Thought Wheel

From the mind of Ann Chiappetta

Upstate Adventures 🐻🌲

| Filed under blindness pets and people Relationships writing

 

Hello from Windham and Hunter Mountains, Green and Ulster counties, NY, home of the New York Catskills and summer wildlife. Bear and deer and black flies, oh my!

🐻  🦌  🌄

It took us almost as long to pack for the trip Like we were moving out. In a way we were moving out, at least temporarily.

 

Let me explain.  Remember hurricane Ida in the Fall of 2021? We sustained water damage to our entire apartment. In fact, all the apartments on the ground floor and the lobby area took on six inches or more of flood water.  Our lobby was completely under over four feet of it. me we all had to first wait for the insurance and FEMA funding to come through, then wait for a move out date.  Since we own cats and dogs, this meant finding a location for two weeks that was not going to mean living in one room together like in a hotel. and the most important part of it was also packing up everything to be stored in a pod while the work is being done. Oh, and to add a cherry atop this shit show of bad timing, there is also asbestos abatement along with the replacing the floors from the old glue used on the original flooring being removed.  We didn’t know about that one. Now it is a concern and rightly so. It is also bad timing.

 

A powerful wave of flood water slamming open your front door and engulfing your apartment is traumatic enough but the asbestos thing is just, like, really shitty. It will delay things a bit more for the installation of the new floors and moving back in again when we return.

 

We are fortunate to be able to make the bad timing and all the packing work to our advantage.  we deserve some respite after so much upheaval. The stress exhausted us. If Jerry and April weren’t there helping me, guiding me around all the boxes,  extra workers, and taking charge of the packing prior to the work, I’d never manage it alone. This is our family and I am proud of us.

 

View from bridge spanning Windham nountain looking out into the valley below.

The wildlife is active. The variety of animals eating the apple tree in the adjoining yard included rabbits, a wood chuck, and two black bears, we think a mother and older cub based on size and attitude.

 

 

a large black bear and a small black bear beside an apple tree in West Kill NY

 

 

May the Bone Hoarder Chronicles

| Filed under nonfiction Relationships

It was a stressful day. I visited my dentist and underwent an extraction, one of many in preparation for implants. It wasn’t as horrible as anticipated, though I will admit I do get anxious whenever my trusted dental expert schedules to remove something I’ve grown up with and have learned to depend upon like a front tooth.   Needless to say today   some comedic relief would have been wonderful, and with this in mind, here’s the story:

 

I was going back to the kitchen to refill my drink with ice and Jerry was preparing dinner. He turned to me, then looked down and exclaimed,

“Hey, where’s the other ear of corn?” and before I could say anything, he bolted past me and found the stolen item beside another bone on the dog bed in the living room. May was not owning up to it, and) conspicuously nowhere near the crime. She is not only a bone hoarder but also a corn-on-the-cob thief. We’ve caught her before, and one time, it took her three days to finally poop out the cob.

 

I could not hold back and burst out and laughed the gut-busting kind of laugh, complete with tears and belly cramps, followed by giggles and more laughing.

 

May and my hubby gave me the best gift, stress relief!

May on dog bed with bones beside her.This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. May the dog on her bed with her bones

 

 

 

by Ann Chiappetta | tags : | 0

Day Three of the Word Crafter blog tour for Hope for the Tarnished

| Filed under Fiction Relationships writing

Day Three of the Word Crafter blog tour

For Hope for the Tarnished © 2022 by Ann Chiappetta

 

Today I am featured in an interview with Kaye Lynne Booth, founder of Word Crafter.    

On her  blog, Writing to be Read – Interview

 

You can also check out the other posts on Patty’s World:

https://campbellsworld.wordpress.com/2022/06/13/welcome-to-the-wordcrafter-hope-for-the-tarnished-book-blog-tour-review/

 

 

View the original post on the Writing to be Read blog.

Thursday (16) –  Robbie’s Inspiration – Guest Post: https://robertawrites235681907.wordpress.com/2022/06/16/roberta-writes-wordcrafter-hope-for-the-tarnished-book-blog-tour-and-guest-post/                                                

 

 

  and Friday’s host is Victoria Zigler.

 

 

Text on image: "A Story of Hope. When family secrets are revealed with a shift in cultural norms, Abbie leaves her doubts in the past, embracing a brighter future."

Word Crafter Book Tour

| Filed under Fiction Relationships writing

Word Crafter book tour banner with design

First Novel Book Tour

with Kaye Lynne Booth and Word Crafter   Services and the Writing to be Read blog.

As an added bonus to this fabulous book blog launch, I am inviting you to my book launch presentation and interview at 7:00 p.m. eastern on Thursday, June 16..

Soundscape artist and nonfiction author, Peter Altschul will be interviewing me about the book and the craft of writing followed by an open Q &A.

About the author

Ann Chiappetta

Ann is an artist and often refers to her love of words as a natural compensation after losing her vision in 1993. Once a designer of acrylic displays and furniture, Ann trained her creative senses to flow over from the visual to the literary arts. Years later, she has become a poet and author, honing her talent in various mediums, including web content for nonprofits, regular bylines for online literary publications, poetry, anthologies and guest editing in online literary journals, just to name a few projects of which she has contributed.

 

The author of five independently published books, Ann possesses a Master of Science in Marriage and family therapy from Iona College and an undergraduate degree from the College of New Rochelle, both located in Westchester County, New York.  A consultant and guest presenter, Ann visits schools promoting awareness and equality for people with disabilities.  She is the 2015 recipient of the WDOM Spirit of Independence award and the 2019 recipient of the GDUI Leiberg-Metz award for writing.

 

Find everything Annie on the web: www.annchiappetta.com

 

Zoom Invitation

Ann Chiappetta is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

 

Topic: BOE Book Launch with Annie Chiappetta

Time: June 16, 2022, 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

 

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88208888115?pwd=ZmtnSEkxY3dhUk9WZlQ3NkJyWkpKZz09

 

Meeting ID: 882 0888 8115

Passcode: 692748

One tap mobile

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Dial by your location

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Meeting ID: 882 0888 8115

Passcode: 692748

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbnrlmyTBN

book title and cover  on antique paper  Words read "A Story of Hope. When family secrets are revealed with a shift in cultural norms, Abbie leaves her doubts in the past, embracing a brighter future."

 

 

The Print Barrier

| Filed under blindness Relationships

💻  ⌨

The day-in-day-out goings on of electronic correspondence has become part of our lives. It’s a given and expected piece of the daily routine like brewing the morning coffee and checking out the news. We read and reply to email, text messages, manage tasks in calendars, and so on. Some of us still like to immerse themselves in the printed pages. I can still recall the guilty pleasure of pouring over a tabloid while waiting at the grocery store check-out line or writing a letter adding the stamp and dropping it in the mailbox.

 

But this is 2022 not 1982. In the twenty first century we depend on electronic exchanges, it keeps us connected like the newspaper and print magazines used to do.

 

Years ago, when I first begin losing my vision from retinal disease, I learned how to acquire the ability to hear text with artificial speech with a program called JAWS using a computer. I’ve since lost all my vision and have been using devices like a smart phone with voice over and can choose from a dozen accents from US English to South African.  My family tells me I listen to the rapid speech at such a level that it’s hard to understand it. I laugh and think, oh, I take pity on you light-dependent people. I speed-listen like the old   Evelyn Wood speed-reading advertisements on TV.

 

One day last week was an exception. A lapse of reliability, what I think of as “cyber gremlins”, struck and a week later, it still remains a problem. The origin of the barrier isn’t clear but the end result is the same: I cannot access a document Germain to my work. This means I either have to spend up to an hour of troubleshooting or give up and print it so I can scan and read it with another device.  This isn’t the frustrating thing, either – I am fortunate to have a back-up plan. The frustration appeared at the beginning; I could not click on the PDF attachment and read and reply like my peers. Because I am blind, the process of proficiency and fluidity in a task that should only take five minutes, for me, hasn’t even been accomplished.  I experienced this fairly often when I was employed, and it effected my overall productivity.

 

The overheard conversation would go like this: “Well why can’t she read it?”

“something about the document not being sent the way she needs it,”

“Send it again,”

“We did that yesterday, it didn’t help,”

“Maybe she needs more training with her software?”

“She says that’s not the problem, the problem is how the document was formatted,”

“What does she mean by that?”

“I don’t know, something about text and no pictures or something like that,”

“Go back and ask her if we can print it out instead,”

“Okay but you do know she won’t be able to read it,”

“Have someone read it to her, then,”

And so on …

 

Going back to the PDF, I’d like to be the first person to respond and not the last one because I had to undergo assistive technology calisthenics in order to attempt reading it. At times like this, I think I’ve traveled to an alternate reality; having to ask for help and educate the sender of the document is my burden and there isn’t even one glimmer of hope in the vacuum of space.

 

It is a bit unsettling to know the world is set upon a highly visually-driven stage and if you can’t see, it is inevitable one will miss out on what drives the masses.   Sure we have increased the intelligence and proficiency of assistive technology and tools like improvements of computer software and hardware, audio description in the movie theater, streaming services and on major television networks; people with print disabilities have even made a significant contribution in the audio book industry, which is experiencing exponential growth.

, but the reality is it will take many more years, sweat equity and advocacy dollars to mind the accessibility gap for people who are blind and continue closing it. Changing attitudes is slow. People who can see don’t think about people who cannot. It may be, to some, a gross generalization but to someone like me, it’s a reality.

I state all this to sum up the personal experience: I was the only one in a committee who could not respond to a document sent to the group because I could not read it visually. This is why I ranted and now it’s over and I just feel sad, let down and a little guilty I even had to ask for an accommodation in the first place.

I wonder if these folks assume someone like me either couldn’t or worse, wouldn’t be able to manage civic responsibilities and therefore the documents didn’t need to be formatted responsibly?

 

Five years ago I stepped down from a local board of directors because despite asking for accessible documents, I received excuses instead. When I mentioned the ADA and that I felt discriminated against, I was suddenly treated differently and I left because of feeling like the accommodations were somehow a burden to those who had to make them.

I know life isn’t fair, I know we all struggle with issues based upon our lives, health, relationships, and finances or employment status, racial or gender biases, and so on. I would like the accommodation process to be better, to be more fluid, part   of the norm. If you are reding this and would like to build upon your knowledge of accessibility for people with print disabilities, drop a question like, “how do I make a blind-friendly adobe document?” in the search engine of your choice and you will be rewarded with a plethora of resources.  Your efforts won’t cure the world of the ongoing accessibility gaps but it could help someone else be able to access a document and be the first person to respond to a group email and not be left behind.

 

Annie sitting at desk showing laptop and other equipment.

Annie and her office and equipment.

 

 

From Across the Pond

| Filed under Fiction Relationships

A new book Hope For the Tarnished promotion.

It’s great when  internationally-known  and respected friends help out independent authors like me. Sally is one of the best.

Check out Sally’s Smorgasbord Blog Magazine,  it’s fun, informational and full of inspiration.

 

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative. Book cover photo of a couple in sihouetted looking out upon a beutiful beach sunset over the water. The book title is printed across the top and author’s name is printed across the bottom.

 

Reactions like this are Real

| Filed under blindness Guide dogs Relationships

We walked into the holiday party. I was already anticipating a good time with friends after the imposed bouts of social isolation as a result of Covid.

 

We were greeted and directed to our table by a pleasant staff person. Bailey, my guide dog, was excited to see our good friends and greeted one of them. I pulled out my chair, settled my coat and bag and asked Bailey to lay down under the table when the two women to my right became hysterical upon noticing him.

“I can’t stay here, the dog will eat all my food,” and “That dog is going to bite me,” and “I can’t relax with that dog so close,”.

My heart sunk and I put on the blank face.  The face that tries to hide the disappointment and frustration brought on by ignorance and fear of my guide dog by others.

 

My friend tells them the dog won’t do that, it’s trained. Still they go on and I feel the anxiety build. Will I have to leave? I do my best to ignore them, but one person continued to go on about “that dog, will bite me,” “I can’t stay here with that dog,”, etc.

I grope for my water glass and wait it out.

I don’t want to be here, don’t want to eat, I feel like these people just stole it all from me.  I almost got up to leave, was close to tears but I refused to let them see me cry. I had a right to be there, too, and because I am blind, my guide dog did, too.

 

a person sitting on the other side of our table spoke to the person who was now almost yelling about “that dog,” — and quieted them.   It took me some time to refocus on my meal and my friends. My guide dog curled up for a nap under the table.

The rest of the afternoon was fun thanks to a stranger who knew how to handle another stranger’s fear of dogs.

 

The thing is even though I stayed quiet, I was angry. Being subjected to reactions like this, while infrequent, still happen and still affect me in a powerful way. I felt confused and hurt by their reactions.    I hope they will remember how “that woman with the dog,” kept her cool and shared a meal. I hope they will one day understand how much it cost me personally to shelf the feelings and get past their outburst.

Annie with pink mask and Bailey close up

Ann and Bailey on bench: Both looking straight on

 

 

New Fiction Book Released

| Filed under blindness Fiction Relationships

Hope for the Tarnished is here!

📖   🌻   📕

About the book

 

Young Abbie struggles to cope with the traumatic experiences in her life. Ripped from everything familiar after her parents’ divorce, she is dropped into an unknown neighborhood and is emotionally abandoned by her mentally unstable mother. Abbie is caught up in the cruel nature   of one sister’s addictions and often rescued by her other sister’s sense of familial responsibility and love.

The story takes place in the 1970s, revealing family secrets   and the shift of cultural norms as Abbie leaves her doubts in the past, embracing a bright future.

 

“Well-known in disabled writers’ circles, Chiappetta is that rare novelist who is able to incorporate a character’s disability into her story without making it the focus of her narrative.  She lets her audience realize that a disability, like hair color or a personality quirk, is merely one aspect of a human being, not the person’s defining feature.”

  • Sally Rosenthal, author of Peonies in Winter

 

 

Purchase it now in your choice of hard or soft cover and Kindle eBook

© 2022 Ann Chiappetta

Description of book cover: silhouette of two people standing on a beach watching a brilliant and colorful sunset over the water. Title of book is printed at the top.

This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.

Tulips and Breath and Shadow

| Filed under nonfiction Relationships writing

Thanks to editor-in-Chief, Chris Kuell, I am honored to be featured, with other talented writers in the Winter 2022 issue of Breath and Shadow. Check out the prize-winning essays, fiction and poetry in this issue.

 

https://www.abilitymaine.org/bs2022winter-1/%22the-tulips-come-back%22