Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

A Lack of Motivation

| Filed under blogging Poem Relationships Writing Life

Motivation Acrostic

By Ann Chiappetta

Most days it is present

On the days it is absent

Touching   the creativity fails, dispersed

Into me, whispering within, like

Veins packed with  scribbled, microscopic   cells

Alphabet  infused molecules jumbled

Twisting and turning liquid

Impossibly

Overflowing with brain food I’ve

No chance of catching.

 

What can I say? Some writing days are better than others. One good thing that helped me write this poem was being able to end a writing-related  gig I found no longer provided the inspiration I needed to support my writing style.  A pressure has been alleviated and I feel  much better. Being a Pisces is complicated. ♓

 

I learned what I don’t want to write and what type of writing gig  could be more enriching for me.

Remembering Verona 2006 – 2020  🦮

| Filed under Guide dogs pets and people Relationships

 

It’s January, a month of memories.  I look back upon those who have died and I also look forward to keeping them close to my heart through recalling the special times we’ve shared together. My Dad, Bob, and his being a neat freak and a talented carpenter and mechanic and lover of nature. I also recall my mother-in-law, Carol and  the way she loved my kids and feeling blessed I survived her erratic  driving and feeling relieved  I did not have to see  the close calls because I am blind. 😓😱 .

 

Although we lost both my Dad and Carol in successive January  dates, both on the sixteenth of the month, I want to also celebrate the life of another family member, my first guide dog.

 

In  January 2009 I met and trained with my first guide dog, Verona and this post is being written and shared to honor her life. I am fortunate to be part of the Guiding Eyes graduate community and because of it I take part in  occasional grief and bereavement  Zoom meetings.  We share how much our dogs mean to us, the bond  of trust and love and how much they mean to us even after they die. I always feel better after one of these meetings because I spent the time with other handlers who understand the lifetime bond developed with these incredible dogs and the indelible  imprint they have upon our hearts.

 

Here is one of my favorite stories about Verona, a sweet sixty lb. black lab. My husband, Jerry, took over her care and handling once I retired her and submitted my application for a successor dog. She was seven years old and  full of energy but she developed  cysts in her eyes and it began effecting her ability to guide me. One day Jerry took her upstate     during turkey hunting season. She was a great field dog and not a bit gun shy. He set up the blind, telling Verona to lay down. He soon shot the turkey and  got out of the blind, saying “Let’s go get it!” and Verona ran out of the blind and ran for the turkey,  grabbing it’s neck.  He asked her to let go and she did but  kept trying to grab it. After he called me and told me the story, I laughed and   between giggles, said, “Well,  you told her to go get it and she’s a lab, what did you expect?”

 

Verona lived a great life, succumbing to old age in February 2020 at age 14.  I could not have had a better first guide dog and  since  walking our first  route together I haven’t  looked back. Thanks, sweet girl for being able to give me back my independence.

If you want to read more about our adventures, pick up my memoir,

Follow Your Dog a Story of Love and Trust .

 

close up of Black lab with snow sprinkled on her nose and head. She is looking at the camera with large, brown inquisitive eyes.

close up of Black lab with snow on her face

January 2023 Annie Shares News V.3 I. 1

| Filed under blindness blogging writing

Annie Shares News January 2023  Volume 3 Issue 1

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2023 greetings! 🥳 🎉

2022 has been challenging and it’s great to be stepping out more, giving and receiving a hug from friends and colleagues once again. Society has endured and learned how to cope with the physical limitations  associated with the pandemic and while we are still being effected by covid,  we are adjusting. To hug or not to hug, that is the question.

 

One mask-wearing phenomenon I’d like to share is the increased level of general disorientation when wearing one.  And it isn’t just me experiencing this weird reaction. Whenever I first put on a mask, it causes  me to feel dizzy and like I am in a bubble. I can’t hear or rely on my sense of direction, which is usually good.  The spatial awareness is the worst and I have spoken with other blind friends who have experienced a similar  lack of sensory information from mask wearing. I tried a clear face shield and it was even worse.   I hope this is something we can research more to help others.

 

I want to share some good news about a friend and colleague, Elizabeth Ianelli. She and I worked together and remained friends after we both left the VA. She is one of the most resilient people I know and I am pleased to share the advanced ordering link to her new gritty and powerful book about the troubled teen industry called I See You Survivor: Life inside (and outside) the totally f*****d up troubled-teen industry.

 

Another author I know, Trish Hubschman,  has released her newest book, check it out:

Gayle’s Tales: Tracy Gayle Mysteries

by Trish Hubschman

Copyright December  2022

The book is for sale from Smashwords in eBook formats and from Amazon in e-book ($3.99), paperback ($8.50), and hardcover ($16.50).

175 pages in print.

 

Full details of this book and Trish’s four Tracy Gayle mystery novels are on her website:

https://www.dldbooks.com/hubschman/

 

Synopsis:

 

Gayle’s Tales is a collection of Tracy Gayle mystery short stories.

 

Everyone’s favorite couple, Tracy and Danny, are still going strong, romantically and professionally, rocking and rolling and solving crimes. The story  is a first-person account  told in Tracy’s point-of-view, detailing the circumstances as only she can tell it. Through all this, she and Danny are planning their wedding extravaganza at the Plaza Hotel in New York. In the end, she brings long–lost family members and friends back into each other’s arms and lives.

Trish is also appearing on January  25 at 7:00 p.m. eastern time as a guest author hosted by the Behind Our Eyes Book Launch program via zoom. If you would like the Zoom invitation, email booklaunch@behindoureyes.org and make sure you mention  it is for Trish’s book.

 

What’s in store for 2023? Writing, of course! 😉  I am working on a nonfiction  book about pet assisted therapy, gathering a third poetry collection, and writing a new  crossover novel plus a new chapter of a sci-fi novella. I am reading different genres of books, including an RPG-inspired   series  penned by Kevin Sinclair, a series by Andrew Rowe narrated by one of my favorite voice actors, Nick Podell and Marshal Arcane  by Terry Mancour is waiting in the queue. I also read The Address by Fiona Davis for my local book club. Very good historical fiction/mystery novel. I also must recommend The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving. The audio book is performed by a talented voice actor and it is  better than Irving’s book, The World According to Garp. It’s brilliant.

 

Reading is a considerable piece of developing as a writer and I plan to continue the quest. 😈

Until next month, be well and blessings to all.

Enjoy this classic poem about the New Year by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

The Death of the Old Year

 

Alfred, Lord Tennyson

 

Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,

And the winter winds are wearily sighing:

Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,

And tread softly and speak low,

For the old year lies a-dying.

Old year you must not die;

You came to us so readily,

You lived with us so steadily,

Old year, you shall not die.

He lieth still: he doth not move:

He will not see the dawn of day.

He hath no other life above.

He gave me a friend and a true truelove

And the New-year will take ’em away.

Old year you must not go;

So long you have been with us,

Such joy as you have seen with us,

Old year, you shall not go.

He froth’d his bumpers to the brim;

A jollier year we shall not see.

But tho’ his eyes are waxing dim,

And tho’ his foes speak ill of him,

He was a friend to me.

Old year, you shall not die;

We did so laugh and cry with you,

I’ve half a mind to die with you,

Old year, if you must die.

He was full of joke and jest,

But all his merry quips are o’er.

To see him die across the waste

His son and heir doth ride post-haste,

But he’ll be dead before.

Everyone for his own.

The night is starry and cold, my friend,

And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,

Comes up to take his own.

How hard he breathes! over the snow

I heard just now the crowing cock.

The shadows flicker to and fro:

The cricket chirps: the light burns low:

’Tis nearly twelve o’clock.

Shake hands, before you die.

Old year, we’ll dearly rue for you:

What is it we can do for you?

Speak out before you die.

His face is growing sharp and thin.

Alack! our friend is gone,

Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:

Step from the corpse, and let him in

That standeth there alone,

And waiteth at the door.

There’s a new foot on the floor, my friend,

And a new face at the door, my friend,

A new face at the door.

 

 

This poem is in the public domain.

Dreya sends her best wishes for the New Year!

Dreya the book dragon is smiling and floating around with her best friends, books and musical notes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Full Circle 💗

| Filed under blindness Relationships

Full Circle

 

How much do we know about a person?  I consider myself a private person but also a person who believes  sharing a personal success or a  challenge could help someone else. I am sharing the following audio vignette  produced by the Hadley Institute called Insights and Sound Bites and hope it helps you or someone you know struggling with depression or vision loss.

https://hadley.edu/podcasts/insights-sound-bites/i-came-full-circle 

💗 What to Love about a Human’s Best Friend 💗 🦴 🐕 

| Filed under blogging Guide dogs pets and people

 

After raising two kids and doing the parent thing with the pediatrician for all those years, I thought my husband might like helping out with our pets once in a while. I am proud to say Jerry has become a wonderful pet parent and takes our pet dog, May to all her appointments. We adopted her  in  2020 and love her sweet and sassy personality. She is smart,  protective but not territorial, and solves problems  quickly and efficiently, just like a good German Shepard should. While she has a bit of Rottweiler , as proven by a DNA test, she’s  got  a GSD body type  and traits  and the only part missing is pointy ears. She has derpy ones that flop over and stick out perpendicular to her head.  Do not let this fool you.

 

At first we house trained her, which took a few months. She was already crate trained.  It took a while for her bladder to mature.  She learned how to unlock the metal safety gate, you know the child-safety ones with the lock cover and the sliding , recessed latch?

 

My yellow lab guide dog, Bailey and May love one another, play together and love to share space, which is good. She also  loves our cats. She does poke and play with them but  taps down the chasing and while this took some time,  the darned cats like to be chased, so we gave up trying to stop it. A few swats  from  the kitty pins and she learned to respect them. When we brought in a kitten, May’s  mothering instincts blossomed, surprising us. She raised it, groomed it and  now they all sleep together. April, my daughter,  who convinced us to adopt May and who has been  a huge part of caring for May, has been able to help  with most of her doggie dislikes, like the ear drops. April is great at relaxing May for  a two or three  toenail trim. But it does take a few days because May won’t tolerate more than one foot at a time. The groomer  must hate it when she comes in for a spa day.

But these aversions  are within the normal spectrum for a pet, right? Let me go on to what is challenging . sometimes she reverts into a demon, thus her alternate name, Mazikeen. Anyway, her Shepard came out, she is such a drama queen. First, to tell us her ear hurt she jumped onto the bed, flopped between us and kept us awake by whining and shaking her head all night . Then she hurt her ear more by scratching it and when we tried to look at it she screamed like we were cutting it off.  So, off to the Vet to take a look at the ear. Then, Jerry gave her the anti-puke pill because she gets car sick in the truck. Well it didn’t work but we have a blanket  for that and an extra seat cover just in case. Then, they can’t take her temp anally because she turns into a whirling dervish in the exam room so they have to do it under her leg. That went okay, so did the ear inspection. But when they wanted to take a blood draw to check  basics from taking the allergy pills, they could not do it. She became a manic mess and sprayed blood all over them from jerking away. Three times, even with cheese whiz and three people to help distract her.  So next time we have to  fast her in the morning, run her until she is exhausted because a tired dog is a good dog in the exam room,  give her the anti puke pill two hours prior and maybe Jerry can avoid a mess in the truck   and the vet tech can get some blood. Oh, they want a urine sample. Well, that is not going to happen, She won’t let anyone sneak up and put a pan under her ass.

 

All this is frustrating and I am thankful it is Jerry and April facing the challenges with May. Oh, yes, I almost forgot to mention she punishes herself by running into the dog crate and facing the wall after we discover a chewed slipper or something she’d taken off the kitchen counter, like an oven mitt.   How could you not love this dog or be amused when she does this?  Talk about operant conditioning, lol.

 

The best thing about May is  the way she lowers her head  and leans into you or lap asking for affection, exposing her neck as if to say I trust you so much I want you to scratch me where I can’t reach. What could be more endearing than this?

 

May  on the dog bed with her bones and toys

May the dog on her dog bed with her toysMay the dog on her bed with her bones

 

The Tooth about Aging 🪥

| Filed under Guide dogs Relationships

 

Have you ever had the feeling you were forgetting something as you walked out the door? Well, folks, if you haven’t already gotten the hint, once you are past fifty, the forgetting increases and making a mental list isn’t enough.

Case in point: Yesterday I got the text message from the paratransit provider about my confirmed ten-minute window and pick-up time . I put on my  guide dog’s harness, my jacket, slung my bag over my shoulder, and grabbed my support cane and  tromped out the door into the pouring rain with the niggling feeling I’d forgotten something.

 

I soon put it out of my mind as the driver and I talked. We arrived, my dog guiding me from the bus into the office building and into the PT waiting room.

 

It wasn’t until I was halfway done with my routine that the forgotten thing was exposed.

“Where’s your tooth?” asked the physical therapist.

All I could do was take it  as gracefully as I could considering it is a front tooth  that is gone.

“I left it at home,” I said.

 

 

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Annie Shares News Holiday issue 🎁

| Filed under blogging Writing Life

Annie Shares News Volume2 Issue 11.5 November/December 2022

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🌨️  🎍  🦃

Hello and welcome to the last newsletter of 2022. I hope you all have had a good year and moving toward post pandemic activities once more.  The year has been productive, taking a positive direction in terms of writing

 

The biggest piece of news is adding another resource to share  news and writing related happenings. First, if you follow my blog, www.thought-wheel.com, you will receive an email posting my newsletter. I plan to test this new option for sharing the newsletter so don’t be surprised if you receive  something from me via Word Press.

Next, . I am happy to announce I am contributing an advice column to National Braille Press’s quarterly Our Special  variety magazine which  is only   available in braille. It feels good to share the years of counseling experience for the benefit of others. Finding writing gigs that fit my lifestyle and help pay the bills is challenging and I hope to find a few more opportunities like it in the coming year.

 

Thanks to Friends In Art, www.friendsinart.org the monthly Art Parlor podcast has added a few new episodes. Catch my talented colleague and author Chris Kuell in the November 2022 show as well as a collection of other artists from past episodes.

 

Where else have I been? 🐝   Collaborating with the many other authors of Behind Our Eyes, of course. We now have a solid podcast collection for listening, called the Behind Our Eyes Book Launch program, thanks to the passion and cooperation of our members. Each sixty-minute presentation highlights one author and recently released book recorded on the zoom platform.       Go to www.behindoureyes.org to find out more, to join or to listen to recordings of our members reciting their writing and questions from the audience. We already have members scheduled for 2023.

 

I am writing a new book and this time it is nonfiction and will include the healing process  brought about by therapy animals and my experiences working as a clinician.

 

 

 

Here is a fun poem I’ve been working on, I hope you like it.

The Torture of Sonnets

By Ann Chiappetta

 

I don’t know much of Sonnetry

‘tis with rhyme and meter I fail

Concocting strings of symmetry

Commences with pulling out my hair.

 

Pluck and twist  with fingers and fist

ta-dum, ta-dum, ta-dum,

Clumsy, I trip into the Muse’s grip

vexed  by verse, overcome.

 

A scribble a scrabble —  my attempts aren’t pretty

Word    smithing Causes my cranium to throb

and I fear my friends shall not withhold their pity

and with pitchforks, chase me like Frankenstein’s mob.

 

Mayhap soon  I shall toss  up a poetry salad

Once I imbibe in a few pints of ale

Such an endeavor may result in a ballad

When recited will not result in a rain of rotten kale.

 

Undaunted I mentally twerk and type

Until the meter, rhyme and poetic measure is ripe.

Annieand  Jerry smiling at the camera standing in matching holiday colors and Bailey the yellow lab at their feet.

 

 

The Masher’s Last Stand

| Filed under blogging Poem writing

The Masher’s Last Stand

By Ann Chiappetta

I learned to cook prior to food preparation machines and commercial blenders

We used whisks, hand-crank mixers and potato mashers.  I stood on the Romper Room emblazoned stool beside Mom until my little arms tired. I whipped cream, eggs, and sifted flour. I was practicing to be a Suzie Homemaker, don’t you know.

 

After my parents divorced and we moved into an apartment, the budding skills became necessity. At nine I learned to scramble eggs, boil water for macaroni, and help make

meatloaf and meatballs.  The spoon with the little holes and the potato masher made the move with us.

I estimate the utensils are over fifty years old, the spoon is solid stainless riveted to hardwood handle grips. The masher is also riveted and sturdy, not even a bit of rust.

 

Dad’s carpenter’s   measuring stick   given to him by his father

was the final tool

Laid in a reverent place among elderly scrapers, hammers and planers.

Bobby, said a friend, your making mistakes, get rid of that thing.

 

The measuring tape wasn’t as fun to play with

And pinched my tender fingers more than once

Dad would release the stop and we listened to it retract as if by magic and

He would chuckle and say something about

The wonders of modern technology

Then whip out the stubby pencil from behind an ear, mark the wood

clip it back to his waist and return to work with the hand saw.

 

I pretended the curled papery shavings  from planing the wood

that fell like

Dogwood petals onto the shop floor were

Secret messages from fairies or a mouse

 

I put them to my nose and inhaled the fragrances

Cedar or pine was the best

 

Pop gardened and gave me the first taste of fresh mint

Strawberries warmed and sweetened by the sun

Pickled cucumbers in jars so big a child’s hands could not

carry or open them

My little fingers squeezed

Lupini beans from their casings as directed

By the little Italian lady visiting

From next-door

and my lips tingled from

a bit of afternoon antipasto

and my confidence was tempered

by losing a few hands of Casino

 

I tried buying lupini beans and couldn’t find them

Though I remember the card game rules and pulpy fragrant

Refinements Of the shop

And how attached I am to a few outdated implements

The telltale products of my youth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie Shares News October 2022 V2Issue 10

| Filed under blogging writing

Annie Shares News Volume II Issue 10 October 2022

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Web: www.annchiappetta.com

Blog: www.thought-wheel.com

 

 

🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

 

This is my favorite time of year. I love the seasonal shift, the influence the winter months have upon my writing. I’ve heard the fall and winter are the best times for writing and crafting because we are inside more and the element of hibernation isn’t quite gone from our instincts. So, here’s to all things pumpkin and fleecy and spiritually motivating.

 

Drop by Plum Tree Tavern for a serving of poetry, including one about my favorite birds:

Blue Jays Aren’t Blue

 

https://theplumtreetavern.blogspot.com/

 

 

I found this sweet little pome written about Fall.:

Autumn Fires

by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

In the other gardens

And all up the vale,

From the autumn bonfires

See the smoke trail!

 

Pleasant summer over

And all the summer flowers,

The red fire blazes,

The gray smoke towers.

 

Sing a song of seasons!

Something bright in all!

Flowers in the summer,

Fires in the fall!”

 

 

Here is a fairy tale written and read by me:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/du7x58xuievthrk/the%20maiden%20and%20the%20prince.m4a?dl=0

 

The warmest of wishes from Dreya the book dragon, too.

Dreya the book dragon is smiling and floating around with her best friends, books and musical notes.

Dreya the red and green book dragon smiles and floats in the air with her best friends, winged books and musical notes.