2019 Attitude of Gratitude Challenge

Funny how things work, sometimes.  I can’t remember if it was Thursday or Friday (2nd or 3rd of January) when I thought to myself: I wonder if Dawn is doing her Attitude of Gratitude thing this year. Not two days later (or three) what do I get in my inbox but Dawn’s post! Serendipity at its best. Let’s just say that if she hadn’t, I would have been sad and maybe, just maybe, I would have done my own anyway. It’s kinda nice to be part of something that already exists, dontcha think?

The rules are really simple.  Set the timer for 15 minutes and start listing – very stream of consciousness, this thing.  I will do exactly that by listing whatever pops into my head and at the end, shall return to my list and clean up typos, remove duplicates or even maybe cheat by adding more deets to the items, because, well, if I stop to write all the whys, then my list will be shorter.  Then again, this isn’t a contest so, does it matter just how many I have? Maybe cheating won’t even be necessary!  Okay, Rogerson, just shut up and write already.

The following are the things for which I am grateful or simply bring me joy and peace:

  1. B – for what you give and what you agree to receive;
  2. My sisters – no matter what’s what, they will be there
  3. Mom – same thing, without you, I’d not be here
  4. Dad – no longer here, you still influence some of my decisions
  5. Mick – no matter that you’ve been gone five years, you are still a huge presence, not to mention a great muse for my writing
  6. Writing – the ability to share what I want to say and have people receive it
  7. Reading – we learn so much about life, the world when we open ourselves to reading
  8. Friday Fictioneers and Rochelle in particular for being the first challenge that opened me up to writing more
  9. Blogosphere – for introducing me to so many fantastic writers
  10. Friends made over the blogosphere – it’s amazing how close we can become, like you, Sawsan, now a flesh and blood friend
  11. Julie, Giselle, Linda, Cathy – my girlfriends who are there to drink, eat and be merry with
  12. My guy friends – who keep me laughing
  13. My boys – for keeping me real – whether I like it or not
  14. The scent of petrichor in the summer
  15. The sound of rain on a window when lying in bed
  16. Being able to sit outside on a covered porch when it rains
  17. Big fluffy snow in winter, especially on Christmas Day
  18. Zeke – for giving me a reason to get out and enjoy the fresh air
  19. Standing outside, and realising all is silent and being in the moment
  20. Coffee!
  21. Wine (and beer or spirits 😉 )!
  22. The sound of the wind in the marcescent leaves
  23. My house – it keeps me safe from the elements
  24. My health – it might have blips from colds but otherwise, I’m healthy
  25. DK – for introducing me to soooo many books and for being you, who shares such beautiful things
  26. My laptop – which keeps me connected to so many people
  27. Hang Outs – which allows me to chat with my bestie face-to-face
  28. Warm thick socks in the winter
  29. Dresses in the summer
  30. My capacity (capability?) to smile through the tough stuff
  31. My ability to love freely
  32. Photography – a way to capture everything that grabs my attention
  33. Sunsets
  34. Being by the water – lake, river, ocean
  35. Travel – introducing me to cultures and broadening my horizons
  36. Cooking – not only to nourish but also to show my creativity
  37. Discovering my creativity, which I was so sure I didn’t have till it was pointed out to me
  38. Movies – being able to escape into another world for a couple of hours
  39. Merril – for introducing me to poetry and inspiring me to keep trying it
  40. Frank – because you introduced me to sooo many fabulous bloggers and your concerts were the best that I was honoured to act as your Maître D’ and because I want you to know that I am going to miss you – blogging. I shall hound you elsewhere 😉
  41. Light to see
  42. Dark to rest
  43. Love, in general – amorous or friendly
  44. Sex and the joy of sharing intimacy
  45. My eyes – so I can appreciate what is out there
  46. My ears – listening to the sounds around me, music, my loved ones’ voices
  47. My limbs – though they sometimes let me know they need more limbering
  48. My sense of humour – which helps keep me out of trouble
  49. My ability to connect with people of all stations
  50. My intellect – which permits me to have proper conversations on all sorts of things
  51. My curiosity – which keeps me learning always
  52. My snarkiness, which keeps me from not being taken seriously
  53. To you authors who trusted me with your works and allowed me to be a beta reader – I am beyond chuffed

Out With the Old, In With the New

‘Tis that time of year, isn’t it? Big ideas, resolutions, promises, goals and dissing the year that is closing up tonight at 11:59.  So many peeps have said things like “Thank God it’s over, 2019 was the worse” or “2019, WTF was that?”

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
Søren Kierkegaard

Was it really that bad?  I mean, seriously.  Yes, there have been some serious meteorologically awful situations (typhoons in Asia, heatwaves in India, cyclones in Africa, bushfires in Australia) and I suppose I could focus on shootings and political brouhaha going on all over the world but really, that’s not my style, is it?  I am no Pollyanna but I do choose to give more attention to the good that is going on, rather than the bad.

So what is the purpose of this post? Nothing, really. I guess, like, say, 75% of the planet, I’m feeling reflective.  Reflective, not in the throw back without absorbing way, nor to show an image of way Not to embody or represent in a faithful way, nor to bring credit or discredit to anyone or anything way. And certainly not to bring about a good or bad impression of way.  No, no, I’m talking about thinking deeply and carefully about things

“Sometimes, you have to look back in order to understand the things that lie ahead.”
Yvonne Woon, Dead Beautiful

And so, I take this time to think back on the year that is about to end. I’ve made choices that have brought me to where I am today. While I am not entirely in awe of some of them, I am also choosing to look at them with a different eye.  I am pondering on the ‘why’ of said choices and no longer angry at myself for making them in the first place. We all have a journey to take and, if we are wise enough to pay attention, any tripping, wrong turns, bumps in the road are, in fact, stepping stones towards something more, something better. It doesn’t matter what that something is because we each have our own. Others will give you advice or points of view – solicited or not – and we again have a choice to listen and accept, a portion of or all; or nod politely if said advice does not mesh with ours, and continue on our own path, at our own pace.

“Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writing

By choosing to look at the good in my life ~and there are many, the not-so-good might actually start looking not-so-bad in the end. Well, let’s be honest. There are some things that are harder to swallow and turn into good or a valuable lesson – but these lessons are usually the ones that have the most impact, aren’t they? When we are forced to look in the mirror and acknowledge our part in what is going on, our misplaced pride takes a hit and we are humbled. There might still be some anger attached but, if we are honest, that anger dissolves into acknowledgment and then we can now focus one what to do next.  Blessings, I have many. Misfortunes, I have some.

“We always see our worst selves. Our most vulnerable selves. We need someone else to get close enough to tell us we’re wrong. Someone we trust.”
David Levithan, Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List

And you know what? On those days where we just can’t see the good in us, then we should not be shy to go to our closest allies. The ones who know us, love us for who we are, and are not afraid to tell us the what’s what, followed by an “I love you. You got this. I’m here for you. And you are good enough.”

I am very blessed to have these peeps in my circle. Some are close and some are far, but all are within reach.  To you, I say thank you. I love you.

And now, how about we ring in the NEW?

I wish for you to find the happy in what the new year brings, for love to warm your heart, for health to keep you moving forward, for friendships to keep you sane (or bring out your crazy), for enough prosperity to allow you to enjoy and take part in living your life. May laughter always be a part of every day!

HAPPY 2020!!

We’ve got this!

 

A Monument for Christmas – Friday Fictioneers

Good Thursday to all, or Boxing Day. to Canadians and Brits.  Though we got our prompt a day early thanks to Rochelle‘s generosity, I could not squeeze in a story. And then I was glad I waited because this gave me the time to dedicate this post to my blogging friend David Kanigan, who sadly lost his brother, Lorne, in the first minutes of Christmas Day.

 

©Sandra Crook

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A Monument for Christmas

It was time to stand tall and strong. He had to try to keep his anger in check as he knew it would serve no purpose now.  To rail against the system or whatever powers that be, that he wasn’t quite sure he believed in, would serve no purpose now.

He had to focus on the good that was before, and the end of all the suffering that had gone on for too long.  It was a small comfort.

He wanted more time.  And he didn’t want Christmas to be a monument to the day his brother’s light was snuffed.

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #135 – Barricade

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Barricade

Challenge

So, I feel it’s quite alright to do a weekend prompt on a Monday when there will be none the following week, right? Right.  Thanks for hosting, Sammi!

 

A Blessing and a Curse

It is both a blessing and a curse to have a welcoming disposition. There is something heartwarming about knowing that my home is inviting, that it is a place where one feels comfortably at ease and wanted.

That said, I do not live alone. And guess what? My kids’ friends also feel that my home is welcoming, inviting and a place to feel comfortably at ease and wanted.  So much so, they just waltz in, doorbell unrung!

There are days I would like to set up a barricade to keep them out!

You know those days when you just want to be in your bubble and do your own thing without having anyone breathe your air. And no matter they are downstairs and you up. They’re THERE, and you know it. Which is enough.

 

Girls Night Out

You, my readers, know by now how much I love to go see plays and ballets and musicals, et al, alone, if need be, or preferably, with friends.  Julie has become my “go-to cultural buddy” through chance and happenstance.  Giselle heard about our little outings and wanted in so, from now on, when I see something I want to go to, out goes the invite to both ladies.  When I heard about “Come From Away”, there was no way in hell I was missing it. So… we went last Thursday. All three of us!

Underground parking makes our lives easier because we can leave our coats in the car (right, GiGi?) and wander through the Complexe Desjardins, grab a bite to eat, then go through a tunnel to the Place des Arts venue.  At this time of the year, the Complexe does a beauty of a job in decorating. There is always the Christmas train that bring the little ones for a tour.

The fountain gets all prettied up and spurts to music and Santa awaits behind a bedazzled maze,

 

There was a hockey game that night as well as various shows going on in PdA so the Baton Rouge restaurant was full. We were told it would only be about 30 minutes so we had time to sip on a Bloody Caesar while we waited.  We shared an appetizer of delicious, perfectly cooked calamari and then each took a tuna power bowl (poke bowl) which was ridiculously delicious.

Then it was off to Place des Arts, the lare Wilfried-Laurier theatre where our seats were up in the balcony (nosebleeders, though first row).

 

My friend Cathy also got tickets to take her mom but was further down the row. (We had hoped they could be closer!) So, I stole her picture from FB 😉  You don’t mind, do you, Cathy?

Not only did I get a chance to say hello, Cathy brought me a gift from her trip down (up?) to Newfoundland this past summer! A ‘Come From Away’ chocolate bar.  C’mon! It was delicious…

The show was amazing. Just a quick synopsis:  This is the story of the 38 planes, with a total of 7,000 passengers, who landed in the tiny town of Gander, NF (population 9,000) following the 9/11 attacks. These are all true stories used to build this musical. It was funny, sad, touching, and joyful.  And don’t we all know what we were doing when we heard?

Here is a video of the performance of the opening song at the Olivier Awards.  I’ve included it so you can enjoy the fabulous Newfie accent as well a quick intro to how this all came to being. By the way, you’re a Come From Away when you are from somewhere else 😉

The cast:

And just a little something, something. At the end, the musicians stayed behind and played this little jig..

We left the theatre with huge smiles on our faces, returning to Complexe Desjardins just as a light show was going on…

What a great evening.  We need to do it again soon.

 

When You Get a Chance…

The blogosphere has been a gift, an inspiration, a learning experience, an on-going teacher, a place to create, to vent, to share… but you all know this because most of you are bloggers.  I have mentioned how much I appreciate the folks I’ve gotten to know, even doing a sort of Advent Calendar to show my appreciation for some… may have to do another this year, to be determined.

I have become good friends with a few bloggers that has brought us to the Skype stage (or rather, Messenger), allowing us to exchange face to face.  Did so, just this morning, in fact!

I have been so very lucky to meet two bloggers in person. One is from Montreal, right next door to speak, who also happens to be a friend of a friend, proving the world is a puny place.  And one who has become more than a cherished friend with whom I can share anything and everything, as he knows he can with me, our trust and respect for each other is that great.

And just this last Tuesday, I met a third.  Sawsan, who blogs at Last Tambourine, is a wonderful woman that I first “met” through David Kanigan’s fabulous, inspiring, thought-provoking blog, Live and Learn. Sawsan often comments with “return” pieces of poetry or prose to David’s original post and the exchanges between her and David, are wonderful and inspiring, and often humorous and even snarky.  Actually, David’s peeps love to interact with each other on his posts and he has created quite the family.

The world truly is puny as a few months ago, Sawsan and I found out – too late – we were at the same hospital at the same time on different floors visiting our loved ones. What? Damnation…  From that moment on, our exchanges went from solely on David’s blog, to emails and texting.

Again, Sawsan had to come to town (three towns over from mine) to stay with her parents to help out following her mother’s surgery, and this time there was no way in hell we were going to miss meeting each other.  Friday fell through so we had Tuesday and Wednesday left as potentials.  David kept texting us, teasing us that we were not gonna manage to get together… The thing is, when you are in town only now and again, you have family obligations that cannot be avoided.  However, we were able to prove David wrong when she was able to escape the parents and we met for coffee that turned into dinner. We had to send him selfies to prove it 😉

She has a lilting voice with the loveliest accent of her place of birth (Palestine) and a beautiful, sweet smile.  We hugged hello and talked non-stop until it was time to leave. Our senses of humour were in synch and we felt like old friends from the first minute.

When we start this blogging business, we never think things could or would go further than the post page.  Yes, there are those we find ourselves bantering with, some, by sharing our stories, we come to care for. We send each other encouragement, love, friendship, kudos, and we don’t expect things will go to the next level. We might joke and say, next time you are in Chicago, New York, Boulder, etc (coz, right, like I go to any of these places on a whim), don’t forget to look me up!

So when you get a chance…

… you take it!

 

 

 

 

Highs and Lows

Highs and Lows

You crash every party

Your body not present

But your aura hovers, waiting

And then it starts

One memory begets another

Each one adding their part

In their story of you

Soon all are are laughing

Myself included

‘Til I drive home, alone

Lost for a little while