Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

New Routines

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Relationships Writing Life

New Routines

It’s been 3 months since I’ve stopped working. The first month was the hardest, trying to make sense of things, second guessing myself and clinging to what was left of my self-confidence.

Month two was filled with phone calls, meetings and interviews, followed by the realization that at my age and because of my disability, I might not ever work again. I began to tell people I am semi-retired and it is still what I am sticking with as I write this blog post.
Month three is starting to be the new routine: stay up late, sleep late, write, and mix in job trolling, meetings, and motivate myself to do the mundane household tasks. Sigh.

The most interesting pieces of being home, other than the nagging holes of time, is how our animals have adjusted. They appear to like it, especially my 13-year-old lab, Verona, and the cat, Titan. For instance, Verona expects a walk around 2 p.m. It doesn’t matter if she went out at 10 a.m., when 2 p.m. comes around, she’s panting and poking at me.

We have also gotten into what I will call treat-time. Titan and Verona appear at my desk chair. I get poked by the dog and the cat jumps up on the desk. This means the human must dispense treats. A Few Kittie crunchies for the cat and a few low-calorie treats for the dogs. Yes, Bailey is there as soon as he hears the cat treat bag open. Piggy boy. Our third dog, May, is usually with our daughter, so she loses out until later.

At 3-ish, we go for walkies and May and Bailey play after May is walked. The human is bothered again by piggy boy Bailey for dinner at after play time. If the animals weren’t here to keep me busy, it would be much harder to stay focused.

I find it ironic that the day has conformed to what I refer to as Zoo time. Maybe I can find employment at a kennel instead.

Virtual Book Fair

| Filed under blindness Fiction Guide dogs Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

Good Books, Unique Gifts, and New Opportunities at your Fingertips

First Book Fair

Behind Our Eyes, an organization of writers with disabilities, held its first virtual book fair conference call. Bonnie Blose and Marilyn Brandt Smith hosted this two-hour event. A brief introduction to the focus and activities of the organization was followed by a parade of books: poetry, novels, memoirs, writings of the holiday season, essays, and a newly released handbook written to assist navigating the health care system for blind and visually impaired consumers.,

Nine authors presented information about their books, totaling fifteen publications. Behind Our Eyes members listened and also had time to ask each author questions after each presentation.

With over two hundred and seventy-three recordings, 2 published anthologies and an active writing community, Behind Our Eyes, a 501-C-3 nonprofit organization, is known throughout the United States as a respected resource for and community of writers with visual impairments.

Visit http://www.behindoureyes.org/wp/bookfair/ to read more and download this conference recording. Share it with your friends and newsletters, magazines, etc. Visit www.behindoureyes.org for contact or membership information or a form to offer feedback, ask questions, or join this amazing organization.

List of Presenters: Alice Massa, Peter Altschul, Joan Myles, Ann Harrison Barns, Carrie Hooper, Deborah Kendrick, Anne Chiappetta, Abbie Johnson Taylor,Lynda McKinney Lambert, and Marilyn Brandt Smith

PD Yellow lab Bailey lying next to water, blue sky above and his image reflected in the water beside him.

Maybe a Sign Would Help?

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Relationships Writing Life

Today was the monthly meeting for the Westchester Council of the Blind of New York. We hold it at a house of worship, and we are very fortunate to be getting our space for free. While we were setting up and listening for members to come down the steps to our meeting room, a man appeared,
“Are you having a meeting for blind people?” he asked, sounding a little annoyed.
Yes, we said, this is where our meeting is.
“Oh,” he replied, “There are some people coming here, and they don’t seem like they know where to go, maybe you should put up a sign,”

Yup, folks, after he left, my colleague and I broke up laughing, then shook our heads, feeling quite sorry for the ignorant sighted person. We went to find our wayward members and led them to the room.

We could have felt angry, or upset, but this is nothing unusual for us. We did not allow this man and his inadequacies or annoyances to negatively affect us.
Furthermore, I don’t know how I can state this eloquently , but, well, a sign really won’t help the blind folks, only folks like this man, who came in, did not greet us or even introduce himself; by the way he sounded, he felt somehow threatened by the “blind people”, or he would have brought them with him instead of coming to the room to complain.

If you are still reading, this is more or less an average example of what we encounter from day to day. Sometimes we fair better, some days, the ignorance and uncaring attitudes seem to be everywhere. It’s no wonder 70% of employable blind people are not working; that people who lose vision and are over 50 struggle to remain independent; why guide dog users who are blind are denied ride share services 1 of 3 times despite policies adhering to the Americans with Disabilities Act laws.

We are a powerful group and yet we are a minority still grabbing and pulling ourselves up the wall of equal access and opportunity. We must help one another so we can be the change-makers, in our communities, Nationally, and worldwide.

Most importantly, don’t be like this man who did not say his name and was so off-putting with an attitude of annoyance; after reading this example, if you encounter someone who is blind, lost or looking for directions, work with them, ask how best to help, and go with it.

Are Those French Fries?

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs

Being a guide dog handler is probably the best choice I’ve made since going blind. It gives me much more than just a canine partner and increased safety. Sometimes it even brings comic relief.

A few months ago, I left work and walked around the corner to relieve my guide dog, Bailey. We began the usual routine, and then he started to do something odd, he lay down. I bent to try to make sure he wasn’t eating anything, and, being a Labrador, he sure was munching on something. I pulled him away and made him spit it out but he’d already swallowed it. I needed to know what was all over the sidewalk, so I got out my phone and called AIRA. The agent identified the scattered items through the camera on my mobile phone as French fries, to my relief. If Bailey was going to be corrected for temptation, I needed to know what had done the tempting. The agent’s quick and accurate scan of the area confirmed it was something that would not cause Bailey any harm. This helped me breathe a sigh of relief; it was only a few French fries. We could deal with it.

This is also a reminder that while Bailey has an advanced canine degree as a guide dog, he is still a dog and will give into temptation. The counterbalance to this is knowing that when he does his job, when he pulls us from a driver turning right on red as we try to cross a street, or when he shoves me away from the speeding bicyclist hurtling down the sidewalk, a few French fries is acceptable.

Nary a Backward Glance

| Filed under blindness Writing Life

The urge to take everything and leave was hard to fight after receiving the first letter, a two-week notice without it being labeled as such. Packing my belongings into shopping totes and cleaning my office of personal items was the only action I could take while awaiting the final letter and day. I was being removed, a most ironic clinically sterilizing verb, as if being diagnosed a malignancy. Treating me like a diagnosis rather than a person probably insulated the District team from feeling any remorse.

While I struggled to keep myself from crying, I sat while the director read the final decision letter to me. It was only two pages. The rest, he said, would be coming in the mail to my home. I wasn’t given time to take it in, maybe that was a good thing, because I left without telling anyone. I was able to call my husband and with only one extra trip to the truck, I dropped my keys, I.D. and agency mobile on my desk and left.

Performing Poetry and Friends In Art

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Writing Life

In July I had the chance to perform two poems, In Those Dark Moments C 2016 and On The Tip Of A Finger C 2019 at the Friends In Art ACB showcase.

I was inspired to do it after watching Tom Hanks do a piece of performance poetry on Jimmy Kimmel.
I also co-hosted it and had a lot of fun and met many great folks and talented musicians, singers, and performers. To view the poems, go to
www.annchiappetta.com www.annchiappetta.com

Catch me on this ACB Radio podcast

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Writing Life

Ann Chiapetta Update – Wednesday August 7th 10:30PM Eastern/7:30PM Pacific (and replays every two hours throughout the next day)

ACB member and author Ann Chiapetta rejoins us. She’s going to tell us about one of her brand spanking new publications and give our listeners who want to be authors some guidance.

To listen to this week’s “Speaking Out for the Blind,” go to: http://acbradio.org/mainstream, and choose one of the links under the headings “Listen to ACB Radio Mainstream” and “Now Playing;” or call 1-641-793-0756, and when prompted, press “1” for ACB Radio Mainstream. You may also listen to the program live on the ACB Link mobile app. For more information, go to http://link.acb.org.

Authors Fans & Fun

| Filed under blindness Fiction Guide dogs Poem Uncategorized Writing Life

Authors, Fans, and Fun

Save The Date: August 2 & 3
Face Book Exclusive
Sizzling Summer Super Release Book Launch Party!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1084437158419463/

Why not drop by, chat, comment and get to know your favourite authors?
Click the GOING button today!
Author Take Over Line UP
August 2, 2019 Author Jo E. Pinto will kick us off on Friday evening (time to be announced) for the opening ceremony & take over.
August 3, 2019 Author Abbie Johnson Taylor will start the event at 12 Noon Eastern with an author take over.
August 3, 2019 at 1 PM Eastern we have author Lynda McKinney Lambert with an author take over spot.
August 3, 2019 at 2 PM Eastern author and editor Leonore Dvorkin take over: Leonore also will cover the books published by both she and husband, David Dvorkin and give a book and editing and publishing assist business presentation.

August 3, 2019 at 3 PM Eastern we have multi genre author Phyllis Staton Campbell taking over
August 3, 2019 at 4 PM Eastern author Trish Hubschman will join us for her author take over hour.
August 3, 2019 5 PM Eastern author social media promotional assist Patty L. Fletcher will be doing a books and business presentation. King Campbell will make a special appearance during this hour and will be presenting a gift at that time, so don’t miss it!

August 3, 2019 at 9 PM Eastern author Annie Chiappetta will join us to close out the takeover event.

New on Audible.com

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Poem Relationships Uncategorized Writing Life

For Immediate Release
Contact Ann Chiappetta, Author [email protected] 914.393.6605

Local Author releases first commercial Audio Book
July 20, 2019 – New Rochelle, N.Y.
Poet and Indy author of three books, Ann Chiappetta releases Upwelling: Poems C 2016 on Audible.com, Amazon’s premier audio book seller. Go to https://tinyurl.com/y5p7e3hz
To purchase or listen to the sample narrated by Lilian Yves.

I am so happy to finally have one of my books available through Audible. As a writer who is blind, I feel it is paramount to offer my books in as many blind-friendly formats as possible,”

Chiappetta’s books are available in print and all online eBook formats including Amazon.
The author’s other books, Follow Your Dog A Story of Love and Trust C 2017 and Words of Life: Poems and Essays C 2019 are being prepared as commercial audio books and will be released later this year.

Chiappetta is currently planning book readings and book signing events. Information on these and other appearances, including past appearances and future radio interviews and podcasts can be found at her website, www.annchiappetta.com.
To learn more about the author, or view her author’s book page, go to www.dldbooks.com/annchiappetta/

Chiappetta’s blog is www.thought-wheel.com

white daisies on black background bordered in red phot by C. Romanek

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