Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

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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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Special Occasions, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, TToT

TToT: April Showers and Scoops and Slurs, #NationalSiblingsDay #10Thankful

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

The birds have been keeping me sane all week.

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Their songs, tweets, chirps, and twittering melodies have calmed me, any moment I felt anxious about a bit of a difficult week.

It was Billie Holiday’s birthday. Her voice brings me back to a different time.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a glimpse into an unfamiliar place.

The Colours of Kenya

Love the colours.

I meant to include this last week. Lizzi wrote this incredible story about her time in Kenya. If you haven’t read it, you should.

I am thankful for tall mountain pose.

Someone who knows a lot more about yoga than me found this one. I’ve been trying it out. The woman describes the poses well, though I don’t know I am all that good at following the instructions. The deep breathing is the nice part.

The music in the background is rather soothing, but for the clanging bell sound that makes me think of that warning bell you hear at a train track as a train comes near. Not so relaxing for me. Kind of triggering.

I am thankful for a challenging week.

I have been doing A to Z for the first time and this week has been rather fun. I’ve not put too much pressure on myself with it.

I am thankful for an opportunity to share a little piece of myself.

It Was All a Blur #MyBlindStory

I am thankful for a night out at an author reading which involved some helpful men who showed me through the library and a kind word from an author, on a night I almost missed out on entirely.

It had been a rather bad week and I almost backed out and stayed hidden at home. If I’d received the rejection to a writing pitch I would receive while I was at said author reading, or if I’d heard the unsettling news that would come later on that night involving 45 and missile strikes, I may have chosen to stay hidden. Thankfully, I hadn’t. It was a rainy night, but I am glad I braved it anyway.

“Ann Walmsley author of the Prison Book Club will be sharing her experience of becoming a book club volunteer at men’s prisons in Ontario. This incredible book recently won the Edna Staebler award in 2016. One juror Bruce Gillespie quoted: “Walmsley’s book provides a unique glimpse into the lives of incarcerated men and the transformative power of literature and fellowship.” Featured several times on CBC it is truly a honour to have her come to Woodstock Public Library.”

After the reading, I introduced myself to the author and bought a copy of her book. I spoke to her about being a writer and she gave me a bookmark with her email and told me I could email her if I ever had any questions about writing.

http://www.annwalmsley.com

I am thankful for scoops and slurs.

I have moved on from Brahms’ Lullaby and on to learning a song I didn’t recognize from my teacher’s description, until she played a little of it and a song that came, preprogrammed on my brother’s little keyboard from childhood, it all came back to me. I love the different violin techniques in this one. It will be a challenge, but one I am quite excited about taking on.

There are scoops when playing the violin. Going from one string to another.

Not all slurs are nice, but the one that occurs in this song is a new technique to me.

I am thankful for family members who are handy and generous with their talents and time.

A leak somewhere in my shower, dripping water down through my ceiling and into my living room are a different sort of April showers. Keep that outside my home preferably.

I have an uncle and cousin who do this sort of thing, fixing showers and leaks for desperate nieces and cousins like me.

The machine they had to use up in my ceiling was loud and reminded me of a dentist’s drill. Again, triggering.

Now I have a layer of dust over everything, including my books, but all is well again.

I am thankful for a day of family, an early Easter/birthday celebration.

Family days include fun, laughter, children playing, and scoops of vanilla ice cream.

I am thankful for my siblings and the siblings (my nieces and nephews) who have each other.

My nephew now has a sister, a sibling, and all of them have a friend for life.

This makes my list every year (National Siblings Day) and every year it is more and more true.

This year mine are willing to do something special with me in a few months, zip lining alongside Niagara Falls, to celebrate my twenty-year anniversary of my kidney transplant.

They are the best.

I am thankful for a surprise phone call from a friend.

I was tired, after this week, but it was nice to talk and catch up.

It’s been raining, off and on, all day long. This is April – to be expected. Not so bad.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Spotlight Saturday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Pocket Full of Miracles, #Apple #iPhone #AtoZChallenge

I haven’t done this before. I likely won’t follow the rules because I sometimes like to break those.

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But I wanted to try this, to have fun with it, and so here I go.

My theme, on my first try, will be whatever I feel like, as random as random can be, though I am sure I missed the theme reveal.

An item I own that can do all my iPhone can do is a miracle, when I think back to technology growing up.

It is my communication with the outside world. Communication device in my pocket. It is my answer to most questions. It talks and I must use the touch screen, dictate, swipe left and swipe right.

Thank you, Apple, for giving me the keys to a world filled with possibility. And for being the first: “A” entry in
April’s A to Z Challenge
and I know I will miss something, but I am taking it one day at a time.

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Lamb vs Lion, #SoCS

This is supposed to be the time and place to just write, whatever it is that comes to miming, through my fingers on the keys.

Right? Yeah. I’m working through it all.

I focus on one month at a time, trying not to look too far ahead of myself in this year that feels vital somehow. It’s 2017 and it’s only the third month in. I still have a chance to do something great.

January was great. January was Mexico. So far, not much can top that. It’s hard when starting a new year with such an adventure, so long waited for, but I try to keep an open mind about the possibilities I could still discover are on the way.

I feel like I want to do something. As the day of that January
march
was taking place, I was not in the crowds of faces, all carrying signs and there to fight back.

I was in a hotel room, in Detroit Michigan and watching it all unfold on the television. I had other things on my mind, as I felt traveling alone was enough of a sign, symbolic that I would not hide away any longer. I would be seen and I would do something for me.

I, as a woman, I had my immediate goal of making it to Mexico by myself, which I didn’t know would turn out so well, not at the time.

I want to do something, since then, all the more. I will take steps, in this month of newness of a season.

With both Women’s History Month and recently it having been the International Women’s Day, I wonder still what we women should be, what we are expected to be from society.

Are we the gentle, feminine lamb or the strong, fierce lioness?

I fear being lost in those crowds. That day wasn’t only an U.S. thing. It was done all over the world. It’s sometimes like the U.S. is the only place that matters, or that’s how the world sees it coming from the centre of North America, but we all want justice and respect.

So, my inability to see my way through such massive bunches of people means I fight in other ways, I march in other manifestations.

I use technology to my advantage. I look to those who have seen more and are working to bring change.

We don’t have to be one or the other. We can be lambs and lions, as this month suggests, even when that scares some of the less enlightened among us.

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IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel, TToT

TToT: Cherry Blossoms, Bluebonnets, and Clover Leaves # March Madness, #10Thankful

Stella! … Stella!!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjHr-6Zl5P8

Okay, well if you aren’t already familiar with the play
A Streetcar Named Desire,
perhaps you won’t get my joke. I’m referring to the big “winter storm” in the eastern United States and here in Ontario and into Quebec and the Maritimes.

First it was the winter storm Stella and now it’s the Spring Equinox and first day of spring.

St. Patrick’s Day. World Happiness Day.

Either you’re drinking massive amounts of green beer or the day passes and you don’t do a single Irish thing, but you can’t help hearing about it. It’s the same with a day we are told to be happy.

World Happiness Day 2017: ticket to joy or time to ditch the smily face?

All these days.

Ten Things of Thankkful

I am thankful for snow in winter.

I like and appreciate it, during its season, but it is cold and I do happily move on from it by March/April.

I am thankful for flowers and birds and baby animals in spring.

Last year, I started off one of my TToT posts with some background about cherry blossoms, but today I am including a few others in this week’s title.

I can’t see them and their colours, but I am often obsessed with flowers, especially cherry blossoms at this time of year. I don’t know why those specifically.

Then I watched the new Anne of Green Gables series on CBC last night and there is a part where a cherry tree is featured.

If you know those books, Anne spots one when she first arrives off the train, before she meets Mathew and Marilla for the first time. She imagines climbing it and sleeping up in it if nobody had come to pick her up that day.

The blossoms are mentioned more throughout this newly updated version, and I took that as a sign of sorts, that spring has sprung.

I am thankful for anything Irish.

Don’t take my word for it. Don’t just drink some green beer. Visit Ireland and see it for yourself.

It was one of the best spur-of-the-moment decisions I’ve ever made. I don’t regret it and neither would you.

That’s why, whenever March 17th rolls around, though I love the music (like what Ed has done in the song above, anything else can’t quite live up to the real thing.

I am thankful to be working on a new piece which should be published in one week.

I am thankful the editor informed me of the stock photo she thought about including with my piece before simply going ahead and using it, without my knowledge.

It was a photo of a girl with her eyes closed. Part of what I do regularly is to educate people on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. I wish, sometimes, I didn’t have to do this. I wish people could understand without me having to explain it.

This may sound like I’m being self righteous about this kind of thing, but even if a girl with her eyes closed may say, right away to readers, “this woman can’t see,” it feels highly stereotypical and won’t help progress with people’s understanding and acceptance of those of us with disabilities.

Touching Life

I am thankful for the feeling of my baby niece’s soft head under my chin as I held her against my chest.

I held her while she slept. She has so much hair and it is so lovely.

I am thankful for her ability to already raise her head by herself.

I held her while her oma warmed up her bottle and I couldn’t believe how strong she already is. She will be one month old this week.

I am thankful for my four-year-old nephew reading his books to me.

Okay, so he didn’t so much read as explain about his favourite dinosaurs, but he did spell out “L i t t l e” on the sign as we were picking up a pizza.

So, he’s on his way. I try to explain to him that I can’t read his library book to him because my eyes don’t work. His response still is “my eyes work” as a way of comparing or reassuring himself or maybe just to inform me. I’m not sure, but, If I’m going to have a bonus thankful this week, it’s that his eyes do, indeed, work.

I am thankful when one of my really bad headaches subsides.

I am thankful for a doctor who understands when I can’t make it to my previously scheduled appointment, do to said awful headache, and their ability there to reschedule so soon.

I am particularly upset when I hear all the talk, south of the border, here in Canada, of U.S. healthcare. I want the kind of care I get, for every person who has lived with awful headaches, needed major surgery, been diagnosed with a chronic or terminal disease or illness, or who lives with a disability to not worry about not being covered or having to pay giant medical bills.

People in Canada complain about long wait times, convince themselves that our neighbours have the better options for medical treatments, and some may have terrible experiences with Canada’s healthcare system. All I know is my own experience and that of my family.

Healthcare shouldn’t be about insurance companies, deductibles, premiums, and whatever else I keep hearing, is all I hear when I hear the debates going on in the U.S. They talk of consumerism and shopping for the best health plans. Healthcare isn’t about shopping, even if so much of our society is all about consumerism. This is, in some cases, about life and death. It’s about feeling unwell or being able to be happy for more than only one day a year.

Ugh! It all gets me so fired up honestly, because I know what it’s like to need my country’s medical system. I have disability and medical conditions I depend on being treated for. I am lucky here. I hate how too much of the world still doesn’t get it.

It was a week where I could care less about the actual March Madness, as I am no basketball fan, but…as for some other madness:

The Tyranny of Now

It’s precisely why I need to count my blessings and why everything on my list today is needed more than ever and deserves the recognition in my own life.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

You don’t need sight to have vision

Black, white, and every colour in between.

My Blurred World

Hello everyone and welcome back to My Blurred World.

I hope you’re all doing really well.

Today’s post is a little bit different as I’m going to be writing all about how being visually impaired or registered blind doesn’t mean that a person can’t have vision, it might not make much sense when I put it in this context but I’m hoping to highlight my point in this post. I know this post might not be of interest to someof you but I’m hoping that those of you who continue to read do enjoy the post and take something away from it.

There are so many negative attitudes surrounding the topic of visual impairment and these continue to perpetuate inaccurate perceptions of those of us who live with sight loss. Some seem to think that living with a disability means that one’s life comes to a halt, everything must stop…

View original post 642 more words

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Poetry, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, This Day In Literature, TravelWriting, TToT, Writing

TToT: Let Us Try This Again, Shall We? #WorldBookDay #FreedomToReadWeek #WorldWildlifeDay #10Thankful

Last week I meant to share one picture, of the flowers we brought my sister after giving birth to my new niece, but I somehow ended up posting only the flowers.

Nothing wrong with flowers, so that one becomes “the flower flower flower flower post”.

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I am still thankful for the big things, for eight pound baby girls, but will sprinkle in a few smaller items, if I can as well.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for new music.

Lorde – Green Light

I am thankful for Mya Lynne and for my violin.

😉

Haha. Get it?

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I’m thankful that I went for it and submitted the travel memoir piece I wrote in Mexico, about my evening with the mariachis, to
CBC Literary Prizes.

I spent all of February, editing madly, and I would say I am proud of what I sent in. Now for the long wait.

I’m thankful to have made contact this week and am now in communication, by email, with the man I met in Mexico. He is doing amazing things with his life.

Everyone Has A Disability

We both know a little something about living with a disability and I appreciate his perspective.

I’m thankful for the bond already forming between my nephew and niece.

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Now, anytime I go to visit them, he always starts by saying, “Auntie Kerry, do you see my baby sister?”

Now that’s the question of one proud big brother.

I am thankful I got to read the words of a talented family member. He wrote a kickass spoken word piece about his wife and surprised her with it for her birthday last weekend.

It’s amazing to me that someone can love another person like that.

I wish I could have heard it in person, but I read the words and his writing was so sweet and so creatively epic.

Proud and thankful to be related to those two.

I would share it, but I’m not sure they’d want me to. Let’s just say, the word “citadel” is used at one point. It’s a song about a strong and one-of-a-kind woman. That’s spot on.

Ed Sheeran – Eraser (Live)

This new live Ed Sheeran song is another example of music, but with spoken word, poetry thrown in the mix.

I’m thankful for winter weather, while it’s still winter.

We went from above seasonal and warm temperatures at the beginning of the week and we’re ending it back firmly in winter, but spring is only officially a few weeks away now. The end and a new beginning, as many think of the arrival of spring, is on its way.

I enjoy a chilled night, without a harsh wind preferably, and feeling the gentle sprinkling of snowflakes coming down around me in the air. I’m going to miss that crunching noise when I walk outside in the packed snow underfoot.

I wish everyone could see that winter is supposed to be cold, to have snow, and to not show such love for the climate change that has an effect on nature and wildlife, and not in a good way. We should think about them a little more and less about our temporary discomforts. I know it’s hard. I don’t like freezing either, in the moment. But I do care about species such as butterflies and bees who pollinate. Those guys need spring to come in its own time. We shouldn’t try to rush it just because we are sick and tired of winter.

In the comments for TToT this week I say where I am from and what I love about living here. I love the four seasons we in Canada are lucky to experience. I grumble and groan my share, when I am shivering or sweating, but I want the planet to maintain itself, for my nieces and nephews, for a long long time to come.

The cousin and his wife I listed above, as a thankful, they work with nature and the environment. They’ve seen signs that aren’t good signs. They worry because they see it up close. They’ve taught me a lot.

I am thankful for people like them, doing all they can, to teach about the natural world we often neglect.

I’m thankful for the feeling of holding a baby.

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She is such a contented baby too. As long as she’s not hungry, she’s happy to sleep a lot.

For me, I can feel disgusted with things happening in the world or whatever, but then I hold her and I feel the slight pressure of her in my arms and her breathing as she sleeps so still. It’s peaceful.

I then watch my nephew, all his energy, and how big he is. I am thankful for these children, at the separate ages that they are, and I know they grow so fast.

I am thankful for books and the freedom to read any book I want to.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (read by Neil Gaiman)

I have shared stories read by Neil Gaiman here in the past. I enjoy his readings.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.

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