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.

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Just in Time for The Howlidays

Black lab with snow sprinkled on the nose

Black lab Verona with snow on her nose


Hello bloggers and thought-wheel followers, I am excited to announce my memoir, Follow Your Dog A Story Of Love And Trust C 2017 is now available as a commercial audio book from www.Audible.com .

Because I believe anyone who listens to this book will love it, and I also believe many of you will order the book after reading this post, as a special thanks for supporting my efforts as an Indy writer, I will send a gift code for my poetry book, Upwelling: Poems. All you need to do is send an email to [email protected] to receive the link for the free audible book, Upwelling: Poems — and Answer this question : what were the names of the two puppies we rescued?

I know you will love both audio books.

Order Follow Your Dog by clicking here: https://tinyurl.com/v4em87x
Have a Happy, Safe, and meaningful Howliday Season.

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

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.

Rev Up the Vote Event

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On October 15 disability advocates gathered for our County’s REV UP campaign. I am pleased to share the following link featured on 10/15/19 on News 12 Westchester.
https://tinyurl.com/yy3waa76
The REV UP WESTCHESTER Voting initiative was well attended; our chapter of the American Council of the Blind of New York participated along with other agencies and groups supporting the disability-voting bloc. Westchester Disabled on the Move’s President, Maria Samuels and Laura Case, WDOMI’s systems advocate were successful in bringing together people with disabilities who want to be heard and share the right to vote independently and privately. The League of Women Voters, Disability Rights Advocates, Westchester Independent Living Center and other advocacy organizations participated in a voting information panel and ballot marking devices were available for ballot testing in anticipation of the advanced voting dates upcoming starting October 26 in Westchester County.

The REV UP campaign is a National initiative created by AAPD. Rev UP stands for Register, Educate, Vote Use your Power.
For more information about WCBNY: www.wcbny.org
For more information on the REV UP Campaign: https://www.aapd.com/advocacy/voting/

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by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

A Windfall for Guide Dog Users

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For Immediate Release
Contact Ann Chiappetta, President, Guide Dog Users of the Empire State [email protected]
www.gdues.org
914.393.6605

Grant Awarded to Blindness Advocates and Their Guide Dogs

October 2019, New Rochelle, New York – Guide Dog Users of the Empire State (GDUES) received a $1000 grant from the philanthropic supporter Mission Box. The grant was awarded based on a short poem, called a haiku.
“Canine eyes to guide
Trust, Autonomy and pride
Together we go “

Founded in 2016, GDUES is a special interest chapter of the American Council of the Blind of New York and strives to advocate and support guide dog users living in New York State.

President Ann Chiappetta says, “We are thrilled to be a Mission Box Recipient. This is our first grant and we will be able to use it to fund programs to increase the general public’s awareness about guide dog teams and interacting with guide dogs when out in public, in businesses, and in schools,”
To learn more about GDUES: www.gdues.org
To learn more about Mission Box: www.missionbox.com

To learn more about The American Council of the Blind of New York: www.acbny.info

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

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.

On the Road and Radio

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SAVE THE DATE! When? September 26, 2019. 6 PM Central.
What? Annie Chiappetta will be discussing her new book, Words of Life: Poems and Essays.
Where? On Disability and Progress, heard at KFAI 90.3
disability
Can’t make it for the live show? No worries. Catch the archived broadcast at: http:www.kfai.org/disabilityandprogress

For the local literary-minded, come listen to a reading followed by a book signing.
October 8 at 7 p.m. I will be performing poetry from my latest book, Words of Life: Poems and Essays at the White Plains Public Library. All three books will be for sale, cash only. To find out more, click the link:
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