2015 In Review: Leadership ops, the start of a great relationship, and fantastic travel (CONT)

I’m writing this in 2015 but scheduling it to show up in 2016. Technology is amazing, isn’t it? At the moment you see this go live, I’m probably about to get my New Year’s eat on! Gotta have the black-eyed peas, right? MMM.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the second half of the year. This is where the travel began, and travel I did. I’ll just choose not to look at my bank account, but the memories make it worthwhile.

JULY: On Independence and Travel

I so often feel fortunate to live in the era that I do. I’m reading a fictionalized account of the esteemed Laura Bridgman, called What is Visible, by Kimberly Elkins. Bridgman attended Perkins School for the Blind (then it was known as Institute) in the mid 1800’s. As you probably know, she was both deaf and blind, as well as lacking a sense of smell and taste…

That was a pretty good book, and contributed to my knowledge of the school’s history when I went to tour a month later.

Summer does something to the soul. It uncaps that need, that primal desire to get oneself out there and into nature! Full-time workers who must stay on for 12 months (Yes, I’m envious of you school teachers who only work 10) thus find it hard not to use all of their tiny allotment of days off.

This entry was clearly a precursor of the next 5 months, which featured three trips, two to the water. Well I suppose it could be argued that Boston is also a waterside destination, but officially that didn’t happen.

AUGUST: Off to the NDA Conference

Probably more happened this month, but the only thing I can really remember, and the only entry I posted, was my fun trip to the third International Conference of the Norrie Disease Association (NDA). To the extent that I had to do with it, things went fairly well. I was especially relieved about how the Perkins tour went. Here’s a snippet of us on the plane.

The most interesting thing I learn is that the feeling of near motionlessness we get is mirrored in the visual sense as well. “It looks like we could get out and walk faster than this,” she tells me as the buildings shrink to sticks, then only land and fairly large bodies of water can be made out. Well that, folks, is an experiment I don’t think I’ll be trying, at least not without the right equipment, whatever that is. I suppose that perception of slowness is a trick of the brain, so that it doesn’t drive us, and by extension itself, crazy.

SEPTEMBER: My Birthday At The Beach, and Medical Concerns

And finally, I break my 13+year drought and visit the Atlantic Ocean at Wrightsville Beach. Mostly a lukewarm, gloomy weekend, but I enjoyed the water and toe-tickling sand, and of course the food!

We had a fifth-floor oceanfront, from which you could hear everything down there as if you were close to it. We spent a good stretch of time on Saturday, during which time we had gotten rained out of the water, on that balcony listening to a rousing game of volleyball as the waves ramped up. They even put up a yellow flag at the lifeguard station, which we guessed meant that the current was getting to be a bit dangerous so folks should use caution.

On returning from that great experience, reality invaded with the knowledge that my blood pressure was too high and needed to be regulated. Only a month later, I started medication, which I am still on, but first here’s a bit about what I found to be the importance of a good doctor-patient relationship.

Then a new person came in this April, one who really takes the time to sit down, talk through things with me, and take extensive notes. She even picked up on unspoken subtleties that led to more questions, uncovering further information that I might not have otherwise inquired about. That shows how truly effective medicine uses components of counseling such as empathy and the ability to propel a previously stalled conversation forward.

OCTOBER: Re-Thinking Grad School, and the Four E’s

And what have I been up to? Well, pondering how to begin seriously laying the course for my next moves in life. It is looking increasingly like I will make a real attempt to enter graduate school, this time in Communications as I probably should have last time. I did a search for Master’s programs, and found one administered entirely online by Queens University of Charlotte, in my hometown. Of course given that it is in fact online, it would hardly matter if the program were on the other side of the country.

Hello, and welcome to Blindness Awareness Month! What exactly this means I confess to not entirely knowing. But I suppose the main idea is to continue to make society aware of the fact that we’re here, we function, and despite little or no use of our eyes, we are still quite capable of accomplishing great things. So in my clunky way, I will try to highlight how I and some of my peers have done this over the years. Of course, some things will be very much related to other posts I’ve already created, but well that’s part of the point right?

I’d say I did a so-so job with that series, but it was fun to try at least. I also caught a yucky cold at the same time we were to go to the North Carolina State Fair, which would’ve been more enjoyable if I’d felt better. The weather was great, though.

November: Thanksgiving, and Acceptance to Grad School

Ok it’s official, I have been accepted to the James L Knight School of Communication Master of Arts program at Queens University of Charlotte. Classes begin on January 11, 2016. So after a three-year hiatus, I am back to give this grad school thing another shot!

And as that day approaches, I think more and more that I might just be out of my mind. But well, there’s no turning back now. I think I should be ok, though.

I didn’t actually write the Thanksgiving post till December, but it was a great day spent with the girlfriend’s family before trundling off to Charlotte.

This year, we went to Fayetteville and ate with her folks instead. I was a bit nervous about this, mainly because of my hearing issues. But, I found it surprisingly easy to just slip right into conversation and never really felt left out of anything. It probably helped that only immediate family was there, but I was prepared to cope with a larger gathering if it had been so.
Mostly all I have to do anyway is get my eat on! Sometimes I choose not to have turkey, as I so did this year. Instead, I sucked down some delicious ham, mac and cheese, dressing (as we call it in the South, an NPR story said most everyone else calls it stuffing but so what), green beans, a roll, and some cranberry sauce. Outside of her father, I’m the only one who eats that last. I grew up enjoying it at our feasts, though. One thing I’ve learned is that it is very important that I not overeat, as doing so can make me feel faint and awful for the rest of the day. So I give myself just enough.


And that brings us to now, and the entries I’ve just posted. I tell you, if I have more trips like Charleston to look forward to, I’m definitely excited. Here’s to a new year! I wish you, me, and us all a fantastic one. and I hope for less craziness than occurred in our world in 2015, but know that’s unlikely. We’ll see where we are at this time next year.

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