Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I am so lucky to have such varied work.

This week I had such a varied work week. an accessibility presentation. Writing an article for a magazine. Learning my part for the odyssey. Playing piano at a nursing home. I am so lucky to do such a variety of work.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A weekend spent with brilliant blind homer.

On June 16, at the NAC Fourth stage in Ottawa, The Ottawa
Storytellers and 2 women pruductions will be performing Homer's
odyssey. All of it. 17 storytellers. Over 8 hours of telling.
A twelve hour day but with lots of breaks. You will never hear
anything like this. Come. Try it out. You will be amazed.
Tickets can be purchased from the NAC box office. This weekend,
we ran through the whole thing. We rehearsed for 2 days. My
part went well and it was fun to do. Remember that Storytellers
do not read. They tell the story. Each of our voices is so
different. Our delivery too. I was amazed at the rich tapestry
of words woven by this remarkable story. If you cannot come and
want to support us financially, make a donation under indigogo
and ottawa storytellers. Will post the links here soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Such fun at the piano recital.

I had not played in a piano recital since I was very small. i have been studying piano again with my good friend Kathleen for over a year now. She is a wonderful teacher. We studied together as music Therapists many years ago. I was the only adult there. Lots of kids. Some playing piano some guitar. kids as young as 4. They all did great. Such a variety of music. So much love of it and energy. I am not as nervous storytelling as I am performing musically so I wanted to jump that hurdle and perform in front of others. I was nervous and made a few small mistakes but kept going. And I've wanted to play Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata for a long time now. I was mobbed afterwards but all of the kids did not want to compliment me on Beethoven at all. No! They wanted to pat Tulia!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My brilliant guide dog and my own unbrilliance!

I have shown my guide dog how to find a few poles for audible pedestrian signals.  I don't always use them.  This is a button you push and when the light changes, it gives you a signal.  Here where I live the north south lights chirp and the east west lights used to cukoo but now play something called the Canadian melody.  Maybe I shall try to record them and post the audio here for your listening pleasure.  I use them mainly when it is quiet and little traffic and or when traffic is tough to read for some reason.  I don't always know which intersections have them and where the poles are.  The poles can actually be quite far from where I line up to cross a street.  Anyway, yesterday morning, my guide dog pranced up to a pole at a corner.  I thought she was sniffing it and was about to say no.  But, I put my hand out and she wagged her body so hard, and there was an audible button at a corner where I never knew a signal existed.  We were both pretty excited about it I must say.  She got kibble.  I got a good feeling in my heart!   Smile!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Crossing on a red light.

There are some very good things about going for a walk early on a weekend morning. the streets and sidewalks are quiet and peaceful. My guide dog and I do not have as much traffic or pedestrians to go around. We can walk and enjoy it. there is one difficulty. It is harder to read traffic lights. if there is no traffic, you do not know if the light is red or green. the audible signals help with this. The other morning, we were standing at a corner when a man crossed the empty street. He said, "You and your dog are smarter than me. I just crossed on the red light." he then waited to tell me when the light actually did turn green. Thank you !you if you are out there reading this.

Monday, May 21, 2012

guide dogs in and out of harness. The differences.

Yesterday, I had a long day of working in various places and ways. i left the house early in the morning and got back near dinner time. My guide dog Tulia was in harness most of the day. when she is in harness, she is calm and professional. at one point yesterday, someone asked if they could pat my dog. about 6 or 7 people were in the room at that time. I took her harness off and she instantly became her off duty self. Wagging and rolling about. Wanting her stomach rubbed. the people were amazed at the change. not that our guides do not like working. They love it but they are working. so they are more serious and focused when working. And here is another myth. Our guides do not work when we are in our houses. They are loose and playing and sleeping and doing what dogs do. my dog is currently sleeping at my feet. And, there is nothing more comforting than a dog sleeping on your feet.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

the smells of Spring!

some nice smelling flowers are out on our street. Lilacs maybe. I smelled them for the first time the other day as I was walking past. beautiful flowery smell. I breathed it in and hope they look as beautiful. then I smelled the chip wagons. the smells of french fries that come out once winter is gone. i smelled the smell of ground and mud. Then, someone cutting grass so there was that wonderful grassy smell. he was nice and stopped his mower so we could pass. I always am grateful for this as loud noises always mask other sounds around us. I noticed Tulia sniffing the air a lot too. She too must love the springy smells and not having to wear her dog boots while out on walks.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

braille display "working with an Iphone.

i am so excited. i am writing this on my braille display which is connected to my Iphone. i had some trouble pairing them but now I have done it. It is so cool. I can write on the display and have it show up on my phone. I can also read what is on my phone in braille. it is absolutely amazing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's day.

My mom has recently embraced technology. She has an IPad and uses it all of the time. She now sends e-mails, takes and sends photos, looks up things on line. Yesterday I taught her how to put appointments in her calendar. She is doing so well with it. I am proud of her as a mom. She is strong and funny and caring and talented and smart and the best mom ever! And now she can read my blog too!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Birds revisited.

I heard a bird singing outside the window this morning. It
sounded so joyful, so care-free, so light-hearted. I went
outside it was still singing. Singing in the tree out front.
Then I heard a flurry of wings and it stopped. Someone walking
by said, "Oh look. That bird caught a worm." Of course, I
thought. Never thought of it before, but no bird could sing with
a worm in its mouth. I do not know why I never thought of it
before. Of course no one can sing with its mouth full.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Performing in HOmer's odyssey and fascinating fund raiser

I am so excited about being involved in an event that is unique and quite a project.  About 18 storytellers are performing Homer's odyssey on June 16 2012 at the national arts centre in Ottawa.  I am one of them.  Each storyteller tells for about half an hour.  No reading.  Storytelling!  We are having a fund raiser to raise money to support this project.  I know not all of you can come and see it but if you want to participate and help us, go to

You can also see a very entertaining video.

Thank you for your support.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Find the bench.

Today, I was waiting for a friend outside of a coffee shop. It was nice and warm and so I decided to wait outside. There used to be a bench there to sit on so I figured I would find it. I told my guide dog to find the bench. She walked forward and stopped. I didn't think we were near the bench yet but I put out my hand and came across not a bench but a table and chairs. They had rearranged the outdoor furniture but Tulia found me a seat anyway. Smart dog!

Monday, May 7, 2012

We should all have dogs at our feet when working.

I am working on my blog and e-mails and learning a story. I know, it's early here but I am a morning person. Tulia is laying right by my feet. If I get stuck, a bit worried about my story learning, feeling like I have so much work and not enough time, I reach down and pat her. She thumps her tail, or goes right on snoring gently and somehow I feel better. I am less stressed. More centred and calm. I keep reading articles about work place stress. Maybe every office should have a dog?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Learning about the moon.

I wrote on this blog before about how I thought I saw the moon as a kid and all I saw was a streetlight. But, last night, after attending a very enjoyable storytelling house concert, I left the house and as we walked to the car, the others talked about the moon. They mentioned the moon being white. I was a bit surprised. I always thought it was red or yellow like the sun. Thought of it as a dark deep kind of light like a big gong. And the sun as a higher bell like sound. Learn something new every day I guess or in this case every night.

Friday, May 4, 2012

When a garbage can is a wonderful musical instrument.

I told stories to grade 7 and 8 students yesterday. One of them came up to me after and said how wonderful it was that I was blind because of a bit in my story about a big metal garbage can. Without spoiling the story for anyone who hasn't heard it, I have a bit about learning to use a white cane to travel around and finding a big metal garbage can and tapping it with my cane. The sound that came forth was wonderful. I didn't know it was a garbage can but thought of it as a wonderful musical instrument. The student said that she would have just seen a garbage can but that I heard much more before I touched it and realized what it was. She said it means that I can have a great imagination. What an insightful comment it was. I was touched and impressed. And yes, it is true, I can imagine things and sometimes vision could hamper this. For example, I still think of clouds as big huge fluffy marshmallows or huge feather pillows. And if you climbed in one, cotton or marshmallowy goodness would be all around you. I know this isn't how it is but it is how I think of it. I imagine the night sky as feeling like a piece of velvet. I could go on but I won't. But thanks to those students and their teachers for giving me a very special afternoon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chinese activist. The language the media uses.

I feel proud of the totally blind lawyer who escaped his house and escaped from his guards. I feel proud of him for championing human rights. I am proud to be blind as he is. But some of the stories irritate me. He is always described as blind first. The blind man who escaped. The blind chinese activist. His blindness is a factor. I wonder about it. How did he learn and get educated? How did he travel around independently? How did he adapt his work? but I wonder also about his other qualities and characteristics. Some of the tone of the articles imply that how could a blind person do these things? Well, in the night he wouldn't need lights to move around. He would know the area around his village and could travel about with ease presumably. He could think and plan what to do. He was brave and courageous and intelligent and stuck to his beliefs and yes he is also blind. But his blindness is not an oddity or the most important thing in this story. It is a part of him as it is a part of me.