Hello everyone. I've been happily busy this past while. Lately, my sense of blogger's guilt is telling me that it's way past time for another entry. There's a lot to cover including a few events which could well have had their own blog entries had I gotten around to writing them. Summer is firmly behind now as I start writing this entry on the last day of September. The leaves are all over the ground now on the path around the lake. I know because I went to vote this morning with Shirley. She voted earlier but didn't mind taking me for a walk over. I hadn't realized that the advanced poling station was right in the community centre I walk past when going to the mall and the Dam. This time, I had my voting card and it was simplicity itself. No long lineups or anything. I've officially done my civic duty. Guess we'll see what befalls this fine province on Thursday evening, election day.
For the past while, I've been plagued by an annoying cough/cold. I thought it was allergy-related for quite a while but no longer believe that to be the case. A lot of other people are coughing away too so I guess something's going round and my number came up. I'm just glad I got to enjoy the rest of the Summer this time. Such a splendid remarkable Summer. There are times in your life when you really turn a kind of corner and know that the past while has changed your outlook permanently for the better. This Summer has really shown me that I have far more reason to be thankful, scope for engagement with others in my community, and more hope for social satisfaction in this world of frightfully busy people than I could have imagined before. As I wrote in an article just published in my church's newsletter, I've at last truly found home.
It's Sunday morning now. I've been awake through a whole lot more of it than I would have preferred. However, I'm feeling very good just now other than the somewhat degraded hearing this illness now seems bent on throwing at me. Not nearly so bad as last Summer's illness. Breakfast went far more smoothly today than it did yesterday. A nice muffin and some fresh pineapple proved far less troublesome than the eggs I spilled yesterday. It ought to be a pretty good Sunday. There's church, the Mosen Explosion, and probably a visit with the family later on.
I guess there's a whole lot of past weeks to cover. I intended to do a blog entry a whole lot sooner than this. The first major thing I should write something about was my Aunt Kay's 90th birthday party. That already seems like ages ago. There was quite a bit of driving to Sea forth and then Stratford. We first had a pleasant afternoon with Kay's friends and relatives who attended. It was good to chat with some of Kay's friends who I hadn't met before, and it's always nice to see the folks who have been an intermittent but integral part of my life for about as long as I can remember. I wish we weren't all so spread out. Aunt Kay seemed to enjoy the afternoon thoroughly. There were something like sixty people in attendance. At times like that, you get a real sense of just how wide and positive the impact of a life well lived can be. We then proceeded to Stratford where we enjoyed a catered dinner at the Queen's Arms Inn. The food was terrific. After dinner, some of us gave short speeches. I took a stab at it and quit before I got too emotional. The core of what I said bares repeating here. If there's one thing I'll always treasure that I've learned from Aunt Kay, it's a deep appreciation for rarely encountered often old things. She probably still has that wonderful room in her house where a child of pretty much any age would find some quaint old toy or game which they'd never have come across anywhere else in life. You never got the sense that the possibilities of finding something else of interest on a future visit had been exhausted. Through my writing and other efforts, I hope to pass on that sense of appreciation and wonder that so much of this generation seems to have lost. Even costly video games are now mainly designed to be won and then disposed of rather than kept and cherished. Not so in Aunt Kay's day. Not so for me either. I want people to hang onto my creations be they writing or game. I owe no small part of that resistance to the use it and lose it consumerism plaguing modern life to Aunt Kay and that room of wonders.
It was great seeing Neil and Cathy again. They don't visit that often at all so spending time with them was a lot of fun. After they left, my next big trip was out to Canada's Wonderland with a few friends I hadn't seen in pretty much a year. It was great to be back in the park again. Perhaps, I'll get a season's pass next year. I seem to know enough people who go there often that it would easily pay for itself over a summer. Even better was just catching up with the happenings in the lives of Shane, Crissie and Angel. We just hit it off like we did when they lived nearby and had a very good day together. Sadly, Shane must now deal with the reality of Crones disease which my mother has. He's just starting to blog about what he's been going through. I hope he finds that to be as helpful and therapeutic an outlet as I've found blogging to be. Check it out at:
I've also reconnected with Angela and Tony. Angela came out a couple of times, once to have lunch with Michelle, Gerry and I. She came a second time a week later so that I could update her Trekker Breeze for her. It's all up to snuff now with the latest software and maps. Nobody ever told her she should register it with Humanware to be notified of updates. I cringe at idiocy like that. Same goes for how Jerry didn't get an SMA with his Jaws purchase. If anybody needs things to be easy and up to date, it's someone like him. He doesn't have the technical skill to deal with the adversity he's going to needlessly have to over the next four years until he can get an upgrade. That presumes those who deal with him don't take advantage of his ignorance as has clearly happened this time. He's stuck with version 11 and should have been able to upgrade to 13 like Michelle and I will be. Michelle has the ongoing problem of her visual capability not being understood by people who deal with her. She has to bend very close to the monitor to see it and often can't see things like buttons in the middle of the screen. She notices a lot with her sight around a room or outdoors but this doesn't mean she can when things are close up and small. It's not that she isn't trying. She simply often can't. I've been surprised by what she's able to notice at times so I have a dim understanding of how other people might reach the unfortunate conclusion that too many have for her. I couldn't help her as much as I would have hoped this week when I went to see them. All I could do was take her to the place where she could change colour and font. I just have no direct experience and only a dim theoretical grasp of what these things are. I can see both sides of the coin as usual. It's understandable if regrettable that trainers will lose patience trying to help her and Gerry. It takes them longer to grasp technical concepts and such. Poor Gerry actually ended up frustrated with the phone as he tried to call Swiss Chalet to order our dinner. He really seems caught in a world which has moved beyond him technologically but he's doing quite well considering his late introduction to computers. It's just going to take longer for him to really start grasping stuff well. Too long for trainers busy making a buck to do much more than write him off after a certain point. How much collective wisdom is forever lost to society through the impatience of others?
Back from church now. That was a great service as usual although my illness robbed me of my accustomed ability to hear easily. My article got published in the church newsletter and a few people commented favourably on it to me. I enjoyed a light lunch and am now awaiting the start of the Mosen Explosion on
I just read an article by my good friend Adam Taylor. He's studying to become a journalist and got published in his college's newspaper. Check out his article at:
Looks like he's started a nifty blog also for gamers. Have to keep an ear on that. Check that out at:
Life has somewhat settled down now for me. I don't expect any major outings over the next while. That'll be good for my bank balance. Even these more empty days seem to be going past at quite a clip. I've read some good books including The Rule of Nine which was a very well-written thriller. I've also re-read the Moon Maze Game which is just terrific and well worth the waiting for. I'm about due for another Audible credit and am debating which book to choose next. I may go for World War Z despite it being abridged in the spirit of Halloween. However, there are quite a number of titles on my wish list including Ready Player 1. That one sounds very interesting and comes highly recommended by Dani Hood, a former neighbour and current friend. There are also a couple of game development related books. Now that work on Enchantment's Twilight is on the move again, they also present some temptation. Robert J. Sawyer also tugs at my heartstrings as I'm sorely tempted to get the WWW trilogy over the next few months. So many choices. If there's a sale as there sometimes is, there's always a chance that a book I'm interested in will be included in it. However, I can't count on that and must make my monthly choice accordingly. As my budget improves and recovers from Summer, I'll have more freedom of action but that's how things are for now. Rather than being put out, I see it as only fair that things tighten up for a bit. It all comes down to perspective and I seem to have well and truly found my equilibrium.
Looks like I'll be joining my parents for dinner at Kim and Ernie's tonight. It's always good to catch up with them. Saw the three nieces last week. They're all doing alright despite dealing with colds. School is going well for both Ava and Amia. Little Alleah won't be ready to join the educational system for some time yet but she's a cute grabby spunky little one for all that. I'm glad Neil and Cathy got to see them while they were here.
As offline life slows down a tad, my online existence is becoming more interesting. One of my Twitter followers, Julie Einarson, participated in the Sears Run which raised funds for research into curing Cancer. Apparently, she did quite well and her team came in second. Tom Ward just announced that he's doing a small Halloween game as a kind of break from ongoing work on Mysteries of the Ancients. Thank God people have proved more understanding than past experience gave me any cause to hope they would. So far, no flame war or harsh backlash against Tom for daring to take a short creative break and switch gears for a bit. Hope it does him some real good to make something unhindered by the desires and hopes of the blind gaming community. He's been hemmed in for so very long by trying to do a good deed. Team FM has been very successful in its launch and I'm tuning into a couple of their shows. Mainly, I've thoroughly enjoyed the Bear's Lair on Saturdays. That in itself has been wonderful to have back. Lulu plays some terrific stuff and that whole community Twitter interactive thing just makes an otherwise empty Saturday feel special. It's nice to know that weekends this Winter will have two events, the Mosen Explosion on Mushroom FM plus the Bear's Lair on Team FM, which will be points of contact with communities of listeners. There's also Cathyanne's Soothing Sounds and Erin Edger's Melting Pot, shows I catch on a semi-regular basis. Pretty soon, King of Dragon Pass will at long last be accessible to me via the iPHONE. I have every confidence that this game will keep me spellbound for hours of stimulating story-driven play. That's a very good thing as I'll be saving any extra cash for the whole Christmas thing as well as any social opportunities which might come my way. Podcasts are going to become more welcome things in life. I have tons of Spark episodes to catch up on among a great many other things in that department. I have, however, enjoyed a number of From Our Own Correspondents episodes over the past while during less active times. It's positively delightful and unbelievable how far out of my digital world this past Summer has taken me. The whole tambour of life has well and truly changed.
Janet and I have been chatting on Skype most evenings. It's damned good to have someone to do that again with who really seems to love me. I can't help but be drawn in by her simplicity and obvious affection. However, when you get right down to it, all we've done is talk and email each other. The whole question of how well the chemistry will work outside of Lake Joseph's special environment still remains to be answered and doubtless will for some time. Having a friend like Carine to talk with is helpful. Like me, she's in a long-distance relationship and must deal with some of the same issues. This includes the same tendency to analyze things to death. Will we find each other to be stimulating when together on our own continuously or simply find that things run out of steam? We operate on two very different mental levels. Janet has a very simplistic way of approaching things including faith. God will provide. It's a foregone conclusion for her as reliable and all-encompassing as the sunrise. With intellect comes a knowledge of how things work which precludes such easy refuge. I'm forever weighing and pondering, wrestling with the very essence and consequences of what I believe. As with my faith, so too it is with the rest of life. Particularly when it comes to my hopes for life-long female companionship, I'm probably altogether too mindful of the consequence of choosing wrongly. I get a strong sense that we would both be useful additions to each other's social circles. However, while I was listening to some fantasy book or lecture, would she take an interest or simply be bored to death? Would we listen to radio shows or podcasts and have meaningful talks about them, or would that simply be an ideal I'd do better to let go of? I can sort of see myself getting into some of the mystery and crime shows which fascinate her but am never going to be enthralled by comedies, campfire singalongs or other things which amuse her. There would certainly be compensations in terms of the freedom of action her sight would provide us. Also, while I'm apt to get mired in detail and counter-argument, she's the type of kind soul who's apt to come up with one of those breath-taking "why didn't I think of that?"-style conclusions. She doesn't say what she doesn't mean. There's no ambiguity. I would always know precisely where I stood with her. Ability-wise, each of us can nicely fill a lack experienced by the other. That could either lead to a kind of stability or not. Eventually, we'll doubtless manage to visit each other and really find out where things might go. Until then, I take comfort in my new lovely lady at a distance and explore what ground Skype makes possible. Our road to togetherness will be a very long one. For me, it'll be full of weighty questions which only time together will answer but which I can't help but wrestle with anyhow. I don't ever want her to feel belittled or inferior to me if she can't immediately grasp things or can't get into things which interest me. She has, in many ways, surpassed me in how she has approached things and/or dealt with her limitations. It's not at all the same as having someone to go on dates and start experiencing life with. Hopefully, the distance between us will prove to be a means of building a solid foundation of understanding upon which love can grow. For the present, having Janet to talk with and write to is a whole lot better than the big zero relationship wise. It's so damned nice to finally have a possibility for long-term companionship to at least explore with someone who takes the possibility seriously.
It's Monday afternoon now. Dinner with the Perins was delicious and entertaining as always. Their computer needed quite a cleaning as they hadn't really known to attend to that over the past years they've owned it. I trust that they'll notice quite a speed boost now that a disc cleanup and defrag have been done. I seem to be doing a lot of basic computer maintenance for people these days who either don't have the time or inclination to learn to do it themselves. I can relate to that. There are certainly things, particularly fashion-related, that I could doubtless grasp more firmly but simply aren't worth my bother. There's that palpable sense that Fall has arrived and with it, a bustle of activity you never quite feel in Summer no matter how full of adventure it is.
Carine called unexpectedly this morning. She and Kevin have been pretty busy lately, as have I. It was good to go for a walk around the lake with her dog Breeze and my Trekker Breeze GPS. We went off to Symposium where I had the breakfast of champions. That'll pretty much be my meal for the day. Kevin and Carine want to take me tubing this Winter. Carine also seems to like hiking. Haven't had a whole lot of opportunity to do either of those things in quite a while. It's great to have people who think of me when they're considering doing something and have them be so close to where I live. It'll be fun including them in some of my gatherings also.
Apples have definitely made their way back into my list of liked fruits. They're a nice change from oranges this time of year. Dad says oranges are to his liking just now so I may get some with my next grocery order in a couple weeks or so. I have a Fall coupon book which I intend to get some use out of. The coupons are five dollars savings plus one for ten. That doesn't really justify doing an extra order what with the delivery fee but I'll still save at least fifteen or twenty just sticking to my natural schedule. They do a good job of reminding you when codes are about to expire. I appreciate thoughtfulness like that. When it comes to customer service, Grocery Gateway truly has its act together. Wouldn't mind if the bills were lower, but would mind extremely if they ever went out of business.
It's been a pleasant afternoon and is now well into evening. The wind has now passed well in to the realm of chilly. Time to close the balcony door for the night. People will be coming to check on and perhaps repair the balcony railing tomorrow so I've moved the table into a corner and the chairs inside. I've never gotten to meet and talk with the folks who do that kind of work. That could be interesting. I wonder what tools they might carry or whether they leave everything in a truck until they perceive an apartment which needs their attention. There are so many things like that which I guess are just obvious to sighted folk but that I've never gotten round to finding out. The railing certainly seems just as safe and solid to me as it ever has. Do they use some special equipment to examine them and how well they're set into the concrete of the balconies? Also, what possible insights might such a career lend itself to? They see the inner sanctums and visible possessions of so many people. What do they actually think of it all? What impact might it have on their sense of place and accomplishment in life? I think of people like Franc Snape, who I've always thought of as Uncle Franc despite our not being related. You can read a bit about him in the previous blog entry. There are so many different approaches to wisdom and depth of character.
At last, I learned today what Julie sounds like. She's the lady I mentioned earlier who's running in the Great Canadian Run for Cancer soon. I finally got to hear a Youtube clip of her speaking. For quite a while now, I've known what two thirds of the Twitter triangle[twiangle?] of Dani, Jacqui and Julie sound like. Dani was a neighbour of my parents and I and still comes over on some occasions. Jacqui is Dani's friend who I've also had the pleasure to meet and talk with over the years. The most memorable thing I've done with them so far was eat at O'Noir when they wanted to experience eating in the dark. That seems so damned long ago. So much has happened to me, them, and Stephen since that evening. Now, I can have some sense of how all three members of the twiangle would sound saying what they tweet to each other. It's one of those things, like putting that last dish back in the cupboard, which imparts a disproportionate degree of satisfaction. Sort of like having a matching set of stuff. My impression of Julie as an interesting and caring person hasn't changed at all for finally having heard her. We might never actually meet as is the case with so many of my online acquaintances. It's just a tiny bit of curiosity put to rest.
Tomorrow afternoon, I'm going to be leading the Forum discussion at the Dam. My previous experience explaining to students and others about life as a blind person will hopefully stand me in good stead for this. I hope I can keep them interested and pass something of what life has taught me on to them. This is a fantastic opportunity for me to make some real headway with whoever ends up staying around for the discussion and pizza. It's been on my mind most of the day. Thank God for Twitter and other seemingly trivial stuff of life. As the author says in Stranger Than Fiction, that seemingly trivial stuff does a whole lot to save our lives. It saves us from taking ourselves too seriously, from becoming too obsessed for our own good with what we're about. It can give us that small speck of distance we need to stumble across what our most intensely focused careful thinking can never find. Mostly though, it saves us from the crushing weight of time we cannot more profitably use. I was going to publish this entry today, but believe that I'll hold off. Tomorrow's forum is a pretty important first stab at youth leadership for me and you all deserve to know how it turns out.
It's now Tuesday evening. I'm back safe and sound. It's been a pretty good day. The balcony workers were extremely quick. They walked through, hammered a few times on the railing or something out there, and then left. Couldn't really chat with them but got to chat briefly with the building superintend ant. He seemed somewhat surprised that I was cooking despite it's being lunch time. The Apple press event was unfortunately less than informative regarding IOS5. The only real piece of info I learned before having to leave for the Dam was that IOS5 is going to come out on October 12. That ought to be interesting.
The Trekker performed beautifully today on the way to the Dam. My hearing, however, was somewhat problematic. This time, it was that lack of the clear crisp hearing of my surroundings which got me turned around heading accidentally back towards my apartment until the Breeze announced familiar landmarks which clued me in. That added five minutes to my otherwise excellent walk over there. Crossing the street was a tad more nerve-wracking. One car was quiet enough and moving slowly so I didn't realize it was anywhere near until it was very close indeed. The driver was obviously well aware of me. It seemed almost criminal after the forum to accept a lift back home but given that hearing difficulty, I figured discretion might be the better part of valour this evening.
My first forum was quite a success and turned out very differently than I had planned for. It ended up being about getting to know me. I shared some antic dotes and basic information about how I approach things as a blind person. I think it'll make it easier for them to approach me with their issues during the drop in. Robin seemed to think that it was quite a success and everyone was interested all the way through. They want me to lead another forum later on where I tackle the rest of what I planned to do in this forum.
The rest of this week will be pleasantly busy for me. I'll be going to Symposium Cafe on Thursday to have lunch with Michelle and Angela. Michelle's computer seems to be working better for her but I've no clear idea what happened to accomplish that. Face book is still a bit more difficult but seems to be manageable for her. It'll also be interesting to find out how Angela likes her Trekker now that it's all updated. I'll have to read up on entering addresses into the Breeze so I can explain that better. I haven't used that feature a whole lot but it would come in pretty handy for Angela. I guess tomorrow and Friday will be when I do laundry and other odds and ends. Thursday is also election day and I'll certainly be tuned into CBC Radio1 for their coverage that evening. At some point, I'll have to catch a full length news broadcast and get caught up with that. What with all the happenings and tech stuff, I guess I've let my grip on world events slip a tad. Rather than finding that annoying, I find it a welcome indicator of just how much things have changed for me over this past while. It's high time I got this entry published. I'll be Skyping Janet and her friend Lori fairly soon once I've gotten a nice cold drink. Until next time, my good readers all.