatedly let greed and lack of compassion and a sense of entitlement for what they may have get the better of them. Nationalism is dangerous, while patriotism even gets stuck in my throat sometimes. I am thankful for peace and for Canada, but I see the wider world in pictures, clearly with borders and laws and still I look for more common decency in the face of the things we all deal with.

I’ve been away from
Ten Things of Thankful
for a month at least. I am returning, on this day in particular, because I am still thankful for so much.

Remembrance Day makes me more mad than anything, overshadowing my gratitude. I take peace for granted too, in my own way. I am sick and tired of conflicts and battles because there’s endless suffering and a long lasting mark is left on nations and on their people.

It’s still going on. Maybe not at a world level at this moment, but there’s no guarantee that things won’t worsen into more widespread destruction.

Saying all that…

I’m thankful for all the kindnesses I’m seeing. I’m thankful for those putting out the fires and those celebrating and highlighting peace.

Armistice Day: moving events mark 100 years since end of first world war – as it happened

I am thankful for the live performances, those willing to play their music on stage, and discovering new music.

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

These are Moscow Apartment and they are a young duo, two amazing musical girls from Toronto who are so musically accomplished at such a young age. I was so impressed.

Teenagers. I can still relate and empathize so much with that time of life, even as I approach my 35th birthday this February.

I am thankful for
Women’s Travel Fest
and my trip to New York in March. The prospect gives me something to look forward to in the new year.

It will be a challenge for me, traveling to New York City for this conference, but I need to keep on taking chances and going on adventures. I can sometimes get so down on the things I don’t have and focusing on things I do have makes it tolerable.

I’m thankful for my sister, who helps me go jean shopping and writing up invoices for my freelance writing work.

I am thankful for a six-week storytelling workshop. It’s getting me out of my comfort zone.

I’m thankful for a
fantasticly fun friend
on our latest podcast episode.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to talk about the issues of
accessibility, equality, and advocacy
on the radio.

So there’s so much going on and I’m just barely catching up, but I always swore this TToT was a positive thing in my life, getting me focusing on the good things. I wanted to return and I wish I hadn’t been gone for so long.

I’m thankful for this gratitude journal of sorts and everyone who has ever run it or participated in it.

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

RIP Stan Lee.

“It was November–the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”

—L.M. Montgomery

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Can Hardly Wait, #SecretMission #WomensTravelFest #FTSF

It’s always a good thing –
10 things I’m looking forward to
having something or some things on the horizon.

Ten things I’m looking forward to are:

Getting myself a new pair of jeans.

I have hand-me-downs and old pairs. Time for a nice, new one that fits me just right.

Presentation night at the end of the storytelling workshop I’ve been taking.

We are telling a story from our life, in front of people, and working out how to best present it to keep an audience’s attention. I thought I would take this workshop, to get more comfortable with going from writing to speaking, with amazing results from myself and the other members in the class. On the final night, we are inviting family or friends and speaking our stories to a wider group.

The new Fantastic Beasts movie.

Of course, staying at my local cinema to see this one, my older brother will have to describe what’s going on because there’s no audio description, but it’s Dumbledore as a young man. Exciting.

Starting to complete the final two credits toward my high school diploma.

This one causes me a bunch of anxiety to talk about and embarrassment when I do, but it’s been many years and I don’t want to let my chronic pain win. I will complete these last two credits and then I can get on with the rest of my life.

Christmas.

Some years were better than others, some years harder than others, but I know I’m not alone in becoming a happier version of myself around that time of year. It makes me happy. It just does.

For the second Harry Potter movie (Chamber of Secrets) to be shown nearby, along with an in-house full orchestra.

I saw the first HP film, after missing it the first time round in theatres, last January and loved hearing the live musical score, including the string section.

Women’s Travel Fest in New York City.

Check it out and join me there to celebrate International Women’s Day, 2019.

My secret mission while I am visiting New York City.

I know how much I dislike it when people announce they have something exciting to say/something going on and yet they can’t say what that is, for whatever reason. Unfortunately, this thing I am looking forward to is quickly becoming an important part of my trip to NYC and I am not sure how it will play out. I am doing something big, new for me, but it will make a statement. I’m just not sure if I should go on and on about what it is, as I’m not sure how well it will be received. I may need some help and will need to do some research into a particularly notorious landmark in the city.

And, to finish off on a travel theme, to hopefully make it to the
Canadian Federation of the Blind’s
yearly national convention in Vancouver, British Columbia.

And, the
National Federation of the Blind’s
convention being held in Vegas for the first time.

Really, my 2019 isn’t all that well-known at this time, as I am hoping 2018 will wind down as calmly as possible in the meantime.

Keep making plans and finding things to look forward to,
along with those from Finish the Sentence Friday,
as it does a world of good and helps to boost the mood.

Here we are in November already: 2018 on its way out and 2019 on its way in.

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Bad Words and Battlefields, #FTSF #SoCS

As the days grow darker, I wonder about why darker is harder for people.

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Sleep and internal clocks and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) are the ones that are most felt this time of year.

I get my time from my iPhone, which turns back an extra hour automatically, (will do so again tonight) rather than the clocks on appliances. I like that hour, as there’s a time for everything, even the chance for more sleep, something I blame pain more on than anything else when I don’t get enough of it.

Darker is the start of winter, but it is summer somewhere. Australia and New Zealand are down there, waiting for me, but life goes on until then. I go in to the colder, darker season in Canada with an appreciation for where I live. Christmas means darker, but with that five o’clock darkness, come Christmas lights. Christmas makes me happy. I let the additional hours of darkness bring me peace and reflection. I try not to focus on word meaning all of the time, letting my sensitivities get the better of me, but why is dark bad and light good anyway?

Our fears hide out there, just waiting for the right moment to leap out and scare us?

I’ve written about this before and probably can’t sum it up any better now, as Daylight Savings comes upon us for another year. I do wonder why and then my answer comes, as to why blindness is feared like it is. The idea of being left in darkness for the rest of one’s life is scary, I get it. Still, black and dark are so entrenched in our consciousness as things unwanted and feared. Whether it’s skin colour of another or a state of seeing/not seeing the world. Will we ever get away from such associations?

November is one of those more difficult months for me, at certain moments at least, as I look back over past experiences with these thirty days. Things happened to me in this month I won’t ever forget, things that have left solid impressions on the person I am.

Zooming out to a broader picture, it means solemn thoughts of war for Canada, with Remembrance Day (November 11th) and this year’s 100year anniversary in particular. I feel worse about the subject of war (the lessons we’ve learned and those we yet haven’t) than I do any dark morning or evening come too soon. Just as many lives were lost in the four years of World War I during bright, daylight hours, just as much death and carnage. Likely, more, as the armies needed the daylight hours to see what they were doing. Night would have been when it was smarter to hunker down in separate trenches wherever and whenever possible.

I think of every ghost, set adrift across those European battlefields, and I am haunted by the heaviness of so many souls lost.

And I go onward to November 11th this year with a heavy heart once again, though I don’t know exactly why that is.

I think of that word often and I don’t need Halloween or a day devoted to wars to do so. This month holds memories, like the hauntings of a shadowy realm.

I have all things monsters and ghosts on my mind still, even with Halloween in the rearview mirror for another year. Darker days mean winter and winter means ice.

I had to go to the easiest accessible book to me and that was my shelf of all seven Harry Potter stories to find my random word.

I did
point
and a wintery word is what I got.

Black ice can be a danger on the roads in Canada, in the months ahead. Scary.

Harry Potter stories use ghosts and monsters to great effect. The ice forms when the monstrous, hideous dementors show up. (Read the series to learn more about those.)

A fascinating representation of the things that scare us, threaten to remove all happiness, like the depression that is sometimes seasonal and sometimes all year round.

If you can, look at what darkness brings that is pleasant and happy, rather than those things it hides or covers up or frightens you with. Maybe, one day, we can change some of the feelings around what darkness represents.

What’s good could be bad and what’s bad could be good.

This is the weekend of
stream of consciousness prompts
for another
Finish the Sentence Friday
in early November.

I am back and taking part, after several weeks of distractions and elsewhere’s. Also, I’m writing blog posts and prompts, while avoiding something I should really be doing instead. This is okay, I suppose, but I know I need to get back to it shortly.

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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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