Blogging, Bucket List, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Peaks and Valleys, #10Thankful

“She was not a slowpoke grownup. She was a girl who could not wait. Life was so interesting she had to find out what happened next.”

–Beverly Cleary

Dreams – The Cranberries

Life is full of them…those mostly metaphorical peaks and valleys.


I must keep this brief. My laptop appears to be in full-blown destruct mode, but at least I’ve still got my phone.


For another share of my song to a fresh group of blog readers, thanks to Steph from:

Don’t Look Back A Song – Bold Blind Beauty

For another successful lesson. Having two in a row is a definite improvement, to start with.

I’ve learned all of “Twinkle Twinkle” now and I am particularly thankful for the patience of my teacher.

She sits with me and repeatedly corrects and informs and instructs. I needed to work on wrist movement, in particular, and she tried to help me with what she called the “peaks and valleys” action of the wrist. It has to do with the amount of pressure put on the bow as it slides back and forth across the strings.

I don’t do as well at practicing all that on my own, at home, without her being right there to correct me when I am losing the flow and moving off the mark, and I start to forget proper technique, by the time another week rolls around, which leaves me feeling as if I am right back where I started from. I suppose that’s not the case, but clearly, at this early point, I need her instruction to keep me on track.

To whom all of this comes second nature to, I imagine she has to have a certain something to be able to teach what she, herself, has known since she was much younger.

For children’s stories that I grew up on, like so many story lovers.

Beverly Cleary turned 100 this week and she is still going strong. Just such a landmark milestone deserves recognition.

100 amazing facts for Beverly Cleary’s 100th birthday

My brother and I grew up reading her books. Children’s fiction IS Beverly Cleary.

For my own personal, neighbourhood clothing boutique – soon to open.


Shopping, for clothes for me, it’s not easy. I can’t see the merchandise and I don’t know what looks good on my body shape.

Sure, I know things I like, am not lacking when it comes to opinions, trust me. It’s just difficult to know where to start when you can’t see what you’re doing.

I have my sister, who is really one of the only people I trust. She is only two years older than me and we have always shared clothes, even after we no longer lived together, but she has a family and a life and I hate to always depend all on her.

I could go the online shopping path, but still I can’t see the items on the screen, and they don’t always have enough information to base decisions on.

Yes, a small issue, but we all have issues when it comes to shopping for something to wear, but now I have a personal connection, right in my town. Hope to find out more in the weeks and months to come.

For a guest post on a blog I’ve long admired.

How I Found The Courage To Break It Off & Take A Chance On Myself – Single Strides

It’s strange I talk about remembering where I was when the earthquake in Japan of 2011 happened, and then they have another one, five years later, to the exact day that I am featured on this blog.

For a day with my nephew. He begins school in the fall )boy does time fly) and there won’t be any more of these days left.

I complain a lot that my life, my days aren’t filled the way others/ are, how I’d like, but at least I have that flexibility to be with him while I still can.

For brief flashes of time.

My laptop began to self-destruct, it’s true, but I still had 5-10 seconds where my voice software would speak, in which to read or write, before the whole thing would go silent.

The machine I’ve been loaned, after my mishap last year, is something like ten years old. It has started making this revving noise. Not good.

But at least I could publish smaller blog posts, very brief, but still something.

For the strong women of past and present.

This week, both on the same day, was also a birthday for Anne Sullivan and Emma Watson.

These are both women I admire. Anne was the famous teacher for Helen Keller and Emma Watson IS Hermione Granger, in the “Harry Potter” films.

She is now doing great things for women and all of equal rights and humanity, if I may be so bold.

Both these women are feminists in my opinion. They both worked/work hard to show that female does not have to equal less than or incapable of bringing about a change in the world.

For the chance to cheer up a friend who was having a particularly bad day, when I shared my song with him.

This friend is currently going through some hard times, and they could relate to my lyrics.

I wrote this song for the same reason I love to listen to music by other people. It soothes me and I wrote

Don’t Look Back

in the hopes of offering a few minutes of comfort to another.

For the brief flashes of time that VoiceOver works, which now seems to be back to longer periods, just so very suddenly, as I write this.

I started out this post, thinking it might take me all night to put together, as I could only do a few seconds at a time and then had to let the laptop rest before attempting it again.

Oh how tedious.


Well, suddenly now it is letting me write for an extended amount of time, just like it did on Thursday night, but by Friday it was back to its destructive behaviour.

Not sure how long this most recent improvement will last, but I am taking full advantage while the good times roll.


Now, I may just write long into the night, as who knows what fun this trusty old laptop has in store for me when I wake.

Everywhere – Bran Van 3000

“Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose – not thee one you began with perhaps, but one you’ll be glad to remember.”

–Anne Sullivan

Feminism, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, RIP

Saying Farewell to Patty Duke, #RIP #WomensHistoryMonth #HelenKeller

Most know actress Patty Duke as Helen Keller, in the famous water pump scene from the 1962 screen adaptation of “The Miracle Worker”, but few have seen the movie in its entirety.

Patty Duke as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker”

For a role where she hardly said a word, making mostly sounds (cries, moans, and the word “water”) – this character had a profound effect on me, since I was quite young. Of course, the effect had a lot to do with Anne Bancroft (Anne Sullivan) and the other characters with more of the speaking roles, but as a blind child watching the movie, I felt Duke’s determination to portray Keller as authentically as possible.

I held the VHS case in my hands. I remember the iconic picture on the front, the one from the end of the film where Helen (Duke) spelled out the word “teacher” into Anne’s hand. I stared at that black and white image again and again, as I probably checked the video out from my local library dozens of times.

After learning about who Helen Keller was, when I was read a book about her by someone when I was eight years old, I became fascinated by the story. When that same someone informed me there was a film based on the story, I proceeded to rush right out and find it in the movie section of the library. This was my first introduction to old movies and I liked them, this one in particular.

She was an actress, a singer, author, and advocate. I don’t know Patty Duke from anything else, not from “The Patty Duke Show”. I really can’t even picture what she sounded like, as I said, I hardly heard her speak in the film or afterword. I did not know her in any other roles, but she did something great for me.

People who are blind are not represented, in great numbers, in society or the media. Helen Keller became famous for several reasons, but finally I saw her story shown in the most moving and beautiful of ways, Oscar worthy performances all around in my opinion, but Patty Duke was at the centre of what gave me something, in the world of others with disabilities, in history, to look up to. I would never get to see Helen Keller, as she passed away around the same time “The Miracle Worker” was made. However, there existed an amazing representation of the girl she must have been.

I wish I could have been around to witness the original portrayal of “The Miracle Worker” and Patty and Anne’s portrayals of Helen and Anne on Broadway, in the late 1950s. Though Duke went on to switch roles in later years, playing Anne Sullivan in a later version of the film, her iconic role, played with skill, this will be a special one to me always.

Finally, years after I held that VHS and stared at the cover, imagining that relationship between student and teacher, although fictionalized, I held my very own DVD copy. This was the first DVD I ever owned.

A few years later, upon stumbling on a new film obsession (Lord of the Rings), I learned one of the main characters of the trilogy (Sean Astin) was Duke’s son.

Patty Duke was the youngest person to win an Academy Award, at the age of just sixteen and she went on to speak up for mental illness awareness, after being finally diagnosed, after years of turmoil, living with bipolar disorder.

On this second last day of Women’s History Month, I wanted to pay my respects to Patty Duke, a woman who brought awareness to mental illness when it was just beginning to truly be understood, the one who took on a role that must have been a difficult one, hard to live up to in her performance of a once living person who stood for so much in the disabled community, over the last one hundred years. That must have been a mighty big pair of shoes to fill, a difficult task to take on, but she did a marvellous job. She managed to make me feel, so deeply, and to find a relatable personality, brought to life for me, on screen.

RIP Patty, (1946-2016).

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

Making the World Accessible: The 75% Problem

Another Memoir Monday and another edition of

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.

This week and next are both about challenge, as the title of this blog series says.


Q: What are the biggest challenges that you face in regard to disability?

A: This week’s question I choose to base mostly around a YouTube video I came across last week.

I may have already addressed this topic in a previous post, but when it comes to today’s question, there really is no other answer I can go with.

I could write and write about this subject, for endless words upon words, but the following video speaks for itself:

Making the World Accessible: TEDxBeaconStreet talk with Dave Power, Perkins CEO, on YouTube

The Perkins CEO speaks of a statistic that I hear, more or less accurately, and often I am brought down by the futility of it.

I don’t want to seem like I am pitting us against them, us visually impaired who want to work, up against the big bad rest of the world that stands in our way.

It’s the same sort of us against them that seems to be going on between feminists and everyone else/men or whatever group you want to go by these days.

Placing blame is not the answer. Playing the victim is not what we should be shooting for. Finding some way to work together is my dream.

The above video says that for visually impaired young people and adults wanting to find jobs, the biggest obstacle is not technology, but it’s the rest of the world.

I can’t say I disagree with this, therein lies the challenge, because I know there are things we can all do to improve such an overwhelmingly high statistic.

The challenge, for me, lies in finding ways to show my skills and talents to the world and having them give me the chance to prove them.

I fear the judgement and the criticisms I will inevitably face. How long will it take for the world to catch up?

Technology is growing by leaps and bounds. Two hundred years ago it was barely conceivable for someone born visually impaired or blind to even get an education.

Dave Power is President and CEO of the school that started it all in North America, that taught Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller.

Two hundred years later and through a school like Perkins or through a neighbourhood school, like the one I attended, education is a right that is denied to nobody.

Now it’s what comes once school has been completed that’s the issue.

What did we go to school for? To learn social skills. To learn how to read and write. But what comes next?

The realities of adulthood came up on me like a rising tide. I could not hold it back, but paying bills, filing taxes, making a contribution…

For any visually impaired person who feels like they can’t fit in and that there’s no place for them in the working world…I know how it feels.

I don’t want to make employers nervous. How many sighted applicants would be placed before me in line for any job I might apply for?

What safety concerns would an employer have when considering hiring someone who can not see?

I wish for an open dialogue with the employers of the world. If only they could get to know me and see just how responsible I am.

If only they knew how amazing technology is these days.

When I go over all the jobs in the world that someone without sight simply couldn’t do, I despair that there is nothing out there for me.

When I think again I correct my thinking and, once again, I want to show the world just how capable I am. It makes me want to prove myself all the more.

The stress of this and the fear and worry that I will never find meaningful work sometimes challenges me so much that I want to give up.

But that’s just not me. Life is full of challenges. I’ve been facing those challenges all my life.

Am I up for the challenge?

Is the rest of the world?


Perkins President and CEO: Dave Power/About

About TEDxBeaconStreet


What do you think of the 75% statistic I refer to in this post? What do you think can or should be done to improve it?

Next week’s challenge question ties into this weeks’ and is as follows:

What do you think are the biggest challenges that your family members face in regard to disability?

Memoir and Reflections, Special Occasions, This Day In Literature


“Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness.” This day in literature: on this day in history, June 27, 1880 Helen Keller was born.

In the second grade my Educational assistant/braille transcriber brought me into the small teacher’s lounge in the tiny school in the village near my house. A few afternoons a week she would read to me. This was the start of something…

She read me a book entitled, “Helen Keller’s Teacher” (written by Margaret Davidson), a Scholastic children’s biography which told the story of Anne Sullivan and her childhood in Ireland during the potato famine of the mid 19th century; her immigration to America and her hardships as an orphan; and then how she found her lifelong student Helen Keller. At eight years of age I was barely able to tell the difference and was unfamiliar with the classifications of fiction and non-fiction. This was a true story of a well-known blind/death icon and yet I listened, over those afternoons, with rapt attention to the story, with little understanding of the importance of the history I was being taught. It was only some time later that it hit me just how true the story really was and what extraordinary lives these really were, once lived.

Most are familiar with the famous scene with Anne and Helen at the water pump. This is the one I was most excited to see come alive in the 1962 film version of The Miracle Worker, but I was touched by these women in many more ways that even I could not imagine at the time.

On this amazing woman’s birthday I had to recognize the difference she has made in my life and how that all started back in that little teacher’s lounge, all those years ago. Helen learned to read and write from Anne Sullivan and I learned about literature and books, thanks in huge part to the specialty teachers I was lucky to have as a child. All these women got me where I m today and it all began with Helen. Her love for language is the same as mine. We realize the impact words and characters in books have on our imaginations and as a way of bringing us out of our shells.

Books, authors, and educators go a long way in bringing us, at least myself, toward a Utopia, a more perfect world of acceptance, tolerance, and understanding.