Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Karen's Canvas: We never know!

We never know…

How life will go,

Who will touch us in some way,

We go about our day,

Living life: working, paying Bills, housecleaning,

Doing the mundane stuff, and then someone says or does   something to change your point of view?                   

To empathize, to provide support, that, you know, you will, get through,

Whatever it is   that God has given you to solve or learn,

Don’t be afraid! embrace it, follow every turn,

Take every avenue,

Realize, we are in it together, me and you. 

Believe in yourself, known within,

That you will survive, you will complete your journey, you will win,

You’ll understand where you’ve, been

You will master   and, succeed   the tasks    and challenges God has given only you

And you will make it, reach that finish line, you will get through.


Sometimes    strength and support may be in a message one does send,

Or love and compassion from a Family Member or Friend.


Sometimes, it may, be music that is played on the air,

Or a story that one does share.

its knowing that you are not   alone, there is always   someone beside

Enjoy the ride

Hang in there! when the current   is strong, or the waves too rough,

When you feel, life has knocked you down, and you just, had enough!

Lean on, Family, friends, acquaintances and even god, or your Higher Power,

Day and night, they are there for you every hour.

Someone had said to me, life is like a strung of beads, each one holds a memory,

And can heal us and set us free,

We recall, sort, organize and heal,

Think, reflect and feel.


Each bead strung together in the exact place,

The perfect position, time and measure, for everything we face,

That happens or that we discover,

And then, only later, the mystery, it did uncover.


The Memory is there in our heart, soul and brain for us to locate, recall learn and grow,

As said, we never know


WE learn, grow, hopefully     become wise and empathize,

As we walk our journey, as an issue does arise,

It’s all about life, our experience,

In the moment, it does not always make sense.


I heard a song and it said:  we are the musical strings in God’s big guitar,

At first I laughed, then, it did seem profound and true,

That is, what I knew,

And now, know,

And as I said, you never, know, what will happen in any given day,

When you are at work, home or at play

Friday, October 14, 2016

Karen's Kanvas: Imagine!making Strides, Find a Cure, Heal

               October is Breast cancer awareness Month in the U S of A,

  Donate, help out! will make a  difference each day ,

It effects everyone, no one is immune,

Hope there will be a cure soon


We all know somebody, Friends, Sisters, Aunts, Spouses or mothers,

Do what you can, help another


Contribute to American Cancer Society and the Making Strides Walk,

Don’t sit back, and just talk,

About taking action! , get involved in your Community,

As I said, this, effects, all of us, you and me


We all know someone, who has been through the fight,

The end of this disease, could be in sight,

Many of these women have radiation, surgery, chemo and such,

  Those of us in their life, Breast cancer does touch


Give support, it will go a long way!

 Help that special person, lend a hand, a shoulder, listen, and do pray,

Go to appointments, cancer clinics, hospitals in your neighborhood,

Will do you and them, a lot of good


There scared, need encouragement, strength and hope,

  Together, we can help our loved ones cope,

With continue treatments, the fear of the unknown, losing hair

 And other residual symptoms, show that you care


Every Dollar will help the cause, do what you can,

   Save a life,

Women survive! help  ,your Friends, Sisters, coworkers, and Wife ,

It’s so important, and something we all can do, each of us,

We all need too, we must!


Cancer does not discriminate! It  effects Mostly Women but some Men, It does not matter your gender, your economic status,your age,

I believe we all are on the same page!,


It effects,  Grandmothers, Niece’s  and Daughters too,

Give them a new Lease ,

Life renewal,  we all need peace


doesn’t matter your Religious  or  political views, or Ethnicity or race    ,

at some point in our lives cancer we all Face!


Donate that dollar, Walk that mile,

Give each a reason to smile,

Take that step, Take that walk, this we can beat,

Get out! Neighbors  do, greet ,

Walk that Dog, enjoy the autom air, be united as one,

It will accomplish much and will be fun!


Your loved ones will appreciate it, more than you know,

Come on! let’s go  ,

Its 6 -H, Health, Hope,     Home and heart and hand

 We’ll find a Cure! across the nation, the World, improve   our land.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

Karen's Kanvas: Minneapolis is the Place to be, National Convention of the ACB

It's Thursday June Twenty-three,

A week from now I will be attending the National Convention   of the ACB,

I'm looking forward to it, it will be a busy time,

I will be Representing Arizona, attending meetings and visiting friends of mine,

The Conference is being held in Minneapolis this year,

And I'm going to tell you what's upcoming here. 


It's the 55th Annual Convention and we will   stay at   Hyatt Regency   at 1300 Nicollet Mall,

Though we all will be extremely busy, we will have a   ball


The Theme is the Land of 10,000 Dreams,

Each day we will hear from individuals, Panels and Teams,

I will be spending time with friends but colleagues too,

Sharing and appreciating the work that many in the organization do,

 The Convention will be packed full with presentations, sessions and events

  It will be rewarding, and worthwhile the time spent.


It will be from July 1 through 9, Vacation time I will be taking,

I'm grateful to my Boss's for this time off and the trip I will be making,

And it's awesome we will be staying at a Hyatt, they have been my employer for the last 16 years,

  Before that,I worked at Sears. 


Kim Charlson will begin the Opening Ceremony's Sunday night,

Most whom will be attending are blind, but there will be some whom do have sight,

She will give her Presidential report and there will be roll call and   delegates assigned,

Much of Convention you will be able to find,

Online, on either Live Event or Mainstream, two of the ACB Radio channels   , The Talk of the Blind,

You can go there, and see what's happening! And what is on everybody's minds

 Here from Advocates and, Technology specialists,

And so much more! there is a long  list


There will be affiliate Breakfasts, exhibits and workshops to go,

And Talent night too, it's called Friends in Art, and many of us we do show


During the week,  some Board Members will be campaigning and there will be a Candidates Forum Tuesday night,

Also, ACB leaders will be discussing advocacy work with the U s Treasurer,   they will shed some light, 

On why it's taking so long to get our accessible money, and why the wait,

And at the Banquet there will be a keynote speaker Friday night, many will be up late.


There will be sighted folks, many blind people with canes and some with dogs, navigating the hotel

Many items to buy, I do tell,

In the mini Mall There will be Braille Jewelry, ACB T-shirts and goodies for your pups,

There will be CD's from our creative arts Members and unique mugs and cups, 


There will be activities for children, it's called the kids zone,

There will be sessions on Health Care, for writers like me and Apps to swap for the IPhone,

There will be meetings on fund raising, on the latest adaptive tech as well as legislation,

And also many tours, so you can feel like    you're on vacation


There will also be something   for the guide Dogs, Canine massage, GDUI events and doggie play,

Because our furry friends will be working hard for us each day.


There will be something for the young, and old and in between,

Members of every walk of life, Parents, students, seniors and teens

From every occupation, lawyers, techs, engineers, musicians, teachers and   retirees,

We'll gain   knowledge, insight on what another perceives


In the exhibit hall, there will be cool gadgets, appliances and   low vision aids,

We will all be networking and learning, while our guest rooms are being clean by the maids.


There will be numerous of volunteers and hotel staff,

To assist, and cut our time in half,

So we can quickly get from one meeting   to the next,

Many will be communicating and using   their tablets, IPhones and sending texts,

Using recording devices such as the LS 14 by Olympus, or virtual keyboards,

Also, the scholarship committee will hold a luncheon and give out awards. 


There will be presentations from Comcast, a professional narrator from NLS,

Accessible Net flicks and on how to dress for success.


There will be sponsors of the Convention, like Google, Microsoft and Sprint,

There will be material in digital format, Braille and in large print


Other sponsors will be Adobe, JB Morgan Chase and Facebook,

There are many, go to the ACB website, there, you can take a look. 


There will be many Committee meetings, Elections on Friday and recreation too,

There will be   one touch Self-defense and yoga lets with Leslie   spoon.  You will feel rejuvenated when you're through. 

There will be an Auction, Comedy night   and parties to attend

There will be good conversation, exchanging ideas and laughter among friends.


As you can see, there is much on the agenda and after a vacation we all will need,

And this, I hope you like what you did read,

I will try   to surmise the convention when I return, here I will write,    much I will then have to say,

Take good care and have a great day

Turn your Eye, AZCB Will Shine the Light 05.01.16

Did you recently lose your sight? , not sure where to turn?

There are Bills to pay, a family to feed, Money you need to ern.


You have skills, but not alternative   techniques?

To compensate without vision, Help, Do you seek?


Do you have trouble with daily living tasks? playing sports? And reading?

Assistance, are you needing?


You no longer enjoy or participate in your favorite hobbies? Or like to travel?

You have  become disoriented?, no longer can drive?, Can’t read the blackboard?, feel like your life, it’s going to unravel??


Your frightened?, stressed? and uncertain?, now that you can not see?,

You may want to contact the ACB.


ACB will  teach you skills,  and find your gifts,

Help you adjust, your attitude  will shift.


They will show you the way,

Improve your life at work and at play.


Other  Blind folks  will teach you Braille, cane travel   and computers with speech,

How to cook, clean your house, your goals, you can reach!.


Blind professionals will introduce  you to others in your field,or help you resume your career,

There is an Affiliate right here ,

In Arizona , one in the state,

Become a Member,  Its wonderful and great!


Some of the Leaders aare: Jeff, John, Barbara and Dan,

If anyone can help these four can!. 


Others whom are quite resourceful  are,   Carlos,  Bob,  Mitzi,  George and Bea,

And Gail, They  Believe in ACB.  


There are others that will inspire you and keep all engaged,

No matter what your age,

ethnicity or race,

Eye  condition, degree of vision loss, or the issues you  face,

Turn your eye to AZCB

It has been life changing, informative, rewarding and fun for me.,







Sunday, May 29, 2016

Karen's Kanvas: Where is, The Inspiration? Drafting Outlines

As I sit here drinking my coffee, I’m attempting to draft an outline for my next Toast Masters speech,

Will this goal I reach?

At the moment, I would rather be on the beach,

Watching the waves, feeling the ocean air &   the sand between my toes,

I wish, this outline I could compose,

I know, it won’t happen if I’m writing   some form of poetry instead,

I did begin,but got writers block, so, then, I was led,

To Creativity Avenue, hoping the inspiration I will find,

The topics are there, the words in my mind,

I know the goal that I want to obtain and the objective of this particular speech,

There is a purpose of each,

Speech we do present at our Toast masters Meetings,

But for some reason, help I’m needing.


Speech 2 is organizing your speech it does not matter the subject of the presentation,

Could be on work, school, a favorite vacation,

Your interests, hobbies, or a topic related to Current Events and News,

It’s whatever, you, the presentor, choose.


It just needs to demonstrate organization, cohesiveness and needs to flow,

Fluidity, and could be something   that is compelling,

Perhaps, a product   that one wants to be selling?

Or about a subject that he or she wants to inform, communicate or inspire,


Hope I drafted soon and not wait, till I’m under the wire


Where do I start? What do I do?,

The Outline, today, it, I want to be through,

As I said, the ideas are there,

But somehow, on the paper I need to share,

I have writers block for this task,

Come on! God, Help me, that’s all I ask,

Help me, to help myself    finish    this soon, so I can have time to rehearse,

And hopefully, I won’t be as nervous, as I was, presenting the first.


The two subjects are:  about my job or on Guide dogs,

Maybe, my experience I will blog?

I am not presenting till June twenty two,

Seems like a lot of time, but I have lots of other things to do,

Between now & then, Work, ACB stuff and begin to think about what to pack for convention,

That, I did not mention,

I will another time, another day,

Time is of Essence   as they say,

, Procrastination is the thief of time,

Now, I need to work on this outline of mine.


Sunday, May 01, 2016

Karen's Kanvas: Painting the Picture, A Colorful Canvas

Dear Readers:



Plese look at the post I sent onWednesday April 27 before you read this.  It will make much more sense.  Thank you, Enjoy!



  Earlier in the week I wrote a blog post but the picture wasn’t very clear,

I did not paint an accurate image of my world, but will here.


Today I will set things straight,

Life as a teen was not at all great,

But there was some good times, not all, bad

Thanks to my Sisters, Mom and my Dad.


There were lots of bad times but mostly just at school,

I was not at all popular, a dorke, a freak, definitely, not cool,

I was not in the in crowd,    a scholar or a Homecoming Queen,

I was a shy, antisocial, teen. 


As said, I was bullied every day, I did not handle it well,

I turned inward, like a turtle, did not come out of my shell.


I felt isolated, alone and like I couldn’t relate,

I only had 1 or 2 friends, and I did not at all date ,

Till   College.   Then, more people accepted me,

It did not matter as much then, that I had low vision, could not see. 


In 5th grade, Mrs.  McKeon help build your confidence and your self- esteem,

Believed in all her students, strengthened our character, and enabled us to find our hobbies and our dreams. 

I wish there were more teachers like her out there!

She was wonderful, amazing and truly did care.


As a Teenager, Most days were partly cloudy, there were rain clouds.   But also rainbows and sun,

My family was loving, caring and we had fun. 


My Parents taught us Values, manners, and helped with homework that was due,

We played cards, Board games   like Scrabble and clue,

Monopoly, had pillow fights and interesting discussions at the table

Played basketball, softball, did not have cable. 


We sat as a family at meals, talked about school, played games and had conversation,

Went to Kennebunkport Maine many summers for Vacation. 


Dad   played trivia with us and tested our Memory and skill, see how many we would each get right,

He would ask us questions from National Geographic, 60 Minutes and Wild Kingdom that was on Sunday night


Also as a teen   I learned how to skateboard, ice skate, and downhill ski and was in the choir   ,

In 1980   had my first job in Cincinnati, Kings Island Amusement Park, me, they did hire,

I babysat, went to Rock Concerts, was a crossing guard and had a pen pal   that lived far away,

So, these fond memories, I still remember today. 


Red books,   Beverly Clearly, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew   and Harlequin   Romances,

Went to home Football games, went to school dances,

Wanted to be a Cheerleader, watched Mary Beth play in the Marching Band,

Climbed trees, played kick the can and did cartwheels in the sand,

Was in Vocal Ensemble, musicals,    and played Flute in the Concert Band. 


At the Amusement park, I worked in food Service   where the younger kids liked to go,

I grilled foot long hot   dogs, made cotton candy and drinks I did pour,

Went on picnics, swam and went to the shore. 


My favorite Concerts I saw were James Taylor and Bruce Springsteen,

The Eagles and Police I would have liked to have seen.


I also saw   Billy Joel, ZZ Top andJethro Tull,                         ,

Those, I do remember, do recall,

I don’t normally like hard rock, but I did some   then at the time. 


I composed hand written letters, appreciated Poets and had favorite shows,

Loved to sing, shoot hoops and dance like a ballerina, stand on my toes. 


My Favorite Poets were Frost, Dickinson,  Whitman and Poe,

All these things, also made things fun and help me to grow.


I enjoyed Mork and Mindy, Happy Days and Mary Tyler Moore,

The love Boat, Fantasy Island and not at all like shopping at the store,

I liked the Odd Couple, MASH, Laverne and Shirley,

Saturday Night Live, and back then, I liked to wake up early.


I sometimes ran mid distance, rode my 10 speed bike,  played the piano and swim,

I did not like Math, history and gym. 


My adolescent years,

We’re not   totally filled with sorrow and tears,

There were some good times, during those years. 


Though, I felt like I was in no man’s land,

And that no one did understand,

I did not know anyone whom was partially sighted or blind till I was 19

  So, I felt out of place as a teen,

Yet, it was not that bad,

As you see here, some fun times I had. 

 I hope I portrayed   a better picture, that it is, more clear?

And now, I am done here. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Karen's Kanvas: Reflections, Favorite Teachers, Memories and Impact People have on my Life

Last night I listened to Debbie's in the Quiet show, to relax and chill,

I reflected then, and now, I still.


I did not think a message from her yesterday I would take away

But I had.   One she did convey

And I have thought about it today.


Recently Debbie had a dream,

And she commented that life is not what it   seems,

She spoke of a teacher   in 4th grade,

And the impression that teacher made,

But as a child we don't often connect the dots then

  Yet learn more than academics at age ten.


Those teachers taught all subjects and led the students in their classroom,

Children with many personalities, saw each grow and bloom.


They were leaders and role models and showed us the way,

They taught us much each and every day,

Those memories for me, did stay,

And I do recall such a teacher in  the 5TH grade ,

And what an impression, she made,

I knew of her the year before,

My sister Mary Beth was in her class.   Then it was my turn, it was 1974.


Her name was Mrs.  McKeon and she was great!

She taught at E. A.  Bogart in N. J, likely one of the best schools in the state,


It was not too far from New York City, Upper Saddle River, in a middle class Community,

She was a positive influence on Mary Beth and me. 

She taught more than   Academics indeed,

More than just English, Science and arithmetic.  She strengthened our ability to read,

But also helped you build confidence and believe in oneself,

Being in her class, improved your mental health. 


She had high expectations of her    students including me,

It did not matter that I was the only legally blind child and well I couldn't see,

She gave lots of homework even on the weekend,

Rules, she did not bend .


Every week we had 20 new vocabulary words, had to write the definition, part of speech and write a sentence and handwrite the assignment,

Much time I spent,

Had many volumes of a large print dictionary,

  They lay on the shelves of my Parents library,

Used multiple volumes and thought it was a pain,

But it was good for me.   The information, I did retain.


She taught us songs, music, had spelling bees   and played games,

She got to know each student, knew everybody's personality, not just our names. 


She helped me finally learn fractions, long division and something about art,

She was very special, had a gift, and a warm heart.


During that year I was in Girl Scouts, CCD, took typing and in my fourth year of ballet

And I still enjoy dancing today. 


That year we also raised a Dog, a shepherd,   named Odell from the Seeing Eye in Morristown, an hour away,

We learned much  in 4-H club   and Camp, was hard to give Odell away. 


Mrs.   McKeon did not accept sloppy work, laziness and she made   sure   she had our attention every day

I loved her! she was tough but fair!  Made us work but we also did play.


We began with the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag,

We ran the 50 yard dash, did situps and played tag,

She taught us Geography and a song, 50 nifty United States

History, we learned important dates.


I did not like History and did not see the point of reading about Colonial times,   or in Science, our Planet Earth,

Worse yet, Math, I did not see its worth,

And in my life, how it, could I apply,

But, I was sad, in June of 75, when I had to say goodbye,

And to Canada we did move, I was not the same girl when we returned to the garden state

I was more quiet, shy and withdrawn

Probably because I did not have friends, was made fun of, in the 7 years we were gone,

Went through many growing   pains, felt alone and sad,

My Sisters, very glad they were there, Tara and Mary, with you, fun I had.  


In Junior High, we lived in Canada and Ohio, I withdrew and my spirit almost died,

I sat in class, lessons taught, but I was bullied a lot, at home often cried

After school I retreated to my room, with my books, music, and favorite TV shows,

It was then, began to write, letters I would compose,

To my Grandma and best friend   Andrea   that I left behind,

In Jersey.  That's how I relaxed and unwind. 


Andrea was from Grease. In 5th Grade I taught her some English, and she me, Greek,

We wrote letters every week.


Music, Dance, song and writing, were my salvation, they gave me inner strength, kept my sanity and help me to cope,

It made   adolescence bearable,     got me through,

And when I am stressed and feeling down now, these things help, my spirit is renewed.


It is, now, as I sit here and     type away,

It has been an excellent day!


Sorry, I did digress and went down memory lane for a bit,

Things are out of sequence, hopefully, it will all fit,

The puzzle pieces all fit and the picture   more clear,

You will see, once, I am done here.


Anyway, Mrs.  McKeon did not tolerate rudeness and bullying! she  thought respect and how to be kind,

A teacher like her, is hard to find.


Also remember, she was thoughtful, caring, funny, not just a teacher, but also a Wife and Mother,

Her son Mike dropped   and in and observed her class once in a while,

He was friendly and made us youngsters laugh and smile. 


I remember playing silent ball   , during that game, learned to be quiet, eye hand coordination, and follow rules,

She gave us direction, guidance and the tools,

  To critically think, and encouraged all throughout the year,

I have fond Memories as I sit here. 


I have thought about her over the years and even visited her in 1982,

When we moved back to New Jersey, 7 years flew,

Yet, in other ways, was quite long!  Went through puberty when living in Oakville Ontario,

Canada and Cincinnati Ohio as well,

Junior High was awful! hell!,

Pretty bad,

And since then, never had,

A teacher like Mrs. McKeon,   she must be about 80 at this time, wonder, if she is still alive and retired,

I am so grateful that back then, she, they hired. 


When I returned  to the states, and  made a surprise  visit in 82 ,she recognized me right away,  she remembered  my face,

The school Changed, was not the same place.    I too, was not the same,

And she remembered my name, not Mary Beth, but me.   Guess, I still looked ten,

  Even when,

I was 18 and a young adult, I looked very young and recognizable to her after all that time,

I hope she is well, and doing fine.


Yes, there are people who make an impression and have an impact on us all

Do you recall?

A favorite   teacher? Or someone who made a difference and help you to thrive? And taught you a lesson of some kind?

  Enlightened, inspired you? enabled you to develop your personality  and mind?

Taught you things that you cannot find in   books or in a lecture Hall    ?

I certainly can recall,

And can think of some, a difference for me, they made,

   Some When I was under 5 and some since 5th grade,

Some   when living in Canada, here in Arizona, Denver, and in the Midwest,

But more, here in the States ,back East, that I remember best. 


It's ironic, we  may not  make a connection or feel like anything we have gained  ,

Till later, But  even during storms, thunder and rain,

There  is  the sun, the beautiful rainbow,

Special people change us, color our world, help us  to grow.


People come into our lives  for a  reason,

Some for just a season,

Some for just a day,

And some for a lifetime!  those people  are here to  stay,

Are there  for  you each  and every  day,

Through the thick and thin, through the Valleys and the peaks,

in  good times and bad ,each and every week. 



Those individuals,   don't take for granted , be grateful and  feel blessed! I do!,

For now, this, it must end, I'm through,

Have a busy day, things to do,

So until then my readers and friends,

This message I  send.  


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Karen's Kanvas: Hand over the Chocolate, and Noone will getHurt!

Hi All,


I had written this back in February after reading  this humorous Self Help book.  I  did  not plan on sending it. I don't particularly  like it.  Well, not as much of some  of my work. I don't really think  any of  my work is good but if  it helps any of you  and/or  lifts your spirits or makes you smile  , than its worth it.  Take care and look below. 


  I had breakfast out and  a walk I took,

While at the Village inn,  I read a book,

One I began this morning at 3 am,rose with the birds,

Its been  inspiring, as I listened to the words.


I wanted  something that would   not make me go back to sleep for a long time,

But something that would encourage me,as I read the  lines,

Or heard the narrator speak. 

I have had one of those weeks,

Beginning of the new  year ,where  I looked at myself,

Was introspective,looked In the mirror, but that,isn't always  good for my mental health


At least those of us  whom   are perfectionist and expect  more from  ourselves  than  a family Member or a friend,

I realize that I need to send,

Myself  encouraging words and  look at my success,

For me, sometimes, that is hard  to digest,

, And even, makes it difficult to unwind and get good solid  rest.



What is this book I am  reading you ask,

That is opening my eyes again and unpealing the mask?

"Just     hand over the chocolate and no one will get hurt" ,is the title, it is true,

Its motivational,  humorous and teaches  you how to get through,

Times of stress,depression and help to obtain goals,

I decided to write now, and soothe my soul.


I was, going  to buy some groceries that I need,

Instead, it fed   the creativity within from what I did read.


As I sat at the Village Inn table,

And  red, the thoughts  just  flowed and I knew  that  I would  be able

To  write a post once I got   home  and on my laptop,

Later, I can shop,

For the food to nourish   my body  had to write, do this for  me,,

I knew this is where I  had to be,

If the words and thoughts were to appear on the page

  And arranged

Just so in real time.


This writer speaks of ways to overcome  the stress and  negative emotion without  devouring an entire box  of your favorite chocolate delight ,

Enables to shed some light,

And see the full glass ,

And knowing, whatever it is, it too will pass.


I  tell my friends  this  and believe  it to be the case,

But  often in the midst of it, I don't think it is, with all that  I face,

Dealing with and on my, plate ,

And sometimes, I get myself  in such a state ,

That I want to retreat and isolate  myself for awhile ,withdrawing ,seeing few reasons to smile.


If I were  talking to myself like I do a friend ,

Their spirit  I'd    lift and a positive message I send,

I speak  to him or her  with love  and Respect and be kind,

Assisting  to change their own mind ,

And alter  their perspective  and attitude,

So he or she would not want to dive into  unhealthy food,

               What, do they then, find?,,Who wants  unnecessary pounds on their stomachs and     their behinds?,

 I don't want extra weight on my butt,

Noone does , but we all, need a  friendly push  in the right direction  to get  out of a rut,

Out from under,and sort the pile

To  motivate and bring us  a smile ,

Even better  ,  make us laugh  , at our darkest  hour,

we ourselves,don't realize, that we ,already have the power,

Pray,hope and know,

help us, to continue, to go.



Sometimes  , I lose sight of my dreams,

That, Things  are worse  then they seem,

So I think,

I don't want to gamble or drink,

But  food seems  like my friend or eating nothing at all,

And  what seems right,is  putting  up the walls,

And closing the  doors  and hiding in my cave,

At moments,its hard to " ride the wave"

And just glide,

Enjoy the ride,

No matter  whether  the track is  going up or down and inside and out,

I don't like it, when unfamiliar is the  rout,

Or suddenly being turned  upside down, I feel lost and unshaken,

Not like some, who welcomes the mystery path their now  immediately taken.


I thought my outlook on  life was  a positive    one, and  maybe so?

But, sometimes, that side, I don't think I show.


In this book, they mention,having cheese   with that whine ,

We all do it some,realizing,maybe,I do it more then I think with certain  friends of  mine?

At times?,I go through    cycles and maybe somewhat extreme  about things?

Doubting self and wondering  if I have wings?,

  To fly and  succeed?,

  Thinking that my whining will help,is what I need and that  my true friends will  listen and  understand ,

Sometimes, they will and even lend  a hand,

And  heart and ears,

And they too, may disclose, their problems, dreams,hopes and fears


But after awhile and too much of this,they will  kick your butt  in a positive way,

So, you won't  continue to play,

The same tape and loop   in your head,

Allowing  you to think about what  they said,

And still motivate you  to be your best self,

Improve your mental health,

Abort those   negative  thoughts and remove that old junk

  Stop whining and get out of that funk!


True friends are the best! They are awesome  indeed!

However, we all have a purpose, look at   yourself, find the seed,

Help the garden  to  grow,

Take that risk,fill that  dream ,

In the  scheme of it all, no matter  what it is, its not as bad as it  seems,

  Know that  you are special and  we all  have similar experiences that  can help us to relate ,

And when your feelling  discouraged,just wait!,

Don't  grab for the chocolate  ,fries or a shake ,

Do something else, a better decision to make. 

 I know this is something that I need to apply   and follow ,

Sometimes ,News we get    ,is hard to    swallow

And we sometimes   , we eat Things we  shouldn't consume ,

But at the   moment,its  better than the  gloom.


Don't stay within  your cacoon, look for the  butterfly!,

Sore  high,

  The skies the limit!,reach for the stars!,

You will go far ,

  Living  your life and making your  mark ,take that leap!,

  Its your own to keep ,

Walk the Journey,  take that ride,

Hang on, go with the tide,

We all are on your side.  


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Karen's Kanvas: The Writer

What defines a writer? A linguist? Someone whom can   eloquently tell a story? and describe a scene?

This,I hope,will one day be  my dream


It certainly takes talent , skill , effort and time,

It needs a plot, strong characters , the words carefully  chosen,woven, filling each  line,

On the page, a method, a sequence  ,  and design. 


This  takes time to master.    Plots,   characters   and scenes to create ,

This often takes months, years, varies  the rate,

In which the  manuscript is complete ,published,   the book on  the shelves and   finally is on sale,

Some  succeed, but at first, many, probably,  do fail. 

 Their script rejected and back to the drawingboard they go ,

The Revision or the new storyline   developed, one doesn’t know,

If this,  one,   will be accepted  and become  a success?   or a total flop?

Or  become a New York’s best  Seller,  and is at the top ?



One must  have a  high vocabulary ,  an imagination  and whit ,

Have a command of the  language, grammar  and somehow  make the pieces  all fit. 

The characters need to seem  real, colorful ,interesting  but human too,

At the beginning, I am sure,this is  more difficult to do. 



One needs to understand syntacts,  synonyms ,  homonyms,   sentence  structure  and  punctuation  too

For  me, this  I am hoping to perfect! maybe some day,that,I will do ?



One needs to use as few  words but the story needs to  be  well  told,

If it doesn’t , the novel  ,won’t get sold. 



It’s the same  way, for a   poet ,

For me, that’s what I want to do, if you didn’t already  know it.


I want to do both  , poetry, but also write  a Novel , that will sell,

But  perhaps, that, I will never  do well ?


  I am working on improving  my writing, as Secretary  for the Arizona Affiliate  of ACB ,

This,has been a growth experience  for me. 



I have always  been a fair  writer ,  but much I do need to improve ,

Yet, I’m learning, getting  into the groove.  



I was taught   in school how to diagram a sentence: Nouns, verbs,  adverbs,adjectives  , their meaning  and place,

It was not a waste ,

  Also learned grammar, sppelling   and composition  , but not all,did I retain,

I had partial sight, for my eyes,print was sometimes, a strain. 



Commas , periods, semicolons and colons ,I could not see good,

If I did, maybe, a better writer  I would be?, maybe,I would?!



Braille is so important and  it, all blind  kids  should master,

Not only will they read faster ,

But   be more efficient at performing tasks,  and their ability to read,

Braille Literacy,we definitely do need!



It shouldn’t matter  if you have no sight  or    partial, if your legally blind,it should, be taught ,

You do not want to be where I was, you definitely do not!


I had to learn  Braille many years later  and a challenge  it   was for me  ,

  I was up a creek,without a paddle, that, you don’t want to be!



One week,I could read regular  print, the next large print and the third  none,

I struggled to communicate, it wasn’t at all fun!


Now, I am relearning and I think it,I will retain,

I am not as comma  happy, and the concepts  have  gone into my long term  memory of my brain. 


I’m reading, writing, working on improving  my craft,

Humor is important too, more,we all need to laugh,

Maybe,I too, some day, will be among  the writers out there,

For now, with you all,my blog, I share




Karen's Kanvas: My reality! Life is a dance!

Life is filled with mysteries, hopes, dreams, Laughter and tears

Joy and sorrow throughout the years ,                    

Experiences had, and lessons  learned,

Success's, failures and money earned. 


Opportunities taken, ones sometimes  missed,

Some say, ignorance  is bliss



Some, may prefer this and have their head in the sand,

Yet,  most of the time,I rather  face reality   and give a helping hand,

Sometimes ,its painful to look at one's reality and self  straight in the eyes,

And at moments, the problems confronted with,seem large  in size,

And more,   than one can handle,

But,  one needs to remember, hang in there!, lit, is  the candle,

Its burning  bright

Morning, noon and night

Each  and every day ,

Participate, get in the game, do play.



If we don't act, an opportunity  may be  missed , that too,is a choice,

Express yourself.   you have a voice!,

Yet, work on finding  balance, elasticity  of spirit,

Hope  this message, you hear it!



Life is, a long and winding road,

And  you may find, you are carrying a heavy load ,

At times, It may seem,  its filled with   burdens,   hardships and you may feel despair,

But, you are not alone! people do care,

Weare all connected! , with some, your,  load  do  share ,

Help them  with theirs,  and them,  with yours,

Will be  easier to  swim the shores,

Climb that mountain and  run that race ,

Stop,  if you need, go,at your own  pace!

Yet,  stop  too  smell  the flowers,  look at the sunrise,  sunset and rainbow,

It too, will pass, go with the flow,

,often for me, this is  much easier said than done,

But, relax, enjoy life, don't forget to have fun!



During the bad times, you may feel overwhelmed, alone and that    you have too much stress,

And the issues, may be difficult to digest ,

It may be hard to look in the  mirror, at yourself,

And  more likely at this time, poor is your health. 



Resilient and fragile we humans are,  me and you

Most   survive,  make it through. 

We get through the sorrow,the pain  and heartache,

  And after, love  still remains,

We  can  rejoice , laugh and smile,

Walk the journey,appreciate  each  mile. 



This has certainly been the case  for me, especially these last 2 years,

At first, there were  many tears,

  I felt lost,alone and under much stress ,

Felt Sorrow, heartache  and did not get much  rest.



I had to  find  my inner strength  and  happiness within ,

A new  life, did begin,

I   did often reflect, as   my path did  bend, 

A long time,its taken, but I  amon the mend. 

I have been there , for  a little,  while,

I have found  joy, and have more  reasons  to smile ,

And laugh, and not as often  I cried,

It has been a rocky road , a crazy ride,

and I did not easily ride   the waves,I definitely,did not glide ,

I was tense, felt empty, numb inside,

One day,  and emotions  overflowing like a river, the next ,

At times , I   wish I  had other  decks,

And not been given  my  hand,   lost my  faith in God,and in me,

Yet, after several months, I did find  my, key. 


Divorce  is most certainly a life changing event,   in so many ways,

Issues are raised,

There are more  questions than answers, and torn  is your soul  and heart,

One needs to redefine  their   identity and  heal their  heart ,

Still  go to work and earn their  pay,

   Find the inner strength,just,  to get through each day,

Pay their  bills and do their housekeeping,

Find time for hobbies and sleeping ,

For family, friends and,  time for you,

During  this time, it may  be very hard to do. 


It was for   me,  I struggled with this,

 Darrell,I did miss,

  The person that loved  me  at one  time, when he was loving,  caring   and kind

Thoughtful  and enjoyed  my company and I was, his shining star,

And then, suddenly,there you are,

No  longer   a couple , together  no more,

The most important  person in your life, gone!  You are unable  to swim  to shore,

Land on your feet ,

Thinking why, did you ever two meet  ?,

And,ask yourself,  am I, in the driver's seat?

The captin of my ship?, the masterof my fate ?

What is my,  purpose ?,where,do I  go from here ?

You lean on  those people that are close and dear,

And also  for me  ,my creative  writing and favorite    comfort foods soothed me,

As well as, music,singing  and  dancing,  then,I am footloose and fancy free. 


As they say,  what doesn't  kill us makes us stronger ,


I plan on living  much longer ,

In fact, I  don't want to die ,

I struggle with death   and dying, I can't,    lie,

I am not sure  why?,  its part of the cycle,    It is a fact  ,

Something,I must, lack?,

Not here, to talk about  that kind of    grief,   but more of the lessons I have learned  since my time on this earth,

To recognize ,I have  lots to give!, and  have self worth. 



I also  find rewarding being involved with ACB and with Toast Masters  as well ,

Keeps me busy, active and  its been a growth experience, less time to dwell,

  On my issues, look at my past,

Wow! Time flies!, the months have gone fast!

At least , this past year.  


I really am enjoying  my Victor  Reader  stream,

I work hard as the Housekeeping  office coordinator, I am part of a great team!

Putting in   long hours  and even  working overtime , serving our guests,

Not as much  time for me, not getting as much rest,

I have been reading  more  ,dancing  less,

Not much time  to write  ,to master this  craft

But,I have   had more time  to laugh,

At work,     and  here at home, feelling  fine,

Most,  of the time. 


I have been  reading mysteries but

many self help books,

I  want to improve  myself, have taken a good  look  ,

Have held the mirror up ,don't always like what  I see,

Discovering ,not so good things about  me.



Afew people  I  have admired and cared  for have told  me,I  complain,

That, , I am high  maintenance , that I am a drain,

And that I need  to talk less, be silent and listen  more ,

At first, this  hurt to the  coare.

Some,did not want to be  my friend

Because of the   things I say and do, the messages I send. 



I always ,thought I was a positive  person,maybe not?,maybe, not always the case?

I take things  to heart,but eventually,things I do  face,

I  explored this, did evaluate ,

And ,  this, you can  debate. 



Recently, I read a book titled    A Complaint Free World " , interesting indeed,

It plant the seed,

And  although, really did not tell  me anything  I did not already know ,

It   opened  my eyes, and it did show,

That,I too,  do complain and   criticize,  mostly,myself,

And this,isn't good for anyone's  mental  health,

Its ear   pollution,  as the  Author, Will Bowen  does refer too,

Complaining ,   criticizing and gossiping  is easy to do ,

And I am,  one,, this   is new,

I did not know this  till recently,

but,I am going  to change it,  improve  me. 

It won't be an easy task but worth it in the long  run 

 And it will  be challenging,much easier said than done,

Yet,not impossible! Life will be better and my life will change,

And that,is a very good  thing!



I don't, gossip,I never had ,

but I  have expressed  my discontent and have been  critical ,that,  I  have ,

I am going to try and go for  21 days,without a  single  complaint ,

Criticism ,  a new perspective ,I am hoping  to paint,

  A more colorful,  vibrant and beautiful  canvas  to share  ,

Here , in this  space,

I will be happier and in a more  pleasant space,

Wish I had  learned  this  years ago,

But sometimes , you have to make  mistakes, you  know?,

Or take another  fork  in the road,another turn ,

The lessons valuable! The investments earned,

And sometimes, friendships  never develop , or relationships end   ,

But, this is life my friend,

I can't have regrets  or say, what I should  have done,

I need  to face  reality, learn  and  have  fun,

Appreciate each  day,

Work smart, and don't forget to play,

Cherish the family and friends that  love  and care  for you,   will be there   and go to the end of the earthfor you,

That,I am going to try and do!



This message  is way too long but hope  you will appreciate  ,

Take good  and kind care, and hope your day is  great!


Friday, October 16, 2015

Karen's Kanvas: Reflections on Life, Public Speaking and dance ,

Its 2 days after my first speech at Toast Masters.  I have a day off and I finally was able to relax the other night and now, as I’m here to convey a message to you all.  I’m enjoying my coffee and reflecting on the experience.  It’s been a stressful few weeks, knowing that I soon would be speaking in front of strangers.  Public speaking for many, including myself is challenging and causes a lot of anxiety.  Many fear Public Speaking more than other things ( such as fear of heights, flying, or even cancer).


I’d thought I would write   my insights as well as compare Dancing and public speaking.

Most of the time, I post a piece of creative  writing here, usually something that I have easily and naturally constructed  in my mind, at least  portions prior to   those  thoughts written on paper, or here on the computer screen

I thought if I wrote poetically, it may not be as meaningful and   possibly not have the same affect on you, the reader. 

I have wanted to take public  speaking  for a long time, but never  did. I was enrolled in a public speaking  course in college.  However, a few weeks after the   class began, I had to take a medical  leave due to suddenly losing my sight for the second  time in 14  months. 

So, I never learned those concepts and skills then. 

Speaking  in front of strangers , even approaching   one stranger  and starting  a conversation  has  always been difficult  for  me.  Even at  3 years old I was shy around those I did not know.  Yet, I was a friendly child from what I am told and liked to talk  if I knew  the person and   the trust was  there.  Its  interesting  , the inner child within  us  is just a smaller  version  of our adult selves. 

I can  be extremely talkative when  its  someone  I am familiar  with or  if I am in a familiar setting. 

If I am not, its  out of my  comfort zone.  I was this way at 4 and  still today,at 51 . 

I  decided  its about time  that I work  on overcoming  that fear  as well as gain some leadership  skills. 

As said, I’m  quite  shy and  introverted and speaking   in front  of a group  of strangers elecits a ton of anxiety.  My stress the last few weeks   has been very high and there have been changes physiologically.  It’s been mentally draining too.  I have been a little more forgetful, heart racing, trouble sleeping, headaches, and stuff like that.

I noticed the other night once my speech was over, I   began to relax and unwind.  I felt changes within minutes after sitting down and listening   to the next presenter. 

Recently, I thought about   why, It is, so difficult  for me to not just  speak  in a formal setting like Toast Masters  but just, in everyday situations, out in the community. I don’t like strangers approaching me nor me, them.

It’s not like I won’t, talk to strangers, it’s just I’m less likely to strike up a conversation.  Since having dog guides it has helped and the dogs have been good icebreakers.  People will first ask about the dog’s training, talk about their dog, things like that and that often is how I have gotten to know strangers.

I know intellectually that some of these strangers would, could become   acquaintances and then eventually lead to a friendship.  Yet, getting to that, point is just so awkward for me.

As I said, I recently thought why it is that public speaking or talking to strangers has been so challenging for me. I do have a somewhat introverted personality this is true.

Not only that, I believe my experiences in school has not only somewhat shaped my personality but also my inability to feel comfortable in groups, make friends and speak in public.

My Family moved a lot when my sisters and I were growing up.  So, we were the   “New Kids”.  I also was legally blind, had some issues with my weight and had alopecia. 

Of course, if you are the “new kid” or appear different in any way, one’s peers seem to like to tease and make fun of those whom appear so different and weak compared to them.

For many years and no matter what school I had attended, it was pretty much the same.  Not all of my classmates  picked on me, but many, enough that it did  ultimately effect   not just my social  life but also my personality and who I have become  as a person.

I’d like to think  those experiences  were one of a few reasons as to why I  have  lots of compassion for others and I like to give others the  benefit of the doubt, get to know them  before I   come to any real conclusions on what they are  like as a person.

Though, I have forgiven   those   peers, “Kids” whom ridiculed me for years, I haven’t forgotten.  I’m sure most of those kids, whom are all adults   now are good people, have respect for others and have children of their own.   Perhaps, some feel    badly for how they behaved back then and maybe, even some of them I’d be friends with today. I’d like to think so.  I know we all were going through our own “growing Pains”. 

Despite all of this , it still has had this effect on me.  It’s not like I dwell on it. I just happen to have a very good Memory, a Memory like an Elephant (unless I am under stress).

And unfortunately and, fortunately, our perceptions and experiences doe’s effect and can alter our views and personality.

I was made fun of   in and outside of the classroom, and fortunately, only in the school setting.  P. E, Gym was my least favorite class, even worse than Math (and I am poor at Math).

If I gave the wrong answer when called upon in class, many of my peers laughed at me, teasing me    and doing other things, the typical   bullying stuff that you hear about. 

As a result, I think that is another reason    why I have lots of anxiety and feel so uncomfortable speaking in front of others. 

It’s interesting but I don’t recall bullying   being one of those social problems that got publicity like it does today.  Perhaps, I was just unaware of it.

However, it appears   that there are, more advertisements and PSA’s (Public   Service Announcements) on this major Social Problem.

I am glad to hear that they have these PSA’s and other ways that the word   is getting out about Bullying. It’s a real problem for youth. Maybe, some of these  PSA’s  will make others more aware and teach youngsters  not to  bully , have respect for others and  if he or she does observe a  classmate being  bullied to speak  up and help.

Recently, I heard some PSA’s on this issue, and noticed that I had tears in my eyes as I listened   to the announcements. I couldn’t believe that it elicited a reaction, an emotional response in me after 30 years, - but it did. Wow!  I have empathy for those children whom are being bullied now.

I was told as a kid, just ignore them and they will stop. You know what? that, didn’t help at all . I should have stood up to them

I appreciate my sisters Mary Beth and Tara   being there in some of these situations and standing up for me on my behalf. I can recall  a couple incidents  pretty clearly as if they happened yesterday and one girl  in particular ,one classmate  “ Jackie Bennett    who was one of my Bully’s  and My  sister Mary Beth had gotten into a fight with after school because of me and she did what she  could to try and stop the bullying.  Thank you Mary Beth and Tara. 

 I never intended to disclose something as personal as this,   to my Blog and on such a public platform.  Yet, I am writing about my reflections on public speaking and I have been feeling introspective.

Sorry I went down Memory lane. 

The   purpose of this Blog Post was to tell you my experience  I had the other  night as I presented  my first Speech at  my toast  masters Meeting.

I also wanted to compare   how dancing is like writing a speech.  This, could certainly be more interesting and entertaining than hearing about my childhood. 

 Fortunately, I chose a wonderful Toast Master’s Club “Socially Speakers” here in Tempe.

Toast Masters International has been around for 90 years and there are thousands of Clubs World Wide.

Each Club makes it a safe environment and teaches techniques to be a good professional speaker while providing support and encouragement along the way.  They do evaluate each speaker but they do it in a positive   and constructive way. 

My Club Socially Speakers also have social   activities outside of our Meetings: Hence, “Socially Speakers”

In November we will hike South Mountain and go to dinner.  In December one of the Members will have an Ornament/ Tree decorating party.    I am glad I joined this particular Club.

My Speech went alright the other night.   It wasn’t  as smooth as I’d like and I wish  I  had not been so nervous, voice  shaky from the starting gate  and the middle  slightly awkward ,where I, knew I  forgot  an   important  part of my speech, for me at least. The portion that mentioned all that, I could finally do at age 8, was an important part of my speech.

Age 8 was quite significant for me and a year I won’t, haven’t forgotten.  At age 8, things in my Brain finally clicked, both my ability to physically do tasks and mentally comprehend.  Things, just fell into place.

It was then, I could finally swim, run, and ride a bike. I recall being at the Montvale Swim Club in N. J (a Manmade Lake) and having my swimming test. I didn’t like being   with the little kids in the shallow end and wanted to be swimming with my sisters and the older kids, lol.

I couldn’t swim well but at least I could doggie paddle and I was able to swim from the shore to the diving board and back.    I was proud of myself. 

I also recall when I could finally ride my bike. Like many kids, I had training wheels on my Purple   shwin Bicycle (also had a cute white basket with purple flowers and a horn).    I was riding up and down  our street  in Upper Saddle River N. J with my Sisters and  Neighbor friends, speeding ,riding ,laughing  having fun  ,lol., I noticed, I wasn’t using  my training wheels  anymore, that it was just me  that was keeping the bike   balanced and  riding  without falling.  I was amazed and so excited!

Normally, I don’t like being the center of   attention as a kid, nor,   now.

Yet, then, I did, I said to my sisters and friend, look, look, at what I can do! Lol. 

Educationally, the pieces of the puzzle were also falling into place, I had a better handle on my subjects and concepts in school.  So, 1972, I won’t forget!

Here I go, digressing again, very sorry. Back to Wednesday Night’s Speech

I knew I forgot  that significant piece of my personal timeline, back peddled, and then continued  on, the rest  flowed more easily and the person  ,Dennis  timing me, told me I had a minute left and I was able to somehow   rap it all  up and tie  it all  neatly, slightly  awkwardly at the end  but I manage to do it and stay in my   7 minute  time window ,yay me! Lol.

It’s like learning and knowing how to stand and do a routine on the Balance Beam in gymnastics.

First, gracefully knowing where  and how  to   stand up and  plant  your feet  so  your balanced  enough to  walk and  perform on the beam with ease  . Then at the end   , do your dismount off the beam and land on both feet onto the floor so you look like a natural, lol.

Wednesday  night, I didn’t  quite do that  but I suppose  it’s not important , after all, it is, just the first  of many   Speeches  I will do in toast Masters .

The Important thing is, I joined Toast Masters, stood up there in Front of everyone, despite feeling extremely nervous and anxious, didn’t freeze, quit or faint. I managed to somehow  continue, even though, I had a big blunder,  laughed  out of nervousness ( have done that since a little girl ) ,had a huge   pause but went on to finish my  speech.  Thanks to the encouragement of my Club Members and my close and dear friend Jeff, I made it through to the end. :)

 This first speech is an “Icebreaker” Speech, about oneself.  This way, Members can get to know the new Member.

One would think writing and speaking about oneself would be easy and that one,   would feel comfortable to talk about him,  or herself. WE know ourselves better than anyone else.

Yet, for some of us, this was not, an easy task. I felt like I didn’t  have an interesting  story to tell or what would  others think  of me being born with  a brain injury and being on   patterning therapy for the first 8 years of my  life.

My family and close friends reminded me that I am interesting and that my story is worth telling.   Not too many people born with a brain injury go through patterning and, living life, succeeding, graduating College and   working full time, providing a service in Hotel and Tourism. 

I did get  some help  some ideas  as how to  go about this from my good friend  Jeff

First, I was told to have  an  outline , the key points, kind of a  timeline . Once I had that, then I could draft my speech.

Even that, was a little difficult. I added too much in my outline and had to narrow it down.

Once I had that solid outline, it was simpler to write the speech.

In fact, within a couple hours of writing my draft, I was done. Once I got going, it came with ease, the words just started to flow, the keys on the keyboard   quickly tapped in a rhythmic    manner. I had my beginning, middle and end and my story was   told on paper, a copy, in word.

Then, I needed to take those words and find a way to convey them through speaking in front of the group. This, was two completely different experiences for me.

It was easy to write, came naturally and I had no real difficulty nor anxiety writing my speech. It was smooth, fluid and more elegant then when I stood up there Wednesday night. I am like two  different people  and I wish  I were half the  speaker that I am  the writer . 

Writing and Dance are my, mediums of communication.

If you want to know about me visit my Blog, ask me to send you an e-mail or watch me dance. Its then, you will see   the real me, the   comfortable, animated, happy KarenJ lol

It’s true, I am a much better writer than speaker and I love dance.

Its there, on the dance floor that I am most comfortable. It feels natural and its loads of fun.

Even when I am taking  a new form  of dance, like tap or ballet I  am having fun ,learning, doing and not  caring if I am making a mistake  or what  others  think when I  don’t   have the steps down   .

And, I learn fast and I can always feel the beat, and have the  rhythm .  Even if, I am learning new  dance concepts, I can still feel the “ beat” and stay in rhythm and will eventually  I will learn the concepts  and the footwork  will   transfer  into my muscle  memory.

I noticed this last year when I took tap dancing after a few years. The concepts and   some of the   dance steps  I learned  in Ballet  decades  earlier stayed with  me and I found myself  doing ballet  in tap class. I would hear my tap instructor Mary say, Karen, this is not ballet, and here is how to do these steps in Tap .

Ballet was my foundation since, I began   taking   ballet around age 6 or 7 and had four years of it.

As I said earlier in this post, one can make a comparison of dancing to speech writing and public speaking

In Ballet one needs to Master  the first 5   foot positions  before  learning  more advanced    steps and  be able to execute   Plies and Pirouettes  and other things  first.

One needs  to know how  to position  their feet  so he or she can find their  ,balance and  move  from one  position  to  the next  where  they are on the floor  ,so they can leap,  turn standing tall, on their  toes , elegantly moving and dancing across the floor.

I was, going  to use Ballet   terms but since  the origins of Ballet are French and  Italian, I thought it may be  too  confusing to you the reader .

Besides, I don’t recall most, of the actual terms too   write about   it and have it sound intelligible.

I  do still  naturally, know  how to perform some of these  more advanced  ballet steps  but don’t know  the term for what I am doing, it’s just still there in my muscle  memory. And, even when I am waiting in line somewhere  or at my desk at work or at home  I will  do the footwork for both ballet and tap lol.(sometimes, combining  both ,doing ballet in tap  is not  easy and I have come  close  to falling as I have been in midair ,spinning coming back down  trying to land  on both feet,lol.

Of course, more advanced steps are not needed to express and compare dancing with writing.

As I said there are similarities.

When writing, drafting an outline for a presentation, one needs to have an outline, a theme, a subject in which he or she will expand on to write, convey their points or present on. 

Dance is the same way. 

One needs to have   a musical theme, to know the Melody, the harmony, understand concepts    and it does help, to have natural rhythm .

One needs to either be taught   a dance routine or choreograph one him or herself.  This would be your outline or draft for your Speech.


One needs  to  learn the basic  steps, like the first 5 foot positions in Ballet ( first, second, Third ,  one foot in front, one behind, or to the side for example).

One  needs  to know  how to point  or stand  on their  toes and position their  arms , out to the side, above their  head before  learning new concepts.   These would be your first sub headings and points in your speech outline, often the introduction.

Having access to the ballet bar and   full length Mirror if you are sighted is extremely helpful.

It’s there at the bar, where one learns   the basic exercises, the first 5 foot positions and also where they stretch and get limber. It’s much easier to dance when limber.

Again, this is like your draft and outline and your introduction of your speech. 

Once those concepts are understood and can be executed, one can move onto more complicated concepts and combinations that involve more fancy footwork.

These steps, would be like your body of your speech, the “meat “and core concepts of your speech and dance routine.

For instance, in tap, one needs  to know how to  do basics such as March in place, stay in rhythm , shuffle,    know the difference  between a flap and a   slap and do them correctly before  he or she even tries  shim shams and Irish’s, even cramp rolls and  ball and change . 

Once, the dancer has, those basic concepts down, he or she can learn a short routine and perform it on stage.  It takes   practice and coordination.

In writing, one needs to have knowledge of language, have vocabulary and understand basic grammar rules, punctuation and sentence structure in order to be able to write well.

The same is true with   formal dancing, like Ballet, Tap and Jazz. 

One needs that foundation and beginning classes and courses before moving onto more complex   dance moves, writing Poetry short stories and Novels

, before one will be accepted to a dance academy, become an instructor, or become a famous author or Poet. One needs to start somewhere, always the beginning and take baby steps.

Once one can master this and has their   foundation , they are ready to combine ,execute  more complex movement, more    developed plots ,with more interesting   Characters ,longer stanzas,  poetry verses ,more complicated ,difficult  dance steps  that look easy  pleasing to the eye  but are complicated.

These, are the    choreographed dance routines, the manuscripts, the novels that others want to see and read. It’s not, these corny,    semi developed, half baked, unpolished Poems (if you can call them that, lol) here on Karen’s Kanvas, that most, would want to see or  read here. I would love to find a way to learn to be a writer, a real writer  J

Once one  does   successfully master  these concepts, then completing   and reaching  the goal, being able to do the dance routine yourself, performing  the solo, standing up on stage  speaking in public , doing a presentation  from  beginning to end ,sounding professional,( not using  fillers  such as Umm,  uh, , ok, you know  and  others as you speak) , to somehow   guide  and direct  you, enable to keep going  till you reach  the end. This is, hard for many to do. In dance, it comes easily and pretty naturally but public speaking, is out of my league and comfort zone for sure! 

Once one does master and concord this, the clincher and   conclusion of their speech or routine are crisp, smooth and done with ease.

Others will want to see those individuals present again, perform on stage, write another poem, and sell another Novel. 

Maybe, I too, will someday be one   of those speakers that   will eventually overcome most of my anxiety, perfectionism and not be my, worse critic    and be a more polished professional speaker.

If, I  decide to take dance again, I hope in that medium ,I too, will be able  to get to the point  I can  choreograph my own  routine, that  it will  show  my own unique Karen style, have my own  interesting  flavor  to it.:)

Meanwhile I will stay in Toast Masters, learn, evolve   grow as a person. It will be a great opportunity.

All my family and close friends have been a wonderful support and encouraging me to do this! Thank you all!

I’d like    to give an extra special thanks to Jeff though.

Jeff has been a Member of Toast Masters for about 20 years. He is a natural! A real Pro at   Public speaking. He often has to make a presentation on his job   as well as as a Member and Leader in ACB. 

Jeff has been an evaluator and a Mentor in his own toast Masters Clubs over the years.

AS   his friend, he began just giving me tips on how to write this first “Icebreaker” speech.

However, just by accident, because we are close friends, he somehow took on the role of my Mentor for this first speech. It just evolved and happened.

Thank you Jeff, for all your help, for your guidance, direction and extra support and encouragement through this process.

As I said, not too many people would   spend all  that time, giving me  tips, listening  to my speech and sit  in on a Toast  Masters  Meeting, ( not their own Club ) and be  a virtual Guest and listen  remotely. That, was Awesome!, it was   appreciated and  didn’t go  unnoticed by  me and  the Members of my  Club , the Socially Speakers.  Thank you!

This post is now 6 pages, I can’t believe it! I didn’t intend for it to be so long and in depth.  There is a lot here, some very   personal thoughts and feelings disclosed from my heart as well as   my views on speaking, writing as well as   perhaps an interesting take on dance and public speaking.

I hope you made it to the end and if you did, thank you for reading this in its entirety. I am grateful and appreciative of the few readers I do have here on Karen’s Canvas. (Maybe someday I will gain more exposure and have more   readers). Hope you all found this post worthwhile and that you got to know more about me. It was the most personal piece I have written here since I began this Blog  in 2006.

Please visit again. You never know what you will find here. As they say   “life is, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you will get”. You never know what you will find here   on Karen’s Canvas.  I may write something humorous, something thought provoking, an   editorial type of Piece or something from the heart, like   this one.  I am mysterious and predictable, that’s good   lol.  Take care and until then, Happy Reading