1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Blogging, Feminism, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Special Occasions, The Insightful Wanderer, TToT

TToT: Being the Heroine of My Own Story – Lucky, #EarthDay2017 #WorldBookDay #10Thankful

“There, sitting on the warm grass, I had my first lessons in the beneficence of nature. I learned how the sun and the rain make to grow out of the ground every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, how birds build their nests and live and thrive from land to land, how the squirrel, the deer, the lion and every other creature finds food and shelter. As my knowledge of things grew I felt more and more the delight of the world I was in. Long before I learned to do a sum in arithmetic or describe the shape of the earth, Miss Sullivan had taught me to find beauty in the fragrant woods, in every blade of grass, and in the curves and dimples of my baby sister’s hand. She linked my earliest thoughts with nature and made me feel that ‘birds and flowers and I were happy peers.”

—Helen Keller, The Story of My Life

I’m trying to have the sense to live in the moment and to enjoy myself in that moment, whatever it might be, like Helen Keller and her teacher Miss Sullivan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rlQqWbp7rY

The only time things seem to make any sense is when I am with my nieces or nephews, holding my niece.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for more time spent, just myself and my little buddy Mya.

She didn’t want to sleep the entire time. She didn’t want to miss one second of her time with Auntie Kerry.

Then Kim told me there are a few photos recently taken where Mya looks like me. I may never have my own children. My sister will never know how much this small thing, one I won’t ever likely fully understand because I can’t see the pictures, means to me anyway.

I am thankful for my last violin lesson for a few weeks.

Last time we missed multiple weeks it was I who was going away. This time my teacher is traveling.

I hope, like last time, I don’t fall too far back in my progress.

I hope her trip is everything mine was to me, all she hopes.

I am thankful for my return to the library.

I haven’t been to my writing group (The Elsewhere Region like I like to refer to it) since February, for a few reasons.

Everyone there seemed pleased to see me, a few even saying they missed me. I missed them and their wonderful imaginations.

We had little scraps of paper with a few lines of story prompt written on them, thanks to one of the members of our group, and mine included: a frog prince, a talking donkey, a cloud castle, and Betty’s wish list.

Who is Betty you ask…well I asked myself that same question. It was the first try for me, in a while or at all really, at writing fantasy. I liked what I came up with, though I have no idea where I was headed with it, but then my equipment decided to cause a problem.

I was reading my story in progress out loud to the group, they were riveted, and then the second half of what I’d written seemed to vanish. I am sure I wrote it, but my technology doesn’t always cooperate.

I am thankful I could answer a few questions about how I’ve learned and lived as a blind person, for a good cause.

My sister’s sister-in-law works with a young boy who is blind. She helps him in his neighbourhood school, but she had some questions about how I’ve grown up, how I learned, and how my mom saw it all from the parent perspective.

She had the coolest keychain on her keys. Instead of a cube with coloured squares, she has three blocks that move from one side to another, and they contain tactile dots. They are braille dots and they make different letters in braille when you mix and match them.

A fun thing to do with your hands. She sounds like an excellent teacher who wants to keep learning the best possible ways to teach her student to be as successful in his life as possible and it seems he is lucky to have her.

I am thankful for a friend reaching out, mentioning me to her friend, and a new and possible connection made in the world of women writing and women’s storytelling.

Thank you Lizzi. Women helping and supporting other women. We can always use the help. I appreciate it.

Who knows what will or will not come of it, but that is what making connections is all about.

I am thankful for a lovely first visit with my new neighbour in my home.

We had a nice talk. Many more to come.

She even warned me about the roofers coming to her house and called me this evening, to check on me, when she thought she heard a noise over here.

I am thankful for this earth.

I watched Bill Maher say that 45 needs to forget “Make America Great Again” and instead “Make Earth Great Again.”

I totally agree. Mars is cool and everything (says this fan of planets since childhood) but we don’t have licence to be careless, reckless, and destroy this planet, just because some want to get there. It is not the answer to our problems of environmental and climate changes. Taking care of this place, the one already with plenty of water and life and the air we breathe, that will benefit us all in the end.

As many said, every day should be Earth Day for us all.

I am thankful for science.

All Around Us and Everything Essential

I thank all the scientists in my life: my oldest friend, my many excellent doctors over the years, my cousin and his wife, my new friend who is also a writer, Bill Nye The Science Guy (for teaching me to love our solar system when I was a child), and to so many who are much smarter than I am in these matters.

I owe science big and I believe those who marched all around the world were warranted in doing so. We need to make a statement. Science is worth fighting for.

I am thankful for another excellent episode of Anne The Series.

A young girl runs through a dark, snow covered forrest, carrying a lantern and wearing only a thin layer of night clothes.

Ahead By A Century.

I am glad Anne and Diana are allowed to be friends again so soon, but I didn’t expect these three things to happen, all in this one episode of Anne The Series: Diana’s sister almost dying, Anne meeting Great Aunt Miss Josephine Barry, and Gilbert suffering a huge loss.

The fist fight is one of the memorable parts of this one, likely brought on by grief and a need to defend a newly growing love and respect, even if the source of that love and respect doesn’t make it easy, like one before her.

Though Anne is conflicted about what her future should be, between romance that most young girls are desperate for and her strong ambition, she knows when she listens to her heart.

This episode is all about letters, long lost pleas that will now never be addressed and unfinished business and apologies.

More flashback with Marilla this time, as a young girl, about Anne’s age. Sadly, youth cannot last and family obligations altered everything, but not necessarily for the worse, for some more than others.

Matthew offers to help Gilbert, Marilla and Gilbert have a enlightening conversation about place and time, and Anne finds a kindred spirit in old Miss Barry, who the writing hints as having had a long same sex relationship with another woman. This was never even alluded to in the series I loved growing up, but the times are changing and I am glad for that. It was one of the pleasant surprises of this week’s instalment.

Some of my favourite themes explored in this narrative are those exploring grief, loss, stubbornness, regret, and how decisions can or may influence the future.

Anne goes to give her apology when she finds an abandoned house, Marilla is stuck with her regrets, and Matthew goes to the bank to make some mysterious financial transaction.

Season finale already next Sunday. That went fast and I hope the break isn’t too long, that a second season is in the works.

“Romance is a pesky business. No sense to be made of it.”
—Miss Josephine Barry

I am thankful for books, but not only them, but books in accessible formats.

On World Book Day, I am not just thankful for books, though I am always thankful for those. It’s being able to read them, hold them, learn from them, and to access them in either e-format, audiobooks, or in braille.

This wasn’t always possible if you couldn’t see to read and it still isn’t always made easy. I just want to be like Helen, with her love of reading and learning. Or Anne and hers.

And so one more week ends and another begins. It’s all still an endless, giant enigma to me.

Advertisements
Standard
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.

7BzgUb2.jpg

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.

Standard
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

International Day For Persons with Disabilities 2016, #IDPD2016

Helen Keller…Stevie Wonder…Ray Charles…Rick Hansen…Stephen Hawking…

The Rick Hansen Foundation

There are so many more of us out here, only looking to have rich, full lives like anyone else, but what often stops us is not only society’s barriers, but our own.

***

Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually on 3 December around the world. The theme for this year’s International Day is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want” . This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.

***

One note on the society part – some of you may not want to think a lot about it, if you don’t have to, because then it becomes clear that the possibility for anyone to become disabled is indeed a possibility for anyone..

I am a Canadian woman, living with a disability. I didn’t acquire my disability through an accident later in life. I did not develop it overtime, but from birth and still, who knows which direction my remaining vision might take.

On the day before the
United Nation’s International Day For PErsons with Disabilities
I felt a tired feeling that I sometimes get. I panic and assume my sight is worsening, but I am not sure, if that makes any real sense. I close my eyes and decide I will try to get back in to see my retinal specialist soon.

I don’t know what, if anything, he will be able to tell me, offer me as hope that I won’t be completely blind one day. He will probably see no changes or signs of the mysterious eye disease that took my left eye twenty years ago. He will speak to me of gene therapies in various stages of development, but I don’t know what hope lies in that for me. Maybe it will be my future. Maybe not. I’ve learned not to bank on anything.

That’s a part of my DNA, just like the genetic eye disease. I am conditioned to either think the worst or simply not want to hope for the things I may really really want, always fearing that the disappointment from possibly not getting them will break me. It hasn’t broken me yet, which does give me reason to be optimistic though.

I wanted to be able to see the truly unique show violinist Lindsey Stirling put on recently. Instead, I listened to all I could and relied on my helpful sister to fill in the blanks. I wanted to throw my white cane away and yelled my displeasure, and through the wish, but instead I sat and listened even harder.

I want to draw like I used to when I saw colours and when everything in my world was more clearly and brightly defined. I can’t. I want to scream in frustration but I’m resigned instead.

I want to take up the latest craze of adult colouring books, but I don’t.

Of course, nothing is really stopping me. I may not, as an adult, see the lines I may have hardly seen as a child, which are now nearly invisible to me. I could still get myself a Harry Potter or any number of other themed colouring books with a theme which fits my interest, and be damned if I miss colouring in the lines by a mile.

But I don’t. I don’t scream or rail at the world in an uproar. I find other ways to spend my time.

I want to travel and to go through life with an independent spirit and loads of self confidence, but I don’t. I try and I work at it, but I’m scared.

I find a travel series, a BBC documentary, available to me on Netflix. It’s Stephen Fry, whom I love, and he is doing a road trip across the United States in his British cab. I know him from his narration of the Harry Potter books and for his intelligent and witty character. After watching him visit all 50 states I now know he hates being on a horse, dancing, and skiing. He loves science and culture and literature.

Stephen Fry In America

I watch him on his trip and I long to go on one of my own, but I fear getting lost in the big, expansive world and I worry that my white cane will attract only pity. I want to grip it with extra determination and go anyway. It’s all in my attitude, right?

I can’t drive a cab across the country. I want to believe I will see more of the world anyway, even without definition of sight.

I don’t try to revisit childhood experiences of mine by colouring. Instead, I watch a travel show which I’ve heard of but only now decided to give a chance.

HELLO GOODBYE, #HelloGoodbye

The host speaks to one woman in her sixties, widowed after her late husband’s long battle with illness, but who has now found new love with a man from England. Her happiness is infectious. Her newly found love walks down the ramp in the arrivals terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport and gets down on one knee. Love is lost and can be found again.

I feel warm just by watching and listening to her story.

The host also speaks to a young man and his parents. The son is on his way to participate in Rio, at the Paralympics. He was paralyzed from a diving accident and now plays wheelchair rugby.

And then there was the grandmother, daughter, and grandson saying their goodbyes. The young guy and his mother are heading back to Britain after a visit with Grandma. The mother has RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa). She carries a cane, but the son speaks of wanting his mother to have companionship with a guide dog, as he will soon be going out on his own and doesn’t want her to be alone. He has worried about her safety all his life. She admits to being unsure about going for a guide dog once they get back home, but her son’s words cause her to rethink things.

She grips her white cane. I grip mine. She has been losing sight for years. I’ve been blind since birth and losing since. Am I any further along in accepting my circumstances and my white cane than she is?

People ask me all the time if I am ever going to get another guide dog. I don’t quite know what to say. Yes, they may provide the necessary confidence boost for many. I consider it.

I don’t think any dog will ever compare to my Croche, But is that all it is?

I can’t put another animal through what I put Croche through. She was so well trained and so fittingly suited in temperament. She was given to me and I was trusted with her. A lot went into all that. We were a team, but I failed her.

My ever growing illnesses caused me to sleep and her to dutifully stay by my side, but she was prevented from shining. She was my pal, but I don’t take the responsibility of a working dog lightly. I don’t know what my future will bring and I can’t bring myself to bringing another animal into that.

I want to curse what stops me, but what often stops me is me. And so I would just end up cursing myself, again and again.

Or, I could take hold of my white cane and use it for betterment, for working for some of my dreams, and for hardening my resolve and building my often feeble confidence.

My feelings of shame when I walk with my cane are hard to describe and hard to fight off. I will never be happy if I don’t try. Fear and disappointment stop me from even trying. What a waste that would be.

Standard
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.

54-2016-04-17-18-54.jpg

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

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Sullivan

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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Watson

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

Standard
Piece of Cake, RIP, Shows and Events, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: March Winds and April Showers – Lions and Lambs, #10Thankful

“April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”

–T.S. Eliot

Think this quote has been taken to mean “taxes” more recently, but I like to take the entire quote at its original wording.

Okay, so it’s more snow than rain around here at the moment. Lousy April Fools’ joke if you ask me. That was two days ago you know!

I don’t have a lamb or a lion, but Lumos is still a feline. I’d hoped to have a humorous shot of him to include here, but I seem to have misplaced it.

brianchristmas-2016-04-3-07-59.jpg

From the sounds of things around here this week, lots of regulars with the TToT are having trouble coming up with 10 T’s. Mine are to follow, minus any photos this week I’m afraid. Ooh, except for one…because we were celebrating him this week. It was taken back at Christmas, but you get the idea.

🙂

As for the TToT, some are borrowing thankfuls from other members. I am scrambling, somewhat and after a week of feeling sick, for mine, but here goes nothing.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

For Patty Duke.

The Miracle Worker, 1962

She died this week, but she is remembered, for me, as Helen Keller, plus all her work as a mental illness advocate.

For my younger brother’s existence, while celebrating his birthday.

He’s the best brother anyone could ask for, one hell of a musician, and the strongest person I’ve ever known.

Can’t believe this is the final year of his twenties. Due to some extremely unforeseen events since his previous birthday, we came close to losing him, or at least the “him” we’ve become so accustomed to.

🙂

On this birthday of his in particular, I am thankful for the brother I know, better than nearly anyone else.

For organ donation and the newest friend to receive a new lease on life.

My brother has had this gift given and is making the most of it for the last three years now, but now it’s been another person’s turn.

My family have known her and hers since she was only a few years old and since I was first diagnosed with kidney disease. It’s been twenty years, in fact, since our families met.

She has gone through more than many people, a lot in her life, and she is finally free after years of endless dialysis treatments.

The whole organ donation thing is, I fully acknowledge, a touchy subject. If you’ve never known someone who was truly in need, you can’t possibly understand what it means to be free of machines and fatigue and fear.

I struggle because it means someone lost their life. I don’t celebrate that. I only see the good that can come from something so awful. I will forever be torn, even though my brother and myself have and will probably benefit from organ donation more in the years to come, barring major medical advancements.

For a lovely walk, fresh air, after being sick and cooped up for what felt like days.

It was growing dark and all it was was a short walk down the block in my parent’s neighbourhood. My nephew loved tossing stones into the water that had accumulated there.

The wind was biting, but it was also refreshing. I needed the air to flood my recently so stuffy lungs.

For not being sick anymore.

I was sick and tired of all the aches, coughing, and the monster.

Ozzy Osbourne sings a line in one of his songs that I love about “being sick and tired of being sick and tired” and this is not totally gone away from my life, but after a bad cold finally vacates my body, I am often able to realize how happy I am to have one less thing to deal with.

For the return of my normal voice.

It sounded, for a few days there, as if a monster had taken over my body, specifically my vocal cords.

I hope to finally have another violin lesson. Unforeseen events, my feeling unwell, these have resulted in me only getting one lesson this past month or so. Not cool.

For old memories, nostalgia, and endless laughter.

The Things I’ve Seen and Heard

My brother and I listened to old tapes he is digitalizing. All the laughter was hard on my body, after the cold, but it also felt nice, like shaking off cobwebs in the corners of a room that has been shut up to the open for too many consecutive days.

For the passing of yet another April Fools’ Day, for another year.

I am the first one to advocate for more humour in the world, as was one of my 10 from last week, but the day set aside for jokes and pranks is more of a nuisance than a laugh for me now.

I am highly gullible. Although a lot of the jokes played by and on me in person were a thing of my youth, now it’s all on Facebook. So much so, that I may stay off of Facebook entirely next April 1st.

For baseball starting up for the 2016 season.

Today was the first season game and Toronto won!!! Keep that up boys.

And for this song.

Standard
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).

Standard
Blogging, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, RIP, Special Occasions, TToT

TToT: Summer Solstice

“Summer afternoon-summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
–Henry James

This week started off and ended with a number of holidays, occasions, and celebrations.

TEN THINGS OF THANKFUL

Sunday: Father’s Day

For my amazing father.

Last June was the first opportunity, on my then relatively new blog, to let my own dad know what he meant to me and I did that by writing about a particularly meaningful memory from almost twenty years ago.

Father

I have recently, for TToT, explained the incredible things my father has done for me and I hope he always knows what he means to our whole family.

For the longest day of the year and for another summer to come around.

I pushed through last summer, though my heart really wasn’t in it, and I have good reason to believe this one will be vastly better then the last.

I am already trying new things, determined to live my life in different ways, and hopefully have more to add to these thankfuls in the weeks to come.

For National Aboriginal Day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Aboriginal_Day

I consider myself lucky to live in a country full of all of the people who share it with me.

Monday: For the sweetest words in the whole world.

“I wuve you Keree.”

My nephew turns three this summer and he has begun saying these words to, not only his parents and his favourite toys and movies, but to his Auntie Kerry.

🙂

When he cuddles with me and I hear him tell me he loves me, I know how lucky I am that I get to see him, at least once a week.

I miss my other nephew and my niece. They don’t live that far away, but far enough that our contact is less frequent than I would like, but we always come back together as a family in the end.

Tuesday: My Heart Will Go On

For the unforgettable music of composer James Horner.

I was obsessed with all things Titanic in the eighth grade, with the release of the film just that Christmas. I was so excited when my parents gave me the soundtrack for my fourteenth birthday.

James Horner Dies In Plane Crash

That is not the part I’m thankful for, obviously.

😦

The world has lost a wonderful talent.

Thank you, James, for some beautiful music I will never forget.

Wednesday: For the incredible advances in medicine in recent years.

I am amazed, as I hold my nephew close, just what these advances have brought to our lives.

No matter what, we are lucky to have him, and we owe it all to these things, unheard-of only a few decades ago.

I dare anyone to look at the beautiful little boy I speak of and say one bad word on what some like to term, “playing God”.

Whatever is to thank, it is miraculous, what doctors can do.

For family dinners out.

We went to a place we’ve gone to for years. It was a common family dinner spot for my own family, for as far back as I can recall.

I am forever a child there, ordering my shirley temples, but my nephew only wanted the orange slice at the bottom of his glass.

Thursday: medical technology isn’t the only wonderful technology. There’s always the phone.

For the chance to reconnect with a friend. We ended up talking, on the phone, for over two hours.

She helped me tick an important item off of my bucket list last year.

And, who knows – we could embark on more adventures together in the future.

That is only some of what we talked about. She shared some important resources with me for the Canada Day blog post I’m working on about Aboriginal issues.

She is a ball of energy and enthusiasm. Speaking with her is like a tonic, getting me to look positively forward.

Friday: Supreme Court recognizes equal rights for all.

For the ruling that came down, in the US, giving all people the right to marry whomever they love.

The White House and other landmarks light up in rainbow colours.

I simply want all people to be treated equally and I hope what happened in my neighbouring country is a step in the right direction.

Saturday: Happy Birthday Helen Keller.

For the important role she has played in my life, ever since I was introduced to her in school as a young girl.

Helen Keller was born, on June 27th, 1880 in Alabama. She suddenly lost her sight and hearing, during a fever, as an infant.

She was lost and locked away in the darkness and the silence, until her teacher came into her life at age seven, and from there she was unstoppable. She learned how to speak with her hands. She went on to become a first in so many things.

She was a feminist, spokesperson for social issues, disability rights activist, and an author who traveled all over the world.

She lived life to the fullest, as much as she possibly could, and she has taught me a lot about perseverance and resilience.

I give Helen the last word for the week…
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”

Standard