Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Podcast, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Throw-back Thursday, Travel

KETCHUP ON PANCAKES: Episode 12 – British C Or B Columbia #Travel #TBT #Family #Podcast

We’re so far keeping up with our goal of recording one episode a month in 2018 – we’re getting this one in, just under the wire, as May turns to June.

Episode 12: British C or B Columbia – KETCHUP ON PANCAKES

Travel is one of our favourite topics and this one takes us back to our trip to western Canada at the start of the month.

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Sound clips included, to bring us back and you along with us, and we end with a Throwback Thursday and an odd Niagara Falls memory of sibling silliness.

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British Columbia – Vancouver and Victoria are some of the most splendid spots in Canada and we invite you to come along on the journey. Come stand in the Pacific Ocean, ride the Vancouver Sky Train, and then return to Ontario and stand with me, at the railing of Niagara Falls.

Adventure is just around the corner, the next bend up ahead.

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

TToT: The Time of the Ostriches and A Kingdom of Hedges – Red Thunder #10Thankful

“Open your eyes, and see what you can with them, before they close forever.”

—All The Light We Cannot See

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for a beautiful day of perfect spring weather.

As I headed toward the hospital, for a medical test, I felt the gentle, pleasant breeze of a mid May day on my cheek.

I wished the test could be done outside, before the day progressed and the temperature warmed any.

I’m thankful for Canada’s medical system, even when I’d rather be anywhere else.

It’s this ERG eye test I had done back in February and, instead of hearing the results a month later, I received a call that I was to come back in. It needed to be repeated, and it wasn’t clear the reason for the order.

So, here I was and I was sitting back in that chair, drops in my eyes, and having to look into the bright light and try not to blink.

I tried to get an answer, from my doctor in the same building, but he was in doing some sort of laser procedure.

I didn’t want to have to go through the discomfort again, if it had been all in error, but I couldn’t find out what the deal was, so I went through it once more.

It causes headaches to have to keep my eyes open in that penetrating brightness. Still, whatever this test shows finally, I am glad to have access to the facilities and the doctors and the equipment that isn’t available everywhere.

I’m thankful for a successful return to my violin lessons, after a bit of a hiatus.

My teacher was finishing up her degree in music and her final solo performance. Then I was off to British Columbia and just having returned.

It isn’t good to be away from the structure and guidance of a lesson, for me, for too long. Yet, I return and am not so far behind with it all as I always fear I’ll be.

I am glad my teacher is patient and helpful. She makes it easier in all its toughness.

I’m thankful for some more global accessibility awareness.

There’s a day for everything, but this one was Global Accessibility Awareness Day and I am writing this on my talking laptop and reading electronic braille.

Hopefully, more of the world is coming to understand about what makes an accessible society, for as many people as possible. That isn’t easy, but just thinking and an effort made is nice to see.

I’m thankful for a little love in the world.

I was up with a bad headache and I was glad to hear about the love that was present at that royal wedding.

It has no bearing on my life, what Harry and Meghan do, but I am glad of a little extra love and I celebrate that. With all the horrors going on in the world, I celebrate this love and light.

I’m thankful for music at weddings, especially this
young cellist.

I’m thankful for the treasure that is my older sister.

She is tough and good humoured. She has created the most beautiful family and I am lucky to be a part of that, in any way.

She is steady and reliably there for me. As sister relationships go, ours has had relatively few bumps, as I hear of all the fighting between grown siblings.

We will always have each other and I hold that truth close.

I’m thankful for a lovely celebration dinner out, by the river, with family.

My mom found a restaurant, in an old building, by a river with toads and such.

We enjoyed a delicious meal and my nephew watched the creatures and critters outside the window as we waited for our food to arrive. He enjoyed finding a toad by the river after we’d eaten.

I’m thankful for the neighbourhood I live in.

For a holiday like Canada celebrating the queen of England who was on the thrown during the formation of the country, there’s always a lot of commotion all around where I live.

I may not always participate fully in the events, but I enjoy hearing it going on around me.

I’m thankful for the sounds of the season (spring) I hear out my window.

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Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Shows and Events, The Insightful Wanderer, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge, Travel, TravelWriting, TToT

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

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

—Jonathan Swift

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

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

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

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

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful for capable airline pilots.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m thankful for a writer with a car.

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

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

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

I’m thankful for the breakwater.

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

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

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

MUNRO’S Books

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m thankful for helpful people during travel.

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

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

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

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

I’m thankful for delicious salads on my travels.

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

Mmm.

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

I’m thankful for those who came before.

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

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

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

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Fiction Friday, Writing

Short Story Month 2014

May is National Short Story Month and the queen of the short story, in my opinion, is Canada’s own Alice Munro. I sent an email request to Alice just now, requesting an interview for my blog. Yes, I know what you are thinking. It is the longest of long shots, but since turning thirty and since recent events I have decided to take the chances I never would have taken before. What have I got to lose?

Alice grew up in Wingham, not so far from me. She attended the University of Western Ontario, studying English. She then became a wife and mother for many years, but after publishing her first story in UWO’s literary magazine, she was hooked and would write short story after short story, making a name for herself in Canada and around the world.

Her family started a bookstore in B.C. called Munro’s Books. She would later become writer-in-residence at Western and then at the universities of British Columbia and Queensland. She published her first book of short stories in 1968 and would go on to publish 15 more.

A while back I listened to an author-to-author interview, Margaret Atwood as interviewer and Alice Munro as interviewee. She is now a sweet old woman with decades of literary experience that I find highly inspiring. I love to listen to her wise words.

I can’t describe the feeling I had last year when it was announced that Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. I was proud and pleased and inspired. I let the honour motivate me and drive me forward in my own dreams.

Since then I received an email from a writer friend who told me about the yearly Alice Munro festival held where she grew up and the short story competition put on in her name and honour. I have the summer to come up with the perfect short story, one which is going to set me apart. I would find it the highest honour there is to win an award with her name on it..

Okay, so I haven’t exactly come up with the winning story idea yet, but I am working it over, slowly in my mind. I have a lot going on right now, but this is important to me. Priorities.

http://shortstorymonth.com

http://alicemunrofestival.ca

http://alicemunro.ca

http://munrobooks.com

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