February

I love the month of February, mostly because it’s not March. It’s still winter in February, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. But March doesn’t know what it is, just mostly miserable. February is when Ski for Light usually happens, and while I can’t go this year, I wish all my SFL friends a joyful time on the snow in Casper Wyoming. Wherever it is next year, I hope to be there. Meanwhile, I am spending my winter learning new things on the computer, a hateful task, and promoting my new book, a challenging task, Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life. You knew I had to get a plug in somewhere here, didn’t you?

Anyway, the reason I decided to write about February in the first place was that I wonder why so many people do not recognize the r in the middle of it. They say Febuary. Or maybe realizing they needed an r, they say Februrary. All the other months are so easy to pronounce, so there’s only one to work on kids. Try real hard now. Say Feb-ru-ary.

The good news is that it’s a short month, and March is much easier to say.

Mary Hiland

Mary.hiland@wowway.com

www.seeingitmyway.com

Author of Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life and The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir

Available at Amazon.com, dldbooks, and NLS Talking Books DB 91261

What to Remember When Writing Fiction

How I wish I could write fiction. My parents told me when I was a little girl that I had a great imagination. Somehow over the years, when the real-life dramas took over, I seem to have lost the talent for telling made-up stories.

My aunt Lynn, who inspired me to write non fiction, starting with a Red Book article that was printed in the December 1974 issue, used to play a game with me called “Who can tell the biggest lie.” It was meant to entertain me when we were waiting for a bus or for the bread man to arrive in his truck full of goodies. But sadly, there is no bread man anymore, and even more sadly is that there is no Aunt Lynn anymore.

But I do read a lot of fiction, always paying attention to the opening sentence, the dialog, and the plot development, just in case I could think of a story of my own.

But here is the start of a list of tips I’ve jotted down, when the spirit moves me. Whenever you want to show someone affection, “smooth a lock of hair behind her ear.” How many times have you read that phrase? How many times has someone ever smoothed a lock of hair behind your ear? Did you wake up when your mother did that to you? Did you forgive your lover for saying those things when he did that to you?

I think this phrase falls into the category of hackneyed. Even my favorite authors use it at least once in every book. Have I been neglected by never having a lock of my hair smoothed behind my ear? Oh wait. My hair is too short for that. I guess if someone wants to show affection to a woman with short hair, they’ll have to come up with something more clever than smoothing a lock of hair behind her ear. .

How about you, dear Reader. What phrase makes you want to say, “Really? that again?”

Mary Hiland

Mary.hiland@wowway.com

www.seeingitmyway.com

Author of Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life and The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir

Available at Amazon.com, dldbooks, and NLS Talking Books DB 91261

Make the Seeing Eye Dog the NJ State Dog

Today I received a message from the President and CEO of The Seeing Eye, asking me as a graduate and supporter to spread his message to anyone who knows of a person who has enjoyed the dignity and independence of the partnership with a Seeing eye ® dog. As a reader of this blog, you do know one, so I’m passing that message on to you. The back story is that the New Jersey Legislature has unanimously agreed to make the Seeing Eye dog its State Dog. We graduates have been blessed with having these loving, intelligent, obedient, and beautiful dogs as guides since 1933, and the training has happened in NJ for more years than most of us have been alive. We need your help in supporting this bill by asking the Governor of NJ to do the right things and sign it. Here’s the letter. Thanks for reading it and acting upon it.

New JerseyJoin me in asking @Governor Murphy to sign the bill S2849/A4590 to recognize the Seeing Eye® dog as state dog of NJ by calling 609-292-6000. More than 17k partnerships have been made between people & Seeing Eye dogs in the last 90 years and we think Seeing Eye ® Dogs are an important part of NJ’s heritage.

ACT NOW
Thank you for your support of our incredible mission.

Glenn Hoagland
President and CEO
The Seeing Eye

Mary Hiland

Mary.hiland@wowway.com

www.seeingitmyway.com

Author of Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life and The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir

Available at Amazon.com, dldbooks, and NLS Talking Books DB 91261

Adventure Summit

Wright State University is holding a FREE two-day event called Adventure Summit on February 14 and 15, and I’ll be there. Attendees will learn about all sorts of outdoor activities and sports. Speakers will present stories of their own exciting experiences.

I am honored to have been invited to make a presentation. Here’s the perfect opportunity to talk about Ski for Light, tandem cycling, and the Hen Hike, three of my favorite subjects. But even more exciting is the opportunity to promote my book, “Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life,” because three of the chapters are devoted to these very topics. My friend Tricia has agreed to do the readings from the book, which I will select. I have a whole hour to talk about myself and to answer questions. This is a public speaker’s dream come true. I’ve even been promised a table outside the room for selling and signing books, an author’s dream come true. How exciting is that! If you live in the Dayton area, I hope you will come. Everybody is welcome, and I’d love to meet you. and of course, I’d love it even more if you’d buy my book. J But if you can’t make it to this event, you could go to

dldbooks.com/maryhiland

or directly to Amazon to get your copy.

Oh yes. Dora will be there, so if you’d like for her to sign the chapter on all five of my Seeing eye ® dogs, she’ll be glad to do that too.

Mary Hiland

Mary.hiland@wowway.com

www.seeingitmyway.com

Author of Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life and The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir

Available at Amazon.com, dldbooks, and NLS Talking Books DB 91261

Retro

I ordered a swim cap to protect my hair, which has suffered damage from the chlorine in the pool at the Y. I hate having to wear one, but I laughed at the description in the listing on amazon. It said “retro.” Well, that’s OK with me, because at my age, I’m retro too.

In fact, lots of my belongings are retro. While my friends who are blind use fancy-dancy high-tech gadgets to take notes, create documents, and post notes on Facebook, I use one of the earliest pieces of technology there is. It’s so old you can’t buy a new one anymore. It’s called Braille ‘n Speak. No braille display comes with this little wonder, but you have to know braille to use it. A keyboard that resembles that of a Perkins Braille-Writer is used to store data, which is retrieved by listening to synthesized speech. Various key commands allow the user to read line by line, sentence by sentence, or the whole document at once. Other features include backspace, delete, insert, speak faster or slower, louder and softer, and even more. I use the calculator function and sometimes the stopwatch function when I’m practicing a speech. As I said earlier, they don’t make these valuable gems anymore, so I pray mine never dies. Blind friends smerk at my use of such a dinosaur, but I can find a phone number or jot down a note faster than they can boot up their high-tech, multi-thousand-dollar gadgets.

Those of us who use the Braille ‘n Speak can’t play games, send email or texts, or make phone calls, but for storing information and taking notes, I’ll be a loyal fan of this retro piece of equipment.

Every time I go through security at the airport, I fear that their scanning equipment will wipe out my whole life that is stored in my BNS, but since they have no idea what it is, it usually passes through without a second glance.

I’m sure there are other retro belongings lerking in my house, like articles of clothing. My daughter took my granddaughter to LL Bean to shop for a top for me. “See anything that looks like Grandma?”

My grandaugher looked around and said, “This whole store looks like Grandma.”

So what’s that supposed to mean? Retro? Flannel shirts? Lined jeans? No nonsense boots? Yet, that’s me all right. Retro.

Mary Hiland

Mary.hiland@wowway.com

www.seeingitmyway.com

Author of Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life and The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir

Available at Amazon.com, dldbooks, and NLS Talking Books DB 91261

Book Club Choice

Like many of you who enjoy reading, I belong to a book club which meets monthly. And like most book-lovers, I choose books in the genre most interesting to me, but when you’re in a book club, you might be required to read something you wouldn’t choose for yourself.

Today, the leader of our group announced that my book is now available on amazon, and she also announced that next month, we’ll be discussing my book, “Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life.” Now some of the women might not choose a memoir type book, but they all bought a paperback edition of my book from me and will be prepared with questions and comments next month. I can hardly wait.

This book is not just the story of my life but a narrative of what it’s like to be a blind person in a sighted world. I think it’s a fascinating topic, if I do say so myself. Just kidding. But I do believe that these women will say to themselves, “Hmm. I never thought of that.” In fact, I hope that all readers of this book will say that. The women in this book club all know that I have children and grandchildren, but have they ever thought of how I kept track of them when they first started walking? Or how I babysat my grandchildren? They all presume I graduated college, but have they considered how I got my assignments done, took notes in lectures, or typed my papers without being able to see them? They all know that I’m an active person, but have they ever heard the stories of my adventures in Norway as a cross-country skier? Who cares where I was born or where I went to school? But someone might care about how I survived dodgeball as a kid or how I rode a bike with limited vision. And I suspect that they don’t know how I became a pretty good ballroom dancer after missing my performing days.

I hope that while discussing this book, the women in this group will share their own experiences that might be just as surprising as my own.

And here’s a shameless plug. If you belong to a book club, I hope you will consider choosing this book to discuss. If you belong to a group that needs a speaker, please consider asking me to present. I have years of experience as a Toastmaster, and I love talking about my books. Think about it, and contact me at

mary.hiland

And thanks.

You can order my book from Amazon or at

dldbooks.com/maryhiland

Mary Hiland

Mary.hiland@wowway.com

www.seeingitmyway.com

Author of Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life and The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir

Available at Amazon.com, dldbooks, and NLS Talking Books DB 91261

A Peek Into My New Book

“Insight Out: One Blind Woman’s View of Her Life” is now available on Amazon or through

Dldbooks.com/maryhiland

Today I’d like to offer you a peek into the book by giving you the Forward. Here it is.

Tipping the aspirin into my hand, I accidentally let one fall into the sink. I tried to retrieve it, but it had already slipped down the drain.

Oh well, I thought. I have this huge bottle. There are plenty more.

But when that bottle is nearly empty, I won’t be so casual about the loss of a pill here or there.

It’s the same with anything we value. If we know we have plenty more where that came from, who cares if we lose some? Take money, for instance. It’s easy to be generous when your wallet is full. It’s tempting to spend freely when you have plenty of money.

But what about opportunities that have slipped down the drain, like making someone smile, doing someone a favor, showing affection, forgiving a transgression, asking for forgiveness, or sharing a story about your childhood with your grandchildren?

Indeed, what about our days in this life? Each time I let one slip down the drain, wasting it, I can’t be sure there are plenty more. It’s good to think of that when I make decisions about what to do or not do with each day as it comes and goes.

Now that all the people in my family who were older than I are gone, I find myself wishing I’d had the forethought to ask more questions about their lives before I came along. The world did not begin with me. I missed a whole lot of it. Not that I needed to know everything about everyone, but even though I heard stories from time to time, I still wonder why and how and when and where some important pieces of the story of my family turned out the way they did.

My descendants may not be at all interested in my history, but just in case they are, I’m not letting my story slip down the drain.

Mary Hiland

Mary.hiland@wowway.com

www.seeingitmyway.com

/Author of

“Insight Out: One Blind woman’s View of Her Life”

And

“The Bumpy Road to Assisted Living A Daughter’s Memoir”

Available at Amazon.com, dldbooks, and NLS Talking Books DB 91261