A Few Thoughts on Steve Jobs

Like so many of us, I’m still processing the fact that Steve Jobs is gone. The news hit me hard yesterday, much more than I imagined it would. I was in tears more than once in those early minutes when the tweets came cascading in, when I tried to keep up with the deluge of comments, bulletins and tributes. It was impossible to do.

I never had an Apple computer till early this year. Then two events happened that have transformed my life. First, I was lucky enough to win an iPad from Advantage Lighting – an amazing and uplifting experience when Dave’s health was declining rapidly. I can’t tell you how much I love its portability, ease of use and large screen!

Then, shortly after Dave died. I suffered a dramatic drop in my sight (later corrected with laser treatments), and literally could not read anything off my laptop. So I took the plunge with a 21 inch iMac from Simply Computing, and fell in love. It’s difficult to put into words how wonderful it was to be able to move a screen right up to my face and manipulate everything with Apple’s accessibility features – amazing! And my favourite thing of all – a $20 black rubber cover for my keyboard that transforms the pale silver keys into high-contrast white on black print. Best. Thing. Ever. Here’s what it looks like:

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for making this one gal’s life easier and more productive. I may have come to Apple later in life, but the impact on me has been huge. I will always wish I had been able to thank you personally. And give you a hug.

Here is my favourite tribute to Steve Jobs – his commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. Rest in Peace, Mr. Jobs. Apple has lost its core.




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Turning the Page

Hi everyone.

It’s been a long time – more than a year, in fact. Many of you already know the reasons for my silence – much of it centred around the illness and death of my husband Dave Kane. It’s actually a year to the day that he was rushed to the hospital and both our lives were forever changed. I plan to talk about this in more detail. It’s something I need to do. But not today. Today I just want to say Hi, and I’ve missed you. And I am working on moving forward.

It’s partly today’s sad anniversary, partly my own journey, but I feel it’s time for me to turn the page, and start over with a new and more focused blog. My platform,. My soapbox. My photo gallery.

So, I’m happy to introduce Seeing Things. A work in progress, for sure. But I have a new name that plays not only on my point of view but how I literally view the world as a visually impaired person. I haven’t necessarily broadcast the fact much over the years, but now that I am ‘older’, I realize that my unique approach to my profession, my experiences – and lately, my photography – might be able to inform, help and maybe even inspire. So, I’m going for it – beginning with a new theme and a photo I took that, intentionally or not, captures the essence of me in a way that left me speechless and a bit giddy. I have to say, I love it. And I’m proud of it.

What can you expect from me? Well, it will be a bit of a slow process, but I hope to focus on the things that matter to me – capturing my world in pictures, talking about photography, PR, social media, accessibility issues and tools that may help anyone who is challenged in some way. And maybe an occasional rant for good measure. I hope you like it, and stick with me as I ramp up.

Thank you to the brilliant Lorraine Murphy, aka Raincoaster, who helped me pry what’s been in my head for months onto the page at long last. It felt so awesome to actually see what I imagined become real. And thank you to the countless friends, family and people I’ve never met all over the world who’ve delivered hugs, prayers, words of encouragement, jokes and support in person and otherwise. I love you all.

About to take a running jump. I’ll see how high I fly.


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Telling the Olympic Story – One Experience at a Time

I’ve never been what you’d call athletic. I couldn’t play sports myself because I couldn’t see enough.  So over the years, I’ve channeled my passion for sports into being the best and most enthusiastic fan I could be.

From the time I could remember, the Olympic Games have given me the ultimate sports high.  Winter or summer, I’ve been in a state of perpetual bliss, parking myself in front of every imaginable TV screen, from the teeny black and white of my childhood to our 20 year old color set. (This year, for the first time, it’ll be an awesome HD flat screen we’ve just bought. I’m pumped.)

And what a rollercoaster of emotions – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve laughed, yelled, screamed and bawled my eyes out over the years.  My heart has alternately ached and swelled with pride for our Canadian athletes.  I’ve been captivated by the Red Ensign and the dear Maple Leaf hoisted above the medal platform.

I’m ready to do the whole thing again in less than two weeks.  But this time it’s going to be different. I’ll be living the Olympic experience in my new home in Vancouver, the host city.  I’ll be taking in two curling matches at a beautiful new facility just a mile or so from my home, where I can assure you I’ll be beside myself.

And  I’m part of an Olympic team as well.  No, we’re not athletes, but we’re bringing our own brand of dedication and passion to the Games.  The Metro Blenz News Squad will be telling the Olympic story through a variety of social media – the blogs we write, the photos we shoot, our Twitter and Facebook activity, and the visitors and locals we meet.

Why have I decided to get involved?  I have a few reasons.

I want to try to help people feel as comfortable and happy to be here as I have been made to feel.  I’m still new to Vancouver, still discovering, and I’m hoping to bring my unique ‘local visitor’ perspective to the table.

I also don’t think I’m the only excited, proud and rabid fan out there, and I want to help convey this unique experience over the next six weeks or so.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not, if you’ll pardon the pun, wearing blinders. No situation is perfect. There are many challenges. Not everyone is happy. Having grown up in Montreal, I know it’s fact of life in an Olympic town. It may be part of what I get to hear.  And I’ll write it down, along with everything else.

Log on to www.metroblenznewssquad.com and follow along. And if there’s something you think I should write about, leave me a comment.

Let the Games begin!

How I Spent My Twitter Vacation

When Twitter went down with no warning on Thursday morning, my first reaction was annoyance.  I was in the middle of my morning ritual of checking overnight posts, replying and RTing where it made sense, and generally getting up to speed – and this unexpected downtime interrupted my schedule. Drat.  Oh well, I’ll grab a coffee and it’ll be back up.

But of course, it wasn’t.

So I went over to Facebook, which for me isn’t my preferred vehicle of conversation.  Commiserated with a few fellow Tweeters who, like me, were starting to get twitchy. One dear old friend suggested to me that perhaps I needed a 12-Step Program…

I knew he was joking (really, he was!), but it did prompt me to realize that I was spending too much time staring at the screen, simply waiting for the bluebird to rise again.

So I walked away from the computer. I actually sat and read the paper. I called my mother. I curled up with my frail little 16 year old cat and told her how much I loved her.  And it felt good.

When Twitter came back up, I was relieved and happy – but I also reminded myself to approach this platform I love with a little more objectivity, a different perspective.  As much and as often as I am on Twitter, and as much as I value who I know and what I’ve learned there – there a lot more to savor.

So, no 12-Step.  But certainly one important one for me.

Blogathon Vancouver – 24 Hours, Many Heroes

Yesterday, at the ungodly hour of 6am, several of my Vancouver friends plunged into 24 straight hours of blogging for charity.  Blogathon Vancouver has helped support the efforts of some 20 local charities – from the BC Cancer Foundation and the BC Children’s Hospital to the Vancouver Food Bank and the Federation of BC Writers.  And it’s also introduced the world to some of the most talented and caring people I know.

I was fortunate to guest-blog during the event.

Check out my post for @hummingbird604 on Making the Most of  Twitter in Real Life here.

And I took a slightly lighthearted look at how social media, especially Twitter, can level the playing field for disabled people. Take a look on @ganga_narayanan’s blog here.

For more comprehensive info on Blogathon, visit both @hummingbird604’s and @Miss604’s blogs for starters.  You’ll see references to the many people who participated and the charities they helped.

Next year, I hope to be part of this marvellous group in person.  Great job, everyone!

You are heroes.