1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Feminism, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel, TToT

TToT: The Sound of Water at the Edge of All Things – Sirens and the Bird Song, #10Thankful

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Kerry, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you’d like to look back on this post from 4 years ago.

Kerry Kijewski, August 28, 2013

I have a dream…that one day we’ll live in a world where not only people of all ethnicities and cultures and religions will live together in harmony, but as far as we’ve come with that, we still have a long way to go: for black and white and yellow and brown, for women, and for LGBT too. I have a dream that as far as we’ve come with accepting all people included above, that the next step is to bring people of all disabilities into that list.

I have a dream that one day, people all over the world will recognize that people with disabilities of all kinds, physical, mental, or intellectual will be received and given the chance to prove that they have something to offer, each and every one of them.

I have a dream that one day…we will be given the same chances and opportunities to show the rest of the world just what we are capable of…that we have love and intelligence and dedication just like anyone else, and that we are just as eager to help out, make a difference, simply to participate in the world we share, to function and thrive as willing citizens, in our neighbourhoods, our communities, and as part of the bigger world’s stage.

I have a dream that people with all disabilities will one day live in a world where we are judged not by our lack of sight or hearing or mobility, but by our hearts, our minds, and our gifts, talents, and abilities. I have a dream that we will one day be taken seriously as contributing members of society…that we may be given just the same opportunities in ife to let our skills show and our hard work shine through, without the fear of being thought of as less than…I have a dream…

Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have a Dream” speech… Fifty years later…I have given mine…there’s hope yet, I know there is.

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I appreciate the reminder of my relative size. There are bigger things in life that I must remember still.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful I could have a day in Toronto with my sister, brother, niece, and nephew.

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A dinosaur really dwarfs you by comparison.

I’m thankful I got to see the blue whale exhibit at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum).

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I got to feel a exact sized replica of a blue whale brain.

I’m thankful my niece and nephew seemed to get so much out of the museum.

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Then we got up close with a replica of the blow hole.

It was just nice to see, that although there was the usual amount of youthful restlessness, we were still able to show them things that they found interesting.

Mostly dinosaur or other, more modern animal stuff.

I’m thankful for all the new sounds my niece is now making regularly.

At six months old her vocabulary of sound is really growing.

I swear I hear words sometimes. No rush. It just makes me smile, whatever she’s saying.

I’m thankful my rough draft of my SiriusXM piece was so well received.

The editor said she was swamped, but couldn’t help listening to the thirteen-minute piece.

Her positive feedback was encouraging.

I’m thankful I got to see my brother play music at my town’s local fair.

The small crowd size left a lot to be desired, but it was more of a nostalgia thing than anything else.

I’m thankful for things to do and places to be away from the loud noises while the roof was being fixed…

I’m thankful for a yearly catch-up lunch.

She started out as my pupil aid when I was in grade one.

Then, as I needed it more and more, she learned braille and became my braille transcriber.

Back before computers were much of a real option, in the 90s, I would braille out my schoolwork on a manual braille machine and she would transcribe the assignments, in print underneath, for my teachers to read and mark.

That was years ago, she has moved on with working with other students in the meantime, but we still like to catch up every now and again.

We discussed my writing and her summer travels out east with family.

I’m thankful for a nice time out with a friend at a place that smells like chocolate and has delicious lattes with vanilla sugar.

It’s not my choice for a chocolate shop, all sugar free and vegan, but it wasn’t a bad spot for a drink.

I’m thankful for stories of history.

Regal. Often stilted. The music of the latest movie about Jacqueline Kennedy/Onassis was heartbreaking and real.

It was based on an interview she granted a week after John’s assassination. She spoke to her priest first and then the journalist.

I don’t know why I am fascinated with this part of still fairly recent history, as the exact graphic details of the killing are horrifying and this film does not shy away from that.

I am fascinated by the history of the 60s as a whole, for many reasons, as a time of real upheaval, feeling eerily similar to now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vDWWy4CMhE

From John F. Kennedy to Martin Luther King, Jr. From “all men” to “all men and women and all of us” in the twenty-first century and fifty years on and onward.

I don’t wish to strictly compare or relate, but this stuff is similar in my experience, but mine alone.

Self evident indeed.

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TToT: Shiny Keys and Bucket Technology – Namaste, #Yoga #Radio #10Thankful

‘”Bully for baby syrups!”

‘”Pray, don’t let us disturb the concert with our sleeping.”

‘”Jerk us out a little more chin-music!”

‘”There’s no place like home with a baby in it.”

—Bram Stoker’s “Chin Music”

I wander through a bookstore and I feel the unfairness of blindness.

I sit in a mall and detect the repeating motion of shoppers passing by in front of me, but I wish I could see more than a blur like I used to.

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What a week. Full of the good and the not-so-good things and I am once again driven to list my thankfuls because sometimes blindness really sucks.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful I got an acceptance to a pitch within twelve hours.

It’s a nice feeling. It doesn’t always happen so fast. It was a nice start to the week.

I’m thankful I am being given the chance to write about the affect the Yukon had on me.

This is for a Canadian website/App and the editor said she is pleased to have a piece to publish, different from the usual story of seeing the Northern Lights.

They are a marvel, of course, but I am glad I can offer an alternative viewpoint of a place that is more than just one spectacular visual sight.

I’m thankful for essays I read that make me think and put a new spin on the essay form.

The Medicated Writer by David Ebenbach

I’m thankful for another lovely coffee/raspberry lemonade chat with a friend to distract me from my thoughts.

The news out of the US all week was non stop and ridiculous. I was feeling highly anxious, waiting to hear back about my piece for Hippocampus, and I needed a break from all that.

The place was busy because Ontario’s premier was visiting our town, but things emptied after we were there for an hour or so.

We talked about travel, family, and writing.

I explained to her what it’s like to walk into a crowded coffee shop and try and navigate my way through it. She is like many people who are driven to offer help when they see a blind person. I understand and take them up on that help often. It was just nice to explain how it works because she, like most people, don’t give it all much thought until they hear how it is firsthand.

I’m thankful for the calming yoga session and conversation with the teacher.

I’d heard of
NAMASTE
before, but she ended our now weekly session by saying it and explaining why she does.

It is one more thing I feel kind of silly saying back, but we all like to end with something.

I do love the peaceful end to yoga where I stretch out, blocking out all thoughts, other than that I can put up a barrier to the worst of them, while I focus by staring up at my light and listening to the hiss of my laptop which tells me my teacher is still there.

I’m thankful my brother had a successful first radio show.

CHRW Radio Western

He has unique taste in music, with a musical mind, and he finally gets the chance to share some of that with others.

When people ask me the type of music he does listen to/play, I do struggle to describe it in a single word. It is a lot of things, though not what you’re likely to ever come across on the radio.

He has opened my eyes up to a whole world of music that exists, even though very few people ever find it. Like writers and writing, there is so much beautiful music out there that never gets the chance to be heard by most of us. His passion for giving the unknown musicians a turn seems important to me.

He has named his show
Chin Music
and I think it suits.

I’m thankful for a violin lesson where practice and repetition were points brought home once more.

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Rinse. Dry. Repeat. It’s the only way.

I’m thankful for the chance to get somewhere on my own and feel proud of it.

I appreciate the help I receive, for many reasons, as new travel by myself can be stressful and intimidating, but it is also good for me sometimes. The only way I will ever begin to feel any less intimidated is if I practice, kind of like with the violin.

When you can’t see, obviously public transportation is the best way to get somewhere. Then, I like to have an idea in my head of the directions I will be going. I need to see it in my mind and it requires massive amounts of concentration.

No matter the anxiety or the physical pain, the sense of accomplishment at the end is awesome.

I’m thankful I made the final decision to not stay home and instead take someone up on an invitation to meet new people and work on my terrible social skills.

I am terribly shy in new situations. I felt unwell and considered turning down the invitation, but I am glad I went.

I was the only girl there, but it turned out to be an enjoyable hangout on a spacious porch, listening to music, and having a few drinks on a beautiful July night.

It’s just too bad I need a few beers to lighten up. I stop worrying about where I am and I relax. This is fine for one night, now and again, but just attending instead of hiding out by myself helps too.

If I’d gone home, I would have kept thinking about what’s in the news, what a week it had been, and I needed to get away from all that.

I met new people, including someone who came here from Mexico to go to school in Canada. Opening up one’s social circle is a good thing.

I’m thankful for a lovely family day in Toronto.

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We met in a mall, couldn’t take the subway because the line was closed down, so had to all pile in the van and drive downtown Toronto. It took a while, but what a perfect day, too hot even.

So we got to spend a few hours somewhere cool, with lots to see, and around so much life.

I am conflicted on aquariums, worrying always if the creatures are happy swimming in those tanks. I wish I could ask those sharks, rays, and other fish.

If my nephew learns to love and respect sea creatures and the ocean, I will be happy.

Like standing at Niagara Falls, anywhere with all that water and marine life is where I can stand and tune out all the hoards of tourists and people. I could have stood beside that shark tank forever.

Then we came back out into the warm day and passed jubilant baseball fans. The Blue Jays were losing and then came back with a grand slam at the end of the game, the second in a week. The Toronto streets are full of energetic shouts whenever their team wins.

Then we had dinner at my favourite Toronto restaurant: The Pickle Barrel. Delicious beet and chicken salad, mango bellini, and brownie cheesecake for dessert.

Mmm.

As I’m heading home, at the end of the day, I can’t see the sky or the incredible sunset and so I feel the unfairness of blindness.

When I Grow Up – Jennifer O’Connor

Namaste.

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Stylish Negotiations: How a Blind Writer Finds the Right Journals

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Emily K. Micheal TEDx promo photo 9.2016By Emily K. Michael

Submission guidelines rarely make me angry. Because I seek publications that share my interests – ecology, feminism, disability, music – all the specifications can start to look the same. Most journals want a well-rounded submission, free from religious agendas, offensive stereotypes, and one-dimensional fables of inspiration.

When I find a publication that seems promising, I scroll through the journal’s “About” page and submission guidelines. Here’s where I can make some serious assessments. Journals lose my interest if they proclaim, “send us your best work” or “we only publish good poetry.” I won’t let my students use “good” and “bad” as standalone terms, so I hesitate to send my work to a journal that won’t express its own agenda in more vibrant language.

Among publications that promote the work of disabled writers, the guidelines evince a similar aesthetic. Here are excerpts from three journals committed to sharing the…

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The Right to Read 

Blind Moving On

One of the things that I have always loved ever since I can remember is reading. It is amazing to sit down and just escape into a good book. There were always things that I missed on TV and in movies growing up due to my sight loss, but I never missed anything in the stories I read.

When I was younger, I was able to read large print, but so many of the popular books that my peers were reading I could not get in large print. There was not a lot of access to audio or eBooks then either. Due to this, I did not read as much as I would have liked because those options did not exist yet.

This issue also affected me in school because the books that we read in school were never in large print or audio. As a result, I had to…

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Staging an (Accessible) Online Reading: A Step-By-Step Guide

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

zz_sonyaBy Sonya Huber

The typical literary reading presents an obstacle course for many people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. From finding transportation and parking to staying up late to navigating stairs and chairs, every decision involves stress and difficulty. My recent essay collection, Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays From a Nervous System, deals with the twists and turns of living with chronic pain, and I knew that I needed to find ways to connect with people with chronic pain. I was surprised to find that an online reading was easy and fun, and I believe this is something other authors can easily do to extend their own audiences and make literary readings more accessible.

My first foray into online readings was through a Facebook Live Event. I hadn’t seen this done before so I kind of winged it, and in the end I think it turned…

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TToT: Mid April and Easter Update #Easter #10Thankful

“No matter what happens, people need to get their stories out. Sometimes I think this is my life’s work: bearing witness, and helping others to bear witness. Bear witness, expel torment, see the red cardinal in the bare tree.”

–Carrie Snyder, “Red cardinal in bare tree”

One of my favourite writers, Canadian writers, and she speaks on what my writing mentor told me, as I grew more comfortable with my own writer status.

We who write, who call ourselves writers live as such. We are constantly observing the world around us, to write it all down when the time is right.

This week’s TToT is a little or a lot muddled all-over-the-place, kind of like my own life right now.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the chance to see myself in the media.

Check out this commercial. This girl has a YouTube channel and she is a public speaker, on Canadian television.

I believe it is important that the world sees that beauty and these products mean just as much to those of us living with a disability in the world.

I am thankful I could help my sister.

She has stuff to do to get ready for a friend’s wedding next month and she finds it hard to get a lot of it done at home, as she always becomes distracted by stuff that needs to get done around her house.

At mine, I could hold the baby and she could work. Not a bad deal.

I am thankful for yet another helpful violin lesson.

I picked up the second line to Minuet 3 easier than I thought. I really do love this song.

It did require me to use my fourth finger, which is not strong at all. It is difficult to stretch a fourth on the string.

I am thankful for a lovely Easter surprise from my friendly new neighbour.

I was not expecting the gesture of beautifully wrapped chocolates, in tissue paper, with a bow.

She wrote a lovely note with it.

I am thankful for another enlightening episode of Anne.

This one revealed more about characters like Gilbert. This is better than I could have imagined. I love knowing more about people, even fictional people.

I am thankful for the beautifully written verbal audio descriptions on several Canadian television channels, like the CBC when I’m trying to watch an Anne episode.

“The Woman is elegantly dressed and has a kind face.”

I am thankful Canada got something before the U.S. for a change.

Yeah, I said it.

I didn’t realize this one is the same one premiering on Netflix soon.

Either way, it should appear first on Canadian television, as it is our story after all.

I am thankful for women in history who made Canada better.

A novel idea for the 19th century: women are capable of talking about serious issues – Who is Kit?
        
I am thankful I could find out that there seems to be no problem with my plans to try zip lining.

My fear was that they would be hesitant to let anyone try it who is blind. So far, according to the woman I spoke to and her manager, if I will be with a group it shouldn’t be an issue.

I am thankful for the rain and for the warming April weather.

Spring is in the air and you can feel it.

I am thankful for Easter chocolate.

I don’t know what I think about religion. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the world powers, drunk on their desperation for even more. I don’t know what I am doing in my own life even.

I do know I am thankful.

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Stay Away From The Bleach #AtoZChallenge

The obvious choice of words for today’s letter, for me, would be literature. Oh, I do love literature – a lot to say there.

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But I decided to go with the practical and that which is at the forefront of my mind today.

The A to Z Challenge – L is for Laundry

I need to do laundry.

Not such an uncommon thing to be done, but one of the biggest topics people ask me about, as in how I handle life as a blind woman, comes down to dressing myself and doing my own laundry.

It makes a difference, if you knew how much vision I still have, but this is a strictly how-its-done post. I see slightly more when I turn on the light down by my washer and dryer.

I know my own clothes. I know when I got it, where, and I’ve likely asked what colour each piece of clothing is. I can tell if it is dark or light. I remember by the materials and the necklines and the shape of each piece. I sort into darks and lights, sweatshirts and towels, and pink/red/purples.

If all else fails, I use the handy App on my phone which takes a picture of something and, within a few seconds to a minute, a response comes back which tells me what the picture shows. This usually identifies the colour as well.

We won’t mention the time, back when I shared a house and a washing machine with my sister, that I accidentally knocked the bleach onto her pile of reds. Oops.

As a rule, no more bleach in this house. It’s just not worth it. Well, off to sort and put in my first load of things.

With a few exceptions, most things aren’t as big a deal or as difficult as people might think, but when you get asked a question enough times, you start to realize some have no idea of how things work in the world of the sightless.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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