Where The Wild Blogs Are

(For the Sendak-deprived, this is a play on Where The Wild Things Are.)

The night the Little Blind Girl changed her avatar and made mischief of one kind

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and another

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her followers called her “WILD BLOG!”
and the Little Blind Girl said “ I’LL FILTER YOUR CONTENT!”
so she was made to sign out without checking her statistics.

That very night in the Little Blind Girl’s computer the social media grew

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and grew-

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and grew until her smartphone chimed with tweets
and her Pinterest Board pinned the world all around

and Tumblr scrolled by with a private blog for the Little Blind Girl
and she clicked through the pages and gifs
and in and out of memes

and almost over the cat videos

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to where the wild blogs are.

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And when she came to the place where the wild blogs are
they roared their anonymous roars and gnashed their anonymous teeth
and rolled their anonymous eyes and showed their anonymous claws

til the Little Blind Girl wrote “LMAO!”
and tamed them with the magic trick
of standing up to all the trolls without taking their bait once

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and they were frightened and called her the most wild blog of all
and made her king of all wild blogs.

“And now,” tweeted the Little Blind Girl, “let the wild blog-rumpus start!”

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“Now stop!” the Little Blind Girl tweeted and made the wild blogs sign out without checking their statistics. And the Little Blind Girl, the king of all wild blogs, was lonely and wanted to be where someone loved her writing best of all.

Then all around from away across the blogosphere
she sensed good things to read
so she gave up being king of where the wild blogs are.

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But the wild blogs cried, “Oh please don’t go–
we’ll filter your content–we love you so!”
And the Little Blind Girl said, “No!”

The wild blogs roared their anonymous roars and gnashed their anonymous teeth
and rolled their anonymous eyes and showed their anonymous claws
but the Little Blind Girl logged onto her private blog and waved good-bye

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and clicked back over the cat videos
and in and out of memes
and through the gifs

and onto the home page of iliketheworldfuzzy
where she found her saved draft waiting for her

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and it was still good.

 

[all pictures are in the public domain via pixabay]

Miracles, Audrey Hepburn Movies, And Other True Stories About My Mom

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image in public domain via pixabay.com; text added

Mother’s Day snuck up on me, which seems appropriate because my mother often does the same thing.  I wanted to write a Mother’s Day post this year, partly because I’m running out of blog topics I have a fantastic mother who’s always worth writing about and partly because I’ve had particular reason to appreciate her over the last year.  I wasn’t sure quite how to approach it, though.  My Sainted Mother has made a number of appearances on this blog already, and most of the stories she wouldn’t mind me telling the entire internet have already been told.

Fortunately, I found inspiration in the news. I try to stay educated on current events because, appropriately enough, my mother raised me to believe that it’s my duty to stay informed as a voter and as a member of society.  I also like to check to see if we’ve gone to war with anyone new since yesterday, and I wish I meant that as a joke.  So I took a look at the news and oh, the news, the news did not disappoint.

At first I thought it did, and not because of headlines about serial killers, though there were headlines about serial killers.  The news I’m talking about was equally shocking, but it was also, somehow, horrendously mundane.  I read articles about political sniping and voters trying to decide which candidate for leader of the free world is the least worst; interviews in which global atrocities were politicized and romanticized, and in the process trivialized; and editorials in respected publications demanding that the moral beliefs of private citizens be enforced as law.  How can any rational being not be disappointed in news like this?

Inadvertently, however, all that muck made it obvious to me how I should approach this Mother’s Day post.  My mother is everything that’s missing from the news today.  She’s intelligent, free-thinking, non-judgmental, and familiar with the rules of grammar.  (She’s also, and this is really neither here nor there when it comes to the news, very good-looking.  When she went abroad as a young woman, snobby Parisian men lost their snobby Parisian heads over her in spite of her being an American.  True story).  What stands out to me most clearly right now, though, and what has lasted rather longer than the dew on her skin and the gloss in her hair, is how classy she is.  Life with my mother is like an Audrey Hepburn movie:  it’s beautiful, it’s fun, and it’s clearly better for having her in it.  It’s also simply not the same with anyone else.

All my life, whenever I’ve gone somewhere with my mother, I’ve seen the people around her just bloom, and I’ve tried for years to pin down why.  Other people can be nice, polite, thoughtful, helpful, all those same attributes my mother has, and they don’t have the same effect.  You can do the exact things she does and say the exact words she says with all the same tones and inflections, but you won’t get the same results–trust me, I’ve tried; it’s like the beginning of Peter Pan without the fairy dust.  But when you’re with my mother, something about her makes the world start acting like a dusty summer garden when it finally rains; all the beautiful things can lift up their heads and flourish, and they do.

In hotels, when she travels, she knows the names of the concierge, the manager, the assistant managers, the coffee shop baristas, the housekeepers, the gardeners, and the maintenance staff.  She doesn’t learn their names to curry favor, she does it because she wants to know their names.  She knows which waiter in the hotel restaurant has a child applying to colleges and whose grandmother is recovering from surgery, and she also knows which colleges and what kind of surgery.  When someone is in distress, she asks if she can do anything and hopes the answer is yes.  She’ll read this, I know, and she’ll think I’m painting a picture of a rosebush and leaving out the thorns.  I’m not.  Even my mother can’t deny that I’m not the kind of person who leaves out the thorns.  I’m just the kind of person who recognizes what she’s got, and I’ve got an exceptionally classy mother.

This blog post was almost very different, though, because the twist in this particular tale is that I’m adopted.  I suspect that, no matter what the circumstances are, most adopted children never really stop being afraid that they’ll be rejected, and that’s still my biggest fear.  Rationally speaking, I know that my adoption is probably not going to be undone after thirty-five years, but tell that to a kid who grew up knowing she’d been returned to sender once already.  My mother (and father and sister) gave me a home and a family and I will never stop being grateful for that, but a home and a family couldn’t soothe my fear because they’re the very things I’ve been so afraid I’ll lose.  It would take a miracle to banish that fear.  So my mother performed a miracle.  She raised me with a love so strong and so good that it overcame every fear and doubt, and made me believe.  She made me hers.

My mother gave a motherless child the impossible gift:  total and unshakeable faith in her love for me.  I will always be her daughter and she will always be my mother.  She told me so, and she lives her life with such honor and grace that I could never doubt her.  She made room for me in her home and her heart, and she’s my mother not by blood or even by court order, but by a lifetime of love.  She’s a class act if ever there was one, and no matter what else is going on in my life or what horrible things are in the news, all I have to do to find the good in this world is think of her.  I know that my sister, her biological daughter, feels the same.  I’ll never be able to repay my mother for what she’s done for me and been to me.  All I can do is say thank you.

Thank you, Mom.  I love you so much.  Happy Mother’s Day.

All The Stars In The Sky

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image in public domain via pixabay.com

One of the bad things about posting to a blog late on Friday, or at any point over the weekend, is that most people don’t read blogs on the weekend.  Blogs are for coffee breaks, or lunch breaks, or the-boss-isn’t-around breaks.  However, on the theory that when life hands you gators, you may as well make Gatorade, here’s the up side to that:  it’s Friday.  My blog post can be as bizarre and embarrassing as my little blind heart desires because no one’s paying attention.  As long as I publish another post early Monday morning, chances are my Friday post could be about how I think all the cutest kittens should have their fur shaved off and be shot into space (the kittens, not the fur) and it would pass without a single comment.

I don’t think cute kittens should be shaved and shot into space, by the way, just in case this no-one’s-looking thing ends up backfiring.  I think that’s what we should do with the CEOs of companies that use those full-screen pop-up ads that completely obscure whatever page you’re trying to see and have no apparent way to close them out. I’d shave those bastards myself.  It’s Friday, so I can say things like that.  Ironic side note:  while I was checking online to make sure I was using the right term for that ad, one of those ads popped up.  The real irony is that it popped up while I was viewing a site describing how to block pop-up ads.  Though you never know; maybe pop-ups have become sentient and that ad was just acting in self-defense.  The internet is a postmodern Neverland.

Meanwhile, back at my original point:  since it’s Friday and no one is paying attention, I’m going to tell you something about myself that I wish weren’t true.  Here’s where I usually chicken out and write something like “When I’m on a plane, I look at the other passengers and decide who I’d save in the event of a crash based on what book they’re reading and how annoying their kids are.”  This is true, but I wouldn’t waste a wish on changing it.  If I had a wish to spend, one I could only use for something selfish and fun (like with birthday money when you’re a kid), I would wish I could remember what the stars look like.

Let me explain that a little:  I’m surrounded by things I can’t see, but I know sort of generally what most things look like because I make sure to take a good squint at them when I get the chance.  In the event I don’t get the chance, there’s always Google Images.  It’s kind of nice, actually, because while it’s true that I can’t see any of the flowers in my neighbor’s garden, the garden I picture in my head has all of my favorite flowers in perfect bloom year round.  In the garden I see, there are no weeds, no bare patches where you can’t get anything to grow, no creepy garden gnomes, and (this is key) no chrysanthemums.  That’s the flower for the month of my birth, and I’ve always felt gypped in that regard because I think they look frumpy.  So when I walk by a garden, no, I can’t see it, but in my head it’s full of daffodils and roses and orchids and violets and tiger lilies and more daffodils, and no one gets pricked by thorns and all the bees are too happy to sting anyone and there are no chrysanthemums, ever.  It’s hard to call that a disability.

I’ve forgotten what the stars look like, though, and I can’t find a picture or video that does them justice–I may have forgotten what they look like, but I still remember how looking at them made me feel, and no image I’ve seen even comes close. Sometimes I almost remember them, or I remember being cold while I watched them, or I remember where I was one time when I saw them.  But the times when I saw the stars were too long ago and too many things have happened since then, and although I clutched those memories and hoarded them for years, one day they were just gone.  Dissolved or fell apart, or crowded out, I don’t know, but conspicuous to the point of indecency by their absence, and gone forever.

This is by way of an explanation to my friends (who will read this post despite its being published on a Friday), who have never understood how I can be afraid of heights but always want to live on the top floor.  It’s an explanation of why I kept climbing all those trees and convincing my aforementioned friends to help me sneak onto the roof of every building on my college campus, and by the way, I’m sorry about all the roof violations.  I just wanted to see if getting closer maybe jogged my memory or even helped me see, but I could never get close enough for more than a few faint gleams that in retrospect were probably airplanes and satellites.  What’s gone is gone.

Eventually I stopped climbing trees and sneaking onto roofs, and you can make whatever metaphor or broader theme you want to out of all this, but for me it’s simply the literal truth.  I wish I could remember what a starry sky looks like.  I’ve made my peace with my fuzzy worldview, and I made Gatorade out of all the gators I could get to sit still long enough, and I’m not asking for a miracle cure that lets me see again.  I just want to remember.  Sometimes I’ll wish so hard that I’ll dream about them, and I’ll think ‘It’s only a dream, you’ve had them before, this isn’t real.’  And then I’ll think, ‘No, this time it’s real, I can tell, I’m awake and I can see the stars.’  And then I wake up and I can’t even remember how they looked in my dream.  It’s cruel and it hurts, and I wouldn’t stop having the dreams if I could.

So if I had a wish that I couldn’t use for world peace or perfect vision or an honest politician or any other fairy tale, that’s how I’d use it.  Who knows?  The future is nothing but possibility, and I’ve learned to be careful about words like “never” and “always.”  I embrace the maybe and I keep hope alive.  I also still want to live on the top floor and I will always, yes always, keep looking into the sky at night, and I’ll never, yes never, stop trying.  For all I know, there will be a way in my lifetime for me to go and see the stars up close, and then I won’t have to remember.  And if that happens, let me just tell you how I’m filming the entire freaking thing in whatever they’re calling high-definition at that point, and I’m storing copies of the video in at least ten different locations, real and virtual, just in case I develop amnesia right at the same time that there’s a fire, a flood, and a tornado and also the entire internet gets erased.  I’m not taking any more chances.

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Van Gogh, The Starry Night [image in public domain]

Happy Friday.  I hope you enjoyed my confession.  Now, if it’s Friday night and you’re actually reading this blog post, do me a favor:  go outside, look at the stars, and leave me a comment telling me what they’re like.  Do it again tomorrow night, and the night after that, and just every single night for the rest of your life because watching a starry night sky is one thing you should never, never, never take for granted.  And after you’re done, put on something fabulous and go have some fun!  That’s what I’m doing.  It’s Friday night, after all.

And if you’re asking yourself how I’m going to make this wish when I can’t see a star to wish on: that’s what faith is for.  I can’t see the stars, but I know they’re there.  How’s that for a broader theme?

The Tweet Life

In my continuing quest for adventures that accommodate a screen reader (for those who didn’t catch the name of this blog, the blog subtitle, my username, or my avatar, I can’t see very well), I’ve recently begun to be active on Twitter.  I’m still learning my way around while pondering the revolving questions of why someone stopped following me and also why anyone follows me in the first place–hey, wait, don’t get mad and un-follow me!  I like it!  I just don’t understand it.  I also don’t understand Ozzy Osbourne, but I still like Black Sabbath.

Moving on, before I drive away any more followers:  I really just wanted to post some Before and After pictures of my burgeoning Twitter addiction, sort of like those pictures of healthy vs. diseased lungs that people show you to make you stop smoking, or those “this is your brain on drugs” commercials.  I anticipate that this blog post will have a similar success rate. So, kids, before you pick up that smart phone (the first tweet’s always free), remember my tale of woe.  Before I let Twitter take control, this was my life:

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Now, this is my life on Twitter:

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Image by Charlie Cottrell, used by permission.  (c) 2016, all rights reserved

That last image is specifically of me from when I accidentally tweeted a celebrity and I couldn’t understand why I suddenly had fifty notifications that people I’d never met had liked tweets essentially calling me an idiot.  My friend Chuck drew it to cheer me up, and I paid him back with that post about clowns (a high price, but Twitter habits aren’t cheap).

Please, learn from my example.  I know you think you’ve got it under control–a few tweets a day, with friends, just for fun; you can stop any time you like.  But it doesn’t take long before you’re waking up in the middle of the night jonesing to check your Twitter feed; then you start losing followers and can’t remember how.  After that it’s just a matter of time before you’re recklessly retweeting memes and wondering why your mother blocked your account (hint:  it may have something to do with all the memes).

Actually, in all seriousness, it’s turning out to be a lot of fun, but I do advise tweeting responsibly.  When it’s 3 a.m. and you’ve had a few drinks, it’s going to seem like a good idea to tweet your ex-BF’s new girlfriend “just to warn her.”  It’s not.  Trust me on this, for I am now an expert on all things Twitter (I am not an expert on all things Twitter).  Also, stop tweet-stalking your ex-BF.  That’s just rude, and I’m definitely an expert on being rude!

Little Blind Girl has left the building

Jeff and Jodi's Epic Bike Move by Will Vanlue on Flickr

Jeff and Jodi’s Epic Bike Move by Will Vanlue on Flickr

I’m moving.  I’m pretty sure the tears are because I’ve developed allergies to cardboard, packing tape, and bubble wrap simultaneously, and not at all because I’m leaving the place I’ve called home for six years.  You can disagree with me if you want, because I’m just making that up to keep from sounding like a wimp.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are things I will not miss.  For instance, I live in a converted warehouse that wasn’t built to be a residence, and in one of the corners the walls don’t quite meet.  If you’re standing at the right angle at the right time of day, you can see daylight.  I’ve seen it snow inside my apartment.  I won’t miss that.  I also live above a restaurant.  I don’t know why it is that they like to dump all their glass bottles into the recycling bin at dawn, but they do, and the restaurant has a bar, so that’s a lot of bottles.  I won’t miss that, either, though it’s been a pretty reliable alarm clock.  I also won’t miss the trains that run immediately behind the building, and I definitely won’t miss whoever it is who thinks it’s a good idea to blast Justin Bieber at two in the morning.

I’ve made this into a home, though, the first I’ve ever had on my own.  I’ve lived on my own for a while, but I never stayed anywhere for long.  I’m a rolling stone, baby, and I gather no moss.  Except here.  My home, my sacred space, my sanctuary.  The place where, no matter how mad the Chloe Cat is, she has to let me in because she has nobody else to feed her.  I’ve had sleepless nights here because I was anxious, because I was ecstatic, because I had a broken heart, because I had a broken bone, or because I just couldn’t sleep.  I started this blog here.  I can see where my viewership is coming from, and it knocks me out to see that little map light up with countries all across the world in which people are reading this blog, and it all started here.

I’m moving to a great place and I’m looking forward to making a new home in which I haven’t had any heartbreaks yet, or had to shovel snow off the floor.  Maybe my new neighbors will blast Muse at two in the morning, or (it could happen) Bach.  Maybe I’ll blast Bach and see how long it takes people to complain (prediction:  17 seconds).  I’m looking forward to living in a place where the ceiling is so high, I have to submit a work order to get a light bulb changed.  But mostly, I’m looking forward to not having to pack any more boxes, or wrap any more fragile items, or try to hold a box closed with one hand while I tape it up with the other using tape that has somehow become stuck to itself in the last half-second.  Sentimentality is nice and all, but if this doesn’t end soon, I’m going to find out who it is who’s been blasting Justin Bieber for the past few years, shove them in a box, tape it shut, and mail it to Canada.

And I’m going to miss the hell out of this place.  Even though it has no closet space, the floors slant, and it managed to get flooded on the top floor, it was home.  Au revoir, apartment mine.  May you be tenanted by good people who always remember to change your air filter.

Respect Your Blog

Image credit: openclipart.org

Image credit: openclipart.org

I’m not gonna lie, I used to post a good portion of my blog entries while wearing PJs.  I’ve come to realize, however, that when I’m wearing PJs and slippers and I’ve got my rat’s nest of uncombed hair pulled back in a scrunchie so I won’t have to deal with it and I’m not wearing any makeup because it’s not like any of you can see me, anyway, I usually end up writing a sloppy blog entry.  Because I’m sloppy.  So I came up with a resolution:  respect your blog.  Treat it like something you value, not like something you just got from a fast food restaurant that you’re done with and you throw in the back of your car because who cares.

I like to dress up a little while I’m posting to my blog.  I put on pretty shoes, I do my eye makeup, I try to make my hair look presentable.  I know you can’t see me, but it makes a difference.  When I respect my blog, and my blog readers, enough to approach it like a professional, I write better blog entries.  I also try to make sure that my apartment has achieved at least a basic level of cleanliness, because I can see my living room reflected in my computer screen and it’s really distracting when I’m typing a post and I see the reflection and think, why do I have three coffee mugs on my end table?  I don’t even drink coffee.

Why is this important?  Because I’m a freaking adult.  I know my laundry has been piling up and I really need to empty the trash and I haven’t been grocery shopping in two weeks so I’ve just been ordering in (which is probably why the trash is so full), but it helps me concentrate when all my crap is where it’s supposed to be.  It helps me write when I know, somewhere in the layers of my little blind mind, that I could walk outside to get the mail and not worry whether anyone’s around to see me, because I look decent.  It’s all part of not becoming a crazy cat lady with 27 cats who goes to the grocery store wearing a house coat because she forgot to check the mirror before she sat down to post to her blog.

This blog may not be an actual job, and thank God because most people end up hating their jobs and that would suck for me, but it’s something that’s important to me.  It’s important to me to write a good blog entry for you to read.  And I don’t mind if you read it while wearing your PJs.  That’s totally OK.  That’s almost what you’re supposed to do (unless you’re reading this while at work).  Get out your scrunchies and put on your slippers and know that I put effort into myself as well as into this blog post, because I respect my blog and I respect you.  Peace out.

Ask a Little Blind Girl, Part 3

Old woman at desk, 1967

Old woman at desk, 1967 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t done an installment of Ask a Little Blind Girl lately, so I thought I would share a few more of the questions that my anxious public keeps begging me to address, or at least answer a few questions that random curious people who probably have no idea I keep a blog have asked me.  All right, I made up the questions.  Like Dear Abby never made up a question or two.  There can’t be that many clueless people in the world.  Regardless:  allow me to present the latest contribution to the blogosphere’s only (known) advice column from a Little Blind Girl:

1.  Dear Little Blind Girl:  If you can’t see the television and you have trouble seeing the computer screen when you go online, what do you do to pass the time?

–TV Addict in Tennessee

Dear TV Addict in Tennessee:  It’s hard to believe these days, but there was a time when people had neither television nor the internet to entertain them.  Of course, in those days, everyone was in the same boat and would meet up in their town halls to go buggy riding together, whereas today, if you’re not online, you’re out in the cold.

If, because of vision impairment, religious or ideological beliefs, or a lack of connectivity, you find yourself cut off from the online community and without a television to stare at for hours, there are still things you can do.  I like to pick a bar I’ve never been in before, take in a board game, and see how many people I can talk into playing with me.  If you’ve never had an evening of Yahtzee with a crowd of inebriated strangers, believe me, you haven’t lived.  Clue and Trivial Pursuit also work well, but take the benefit of my experience and stay away from Twister.  Someone falls on someone else the wrong way when beer is involved and things get ugly fast.

I realize that this won’t work as well for those whose religious and/or ideological beliefs also prevent them from drinking alcohol.  I don’t know what to tell you about that, except maybe to find another advice column.

2.  Dear Little Blind Girl:  I’m visually impaired and trying to navigate the tricky territory of the dating scene.  Do you have any advice to give me?

— Squinting in Savannah

Dear Squinting in Savannah:  That is an excellent question.  Being something of a dating pro myself, I would be happy to pass along my wisdom to you.

  • Rule 1:  Never be late for a date.  Rude for the blind, rude for the sighted, rude for everyone.
  • Rule 2:  Be open to the experience.  Dating is nerve-wracking and exhilarating and difficult for both parties involved, even when both parties are really trying.  If you’re not into it, say no.  If you say yes, go into the date with high hopes, low expectations, and a can of pepper spray, just in case.
  • Rule 3:  Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu on the first date.  That’s just tacky.

Notice a pattern?  Dating for the blind is pretty much like dating for anyone else.  That said, I’d avoid places with lots of stairs until you’re more comfortable clutching at your date’s arm.  Also, avoid movies with subtitles.  And mimes.  And complicated meals that involve a lot of cutting meat around bones.  There are few things more embarrassing than having to ask your date to cut up your meat.

Dear Little Blind Girl:  Be honest.  What would you do if Johnny Depp ever commented on your blog?

–Depp Fan in Dakota

English: American actor Johnny Depp The Touris...

English: American actor Johnny Depp The Tourist premiere in Tokyo, Japan 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Depp Fan in Dakota:  I sincerely doubt that I will ever know for sure, but I do have a policy of trying to respond to every comment on this blog, so I’d have to say something in reply.  I’d like to think my response would be witty, charming, insightful, and endearing.  However, having known myself practically since my birth, I think it’s more likely that I’d respond with something along the lines of “Oh my God!  Are you him?  Are you really him?  Oh my God!  Wow, you’re even cuter in your comment than you are on screen!”, probably followed with a string of inappropriate emoticons.  This would be even more embarrassing given that his comment would probably be something like, “If you don’t stop sending me marriage proposals, I will be forced to take legal action.”  But hey, live in the moment, right?

As always, feel free to leave your burning questions in the comments section, and I will address them in our next installment.  Until then, au revoir–and, Johnny?  Anytime, sweetie.  I’m just saying.