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Helen Keller, a lesson in optimism

helen keller
c. biography.com

After learning of Gertrude Bell, I started seeking out more female role models that are not necessarily talked about in your average history class. Then I started reading more about the ones who you may have heard about: Helen Keller, Amelia Earhardt, Sacajawea…. History is full of inspiring stories beyond the generic template lessons we learn in school.

I just finished Helen Keller’s short essay, Optimism, which is available for download. I recommend everyone read it. [It’s free, you have no excuse].

If anyone seemed to lack the tools to be optimistic, it would seem Helen Keller, for certain. Yet, she writes an essay all about the need; indeed, the practicality of optimism.

She points out that all progress is powered by a will that things can be better, a presumption of accomplishment. She believed that “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” She points to the history of our nation…the history of anything, really. No idea can be carried out without optimism.

Being blind and deaf, it is for sure that the people around her, aside from her parents, weren’t too optimistic that she would do anything significant. But her parents didn’t treat her as a victim. They treated her just as if she were a normal child, with high expectations.

Reading not only about her successes, but her attitude makes me more than a little guilty about my whining when things don’t go my way. She overcame more than I ever will and kept a positive attitude as an adult. When she was very young, she describes her early schooling;

“The few signs I used became less and less adequate, and my failures to make myself understood were invariably followed by outbursts of passion. I felt as if invisible hands were holding me, and I made frantic efforts to free myself.”

How often do we feel that way, despite having full use of all of our hearing and speaking? Can you imagine how hard it was for her?

But free herself, she did. It was all in her attitude.

c.2013

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Moving on up

c.the oxfordplacediaries.blogspot.com
I want to begin by apologizing for not updating this blog in probably over a month. I actually have several starts and stops that I will eventually post. I’ve been on the ride of my life moving to my new home.
So after a long searching process, finding my dream home; and a longer closing process; fraught with bureaucracy and delays, I have been moving into my townhouse.
It’s just across town; Simple, right?
Well actually, 12 years of accumulated stuff is much harder to get rid of when you’re moving just a short car ride away. I found myself less inclined to toss, despite my boyfriends many pleas. [Yes, I really need to keep all of the many drafts of the graphic design project I did in college. They are cool to look at]. I’m surprised he didn’t just make secret trips to the dumpster, actually. It required numerous car trips back and forth and two large Uhaul trips.
Going through that many years of disorganized stuff is humbling, to say the least. Towards the end, I just wanted to toss it all.
The third night we came home to the security alarm going off. I certainly didn’t set it.
As the blaring sound became more deafening by the minute, I frantically looked for the scrap of paper with the code that was given to me at closing. Of course I couldn’t find it.
[It kind of left me wondering what the point of an alarm is, if it doesn’t sound outside the house (which I was grateful for), and doesn’t notify a police station. What is the good of the alarm if the only person it alarms is me?]
We are kind of running into each other, tripping over stuff, when we called the ADT service center printed on the alarm box.
Yelling through the mind stunting noise,
“No ma’am, I don’t know the code, but I live here.” I am doing little thinking and more reacting,
She is surprisingly sympathetic to me. I guess when you are an ADT operator, you are used to situations like this. She told me calmly, and in all seriousness,
“There are two wires, a red and a black one, pull either one of them.”
“WHAT?!  Can I pull both of them?!”
My ADT operator is probably more ok than I am with being yelled at. Not because she does a bad job, but just so she can HEAR me above the alarm.
“Oh NO, you just want to pick ONE,” she said firmly.
I had never heard of such a solution. Though I was uncomfortable with it’s ambiguity, I was content to risk possible electrocution than to listen to another minute of that noise; I yanked one of them, I forget which. Blissful silence ensued.
Our next discovery was that some of the outlets don’t work, actually a good number of them. When I couldn’t make coffee the first morning, I was so ready to move.
We called an electrician to fix the outlets. Ever hear of a GFI outlet? Why would you?
The neighbors are very cool. Not as many characters as the old place, which seems kind of boring, yet relieving at the same time. I still plan on writing a book, possibly a series, about my old neighborhood. It will probably go easier from a distance.
I absolutely LOVE my new townhouse, but I’m sure I will have many more adventures to post about. Stay tuned….
c. 2013
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