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

What’s on Kenyavision?

This was a tad painful for me to read, hearing what blindness is for those living in a different country than my own, but what a thing she’s doing here. I was travelling in Mexico the same week she was in Africa. I know our stories are so much different, but travelling truly opens your eyes. It’s what you allow yourself to see next that is up to you.u

Considerings

I stepped off the plane into the Nairobi night, expecting to be hit by a wall of heat, like I’d read in books. I was waiting for something akin to opening the door of a blast furnace and stepping inside, the cool, air-conditioned plane switched for a boiling inferno in spite of the late hour.

It was warm. Pleasantly so, but only warm.

I confess, I was the tiniest smidgen disappointed, but thought to myself that I would nonetheless make the best of things. I snuggled my jacket closer around me and descended the stairs, lugging my bag at the end of my tired arm. Walking across the tarmac, I breathed deeply – great lungfuls of warm air that smelled of heat and dust and fuel and…something almost spicy; an underlying, faint but very distinct difference to the air in England.

I grinned widely in spite of my tiredness. I…

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Never Enough, #SongLyricSunday

I guess I don’t have a lot to say, on love, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching.

rABUy6V.jpg

I choose to remain silent this year, as far as my own love life is concerned, but I have enough past experience to draw upon. No problem.

Song Lyric Sunday, #SongLyricSunday

Well, I know about insecurities in love. I can’t believe there’s one single person who hasn’t felt it. I wonder about some more than others though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e5_Hn_cLIvI

It’s a void a lot of us attempt to fill, but rarely ever is enough enough.

***

There will be no consolation prize
this time the bone is broken clean
no baptism, no reprise and no sweet taste of victory.
All the stars have fallen from the sky and everything else in between satelites have closed their eyes, the moon has gone to sleep
unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
here I am inside a hotel choking on a million words I said cigarettes have burned a hole and dreams are drunk and penniless
here I am inside my father? arms all jagged-bone and whiskey-dry whisper to me sweetly now and tell me I will never die
unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
here I am an empty hallway broken window, rainy night I am nineteen sixty-two and I am ready for a fight people crying hallelujah while the bullet leaves the gun
people falling, falling, falling and I don? know where they?e falling from
are they unloved….unloved….unloved….unloved
hoping that the kindness will lead us past the blindness and not another living soul will ever have to feel unloved….unloved….unloved….
unloved unloved….unloved

Unloved – Jann Arden/Jackson Brown, Lyrics

SONGWRITERS RICHARDS, JANN ARDEN
PUBLISHED BY LYRICS © UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING GROUP

***

So, when I thought of those feelings of never being enough and those all-to-common fears of not being lovable, I went with this old Jann Arden duet I’ve loved for a long time, since I first discovered this songstress of Canada, back in the mid 90s.

If you grew up in a stable and loving family, like I was lucky to have had, it isn’t for lack of being told it. I always felt it.

It’s different with romantic love. It comes with a lot more baggage and demand and distraction and disillusionment. I felt unloved and unlovable by any man and I know part of that was feeling more like someone in need of supervision than as an equal. I have told myself that my blindness was a constant burden and a roadblock to ever being enough. This is where insecurity can haunt you and hold on tight.

I hope it loosens its grip a little.

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I Am Brave Enough, #Travel #Mexico #Disability #kindnessofstrangers

It’s the name of Lindsey Stirling’s most recent work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOmc9uG1Ndg

Instead of a New Year’s resolution, it has been my question/statement to myself about 2017 and my own determination to make my life what I’d like it to be.

Well, I’m back. I made it. First, to start with how mind blowing Mexico was, but more about that later. I have a lot to say on it, as a writer, still trying to process.

About the part that scared me silly though, traveling by myself:
It isn’t easy to have to wait to be taken from counter to counter, gate to gate, plane to plane. There are some advantages. It can be nice having someone push you around, along with your luggage, but I particularly liked the one transportation vehicle they used, specifically in the Detroit Airport. I liked that one. The two guys who took me, from the first to the last, they were friendly and pleasant.
You are first on the airplane (early boring) and last off. Different flight attendants and others likely know different things about how to help someone who is blind. Some are more hospitable than others. Sometimes I felt ignored and sometimes I felt well taken care of.

I honestly have to say I liked Dallas Airport the least. I didn’t realize how big it is there. The porters are different. Some easier to communicate with than others. It was a far distance to go, on my way there, and luckily I had a few hours because I was left at a gate, which changed. I sat there and suddenly heard them announcing a different flight than the one I knew I was there for. This was when I decided to speak up and get some help. Thankfully, another porter with a wheelchair was called and I was taken to the correct place. Unfortunately, then there was a problem with the plane and I sat there for more than an hour, nearly two. I was afraid I would miss the opening night festivities in Mexico, at my workshop. I didn’t.

I am writing about this, even with all the array of wonderful things I could be writing about my week in Mexico, because I feel there is a need to explain what it is like to travel when you have a disability. I doubt people realize.

The last time I flew anywhere I had a hand to hold tightly when my anxiety of lifting off the ground and into the air got too much. I felt kind of alone on my journey there this time, with no hand to hold, but I realized I needed to experience that. I needed to sit and be okay with being alone, right where I was, doing exactly what it was I was doing there.

I had all these images in my mind of all the strange and wonderful souls I would meet while traveling, in airports and such. I met hardly any on my trip to Mexico. That’s okay. I was on my own journey.

I met a lovely porter to start off my traveling, in Detroit. He told me his name and asked me about where I was going and what for. I told him of my fears of traveling by myself and he assured me it would all work out. He was right.
He got me a bottle of water and brought me safely to my gate. He made sure to park my luxury vehicle right next to the desk at the gate, so the people wouldn’t miss me there.
I tell you, you hear a lot of behind the scenes drama and things when you sit in that spot. Interesting.

So, I was the only one in my row on the first flight (Detroit to Dallas). It was an experience anyway. Behind my row there was a young woman, traveling from visiting her boyfriend, and the older woman beside her took an instant liking to her. The two of them then went on to talk the entire flight. The older asking the younger about her plans and her dreams. I secretly wanted that sort of experience from traveling. Would I make any connection like that? Did people resist approaching me? And did I shrink back from reaching out to anyone either?

It was still all so overwhelming, this traveling by myself. I was on constant alert, fearing I would end up lost or misplaced. I didn’t dare listen to my music or be distracted in any way. I was depending on other people for my very safe arrival, but how much of it all could I take on myself, to take my own power back?

I had help to find the check in desk at the airport in Mexico for my trip home, from the shuttle driver. He took my hand and brought me to them. I was so flustered I forgot to tip him. I felt so bad when I realized. I didn’t want to be so wrapped up in myself and my own worries that I did that sort of thing. I wish I could repay him somehow.

The porter they called to take me spoke no English and she asked if I could speak Spanish. At least, that much I could understand she said. I told her no and that one of the only words in Spanish I know was the one for water. Thanks to my niece who learned it from her Spanish speaking babysitter.

She had to go help someone else and found a woman who spoke English to stay with me. The woman then proceeded to tell me all about her life until I heard a familiar voice.

It was one of the women from the workshop. I could tell it was her, first, by the clunking sound of her shoes. She could keep me company, but the English speaking lady had to go. Still, you meet some interesting people when traveling.

I felt, at times, like the girl from the workshop was having to help me with my stuff, not relax while waiting for her flight, but that is all on me to not look at things life like that so much.

The porter returned and we went to our gate. She took me to the chairs while the girl from the workshop went into a special lounge for those with special bonuses from the airline. The porter then left me in the wheelchair. It probably seemed easier for her, in her mind, but I didn’t want to have to sit in it while waiting an hour or so for the flight. When the girl from workshop came back she agreed and we found two seats. This still required dealing with the wheelchair and my luggage, along with her things. She brought me a yogurt drink from that special lounge. It tasted so good in that moment.

We spoke a little and she helped me to the bathroom. We had to manage our luggage because leaving it unattended would not be a good idea.

My biggest concern, other than being left somewhere, was the bathroom situation. Anyone can find a bathroom in an airport if they need it. For me, I would have to depend on whichever porter I happen to be with if I needed to go. Many of those were men who hardly spoke English themselves. Not the best of situations, but best there was. Otherwise, I would be on my own and would have to find someone, a stranger or airport employee walking by, to help and show me where a bathroom was. Not fun.

I sat in my row, on my way home, and looked at a Mexico I could not see, through my oval airplane window. Suddenly, amongst the dozing I did and the boredom of sitting there in a row with a guy and girl I didn’t speak to, the familiar voice suddenly said my name, handing me a bag of warm mixed nuts. More perks from first class. That was the last I saw of her. I was truly on my own again.

The airport in Dallas was chaos. They had only one porter when I got off the plane and there was also a man in a wheelchair who needed assistance. His wife ended up guiding me, helping me with my luggage, while we followed the one porter and the husband through the lines and crowds. She did not have to do that, but she did. They were both very kind.

I suddenly heard protesting to my left. I couldn’t make out all they said, something about the US, no Trump, and no KKK.

It was a bit nerve racking as I followed the woman and her husband through customs and I forgot about the bottle of water in my bag still, from the girl from the workshop. I wish they didn’t have to take it from me. Silly regulations. I even got patted down at the airport in Mexico, by a girl who had to try to ask if it was okay first, but did not speak any English. Now I was having my bag inspected. Oh the joys of airline travel.

Finally we found our correct gates and the porter left me at mine. I thanked the mysterious couple, the ones who asked me about my time in San Miguel and told me about the house they rent there, and I sat and hoped for the best.

The people at the desk did their job. A nice lady helped me to the plane. I found my seat and a friendly woman, traveling alone for the first time too, she was feeling anxious and asked me if my folded up white cane was drum sticks. I liked her at once.

The flight went by a lot faster, long long day, with someone to talk to. She asked me about my writing and my blindness and family. I asked her about her five children and the plans they had to move from Detroit to Dallas. Her and her husband had just put an offer on a new house there. I wondered at the differences, the separate lives of so many, including this stranger who took the time to speak to me and I spoke back.

I was afraid, the entire time. I was afraid and still I didn’t want to let that stop me anymore. I did it once and I know I can and will do it again, until I am no longer so afraid. I know even sighted people can be afraid of such things, when traveling alone, when being afraid to fly or confused by flight numbers and gate changes. I know. I know we are all the same somehow while oh so different.

I appreciate all the help I received and all the assistance and the company kept. To all the strangers I will never see again. To the amazing souls I met in Mexico. To my amazing mentor for all she did for me. To my family who supported me. I say thanks. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

I am brave enough.

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Seeing From All Sides, #HowISee #HowISeeIt #SoCS

October 1st is the start of Blindness Awareness Month.

Okay, so SoCS usually means Stream of Consciousness Saturday, but well Saturday, Sunday, either way.

Many visually impaired people, writers and bloggers specifically, are blogging every day and many are speaking about one particularly controversial hash tag and campaign making its way around Twitter and social media lately.

I re-blogged about this just a few days ago, and though I don’t mean to rehash or restate, I figured I would offer my own thoughts on the whole thing.

When I tried to think of what is AWKWARD,

I thought about these very topics. Blindness means I face many awkward situations, all the time in fact. I try to improve my social skills and interacting with a mostly sighted world, but I often struggle to fit in and feel like I am seen and yet that I don’t stick out, stand out, and get in the way.

I often feel as if I am in someone’s way, but I recognize this is often more in my own head. The thing about the world is I skip past a lot of the more awkward situations, simply because I don’t see that they are even taking place at all.

🙂

As for the idea of a sighted person putting on blindfold for a few minutes and attempting to walk or cook or whatever, I thought on it awhile, as I pondered the thoughts of others.

There is a lot of awkward nonsense going on in the world these days. Why should anyone with a visual impairment feel like they must always be cast as the awkward ones in this nonsensical world?

The Foundation Fighting Blindness Canada (FFB)

They state that their mission is “leading the fight against blindness” and they are doing that through social media campaigns like this one to raise money:

#HowISeeIt on Twitter

People who are blind share stories and videos of how they do certain, every day tasks, and then their friends or relatives who are sighted will put on a blindfold and try those same tasks.

I know people are curious. I’ve often been asked how I pick out my clothes or how I use the stove. I get that. Most of us don’t mind answering a genuine question when asked. It’s just a fine line when it crosses over to patronizing.

I know foundations who raise money and do research to fight blindness are needed and necessary. I get that also.

I am often told I over think things or am too sensitive, and perhaps I can be, but perhaps that’s an easy, bandaid response for a bigger issue. I often can’t tell the difference anymore, and not sure I ever could or ever will.

😦

On one hand I hate the statement put out there of fighting blindness, like it’s some enemy that needs to be destroyed. I should understand language and its uses better than anyone, but I feel icky when I hear that. I am fighting a constant battle with myself, never mind some war against blindness in a wider context.

However, I would take a cure, sure I would. If it were real and lasting, but blindness isn’t quite so simple. I want attention put on finding ways to stop progression of or slowing down of retinal eye disease. That’s what I have and I often wonder what my life would be like if a cure were suddenly found. Would it be the answer to all my prayers of life? Would it automatically make things easier?

Yes and no, I think the correct answer is, which isn’t really any answer at all to my satisfaction.

So I could rant on and on about this, such a giant thing that I cannot contain, to hope that someone somewhere will understand me, after all I don’t think some lousy blindfold is the answer.

Apologies if this post is long and rambling, with a few links thrown in for good measure. I feel like I am always apologizing for something, to someone. Stop it Kerry, stop it.

But going back to some of my “In The News and On My Mind” posts I’ve shared on this blog in the past, I’ve usually opened those with a line from a woman I know on Facebook who is also blind and living life well. So Here’s her take today, to start:

“The Foundation Fighting Blindness is doing a screwball campaign in which they have sighted people wear a blindfold for a few minutes and try to complete some everyday household task. Naturally, they’re lousy at it, because they don’t have any training. The FFB then has them share their horrifying experiences under the hashtag “how eye see it”, the idea being that blindness is terrible and scary and must be stopped. Well, obviously, we can’t have that rumor going around! For the next week, I’ll be stealing this hashtag to share cool stories about blind people’s actual everyday experiences. If you have a story I should share, send it to me in a message. Today, I’ll share my story. I’m 27 years old and live independently in a gorgeous little apartment in Austin. I’m happily married, work in the field of higher education, and have a wonderful close-knit family and group of friends. I love yoga, hiking, music, poetry, and have recently taken up martial arts. My life is abundantly rich, and has not been diminished by labels or other people’s preconceived notions. This is #howIseeit.”

I do feel it’s simplification for someone who does not live with blindness to put a blindfold across their eyes for a matter of minutes and try to tackle something they won’t feel they could handle without their sight. If they had it all their lives, a few bloody minutes trying without will only muddy things up even more, further blurring the lines between reality and something else entirely.

It feels pitying to me. It feels dumbed down. It feels wretched really.

You panic when suddenly all your world goes dark. Of course. Nothing is how it is compared to if you’ve had time to process and work out solutions we have worked hard to find for ourselves and our independence.

Debates began popping up on people’s social media and on FFB’s Facebook page, in the comments, from both sides. People have accused Foundation Fighting Blindness of blocking or deleting comments that oppose what they’re trying to do with #HowISeeIt and FFB replied that it must have been a misunderstanding, but they usually put the blame onto Facebook and their rules for commenting. Things are getting ugly. People don’t feel heard. It’s impossible for something like this to speak for all. I just want to share opposing views and keep the conversation going.

The point was made that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge may have had similar responses. I don’t know how many ALS patients felt about it truthfully. Not sure you heard much about that amongst all the screams of shivering cold horror and shock captured in all those videos that went viral. Money was raised. A good thing. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth I suppose.

But that challenge did not have people living in wheelchairs, unable to move. See the difference?

I see all sorts of lives lived by those who are also blind. Some are doing life more successfully and happily than others. But that’s no different than the rest of the population.

I first heard about a Twitter campaign going around known as How I See, which I wrote my own post for here several weeks back:

Black Or White #HowISee

Life is neither, sometimes one, sometimes the other. No different for me.

When I heard #HowISee vs #HowISeeIt, I admit I was originally confused and wrote on FFB’s Facebook page, asking for clarification. I did not jump to participate or to get anyone sighted in my own life participating either once theirs was explained to me.

Some more well known visually impaired advocates are taking part in #HowISeeIt, by helping spread that message of FFB, such as a UK poet with RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa):

Stand By Me RP awareness page on Facebook

Of course, different people are going to have different opinions on which hash tag campaigns, websites, and organizations are doing good work and which are furthering myths, stereotypes, and negative views about what blindness is and what it’s like to live with.

Here one visually impaired young Canadian has her story told through FFB.

I have watched many of her awareness videos on her YouTube channel and she has been working with The Foundation Fighting Blindness Canada since she was young.

This may not seem like stream of consciousness writing exactly, with all these links inserted, but I knew it would be close enough, as I feared before I began that if I started to write about my own thoughts on this topic, I may never stop.

Here are a few places where I think we’re on the right track:

Blind New World, #BlindNewWorld

&

Bold Blind Beauty

Of course I mention all sides because I don’t necessarily think there is a total right or wrong here. People with all sorts of experiences deserve to feel how they feel about these things.

I just make it work with where I’m at today and keep as much positivity and hope alive inside as I know how.

Thanks for listening.

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TToT: Blessings and Thankfuls – RIP, Pinky and Gerti #10Thankful #FTSF #1000Speak #AbbyOnTheMove #HowISee

I dedicate this week’s 10 Things of Thankful to the tragic, cruel, and untimely death of Pinky the flamingo and a dear family loved one far away.

This week It’s my pleasure to be linking up and joining not only the TToT, but also with Kristi from

Finding Ninee and “Finish the Sentence Friday”

and the blessings crew, connected to

1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, #1000Speak.

When it comes to blessings, many have been bestowed upon me in my life. That’s why I continue to write my weekly thankful post, going on fifteen months now.

https://summat2thinkon.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/10thankful-banner.jpg?w=700?w=700&#8243

For a big third birthday and the special little boy celebrating it.

He is such a smart and friendly little boy and my nephew, I’m proud to say.

He received a bunch of superhero themed birthday presents.

The Hulk hands, veins and all, they reminded me of those foam fingers people wave around in the air at sporting events.

They felt a bit odd to some of us, but my nephew loved them and that’s all that matters.

He then proceeded around the yard, bringing his newly formed, giant hands down on chairs, as Hulk, and roaring his mighty displeasure.

🙂

For art and those encouraging us to create more of it,

Ivy Walker and her “AUGUST! 30 DAY ART CHALLENGE!”

I am drawn to this challenge and Ivy is one of the good ones, always supportive and hosting an always interesting blog.

I just struggle with not seeing anywhere near to do any sort of visual art in the last several years. I can find blessings, but losing my ability to see colour has been a tough reality to accept.

I will never stop celebrating and appreciating art, in all its forms.

So thank you Ivy, for everything you do.

For my childhood home and my access to it even after I’d moved out and so had my parents.

My sister loved that house so much that she lives there now with her own family.

This means I didn’t have to give up the place where all my early memories were made. I can see it whenever I need a reminder that I am safe, loved, and always welcomed home again.

That I got to meet one of the closest people in the world to my oma while she was alive. That my parents took me to Germany to visit my oma’s cousin, as I’d probably met her several years previous to our trip in 1998 but I could not recall.

RIP Gerti. You are at peace now, with my oma perhaps. If you are, I am certain there are some most excellent talks happening between you two, (half in English and half in German) like the good old days.

That I got to hear the song that means so much to me, one I wrote lyrics for that are very close to my heart, and now have life and breath brought to my words.

After I listened and let it all just sink in, I am dying to share “Decade Adrift” with the world, but I must hold back because it is not complete just yet.

It is still so strange a feeling to hear someone sing words I wrote. I love it though, don’t get me wrong. It’s an incredible feeling actually. I am blessed that anyone at all would use my words in a song, like my brother has, that he’s put so much energy into. Then to hear them sung capably is just the best thing.

For a special Mexican writing workshop discussion on Skype with my writing mentor.

We had one of our hour long Skype conversations, but this time we didn’t just speak about my writing in general, in other areas. We spoke about when I travel to Mexico to attend her multi sensory writing workshop.

She explained how the week will likely go. I listened, leaning in so as not to miss a single detail.

She is making so much happen for me and I owe her so much for that.

For my brothers and their determination and computer knowledge and persistence, for Imgur, and a once more functional wireless keyboard.

Every single time I find myself starting fresh with a different computer, I must set things up the way that works best for me, for my writing and blogging and VoiceOver settings for all of those things.

So, maybe you’ve noticed lately, I have not included photos in any of these posts.

Well, it’s because I’ve had to get used to a new Mail program, updates, and so much more. I struggle with whether or not to include photos at all, as I can’t see them and, unlike words, images are unclear and vague concepts to me now.

It’s nice, however, for most of my readers here, of which can mostly see and do enjoy images. I wanted to get this stuff all straightened out and then, to top it all off, I couldn’t get my keyboard working through BlueTooth anymore.

And so, one trip to visit my brother and with the help of my ever trusty younger sibling, we’re (that’s to say I’m) BACK IN BUSINESS!

My brother discovered I needed something entirely new to me which is a program called Imgur. He, well both my brothers, they are much better at following instructions and all the proper steps to make such changes work properly.

My oma (spoken of above) once gave me a stuffed bear wearing a suit, glasses, and a hat, on a stand. She told me:

“Here’s a man for your bed.”

This was my European grandmother, not realizing the hilarity many would find in that one innocent statement.

Well, now we keep the joke going by saying I need a man, but in this case, for practical everyday reasons – a guy, to help me with all the tedious computer and technology stuff I struggle with.

So, instead of waiting for a man/guy, I have my awesome brothers and their readiness to help me fight through these issues that seem to be never ending.

For an enjoyable day spent out in the back yard, in lovely August weather, with family.

If I am starting to use photos once again, I wish I had certain photo evidence that carrots can, indeed, grow on trees, apple trees to be exact.

😉

A squirrel likely had a carrot in its mouth and left it dangling from the apple tree in my brother’s back yard. He is a photographer, but did not get this as any sort of photographic proof.

But balls were thrown. A dog was pulled along on his leash by an excited little girl. Gardening was discussed. Birthday presents were opened enthusiastically by all involved.

For this most excellent little sighted guide.

YYFH2SK.jpg

She is now at the age where we can play “guess which one of your aunt’s eyes is the real one” and she understands. Not freaky at all, right?

She gives her little left hand to me and her right to my brother and leads us out of the restaurant, all in a bendy row, our white canes out as well, just in case..

**Our Mission is to demonstrate that more awareness needs to take place for visual impairment and blindness.

EP5gue5.jpg

For the awareness campaigns I am able to take part in, such as

#AbbyOnTheMove

Abby Style

and

#HowISee.

Black Or White

(Just in case you were ever curious.)

🙂

Dark or light. It’s neither one nor the other by the way.

These are my thankfuls/blessings in life for this August, 2016 and beyond.

Carry On – Nora Jones

And now I’ve finished, with a song, and now I, Kerry, I will take Nora’s advice and carry on.

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TToT: Once, Twice In A Blue Lobster – Long Tones, #10Thankful #BlindNewWorld

And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
Then Heaven tries earth if it be in tune,
And over it softly her warm ear lays;
Whether we look, or whether we listen,
We hear life murmur, or see it glisten …”

—James Russell Lowell

Welcome June!

Paperback Writer – The Beatles

The above song, by the Beatles, turns fifty years old. I loved it because it reminds me of my dad, and his love for that band which goes way back, but also because it is about a paperback writer, something I wanted desperately to be, myself.

So guess what was discovered off the coast of Canada last month?

Two Blue Lobsters Found In Canada

Something so rare and beautiful; sometimes, the rarest of the rare ends up being most precious of all.

Some things aren’t meant to be, no matter how much we wish they were. That is a hard reality to face. One of those weeks, with some stress and anxiety, many ups and downs, but I am thankful overall.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For lobsters of all colours.

One in two million. What are the chances?

Yay Canada!

I love colour, the colour blue. I love lobsters. This story made my day, my week, and more.

If these odds can be beaten, anything could happen.

😉

For the help that came from far away.

South African firefighters dance as they arrive in Canada to help battle wildfires

This happened across the country from me. I didn’t experience these horrible wildfires up close. I can’t imagine what it’s been like for the residents of Alberta who did experience the wrath of nature.

This story about the firefighters from South Africa who came to offer their assistance to the people of Fort McMurray made my day, when so much injustice and anger exists, but then these guys came all this way, to do what they could to help.

For a dramatic return to my writing group this week.

Okay, so we usually talk a little, casually, before we get down to the actual writing. This time, things got a tad intense for my liking, but it got me thinking.

It started with nobody remembering to bring in a mystery object for us to base our stories around. I just happened to have my keys and the beaded, handmade pink cross from my grandma. I keep it because it reminds me of her, helps me feel close to her, but on this occasion it seemed to spark a whole religious thing that I never would have expected.

The one member of the group spoke up and held up his new found religion, his bible. This launched us into a discussion where he swore the earth is flat.

By the time the debate had gone on and I should have just got the ball rolling for the purpose of us all being there, meaning I should have just started to write, but I broke down and had to challenge some of his statements.

“So, can you heal me? Can you cure my blindness?” I asked. This may have been a mistake.

I have a lot of feelings on this, possibly better suited for a story because I don’t begrudge anybody their beliefs or the faith they’ve found. I just can’t spend my life hoping to be cured.

It got my brain working, anyway. Thankful I can think these matters over in my own head, as well as discussing them with people I’ve grown to love spending two evenings a month with.

For progress seen by my violin teacher, if not entirely noticeable by me.

There is this thing called long tones. I am loving all this violin lingo.

Doesn’t “long tones” sound so smooth and lovely?

🙂

Well, it’s like practicing scales. You just go from one string, back and forth with the bow, and then onto the next.

I need to keep my shoulder down and move through the note with my elbow, and less with my shoulder or wrist.

Well, my teacher said she noticed somewhat of a breakthrough, a milestone I’ve arrived at. I don’t feel it the same as she sees it, but that’s okay. I’m getting there and it feels really good.

For the cooler weather this week.

I love having my AC there when I need it, but it’s nice not to need it too.

While the end of May grew to be quite humid, June is starting out with cooler temps and even rain. I don’t mind.

For a beautiful song for me to try writing more lyrics to.

My brother has recorded a full version of “Decade Adrift” and now I will spend the coming week writing the lyrics.

They will be based around the theme of feeling lost for an entire decade, but I plan to use being swept out into the ocean as the metaphor for the feeling.

For care of loved ones when I felt like crap.

I regretfully had to miss out on a family day, due to one of my more nasty headaches. I was sorely disappointed, but it wouldn’t have been any fun if I had attempted it.

So, my parents felt bad and knew I would too. They told my sister and her husband to check up on me and they did.

I was feeling nauseous and couldn’t eat much. The fruit smoothie they brought by was greatly appreciated.

For a thunderstorm overhead.

I enjoyed the cool air that ushered in a storm this weekend. I enjoyed staying indoors, upstairs, with my nephew watching the rain through an open window.

I still wasn’t feeling my best. Whether or not he was just pretending is debatable, but every time there was even the slightest rumble of thunder in the distance, he would run whimpering over to me and would hide his face beneath a sheet.

Then he cuddled up against me and we sat there, not moving, for a time. It was the best.

For nineteen years and counting.

I put out a request for suggestions on Facebook earlier, but sadly I got no responses.

😦

I am looking for something HUGE to do next year, on the 20th anniversary of my kidney transplant from my father: any ideas?

For those doing their part to bring awareness.

Blind New World

I hope more of the world comes to see blindness, not as something to be frightened of at all costs, but as something many people deal with, successfully, on a daily basis.

I hope the stigma is worn clean away. I hope…I hope…I hope.

I do know I am grateful to be here, even with all the downs, because I eagerly anticipate the ups that follow.

Alive – Edwin

“I seldom think about my limitations, and they never make me sad. Perhaps there is a touch of yearning at times, but it is vague, like a breeze among flowers. The wind passes, and the flowers are content.”

Waltzing With Helen Keller

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FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, TGIF

Sailing Away and the Bee Tree, #TGIF #FTSF

I hear it, that far off humming from the other side of the driveway.

What’s that noise?

My family start hinting at the origin, somewhere nearby, but not too near.

We’re standing around, in the driveway, with the fresh cut scent of grass in the air.

“Ooh, don’t tell Kerry,” they say, dancing around something they see and I don’t. I know them pretty well and can probably guess.

***

This was no Winnie the Pooh cartoon. I remember his song about being a little black storm cloud, as he attempted to disguise himself in mud, so he could sneak honey from a tree, attempting to avoid detection by the swarm of bees.

This time, in this driveway, it was a favourite tree of my mom’s. The late afternoon warmth of the day made conditions just right for pollination.

This was a nightmare of mine.

Not pollination. I think that’s cool and all, for the bees, but it took some coaxing from my sister, to get me to walk close to the Eastern redbud tree, as the closer I came, the louder the sound of the bees. They were clearly occupied, more concerned with the flowers they were working on, and weren’t about to stop their very important duties, to all land on me, like they would if I were dreaming.

***

I back away hastily, nevertheless, just in case. The sound of a swarm of bees makes me shrink back. That sound gets me moving, faster than most anything else I might hear. Not the fault of the bees at all.

***

Yu know that fear you have that something in your own life will inevitably reoccur at night, in your dreams?

Of course, we don’t normally control that. The things, at least for me, which I fear could show up in my dreams at night never show up, just because I think they will. Always, it’s a surprise, for good or ill.

***

This week’s Finish the Sentence Friday post is about

dreams

and

dreaming.

***

I need to start a dream journal. If I were to do this, I would need to write them down the moment I wake up, because within minutes the memories fade, unless extremely vivid. I have had some of those over the years, of which some really crazy stories could have been written. Ah well.

**I’ve dreamed about clowns. *Shudders

**I’ve dreamed the standard one where I’m being chased.

**I’ve dreamed I was stuck at the bottom of the ocean.

**I’ve dreamed that I moved out to the west coast of Canada, to fulfill my long held dream of studying marine biology.

**Some good and some not so good dreams, for sure.**

**I’ve dreamt I was in an old house, one that smelled rancid, and when I awoke I could still smell it on the insides of my nostrils.

The putrid smell in the dream carried on into my day and I still get that happening on occasion. A strange mix-up of senses, experience, and consciousness.

***

To round off this week’s answer to the sentence I thought I would address one of the most commonly asked questions about blindness:

Do I see when I dream?

I don’t suddenly drift off each night and enter a totally sighted realm. I believe, most times, the brain can’t simply create images where none have been known. I could be wrong, not wanting to speak for all who can’t see, but it also depends on if you’ve been totally blind all your life or not. I have had more sight previously. Perhaps my brain can use a recall method, but mostly I don’t think about it. I can’t even really give a totally clear and concise answer.

You’d think it should be easy to say, but it’s not so black and white. More different variations of grey.

When I sleep, I dream in, from what I can recall, faded light. I think, as my sight seems to be less and less, that element of my dreaming hours becomes less and less important. I like the break I usually get though. In my dreams, I don’t worry about being treated differently. I don’t worry how I’m going to get somewhere, or if I have someone’s arm to guide me, or if I’ve suddenly ended up without my white cane. I just don’t care and, I must say, that break from reality is the best part of dreaming, no matter what I see or don’t see while I’m in the midst of it.

***

This song came on in a restaurant where I found myself eating lunch the other day.

Sailing – Christopher Cross

While I was sleeping, I dreamt his song. I like it. It takes me away somewhere when I hear it, sort of like a beautiful and a peaceful dream should.

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