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

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 

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

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

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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.