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TToT: Laborious, Notorious, Glorious – Go THANK Yourself! #10Thankful

“No man ever was glorious, who was not laborious.”
–Benjamin Franklin


Someone asked me how my Labor Day was going and I wanted to answer with a little something different:

“laborious,” I replied.


A lot went on this week, both in my life and in my mind. School’s back in session, for my niece and my brother, and for me, in a way too.

September 11th was also remembered this week. I can’t believe it’s been fourteen years since 9/11 happened.

“To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.”
–Winston Churchill

It is thought that twenty-six Canadians lost their lives that day.

On the eve of 9/11, a rainbow appears in the sky over One World Trade Center in Manhattan.

Ten Things of Thankful:

For my latest travel writing piece to be published on the travel blog of someone I really admire.

Can you travel blind, crossing Ireland’s Carrick-a-rede- rope bridge?

Thank you, Megan, for giving me a second spot on your travel blog.

It has gotten dozens of RT’s on Twitter in the last week.

First it was our interview.

Can blind people travel?

Of course we can!

And now my guest post where I explain what taking a risk, is like, for me.

Night Swimming

It’s a little like swimming at night. I’ve long wanted to do this and I thought of it, again, on Labor Day.

It’s a bit of a frightening thing, the thought of being out there, at night. I guess it’s the way I live most of my life, stepping out, in the darkness of the unknown, but taking the plunge anyway.

For the chance to spend, what was said to be the hottest day of the year, in the water and so I didn’t even notice the heat they spoke of.

We decided to spend our Labor Day at the lake. We are lucky to live so close to all those fresh water sources.

For my flexibility.

In life, sure, I’m improving. However, I mean that literally because I have been told, by doctors on more than one occasion, that I am incredibly flexible. My muscular skeletal system can bend in strange directions.

So, when I decided to jump in the sand, right along with my nephew, I just so happened to land on a log that was sticking out at my feet.

Luckily my ankles are one of those highly flexible parts of my body and although I went down, landing hard in the sand, my ankle did turn over but did not sprain badly. I felt it go over sideways, but I have stretched out those muscles so much over the years, leaving little to no pain as a result.

The opportunity to chase seagulls with my nephew wasn’t to be missed. Just thankful I walked away from that and did not have to crawl back to the car on hands and knees.


For literacy and education.

International Literacy Day, 2015

I would be lost otherwise.

For the education we’re lucky enough to have in Canada, as my niece begins kindergarten this week.

She is smart and sharp and bright. She learns so much and loves to share it. She surprises us all with the things she’s learning everyday. and I know she will do amazing things as she grows.


It’s a good thing John Oliver is not her teacher.

For the premier of the newest in late night television.

Late Show Recap

Stephen Colbert makes me smile and I look forward to his jokes and his unique style of interviews.

One of his first guests, on his very first week, was George Clooney. They discussed and even showed a clip of George’s new film: Decision Strike!

Sounds impressive, doesn’t it? Well, don’t go looking for it in theatres in the coming weeks or months, as it is only a fictional movie, as he did not actually have anything real to promote. Sounds impressive anyway.

With all the talk of the heating up of the late night show wars, now that Colbert has thrown his own hat into the ring, Stephen made light of this when he mentioned all the thoughtful first-week gifts the other late night comedians have been sending him. He joked that they could all be expecting the best thank you card ever, with the words: GO THANK YOURSELF, written in them.

TAKE THAT! … Jimmy, Jimmy, Conan, John, and the rest.


For whatever it was that got me a replacement battery for my iPhone 5 and finally, after talking about doing it for months.

I put it off for too long. Not sure why. I can actually go a whole day and my phone does not die, a beautiful thing. This will be necessary for my trip to Toronto later this month.

I went in one of those crazy Apple stores, so hip and which make me feel very uncool. They have the genius bar. Well, I was informed of some loophole which made it so I did not have to pay the $100 for a new battery. Okay by me.


It just so happened to be September 9th and the big reveal day for Apple. I did not upgrade to the newly revealed iPhone 6S. My iPhone 5 works just fine, but it’s amazing just how revolutionary the iPhone has been for so many, but for anyone who is visually impaired especially.

For the people, in my life, who have gone through the loss of a loved one to suicide. They teach me things, all the time, about survival and resilience.

World Suicide Prevention Day, 2015

Sometimes prevention isn’t possible, upon looking back, no matter what anyone could have done. That doesn’t mean we stop trying.

I know life is forever altered for them. It isn’t easy and life will never feel happy, truly happy again. I just hope they know someone is thinking about them, always.

Everybody Hurts

The day was such a beautiful one this year, the weather anyway.

“She had always wanted words, she loved them; grew up on them. Words gave her clarity, brought reason, shape.”
–Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

For a dream come true – a dream of clarity, reason, and shape.


First I was accepted into an anthology, with my short story: One Last Kiss.

Then it came out, on Amazon, but first only as an ebook.

It wasn’t until this week, finally, that I actually got to hold a print copy of the book in my own hands. I could feel the weight of it, turn the pages, and smell that signature bookish smell, all knowing my words could be found within. It is an indescribable feeling, a dream come true for me, and I will never forget what that felt like.


For a friend, somebody there on the day the book arrived in the mail. Someone to celebrate with.

We got Dairy Queen confetti cake blizzards to celebrate. Her five-month-old daughter sat, in her carrier, staring at me and I wanted to share, but unfortunately she isn’t eating ice cream, not just yet. I loved celebrating with her too, all the same.


Thanks, Mom, for bringing the book over.

For the best, most loving parents my nephew could ever have. And it all began on that warm day in September, back in 2009 – Happy Anniversary guys!

I will never forget that summer, that day, as long as I live. It was the day my sister had worked so hard for and looked so forward to. I got to be in the wedding party and was happy she allowed me to give a speech at the reception.

Storybook Love

My sister’s favourite movie is The Princess Bride and she wanted my uncle to sing the theme song from the film, at the wedding. It made it special, unique, and all hers. She wanted to get married in our back yard, of the home we grew up in. It was a wedding at home and meant so much to all of us.

Chasing Cars – Snow Patrol

For rainbows, literacy, firsts, celebrations, dreams, and anniversaries.

I am thankful I’ve gotten to share my words, more and more, in recent days and weeks. I guess, for me, the need to share my words with the world goes back to all that stuff I said about night swimming.

It’s scary, certainly, but the idea of being swept up and away, washed out there and with no sign or footprint to show that I was ever here, that is what I am most afraid of.

Sure, the chance for rejection is ever present in the present, but not nearly as great as that there could be no proof that I ever existed in the first place.

“I don’t know how long I kept at it…
I felt reasonably safe, stretched out on the floor, and lay quite still.
It didn’t seem to be summer anymore.”
–Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

But Trust Me On The Sunscreen

Last week was a free post week with:

My Free Five.

It’s mid-March already. The weather is just starting to become reasonable, Dairy Queen was giving away free cones to celebrate their birthday, and I came home today to some good news which I will write about for this week’s upcoming Fiction Friday.

It’s been a pretty good last few days for me, always offering up possible topics I can write about here.


Now, back to business.

For today’s Memoir Monday I answer another question for the challenge…

“The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientist; whereas, the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.”


The above advice (in quotes) is given by others. It was first published as an essay in a newspaper and turned into a song that goes by multiple names.

The next part is all me.


Q: What would you tell someone who has recently been diagnosed with your disabilities or disabilities that you are familiar with?

A: I hesitate to offer up too much advice or to give my version of what anyone else should do in their own unique situation.

I spent a year listening to people on the other end of a crisis hotline telephone. They poured out their anger and their loneliness and occasionally they asked, point-blank, for me to tell them what to do.

Actually, they wanted to know what I would do if I were them, in their position.

This, I will readily admit, can become a highly intoxicating feeling, but this feeling did not last more than two seconds for me on the other end of that phone line.

I have hesitated to offer someone my advice ever since. Perhaps one good lesson to come out of that whole experience, for me.

I gave them what they asked for, grudgingly, and now I will again because it was in the question today.

However, it leaves the advice giver in an awkward position of their own, when, as it often does, the advice does not live up to the promise of itself.

I have made a friend this past year who is going blind. The friendship exists online. I met him over a Facebook group or some such thing. Funny that I can’t now even recall where or how exactly.

He has a lot of education and a good job, but is finding it harder and harder to keep up with certain demands and expectations as his vision worsens.

I won’t go into too much detail about his situation, in case I betray any confidences without meaning any harm.

I will say that he seems to find something valuable in the way I have handled my own life with a lack of vision. He asks me how I’ve handled this or that and I tell him the truth of how I myself have muddled through.

I hope he takes what I say with a grain of salt because I’m just making it up as I go along. I have no answers on how to cope and I don’t even feel all that successful most days, if I’m being honest.

He has it a lot better than me in many ways, a start I did not have, as he is just now starting to really feel the affects of lack of sight.

I guess he finds comfort out of hearing that another person can relate. He simply relays to me the stories of the barriers he’s encountered during his days and I listen.

That’s all I can really do. I know it’s hard and life just seems to keep getting harder all the time.

I don’t sugar coat anything when it comes to losing sight. I would just say that it is made easier when you have others to lean on.

Without that, I don’t know how anybody copes. I talk to others, seeing that life is a struggle for many people, for all sorts of reasons, and the feeling not being so alone is what keeps me going.

Why do any of us look to others for the answers?

It’s because we can’t so easily see clarity of how we can go about our own lives, but can best see these truths in other people.

I can’t live someone else’s life for them. I can’t possibly accurately show them what mine is like either. I don’t know how closely any of us can really relate our life to another person’s life.

disability of any kind presents the kind of challenges unique in life, in a way that roadblocks are put up at every corner. Problem-solving is a key skill to develop. Patience with life is mandatory. Support from others is essential. The world is not fair. People are going to give up and get frustrated with you, just hopefully these people aren’t your only support network.

I could go on listing a string of platitudes here and a lot of it would be true, but some of it might not apply at all. I think inspirational words, pep talks, and advice can be a dangerous thing if we come to rely on them too much.

Instead, we must learn to lean on others for support, all while learning how to best trust our own individual instincts. I haven’t figured these questions out myself yet, thus I feel inept at presenting any fully formed answers to anyone else.

My friend writes powerfully about these instincts and these missing answers to life’s questions and I show him my writing too.

Perhaps we don’t get any answers, from each other, but we do get something from the words we have shared on all that we’re still just beginning to discover.


This might not have been your run-of-the-mill advice column formula, but I hoped I could use an example or two from my own life to express just how shaky any advice can be. We still crave it from others and offer it, in my opinion, much more often than we probably should.

The well-known: ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!

This is a warning sign and it should be applied to all advice, when sought out, and offered up.



What would you like the general public to know about your disabilities, disability in general, or any other relevant subject?

This is next week’s question for the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.

In the meantime…

“Take care of your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.”

This was my favourite track of 1999 and I thought it might add a humorous element to this post.

Do you remember this song?

What was the best or worst advice you’ve ever been given?

What was the best or worse advice you yourself have given someone else?