Adversity Is a Character Builder

It has been over a week since I have written anything here.
I am currently experiencing a state of zero energy, and brain fog. I think/hope it is a result of hypothyroidism, because if it is, and if I can get natural rather than synthetic thyroid medication, the problem will be solved, and boring health posts will be banished from the blog.
But since I started it, let’s just call this a biographical post, and I will briefly explain my challenges, because they are the foundation from which I have had to build my attitudes about adversity, and perseverance. This will not be my most interesting post, but I hope it gives you some insight to the way in which I have developed my philosophy for living.
When I was young, my Dad would always tell me that adversity is a character builder. I appreciate his words now more than ever, because I see these difficulties as strengthening agents, rather than impediments. So if you can slog through this post with me, I promise, there is a point I want to make by telling my story, and there will be something uplifting at the end.
Continue reading “Adversity Is a Character Builder”

Darkness Be My Friend

Certain events stamp themselves in our memories, so that we never forget where we were when we heard the news. The day JFK was assassinated, the Challenger explosion, 9/11 . . . collective experiences shape the perspective from which the world will view events from that point forward. This is also true for personal experiences.
On a Wednesday afternoon in 1996, I went to the mall with a friend to buy a Christmas gift. I was twenty-two, college finals were finished, and I was looking forward to the holidays. The sun was warm for December, bright with a soft winter light. I noted how pretty it was, but I had no idea that it was the last “normal” light I would ever see.
Continue reading “Darkness Be My Friend”

Outlander Season 2, or: Fangirl Freakout

Warning: Fangirl post ahead!
Ten months after the end of season 1, the Starz hit series, Outlander, returns in glorious fashion.
I am too stunned to have anything cute or witty to contribute to the internetwide conversation about the first episode of season 2. But talent like this cannot go unapplauded!
With Sam Heughan, Tobias Menzies, and Caitriona Balfe, we ar seeing the legendary actors of our time!
I have never experienced a group of actors who work together so flawlessly to make you feel every emotion it is possible to feel in 60 minutes, as do these three! I cried tonight, I laughed, I felt nauseous, I felt joyous, I felt afraid, I felt intrigued, and that was just the first episode!
They should win all the awards, . ever!
Continue reading “Outlander Season 2, or: Fangirl Freakout”

Fun Friday

September 1978

 

I was four years old, and we were living in Schreveport. I don’t remember much about our little apartment, except that the short-term home my parents made for me there was a happy one. We would have “picnics”, which consisted of my Mom making plates of balogna sandwiches and barbecue chips, and instead of sitting at the table, we’d eat them sitting cross-legged on the living room floor. Maybe we talked about puppies. Maybe we talked about my “new baby brother.” I don’t know. All I know is that my Mom made something memorable out of the ordinary.

For his 27th birthday, my Dad got this record called “Let’s Get Small”, a comedy album by Steve Martin. One of my favorite things was, and still is, to hear my Daddy laugh, and he thought this record was hilarious. At four years old, I didn’t get the jokes, but they made my Daddy laugh, and that made me happy. Plus, Steve Martin had a happy, young, fun-sounding voice. Thirty-five years later, I can still see sun splashing through the big glass patio doors and windows, making everything bright, and hear Steve Martin’s banjo playing “Ramblin’ Guy” and my Daddy laughing.

Sometimes, Dad would make popcorn, the “real” off-the-stove kind, (no microwave for us back then!). Or, every now and then, he’d make fudge. We’d sit up and watch a movie, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, AND . . . we COULD STAY UP TIL MIDNIGHT!!!!!!!! We could stay up til THE TV WENT OFF! You’d see a Wendy’s commercial or something, then the Star Spangled Banner would play, and the television stations would go off the air. Staying up that late was HUGE to a four-year-old.

I didn’t know it then, but we had virtually nothing, in the way of money. Some kids might have grown up in fancy houses, but I say this with 100% certainty, NONE were happier than me!

Happiness comes in many forms, and you never know which memories will last a lifetime for a kid. You don’t have to be rich, or have a P.H.D., to give a kid the world.

Have a fun Friday, everyone!

Bug Vs. Blind Girl: A Battle Royale!

July 10, 1995
Midafternoon in the piney woods of Texas was a scorchfest, and the overcast skies did nothing to alleviate the discomfort of 95-degree temperatures with high humidity. However, I was serene. I had my own apartment in a college town, things were cool inside, life was cool outside. I had classic rock on the stereo, a Sonic Diet Coke on my desk, reading for class was done for the day,,, what more could a 21-year-old girl ask for?
Cloudy days force you to be creative, finding things to do indoors. I decided to sort through my cassette tape collection, keep what I wanted, throw out what I didn’t. Since I was back and forth between home and college, I carried ten years worth of the soundtrack to my life in a good-sized zippered bag. I began sorting tapes, enjoying the walk-shudder down memory lane.
Mili Vanili? What was I thinking?
Debbie Gibson? Tiffany? . . Yeah, not so much.
There are labels on cassettes, the adhesive kind that you can write on, then peel them off, and stick them on the tape of your choice. I had discovered that I could put the label in a Brailler, so my tapes were labeled that way, in Braille. I reached into the bag, into a corner, and took hold of a loose label, one that had obviously peeled off of a tape. I pulled the label out to see what it said, so I could find the matching tape and put it on. (I can identify cassettes by the feel of them, and/or the sound they make when you shake them, but Braille labels make it faster.)
As I held the label in my hands, a shadow fell over the summery college afternoon, a pall of slowly dawning horror, as I came to the conclusion that the “label” in my hand was a leg, a dry rubbery-textured crinkly-sounding leg that was attached to the body of my lifelong sworn enemy, the water bug. Continue reading “Bug Vs. Blind Girl: A Battle Royale!”

No Shame In My Game: On Guilt and Blindness

We may have been at a museum, or maybe it was a park.
I don’t remember the location, but I will never forget the realization. I was with my parents, and younger brother. My Dad was describing something to me, and as my nine-year-old-girl mind contrasted that with the shouts and laughter from the other families, I suddenly realized a terrible thing!
My family, the best family in the world, couldn’t have fun like everyone else. They couldn’t have fun, because they had to stop and describe things to me. I was slowing them down.
I was keeping them from enjoying things.
It made my stomach hurt.
It made me want to cry. Continue reading “No Shame In My Game: On Guilt and Blindness”

Reading Goals for April

In January, I hit a reading slump.
It says a lot about the state of accessibility of books for the blind, that I could read so many as to go into any kind of downturn at all. So . . YAY technology, and YAY accessible books.
Now, how to get out of the slump!
The last eight years have been a reading honeymoon, a frenzy of books read in quick succession, a whirlwind of topics and genres with no plot or plan.
I decided that a few specific goals would help me break out of the reading doldrums.
Continue reading “Reading Goals for April”