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TToT: Back Home In Ontario Edition, #CFB #Organize #Empowerment #10Thankful

“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”

—Jonathan Swift

I have been away for a few weeks, most recently in British Columbia and before that, I guess I couldn’t seem to organize my thankfuls, but a visit to the ocean is good for a little perspective.

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Caption: Sitting with my group, by the lighthouse, at the end of the breakwater in Victoria.

http://www.cfb.ca/programs-and-activities

Speaking of, “Organize” was the theme of the 2018 convention for the Canadian Federation of the Blind, in Victoria, BC.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for capable airline pilots.

I’ve probably flown ten times or so in my life. Every one of those times, I hold my breath as the plane speeds down the runway, takes off, and lands again later on. I get nervous, clench my hands into fists, and then try to just go with it.

Through all that, through every bump and jostle of turbulence, I am grateful to feel that there must be a super capable person in charge of flying that aircraft.

This time, flying across Canada and back, was no different.

I’m thankful for a mostly accessible place to stay.

The hotel was a lovely one, with braille in the elevators, marking each floor as you stepped out, all except braille or other tactile numbers on the room doors.

The guy at the desk when we checked in even thought, without us having to suggest it, to stick a piece of tape on each ID key card.

By the end of five nights staying there, I started to feel at home. It was wonderful. I walked around the lobby and the floors with relative ease, even with the drunk group on my floor the one night.

“Blind woman coming,” one of them announced, the loudest of them all. “Stay to the right.” This I already knew.

I couldn’t resist turning back to him, as I walked right to my room door and went to pull my card out, to inform him that my name was Kerry and to: “have a good night.”

I’m thankful for a writer with a car.

A friend of some heard I wanted to visit a few specific places during my Victoria stay and generously offered to drive.

We took cabs otherwise. I did a lot of walking as it was. I appreciated the ride.

On the first leg of that driving, we got to know each other and I discovered she is a writer too. After that, we had plenty to talk about.

I’m thankful for the breakwater.

Up until recently, this long walkway sticking out into the sea, with the lighthouse at its end, had no railings. It wasn’t quite so safe when you couldn’t see.

Now it had railings and I could walk out into the water. I was in heaven out there, as windy as the day was. I never wanted to come back in.

I’m thankful for a welcoming tour of an historic bookstore.

MUNRO’S Books

My new writer friend knew the manager and we were greeted warmly and given some in depth backstory about the building and the owner, who once was married to Alice Munro and is famous for that union.

I’m thankful for a comfortable and also stimulating day of discussion, listening, and new friendship.

http://www.cfb.ca/programs-and-activities/conventions

It was the largest group for its convention. We from Ontario were celebrated and welcomed guests in attendance for the first time.

There were talks and discussions throughout the day on Saturday, making it a long one, but oh so worth it.

Being in a room where almost everyone is without sight, there was help and understanding assistance from everyone, from where to find an available seat or to feeling free to speak one’s mind. We didn’t always agree on every issue (universal design, accessibility, guide dog issues, career search, disability awareness), but we all were there to listen to each other.

We even had a few special visiting guest speakers: one was an expert on advocacy from University of Victoria and the other on social media trends.

I’m thankful for compassionate and passionate sighted allies and their ideas.

As nice as it is to join together as those living as blind Canadians, as essential and important, it’s good to be able to share with understanding people with sight too.

The writer/driver and her partner were there, along with a university student film maker, to capture the day’s events and they decided to interview some of us, for development of a possible short documentary called Listening To Blind Canadians.

In her car, she told us how she knew one of the women from the CFB and their parents had found companionship with each other in their later years. She didn’t seem to be fascinated by blindness in any artificial kind of way, like we were some sideshow to her. Just that she wanted to be there, as a friend and ally, to bridge the gap and promote a wider understanding through shared humanity.

I’m thankful for helpful people during travel.

From the BC Ferry Service employees, who helped us on and off and to comfortable seats to many public transit (Sky Train) workers who helped us find the next train, the right one.

We decided to do a ferry ride to the mainland and back, in one day. We went to check out Vancouver and meet up with my brother’s friend for lunch.

We did mostly traveling though, met another blind person on the bus and traveled part of our way with him, and yet I even got to walk into the water of the Pacific.

Even one of the fellow CFB members, also attending the convention, was a big help. He was around and free to go along with us, knew the city of Vancouver pretty well and had lots of practice riding those trains.

I’m thankful for delicious salads on my travels.

It was greens, seeds, cucumber, a sort of sweet vinaigrette, and the freshest little cherry tomatoes.

Mmm.

Last time I found a delicious salad like that, I was in Whitehorse, Yukon.

I’m thankful for those who came before.

We were able to travel on buses and trains independently, knowing our stop was coming up, all because of an automated announcement of streets. I take this sort of thing for granted, but it wasn’t always the case. There were people who demanded that service and had to fight for it.

I met the CFB treasurer, who was born in the UK, who wrote a book
The Politics of Blindness
and then I finally managed to read that book.

Here’s to the beauty of Canada’s west coast and to organization, to truly make a change.

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TToT: The Mercurial April of 2018 – Foreshadowing Farce, #10Thankful

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

—Maya Angelou

This week, all of Canada is mourning loss of life, young and promising players, in a horrific bus crash in Saskatchewan.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful that all of Canada has come together in a time of grief.

A GoFundMe page has been set up, which has already raised over 4 million dollars for families and survivors, and Justin Trudeau visited the injured. With all the bad in the world, even in moments of shock and loss, I feel better to sense a coming together of my country, from coast to coast to coast.

‘Hockey stands with you’: Condolences, support pour in for Humboldt Broncos | CBC Sports

I am thankful that hockey is what it is, means what it means to so many Canadians, even if not always especially and specifically for me.

From small town teams to the NHL, support to those (on and off the team affected) has been swift and strong.

https://ca.gofundme.com/funds-for-humboldt-broncos

I’m thankful for an angel who is going to leave something behind in tragedy, to be able to at least help someone go on, in good health again.

Lethbridge hockey player’s organs to be donated after fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash | CBC News

I read that one of the young men recently signed his donor card. This is a tough subject, but as the sister of someone who five years ago received a kidney from another person lost, I know the other side, that the side of organ donation.

I don’t have a clue about the tragic side of having to let go like that, but to know a gift is being given, I can’t pretend I don’t recall that relief I felt for my brother’s sake and for my own.

I don’t know what else to say. It’s one of the hardest things any person could experience, I’m sure. Still, I had to speak up about it, to include it in this list.

I’m thankful for beautiful art that remains after death.

One of the fifteen killed was not only a hockey player, but he could make brilliant music on the piano. (See performance link above.)

I will start and end this TToT post, speaking of music, but as things must and do go on…

I’m thankful I got a sudden call that a cancelation came up for me to get a physical therapy appointment finally.

I’ve been waiting for this call for over a year now.

I’m thankful the therapist took the time to go through my lengthy medical history with me.

It took up her whole allotted hour. We didn’t even have time to get to any stretches.

I’m thankful she plans to educate herself, to read up on my rare syndrome, before our next appointment.

I am thankful for the smooth and textured needs of two new bracelets.

Some are smooth, but other parts are made up of lava stone. They have tiny grooves in them and you’re supposed to drip the smallest drop of essential oil on them. Then, I can have a gentle and soothing touch of scent against the skin of my wrist, wherever I go.

My cousin, who runs a hair salon, also sells handmade items, such as jewelry and things. I like to shop, supporting local makers.

I’m thankful I got to attend my violin teacher’s masters recital.

I met her family after and they, along with her friends and other students/teachers, were all so proud of her, including this one student of hers in particular.

So many people, all there to support her. She has worked at it nearly all of her life. Her skill has taken years to develop. I will miss her and everything she’s done for me, once she moves on for further education, but this show was outstanding.

I was in a mood all that day, before her show that night. I don’t know what it was or why. I kind of wonder if it wasn’t me, feeling anxious and nervous, for her sake. I get more nervous for others more than for myself, if possible, when someone I know or care about is going to be tested or performing in front of people, like when my brother plays guitar.

This time, I am not sure, maybe it was just a bad day. Then, when I sat down, the song she played on her violin seemed to calm me, changing my mood and reducing my anxiety. The song was something I’d really never heard before. It was abrupt and anxious sounding, but it seemed to put, into music, the exact feelings I’d been experiencing. It took it all down several notches and I felt like it expressed precisely how I’d felt.

I’m thankful for not only a piece of music that speaks to me, but also a passage in a book.

This one is from A Wrinkle In Time. I read it and it brought together the elements of my own head, the themes that have been with me most of my life, something deep inside, of which I’ve put into my own song lyrics in the past. I’ve even dreamt this sensation:

“This movement, she felt, must be the turning of the earth, rotating on’ its axis, traveling its elliptic course about the sun. And this feeling of moving with the earth was somewhat like the feeling of being in the ocean, out in the ocean beyond this rising and falling of the breakers, lying on the moving water, pulsing gently with the swells, and feeling the gentle, inexorable tug of the moon.”

From the moon to the sea…RIP to those lost and deepest condolences to all those who’ve lost loved ones.

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While Wild Ones Wander, So Too Does My Mind #SoCS

Passive voice, in my writing or in my life.

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I may sometimes label myself a passive person, but there are moments when aggressive stances are needed.

Animals in the animal kingdom instinctively sense it, know where it lies in another creature and how or if they can derive any sort of benefit from it.

Human beings are creatures too, of habit, while the wild ones wander.

Personalities are coloured and varied shades of what makes us human, alongside the animals in nature.

I could Google the passive writing voice and read for days and days, but when I go ahead and write, may not always recognize what it looks like.

The term
“passive agressive”
means one thing, when both words are put together, and another on their own. I guess this is the point, the neat thing about this phrase, if you want to call it that, about language in general as well.

Wow. I haven’t taken this Saturday blogging prompt quite so literally in a while.

I think of my fear (rational or not) of an angry swarm of bees. I think a swan, who appears docile, until you get too close.

The fight face of a country or government, put forth by a world war, by a civil one.

War and peace. Is Canada so well known for one instead of the other. Or warring tribes in Canada’s long lived past.

On another lazy Saturday, I ask myself: What is Russia really up to, with the latest election results?

I do wonder, not as much about their people, but about that government itself.

I need to take my suspicious eye off of the country next to my own and think about other places. People or entire nations, I stream of consciousness ramble my way along, all the while, hoping to avoid the inevitable, those who ooze what it means to be aggressive.

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On Shoveling Snow During a Blizzard and Writing Memoir at 26

I started writing my “autobiography,” on my heavy duty Perkins Brailler, when I was fourteen. No technology because I didn’t rely on computers then. I soon changed the name of what I was writing from “autobiography” to “memoir” because I felt like I didn’t need to keep defending what I was writing, as memoir is about memory and living. We’re all in the process of living and all of us have the right to write about it. I look younger than I am often too. I still obtain wisdom and intend to use it, to share it, but I still (deservedly or not) get out of shovelling snow, though I like how the writer of this piece uses it as example for real writing life and struggle.

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Katie HS Square (3 of 1) (1).jpgBy Katie Simon

“What kind of writing do you do?” It is snowing heavily outside, and I am at a party, ice flaking off my quilted boots and melting into puddles on the hardwood floor. I get asked this question frequently, not just by buzz-cut, twenty-something, plaid-wearing, men like the one in front of me, but by people of all hairstyles, ages, and clothing preferences. I know what this man expects me to say: short stories; poetry; hot takes on pop culture trends. I am 26 years old, and anything I write must be imaginary or ephemeral.

I squirm in my boots, stare out the window at the weather I just escaped. I hate this question. “Memoir,” I say.

“Huh.” He looks at me skeptically. Even without asking my age, he has a general idea. I look younger than I am. “Kind of funny for somebody your age, don’t you…

View original post 714 more words

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TToT: Lions, Lams, Showers, and Flowers – Fools Not Withstanding, #HappyEaster #AprilFoolsDay #10Thankful

“When women speak truly they speak subversively—they can’t help it: if you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want—to hear you erupting.”

—Ursula K. Le Guin

Snowdrops are back and in bloom. That’s how I know spring has arrived, even if it hasn’t made up its mind yet if we’ll get rain or snow.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for the hope and promise of women.

While madmen running places like Russia, North Korea, and the US seem to be ramping up their egotistical boasting about how tough their nuclear arsenals are, I think of all whom March’s Women’s History Month represents.

I’m not saying we’d be at peace, completely if women were the ones mostly in charge, but I have to believe it would be more progressive, sensible, and acceptable than where we’re heading right now.

I’m thankful for another podcast and the brilliant production from my brother.

Episode 10 – Ketchup On The Current (March 2018)

If you enjoy checking out a new podcast. If you are doing things around home and needing something to have playing in the background. Give us a listen.

It is a professional sounding piece of audio and I’m sure you’ll agree. We are self deprecating and sometimes silly, but we are real.

I’m thankful for an online radio appearance with Accessible Media Inc.

I was contacted by this
across Canada broadcaster
of content for the blind.

It was their weekday afternoon talk show/news magazine called Kelly and Company and this was
My Tuesday, April 27th episode.

I am probably coming off desperate sounding, but this survey I’m conducting for data on audio descriptive services in movie theatres for the blind goes on through spring and summer still. I need to keep the reminders coming or people might forget what I’m attempting to accomplish.

I’m thankful for a delivery of literary perfume.

Anne Shirley/Avonlee Fragrance

It really is amazing to me still, that I can order something (all online) and have it show up at my door a few days later.

I’m thankful I adore the cherry blossom scent now that it has arrived.

I had no magazine insert I could scratch and sniff, to make sure I liked the scent. I had to trust the product wouldn’t be crap and that I’d like it. Now I wish I could send a sample of what it smells like through the WWW wires to anyone who might be reading this and curious.

I am a lover of perfumes and fragrances, but I can also be picky and sensitive. I am just glad I haven’t concluded that scents cause the headaches I have because my sense of smell is so important to me.

Perfume is a big part of that. I may not be able to know what I look like, but I can do my best to present myself by the kinds of scents I am most drawn to.

And so now I can feel like I am walking in the cherry orchards of a Lucy Maud Montgomery story.

I’m thankful for a recommendation to grow as a writer of many things.

I am not trained in journalism and I don’t know if that its where I’m meant to end up, but I do know that if I want to educate readers on some of the causes I am most passionate about, such things are often taken more serious when written in a more journalistic manner.

I was shown a program where I could find some guidance to become more efficient in this kind of writing and so I will give it my best shot.

I’m thankful for some yoga on a rainy, painful Thursday.

I don’t dislike rain in spring. I only know the rain and the pain, not only rhyme, but they seem to fit and the yoga was a nice way to break up my thoughts on that day.

I’m thankful for hopefully a happy ending in the news.

‘You were our heroes’: A survivor of the Balkin wars helps ex-peacekeepers move past their pain | CBC

It’s a story of PTSD, trauma lasting years and years, and hope for a future of less suffering in silence.

I’m thankful for another year celebrating a special birthday.

He can be witty and he can be wise, when I most need a laugh or a little wisdom. He loves the nostalgia and the authentic sound of vinyl and, at the same time, is totally open and eager to discover the newest releases in the music world.

He is loved by his friends and family alike.

He is helping me bring my dream of writing, into audio storytelling, all to life.

He shares his day of birth with Celine Dion and Vincent Van Gogh.

He is my brother.

I am thankful to know that all the children I love are waking to the excitement of hunting for Easter eggs on this first day of this new month.

“Spring is singing in my blood today, and the lure of April is abroad on the air. I’m seeing visions and dreaming dreams, …. That’s because the wind is from the west. I do love the west wind. It sings of hope and gladness,”

ANNE OF THE ISLAND

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TToT: Black Holes and Doughnut Holes – Heather and Bogs, #10Thankful

“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit, as well as physically,” said Stephen Hawking, renowned physicist and director of research at the Center for Theoretical Cosmology, University of Cambridge, in a May 2011 interview with The New York Times.

I’m trying Stephen, I’m trying.

Stephen Hawking’s Canadian connection.

His knowledge of cosmology was mind-blowing to me, to me as a young girl who loved space and the planets, and now I listen to his words (still left behind) about his curiosity at what’s out there, up there, somewhere.

Stephen Hawking was, it seems to me, about three things: family, curiosity, and humour.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful my passion project has been released.

http://www.cfb.ca

My movie survey is right there on the home page.

I’m thankful my father and my uncle had a successful and necessary road trip together this week.

They had to travel, go for a few days, to deal with a few things from my uncle’s passing away last week.

I’m just glad they could do it together, as brothers.

I’m thankful I heard back from a few local media outlets about spreading my message for better audio description.

My local
radio station (104.7 HeartFM)
put my story on the Friday morning news report and on their website.

I’m thankful for another yoga session and I felt no lingering issues.

I felt badly about myself, a little as I was doing the stretches, but tried to give myself a break.

I really do wish I were more flexible, in ways that matter like strength and balance, but I do pay close attention to the sound of her voice as I try to follow along and not think too much.

If you know me much at all, you know that’s not so easy for me, but that’s the one hour out of my week I really try my best.

I’m thankful my part (introduction) is almost entirely complete on a paper about the value of braille.

I was thankful to have the help from a research and referencing expert, a library student, to give my writing credibility. I would never want to appear as if I were trying to take credit for words, thoughts, or ideas that weren’t my own.

I am not sure what is left to do, where this paper will end up, but I am proud I am part of it.

I’m thankful for Ireland.

I don’t use St. Patrick’s Day as an excuse to get shit faced, but I do understand the celebration of a country such as Ireland because it is an important place to me.

I’m thankful for Canada.

When all hell’s breaking loose with the current US Wh, and when governments like China and Russia seem so corrupt because their leaders seem to go unchallenged, I am grateful for the relative calm here.

I know some would argue about the actual fairness of things, even here, but I know it could be worse. Even when I find Ontario to be heading in the wrong direction, I can feel good that people can choose.

I am thankful I can speak about such things, here on my blog, without fear of being silenced.

Nobody’s attempting to assassinate me by poisoning with a powerful nerve agent. Phew.

I’m thankful for Stephen Hawking’s words (see above, to the quote at the top of this post).

I am thankful, also, for his ability to see the lighter side of life.

RIP Mr. Hawking.

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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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