Travel Tuesday, Uncategorized, Writing

Starting Fresh

On this Travel Tuesday here is a little summary, an update on what I am doing to make my dreams become my reality.

In the last week I have taken three steps toward my goal to have a travel blog.

One: I signed up for a twelve-week online travel blogging course, with travel blogger from

A Dangerous Business.

Who knows what I will end up taking away from this experience, but I just wanted to try something different. Networking never hurts and if I can learn anything from someone with success as a travel blogger for over four years, I will be happy. I am always glad to discover others doing what I hope to do.

Two: I finally decided to go for it and make an appointment with a website building business,

Fresh Idea Websites.

This particular company came highly recommended to me, by one of their happy clients. She is a friend and common acquaintance. The three of us went to school together as children and now we are all grown up.

Being a local company, started and run by someone I went to school with. There is that added comfort of that history.

It was strange, sitting across the table and having coffee with this person, for the complimentary consultation he offered. It was a strange thing to listen to his process for finding out what I hope to do with a website, remembering school bus rides and field trips. Now he was so professional and seemed to know what he was doing. This made me feel at ease.

Now we are both grown adults, with lives and career aspirations. He runs this successful local business and I have big dreams as well, thus the reason for our meeting.

I explained to him my plans to write about travel: local and international. I tried my best to clearly relay what my goals are to him and he was extremely accommodating.

I need someone to register a domain name and set up a site, leaving me free to make it into something through my writing and my unique voice and love for the world around me.

We discussed where I wanted to take a website. HE asked if I hope to monetize it. Of course that would be nice. I believe most people, who make the effort of starting a website or blog, have hopes of making a profit.

I can balance my need to write about people and places, my art and passion, with the need to become self-sufficient, even a small amount.

Of course I had to make sure he realized the possible issues with creating a website that would not function with Voiceover and Mac Journal, the special journal program I use to write these blog posts. I believe he even learned something and took something away from our meeting. I just hope this is an achievable situation for us both.

Three: I heard about the opening of the newest chapter of the

Public Speakers Association,

in my town. The announcement was on the radio a few weeks ago and I immediately thought, on hearing it, that I could possibly get something out of this.

I did a fair bit of speaking in front of classroom children, organizations, and groups about my experience having a guide dog. This was a long time ago now, but I always did include public speaking on the list of my skills.

I guess I never found it all that intimidating, as so many do, possibly because I was never able to see all the faces of the people staring at me while I spoke, unlike most people who have a fear of speaking in public. Lucky for me, this meant I never had any need or reason to picture anyone in their underwear.

Since those days I have written and spoke for special occasions, several more times, whether it be a speech at my sister’s wedding or the all-important tributes at a grandparent’s funeral. I knew I could organize and voice my thoughts and direct both toward an audience.

Who knows. A future where I have developed a successful travel website and blog could very well include public speaking and I wondered if this meet-and-greet/open-house for the newest opening chapter in my town could be a good place to start. I thought it couldn’t hurt to attend the free first session and find out what it was all about.

The whole thing was held at a very nice area restaurant, known for serving from a menu full of freshly prepared local items.

Oxford Kitchen Restaurant

The number of attendees was high enough that a general chatter somewhat overwhelmed me, name tags being useless to mostly just myself.

:-)

I listened to what the PSA had to offer, including the three types of public speaking: key-note, marketing, and platform. I had no idea.

I don’t know if I will end up becoming a member because I must keep track of costs right now and there is a fee to join. If I am to ever make any money with a travel blog/website I will need to make smart decisions.

Either way, I may just have made a few beneficial connections with some interesting people, a few people who’ve showed some interest in what I have to say.

I continue to use evenings such as this to work on my shyness and confidence levels and you just never know whom you could potentially meet at these things.

When telling a few people about my current blog I said something like, “I just have a free WordPress blog right now”. Someone pointed out to me that I should refrain from using the word “just” at all.

They were correct, of course. I don’t know why I said that in that way. I love my WordPress blog and “just” is a word better left out, for the most part.

I took steps in the past few days, toward future success as The Insightful Wanderer. I see people going into business for themselves everywhere these days: bloggers, photographers, and indie authors and I want to see if I can do the same. All I know, going forward, is if I don’t try I definitely will not succeed. Sure, there are kinks to be worked out along the way, but I’ll never know if I don’t at least try.

I am willing to take whatever courses I need to take, to learn about business and marketing, and to learn about the travel industry and how it works. I know I have something to offer and through my own unique voice. I am starting fresh, in this, my favourite season. Autumn feels like a new beginning, as spring often brings rebirth and renewal.

I started HerHeadache and I love writing the things I write here. I originally had the idea for Travel Tuesday as a featured day on this blog, but now I can’t help feeling like it could be more. I have lots to come in the weeks ahead. Hopefully soon Travel Tuesday will find a new home, separate and yet still alongside this blog because I am not willing to give up one for the other.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday

IN YOUR FACE

Last Monday, for the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

I shared a wonderful post from my very own parents, which I called:

Literally.

Last week’s question was answered by my parents, from the perspective of raising not one, but two children with a disability. They will be back again next week with another thoughtful response, but this week it is my turn once more.

:-)

Week Three: Part A

Q: If you have a medical diagnosis, do you see yourself as having a disability? Why or why not?

A: I probably would not be here answering these questions if my answer were no.

:-)

I have had several of these in my lifetime. The main one was the LCA, see

Here.

Then there was the Senior-Loken Syndrome, which included the renal failure and scoliosis.

These, to say the least, made my teen years interesting ones.

I have had many different diagnosis suggestions from neurologists with the headaches and chronic pain I have dealt with over the last ten to fifteen years now. However, unlike the obvious medical signs that I am blind or that my kidneys stopped working or when an x-ray clearly showed signs of a curvature in the spine, chronic pain shows no signs that can be clearly and medically spotted.

All of this is true and yet, I can not let any of it weigh, drag, or generally bring me down for very long. Whether it’s one medically diagnosed disability or multiple, if it is at all possible to get on with the business of living, I would highly recommend doing so, to myself and anyone else out there.

I did not come up with the term and I do my best to deal with it in this society of labels.

I am so pleased to participate in this awareness challenge of disability because I know I must live life, not just with disability, but in spite of it. I have had it in some form all my life and this makes it very difficult to live in any sort of denial, not that I haven’t had my moments. It just becomes a part of you and something that it would do no good to refute. It’s not that it wouldn’t occur to me because I am human and I have my bad days, but I know I must take control of my own life, to take the power away from the cruelty and the harshness that living with the label of disability often causes.

Yes, the short answer is that I have disability as a part of my life and the person I am. This is the cold, hard, in-your-face reality of the situation. I look forward to getting further into the issues surrounding life with disability, with some of the questions I have yet to answer, in the weeks to come.

Check back next Monday for more.

Next week my two parents will be answering the following, Part B:

If you don’t have one, how do you view the concept of disability and the people in your life who have them?

***

Speaking of in-your-face.

:-)

With September being Chronic Pain Awareness Month I wanted to share here an initiative being organized by the ones fighting to lessen the stigma surrounding chronic pain and a new way to hopefully bring attention to this silent and invisible scourge.

I asked to do what I could to help migraine, headache, and chronic pain ambassador JP Summers, and this is what she had to say:

“Here is the information for the Pie Challenge. I hope we get some media attention for the sake of all of us that are tired of our condition not being considered severe.”

Please check out the links below to see what’s being done:

Twitter,

Facebook,

and

Website.

Of course this is a take on the:

Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS,

because every person has their own unique story of suffering and deserves to be heard and helped, whether it’s by way of ice cold water being poured over the head or a pie in the face.

Whatever works and get’s peoples’ attention, right?

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Fiction Friday

Gamophobia: Part One

“If I lay here. If I just lay here. Would you lie with me and just forget the world?”
– Snow Patrol

***

Part One

From his favourite stool, where he sat every Friday evening now, he noticed the young man walk into the bar and approach the bar tender. Something seemed familiar about this young man, but he couldn’t quite put his finger on what it could be.

Every Friday for the last four months, ever since his wife died he had come here to be around people for a few hours. Ever since he lost her he couldn’t stand sitting at home by the end of a long week, so he had begun coming for a drink down the street at the local pup. He used to come here more when he was a young man. the place hadn’t really changed much in all the years.

Now he watched the younger man ordering a beer from the bar tender and then sitting down beside him, looking nervous and anxious. This younger man seemed to be hesitant about something. Perhaps he was waiting to meet a girl for drinks for the first time. The more he observed the younger man’s actions and body language, the more strangely familiar he seemed. It wasn’t something he could quite put his finger on.

“Hello son. My name’s Carl. First date?”

The young man looked at him as if he hadn’t noticed he was sitting next to anyone, like he was alone in the place.

“What’s that?” he spluttered. “Oh, no. Why do you ask?”

“I just notice you seem nervous.”

“Not exactly, no. I…well I haven’t had a first date in a few years now.”

At this the young man slowly removed a tiny velvet box from his pocket, turning it over and over in his hand.

“Congratulations.” The older man recognized what must be in the small box right away and thought this was in order. He remembered the nervousness, the fear of proposing to his lovely wife, some forty-five years before. It was a feeling you never forgot and he smiled at the memory, something he’d found difficult to do of late.

“I suppose,” the younger man slowly spoke the words. He opened the ring box and stared at the sparkling gem lying inside.

“For someone who is about to propose, must I say you don’t seem very excited.” Had he said too much? The younger man rubbed his stubbled chin in thought. It looked suddenly like he was older than anyone in the whole place.

“I haven’t exactly made up my mind yet, about the proposal I mean.” He wasn’t sure why he was saying this, to a total stranger, but he needed to say it to someone and he couldn’t talk about the doubts he was having with anyone else. His family thought his girlfriend was perfect for him and they would call him totally insane if he told them he wasn’t so sure. His friends, same thing. Maybe he was nuts after all. Okay, maybe she wasn’t necessarily perfect, but she was pretty damn close. If she wasn’t perfect for him, who was?

“What is the hold-up, if you don’t mind me asking?” He wanted to know. He would give anything to have his sweet Grace back now, but this young man was clearly struggling with taking this biggest of steps. He felt for the kid. Maybe he could help him see things more clearly. After living this long he knew that, most times, talking things out did help.

“I don’t know exactly.”

“May I?” the older man asked, holding out a hand.

“Okay,” the younger man said, handing over the box.

The older man looked carefully at the beautiful diamond. It looked a little like the one he had given Grace all those years ago. It turned out she was the real treasure, more precious than any jewel on earth and she was lost to him, for good now. What he wouldn’t give to go back to that day, to see her smile at him through her tears of joy.

“Well this is some ring,” he finally told the younger man, who was staring at him, waiting for some kind of response. He closed the velvet box and handed back to the tortured sad looking man sitting next to him. “Are you going to give it to her?”

“I had planned on it, but I went to go home to do it tonight and my car just had a mind of its own and brought me here instead.”

“Do you love this girl?”

“I do. I mean I think so.”

“But you’re not sure?”

“I can’t believe I am talking to you about this. No offence sir, but I don’t know what I am saying. I don’t know what I am thinking. And I don’t know you.” He moved to stand up, but the old man waved him down again.

“Just wait a minute son,” he spoke out rather more sternly than he’d meant to. “But I like to think I know a little about life at this point and I feel I need to say a few things to you, before you just walk out of here and make a mistake, one you may regret for the rest of your life.”

***

To be continued next Fiction Friday.

What do you think? Do you think the younger man stays? Do you think he will listen to what the older man has to say?

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, Uncategorized

When You Love Something Let It Go

Happy Wednesday to you all. On this mid-week post I am pleased to share with you my latest appearance, with a guest post I’ve had featured on The Dating Department’s website.

I wrote this reader submission weeks after a difficult breakup and I hope it sums up all I’ve since learned.

When You Love Something Let It Go.

I want to thank Sara Altschule for giving me a place to share these lessons I’ve learned with others and for helping me have my voice heard, in a world where I often feel lost, little, and invisible.

Check this site out

Here,

for tips on dating and relationships, which we all need at one time or another.

Hope the weekend comes soon for all of you and I wish you lots of love and laughter.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, Special Occasions, This Day In Literature, Writing

Literally

For this week’s instalment of

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

I thought it might be helpful to ask the next question to the two people in my life who could best answer it.

These two were, if you believe in that sort of thing, meant to be mine and my brother’s parents. Whether you call it God or fate or whatever, I believe it to be true. They had no previous experience with children with “special needs” when I was born and they had no choice but to dive into the world of specialists and specialty teachers and programs, to give me the best possible chance at a happy and successful life.

As if that weren’t enough. They didn’t just do this at home. They go out into the world and make a difference in people’s lives every single day. Here is more on how they care.

Week Two: Part B
(Part A can be found here

Awareness.

Q: Do you have loved ones who live with disabilities? Do you work with people who have disabilities?

A: (My mother was a stay-at-home mother while I was growing up. It wasn’t easy for her to jump into the working world after so many years removed, but she stepped up to the plate and used her skills wisely. She does a job each day that not a lot of people could or would be willing to do. She makes lives better and she treats her clients like human beings, doing all she can to bring light and fun into their lives.)

I work in a group home with individuals with both physical and developmental disabilities. Our job is to give them a home and help them contribute. Whatever each person is able to do, look after each of them and help meet whatever their special needs may be. 

For example: food and Meals.
Some individuals can help shop for groceries, one can do a great job of barbecuing, some can make their own breakfast, one needs assistance to steady their hand in order to get a spoon of food to their mouth, and one needs to be spoon fed every bite. Everyone is unique and you assist each special need and even more important is to promote each ability.

(My father worked in a retail setting for over twenty years, until he grew weary of the long hours and high demands and went in search of more meaningful work. He did something I will forever be in awe of: he walked away from a highly stressful situation, left a steady paycheque, and regained his sanity and his self through the unknown of a future career he did not yet know he would find. This leap of faith brought him to the necessary and valuable work he has done for over ten years now.)

I’m the owner and driver of a wheelchair cab. About 20% of my clients have disabilities such as strokes, amputees, MS and the elderly. My service gives these individuals the ability and access to travel  in their community, anywhere that they may need or want to go.
Having had two children with disabilities, this is my way of feeling good about a job that contributes to the special needs of others.

My parents are the two best examples I know. They do what they can, in every aspect of their lives, to help others. They are selfless and kind, generous souls, literally working every day to make the world a better place.

Next week’s two-part question starts with: If you have a medical diagnosis, do you see yourself as having a disability? Why or why not? If you don’t have one, how do you view the concept of disability or the people in your life who have them?

***

Happy International Literacy Day

Rilke wrote:

“You ask whether your verses are any good. you ask me. You have asked others before this. You send them to magazines. you compare them with other poems, and you are upset when certain editors reject your work. Now I beg you to stop that sort of thing. You are looking outside and that is what you should most avoid right now. No one can advise or help you. No one. there is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. this most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life must become a sign and witness to this impulse.”

I MUST!!!

As I read this quote, deciding to include it in today’s post, I stopped and looked at the individual words that made up each thought. I felt a wild connection and a fierce excitement about how each little word can come together to create something so powerful and meaningful. I was in awe of the written word and I thanked all of this for enriching my life and making it a better place every day.

I know I am lucky to have it, to have the gift of literacy. Where would I be without it? I would be lost.

So on this day and every other I appreciate the fact that I have this most precious entity and I realize that not all my fellow humans on this planet are as lucky as I am. For all the girls and young women around the world who are being denied the chance of literacy I write this. For every child who can not go to school for whatever reason, I speak up here today.

On this important day I owe everything I have to literacy. Go

Here.

I can never thank those enough who brought the gift of literacy into my life.

What does International Literacy Day and literacy in general mean to you? How has it impacted your own life?

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Uncategorized, Spotlight Sunday, Special Occasions, Memoir and Reflections

Grandparents: Our Greatest Teachers

Today is National Grandparent’s Day and I wanted to speak about the great teachers they become in our lives.

Firstly, if we are lucky we all have them. I learned so very much from my four grandparents and was blessed to have them all for from ten to twenty-six years of my life.

Opa was a fun presence in my young life. He was a storyteller and a partner in crime. My memories of him are vague mostly, but several memories do stand out and always will. I miss the sound of his voice and his accent. I miss his total love and approval, which I realize now not everyone else received from him in the same way. That is what grandparents are for. They should love you unconditionally and always represent the lighter side of life.

Grandma was my secret confidant. She was the only one who ever truly understood. She was sweet and loving and always there to listen. She was even more naive than even I can be with life sometimes, but that is what made her the fair and generous lady she was. I miss her uncanny way of making me feel better about the things that life throws at you. I cling to the presence and the connection we had and I will never fully let go of that.

Grandpa was the jokester and the wever of humorous tales. He had an endless string of jokes to tell and a mischievous spirit to make me laugh always.

Oma was the toughest woman I have ever met. She was a survivor of all things I could not comprehend. She bared widowhood with strength and resilience. Her love for me was unquestionable and the strongest thread I’ve ever felt. I miss her saying my name and her generosity with me always. She showered me with things, material and priceless, of which only an Oma could.

I love that my nephew has an oma of his own now. I know she and his parents will never let him forget he had an opa too.

I love to see my niece and nephews interacting with their grandparents. It makes me smile whenever I witness the bond they share.

So Happy Grandparent’s Day to all of you grandparents out there and I just want my parents to know what important roles they now play. I know they probably already realize, but I am here to repeat it anyway.

You are special people to your grandchildren, speaking from experience. You should never underestimate the influence you have on them and the adoration either. You are fun and light in a world full of day-to-day rules and responsibilities. You are a break in life and a place to just be kids. You imprint lessons and morals into their lives that nobody else can. Let them be free with you, free to just be kids and they will forever hold you in their hearts with a love like no other.

Lastly, I wanted to take a moment and share something about the importance of teachers Whether they are the life teachers that are grandparents or the ones in the classroom.

I found myself sitting on a slide, in a playground last week and thinking about school. As my little niece was to start her first day of school I imagined her playing where I sat, only days from then.

I saw my young self in the midst of a playground full of children, so long ago now it feels. It wasn’t always easy and it was downright tough at times, but I survived and learned so much from those years. I grew into the woman I am now and I am lucky to have gained those experiences. I hoped for only the best with my niece.

I think we were all scared for her, as myself and her grandparents pictured her there. The next time she appeared on this playground she would not have us there to protect her, and so we were afraid to picture our little girl set free in such a big big world. That image affected each of us in different ways. We saw her as that little baby still, but in front of our very eyes she had grown. Her independence can not be denied and so I knew in my heart she would knock em dead.

The other day I came across a video and I want to share it here now. I strongly urge you to take five minutes of your time and check out this speech by a truly inspiring teacher. She is well-spoken, humorous, and just the sort of teacher I hope my niece will have. Listening to this educator speak made me feel better about my niece’s new adventure and her step forward in life, which all who love her felt had come much too soon, but of which we all know she will learn so much.

Every Kid Needs a Champion

The teacher in this clip talks about the student-teacher relationship as a human thing, a connection, the building of relationships. It is hugely comforting and heart-warming to know there are teachers out there that care this much.

School is a series of learning and growth experiences and it effects every child in its own unique ways. There are lessons to learn academically and socially that not every child grasps the same. I want my niece to thrive and make friends, to learn what she is good at and what she can excel in. I hope she makes lasting connections throughout the years and that her teachers inspire in her a love of learning. I want teachers and students alike to see what an amazing girl she truly is.

So this post is dedicated to grandparents and teachers. Always remember and be mindful of the power you have in your hands.

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Bucket List, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Poetry, The Blind Reviewer, Travel Tuesday, Uncategorized, Writing

Update: About Me, About Time!

This is just a notice that I finally got around to writing and posting my About Me page for this blog. I know, I know…I should have done this months ago, but I am finally ready. Please feel free to check it out. If you already know me then feel free to let me know if I did an alright job of summing myself up. And if we have never met, I hope you get to know me just a little bit better. Hope, if you have not yet figured out what this blog is all about, that my About Me page can clear any confusion right up for you.

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