Liebster Award!

Liebster Award IconThere is nothing quite so awesome and quite so humbling as receiving an award for a project of the heart.  I recently received an award–the Liebster Award–from not one but two bloggers I admire.

As Jessica explained on Thomas Marshall Does It All,

The Liebster Award is a blogger to blogger award, given to blogs with less than 300 followers as a way of making them more well-known to other bloggers.

The rules for the award are simple:

  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
  3. Answer the 10 questions posted by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Select 3-5 bloggers for the award.
  5. Pose 10 new questions to the new nominees.
  6. Post the award on your blog.

I’m thrilled to have been nominated and delighted to accept, and, since I’ve been out of touch, I’ve got tons of questions to answer.  Time to hop to it!

First, from Jessica:

  • Why did you start blogging?

When I first started blogging, it was honestly my attempt at public service:  I was fortunate enough to have a flexible work schedule that let me take Peanut out on lots of adventures, and I wanted to share our experiences with which places were hot and which places were not for the sake of parents who had more limited time to adventure with their own kiddos.  I discovered early on that when people think “accessible,” they’re thinking of wheelchairs, not of vision impairments, so I wanted to share our B/VI specific recommendations on the places we checked out.

  • What’s your favorite guilty pleasure TV show?

I miss guilty pleasure TV shows!  Back when we had cable, I tended towards deeply trashy reality television as my guilty pleasure–and I mean deeply trashy.  I’m talking Rock of Love or A Shot at Love with Tia Tequila.

Pre-kids, I also watched a lot of true crime (also on cable!).  Snapped!, American Justice, Forensic Files–those sorts of things.

  • What’s the most important thing you have gotten out of your blogging?

The connections with other bloggers.

  • Is blogging and sharing your story with complete strangers out of character for you?

Yes and no.  I tend to be a very private person, at least on the Internet:  I’m not on Facebook, and I struggled with even creating a Twitter account (although I love it now!).

  • What’s your favorite sweet treat?

Haagen-Daz Vanilla Swiss Chocolate Almond ice cream.  And those molten chocolate lava cakes with vanilla ice cream.  And the cookie bars we’ve dubbed “Heather Killers” after my friend who is highly allergic to nuts (these have peanuts/nuts galore–I don’t think she’d survive even walking into the room with them in it).  And chocolate-chip cookies.  And . . .

  • If you could get one thing you want tomorrow, what would it be?

Realm of miracles?  A cure for x-linked juvenile retinoschisis that would entirely restore Peanut’s vision.  Realm of reasonableness?  For Peanut’s eyes to stabilize.  As I write this, Peanut’s recovering from yet another surgery; it’s a Wednesday, and he had an EUA on the previous Friday.  A month before that, he had surgery on the same eye.  I’ve lost track of how many times he’s had EUAs/”real” surgery–but it’s a lot, and he’s just 4.  I’d do just about anything to take that from him.

  • What’s the hardest thing about blogging?

Having a good article ready to go each Monday.

  • How would you change your house if money was no object?

I’d change this house for a new house in a better school district.  I’d like a nice yard, four bedrooms, a nice play area, and a fabulous kitchen.

  • Favorite pizza toppings?

Sausage and mushrooms!

  • Tell us one unexpected thing about yourself.

I interviewed with the CIA.  No, really!  They sent the nicest rejection letter I’ve ever gotten.

Next, from Penny at It’s a Happy Story:

  • Why did you start blogging?

See above!

  • What does blind mean to you?

I think I see “blind” as “nuisance.”  Peanut’s just like everyone else–he just has this little PITA to deal with.  It’s part of who he is, but it doesn’t define him.

I know there are lots of negative connotations with the word “blind;” I think, for me, the negative ideas go towards people who are blind stupid.  People who confuse a long white cane for a samurai sword (happened in England).  People who think those with disabilities are duds.  People who would dare tell my son that there’s anything he can’t do just because he has a vision impairment.  These people are blind, in this sense of the word.

  • What has been a hard experience you (or your child) has faced because of blindness?

I did not realize that having a child with a disability meant a lifetime of fighting.  Our IEP process with our local school district took the blinders off for me on that; thank God for CCVI and the Disability Rights Center of Kansas and the help and options they gave us.

To give you an idea of what we were facing, our local school district wanted to serve Peanut in a building that had a sign on it saying “this is not a designated accessible building for the disabled.”  They seem surprised that we pointed out that there was a sign on the building saying it was not accessible and that that was a problem for us.  I kid you not.

  • What is your braille story?

When we first started this journey, all I knew about “blind” was braille.  I knew that if my son was blind, he would need to learn braille to be able to read.  It was something I could grab ahold of and do something about.  So, as soon as I learned that Peanut had some serious problems with his retinas and could lose his vision entirely, I started learning braille.  I know that parents are important first teachers for literacy, and I’m determined to be able to help Peanut learn to read, both with his fingers and with his eyeballs (although, admittedly, I’m better with the print).

Oh, and because this is apparently an issue for some people:  braille is literacy.  Anyone who tells you different is an imbecile.  I have an MA in English and taught for five years at the college level.  I am up on my books.  And it doesn’t matter whether you read them with your eyeballs or your fingertips–you’re still reading, which means you’re literate.

  • Who is an inspiration in your life?

I love stories of people who have succeeded–massively–despite others telling them “no.”  L. Frank Baum self-published The Wizard of OZ 4 times.  Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book was rejected by 28 publishers (I believe–it might have been 29).  These are stories that remind me not to fall prey to others’ negativity–just because they think you can’t do it or your work isn’t good enough doesn’t mean they’re right.

  • What is your favorite book?

I’m an English major–I can’t pick just one!  Some of my favorites are Madeline L’Engle’s Many Waters, Sesame Street’s The Monster at the End of this Book, and Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks.

  • How many pairs of shoes do you have?

I plead the fifth.

  • What is your greatest fear?

I plead the fifth.  Again.

  • What is something most people don’t know about you?

I took belly-dance classes.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  • Describe your self in one sentence.

Passionate parent, sometimes crazy lady, Phouka is a study in contradictions.

Next, my nominations for the award:

Making it on the Playground:  A wonderful blog by “a certified orientation and mobility specialist (NOMC) and  teacher of blind students (MEd) , parent, and blind person.”  She provides some excellent, unique insight into B/VI issues.

Tunnel Vision:  He hasn’t posted for a while, but this blog is lovely.  It’s written by a British man coming to terms with retinitis pigmentosa.

PsychNerd:  This has absolutely nothing to do with B/VI issues . . . Dr. V was the maid of honor at my wedding.  She’s a bit nutty over True Blood–if you share a similar affliction, you’ll like her blog.

And my 10 questions:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What does “blind” mean to you?
  3. What’s your favorite inspirational quote?
  4. Potaytoe or potahtoe?
  5. What’s the best thing about blogging?
  6. What’s the worst thing about blogging?
  7. What’s your favorite adaptive aid/tool and why?
  8. What’s the best advice you ever got?
  9. What’s your pet peeve?
  10. Tell us something odd or unusual about yourself.

Thank you to Jessica and Penny for nominating me for a Liebster Award!  I’m honored.

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