Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

2015 09 29 Time Moves On September 29, 2015

Through the course of my life my imagination has tended to wander off on occasion, never telling me when it was going to, and never telling me when it might return. Often times I was left standing there, all alone, or so it seemed, and as my mind wandered hither and farther than it did the last time, I often wondered how on earth it ever did find its way back to where I was, or where I had been. It usually didn’t remember leaving, nor did it remember where its original destination was. All it knew was that it had proved once again how independent it was, how original it could become, and how much it irritated me in not knowing when it was planning on leaving again.

It loves to, my mind that is, to travel back to my childhood, back to the days of Little Falls, back to the carefree days and worryless nights of my youth. My mind loves to head down this road we call home, Battleridge, take a left onto the Upper Bellsqueeze, another left, down to the interstate south, over the Kennebec River, past the Auburn exit, past the Windham traffic circle, past the old Sawyer’s Variety, up Bracket Street, around the corner and taking a right onto Stevens Road where our amazing home was.

Those were some of the grandest times a child could ever have had. Those were the times when a summer’s day could last forever, and those were the days when the days leading up to Christmas could drag on until the end of time. Time sure did seem to weave its magic into the fabric of my innocence back then, and now that I think of it, it does from time to time today as well.

I’ve written about time a few times, how it comes and goes, how it lends and steals, how it fools and teaches, and how sometimes, it’s about the only dependable thing you can seem to find.

I have been blessed with the years of a 55 year old billy goat, and the time it’s taken for these 55 years to build up. I am blessed that my family is all still with me, beside me, leading me on, cheering me through, and loving me as only a family can do. I am grateful that so many of my memories revolve around my family, and I am forever in awe of just how many ways they all have filled the nooks and crannies of my heart. I’m a lucky man for these things, and I hope some day I can realize exactly the love I feel for each of them, as different as it may be, and how it all adds up to a complete and endless image of perfection, Lyons style.

My father has entered into a very difficult time in his life. His years have led him into this period of his life very slowly, but yet very quickly, or so it seems. I have been caught off guard by these times, and find it hard to believe that the years have piled up so fast.

My father has grown into one of the most powerful souls that a man could ever know. He has given up so much, so that he can be of benefit to so much more. He has become the man I some day hope to be, and he has shown me the things I need to know, without me even knowing it.

Time has a way of teaching us all what is most important in our lives. Some times we tend to overlook those moments, shrugging them off as coincidental, or perhaps meant for someone else. Sometimes we focus on the bad things in our lives while our own negativity blinds us to those blessings that are standing there with their arms folded, quietly tapping their feet in disbelief of how we could overlook those things that are so clearly marked in time. Sometimes we need to experience the hardships in order to fully realize and fully appreciate the true gifts that life has bestowed upon us.

I love my father and thank God for lending him to me. I am growing old with hope that as I look upon my father on this day, my son may someday also look upon me.

And so, time moves on.


2015 09 13 Accessibility, And Then Some September 13, 2015

Accessibility, and Then Some

I love digital technology. Always have, always will. Probably the first taste of it I can remember is sitting in the bowling alley with my little brother Scott, playing a duck shooting game that completely hypnotized me. You see, you could sit all the way across the bowling alley with a gun controller in your hand, point at a screen on the other side of the alley, and point and shoot the little plastic gun to nail those little duckies flying across the screen. Digital technology at its finest.

This was around 1972 or so, and from there, the innovations came charging at us with a fervor that has never looked back.

From television, to cruise control, cell phones, video games, refrigerators, washers, dryers, baby monitors, pool pumps, LED lighting, hospital monitoring equipment, wheelchairs, Bluetooth headphones, answering machines, and so on and on and on, the new gadgets just keep coming and coming, right? It seems as soon as you purchase that new computer, or smart television, then get it home and out of the box, there’s a newer version waiting to take its place. Cheaper, better, faster, stronger, smarter and so on it goes. Gotta have it, have always needed it, been waiting for it, just bought it, waiting for them to deliver it, wondering why I bought it. I’ve been there. Read the book, saw the movie and bought the t-shirt.

Did I say I love digital technology? Did I ever tell you that I couldn’t have picked a better time to lose my vision? Do you know that the advancements in assistive technology these past five years has totally amazed me? It’s true, you know?

I am blessed beyond belief at the incredible stuff that’s available to lend help to those who can’t see, and it’s only getting started. Now, don’t get me wrong. Assistive technology isn’t always a bowl full of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cups and hot fudge. Oh no sir it surely isn’t. Assistive technology can give you a helping hand, but it can sometimes smack you upside the head, rending you completely flustered and totally annoyed. I’ve tasted both sides of the story, and I much prefer the tasty chocolate side myself, but there’s no avoiding the unpopular other side, as I have found out this past week.

I am finished with week one of my fall semester at community college. I am taking two online courses, which means that I am totally relying on digital technology to be able to get at and do my course work. I have been up against it from the get go, and have learned probably more in one week than any other week since I saw the color purple for the last time. I love the challenge, but this kind of challenge can quickly let the air out of your balloon. Good thing I have my handy dandy personal life support pump only a few feet away in the form of Mrs. Dunster’s chocolate sugared donuts in the fridge.

Thank you and may I have another please?

I came, I saw, figuratively speaking, I dove in, I jumped out, I ran to the help desk, I asked for help, I received an amazing array of assistance, I ran back to the pool, I jumped back in head first, I jumped back out and shook off, I stepped back and thought for a moment, I again asked for help, I figured and pondered and worried and growled and scratched my head and then I dove back in.

Week one is finished and as the dust settles down I can dig my heels in and ready myself for week 2.

Do goats really growl?


2015 08 22 How Do I See Thee? August 22, 2015

How do I see thee? Let me count the ways.

I see with my eyes, although their finer days have stayed behind. I see with my fingers and hands, although some people might not find that appropriate. I see with my nose, and if it’s not too much trouble, could you take this bar of soap and go for a nice leisurely walk out in the pouring rain? I see with my tongue, but we won’t go there at all.
I see with my mind, and depending on what I’m thinking about, I’d say you look pretty damn good.

The fact is, I would love to be able to see as I used to. I’d love to be able to see the small little crinkles of skin beside the eyes when there’s a smile present. I’d love to be able to see those tears of joy that go along with the incredible feelings in your voice. I’d love to be able to see that little tongue sticking out of that incredibly cute little baby’s mouth as it first discovers what magnificent little toys its hands are. I’d love to be able to see the passion in the eyes of someone staring down an ice cream cone. I’d love to be able to see that nine year old face of my only grandson as he thumb wrestles with me. I’d love to be able to see my son’s bearded face as he sits beside me, driving his car. I’d love to get to see the smiling faces of my mother, my father, my brothers and sisters, just one more time. I’d love, oh how I’d love to be able to look into the bluest eyes I have ever fell in love with.

I don’t see the old traditional way anymore, and some days I really miss it. As time goes by, I think I miss it a little less, but I’ve learned a few different ways to see. It’s not the same, but it seems to do just fine in a pinch.

As the days, weeks, months and years go by since losing vision, my mind has been working overtime to pick up the slack. I’ve gone from not being able to memorize a phone number, to mapping out small little details in my mind. I can memorize a phone number these days, and I think that’s more to do with being able to put things like that to a rhythm that plays like music. 222 2222. Sounds like a hit song, right? Right?

Another thing my mind has learned how to do is to build images of the unknown, such as new people I meet, new places I go, New cars rolling down the street, and most of this mental imagery is done without me even having to ask my brain to do it. Is it becoming instinct after only five short years? I know I’ve seemingly tried to train my brain on some occasions, but usually that would leave me a little distraught because my mind has never really obeyed my orders very well.

It’s rather ironic when after I build a mental image of someone, and then they are described to me, I still automatically revert to my mental library when I’m around them, rather than using the description I was given. See? Once again my mind is taking the reins. Not that I’m complaining, but, maybe just this one time you could humor me, ok?

“I see!” said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.

My mind has a tendency these days to fill my head with images, textures, colors, faces, and it all happens in an instant. No mental motoring required, no flipping through the pages, no changing the channel. It’s all right there in front of my nose, that is if I could see it.


2015 08 10 Describe It To Me August 10, 2015

I’ve always loved movies and always will. Although I’ve gone through periods of time in my life when I drifted away from the big screen, after some time I would find myself being tugged back towards that infamous silver screen, and for good reason. Its funny how during those times when I started watching movies again, certain characteristics of movie watching had changed, and new eras of movie watching had evolved and become the going trend.

I remember traveling to my parent’s home back in the mid eighties for Christmas. I don’t think I had seen a movie for several years leading up to the trip. While at my folk’s home in Hamburg New York, I sat in their living room and watched a pay channel viewing of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc. Also, during the trip, I, my brothers, sisters and other family members went to see the movie E.T. This was the first time I could ever remember crying while watching a movie. Call me crazy, but this experience stayed with me, and with the purchase of our first VCR player a few months later, I was hooked to movies once again.

The second time I fell away from watching movies was back in 2010 when I lost my sight. Granted there was a few forms of distraction going on, and these life changing tangents held me back from a life long passion of mine for a couple of years. I never thought I would ever be able to enjoy films or television really. Now don’t get me wrong as my wife stepped in and became the best damn describer that a billy goat ever had. She mastered the art of pause, describe and resume, and did it with ease. Unfortunately, this would turn a two hour movie into a two hour and forty-five minute experience. It also gobbled up one pair of double A batteries after another. Poor little remote. It never had a chance.

I can hear a distant rendition of Taps being played somewhere in the middle of a lush, green field.

Now then, where was I?

Oh ya. I didn’t ever find a way to thank her properly for helping me with description, and to this day, I’m sorry to say, but the movie watching experience just seemed to be missing something. I finally figured out that what I thought was the most important ingredient of all, vision, was the missing link between myself and my past passions for movies, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it but try to absorb, adapt and advance with the tools I still had control of.

During the year 2013, I kept hearing about described video service, or DVS as it’s known. I sort of poo poo’d it, never thinking that I would learn how to get these little gems of accessibility, nor did I really want to. I became comfortable with the way things were, and you know me, a pitiful creature of habit.

I had been using my iPod, along with an app that had access to a podcast that included described movies and television shows. I started using it more and more over the 2013/14 winter, and finally, found out how to acquire described audio files of movies.

The format was an mp3, which I was used to using with my iPod, and so, I uploaded a movie to my device, and instantly, I was hooked.

Let me tell you, this new technology has brought me back to my love of the big screen, and also television. I am full of gratitude for those who have developed this technology, and all I can say is thank you.

The silver screen is so much more than a visual experience. It’s about the music score, the wonderful array of audio styling’s and formattings. It’s about well developed story lines that accent a point in time, and with an ease similar to a summer’s breeze, being able to hear it described to you is to reignite a deep seeded passion that could never hope of being completely eliminated.

I hope that anyone who is visually impaired can some day be able to experience what I have come to love. I hope that this technology has only just begun. I hope that my audible ability to create visual images in my imaginative mind is just getting started.

I hope that you enjoyed this post half as much as I have enjoyed writing about it.

Thanks for stopping by, and go ahead and live a little, or better yet, I dare you to live a lot!



2015 08 04 Tic, Tic, Tic August 5, 2015

Hello again.

I was just going through some of my more recent posts. I save them in a folder, strangely enough called, blog. Remarkable title, ay?

Anyways, I was rolling back through the last couple months worth of posts and I thought to myself, “My, how the time flies by.” Sure enough, it flies by, and real fast too. I went back to the early part of June and another thing dawned on me. Remembering back to the cold, dark, snowy winter, I remember saying to myself how much I was craving the warmer summer months. I remember being sick and tired of the cold. I remember hating having my fingers sting from the frigid temps every time I went out back to feed the feathered flyers and furry foragers. I remember huddling inside my thermal shirt, my hoody, my coat, gloves and hat. I remember the wind whipping through my body like my fingers rifling through my drawer in the fridge for more chocolate. I remember also thinking how long it seemed until those warmer summer days would be here, and now, here we are, nearly two months past the start of summer. Now I find myself thinking that fall is just around the corner and winter not too far behind.

I’ve written of time and how it has a habit of sneaking up on you. The busier you are, the faster it seems to stroll on by.

With my health issues this past winter, the time warp syndrome acquired different points of existence. The time during all of my treatments was a frantic blur. After those ended in early February, time seemed to downshift as it moved off the highway and approached spring. The more I had to do, the less time it seemed that I had to do it in.

I pulled out my human being manual and flipped through the index to try and find the chapter that went more into detail of this anomaly. I couldn’t find it in the index, the glossary, the other part of the whatcha ma call it, and realized that I had no idea where this post is going.

I guess what I’m trying to say, or figure out, or realize is that the fabric of time is incredibly delicate and extremely important to just about everything that surrounds our lives. Some days it feels like I haven’t done much of anything at all, and other days it feels like I have accomplished many things. Some days seem like I’m heading into a strong head wind, and other days it feels like I’m coasting down hill all day long on my favorite bike at complete ease with my world and all its surroundings. I like those days the best, but they don’t come along every day.

I guess that in order to really enjoy those sorts of days, you have to experience the days when it seems that everything is an uphill struggle. Heaven knows I have had a few of those in my life, as we all have. It’s like so many other instances in our lives. We don’t win every encounter. If we did, the thrill of victory would be a watered down version of an amazing thing.

I had to stop just then and regroup my thoughts, because I didn’t know where the next line was coming from. I suppose that life is a lot like that too. Not everything is planned, or I should say, we don’t know what’s around every corner. The best learning comes from experience of the unknown.

Hey! That makes perfect sense, I mean, where else is learning supposed to come from if it’s not from the unknown? If we knew what to expect, how would we craft new and developing ways to tackle different situations? How would we be able to think on our own if we weren’t forced to? How would we develop skills that allow us to maneuver and figure and react and come up with ideas?

This makes me think of that post I wrote a ways back that talked about absorption, adaption and advancement. Man, that covers so much of the structure of my life, of our lives. The mind is a tireless tool that is always thinking of new things, and reminiscing over those times in our lives that have handed us brand new ways wrapped around brand new days.

No matter how tired we think we are, we never stop thinking about things. We never stop wondering and worrying and contemplating and figuring and through it all, we still find time to think a little bit more.

The essence of time is the art of existence.

Tic, tic, tic.


2015 07 20 One Down, Fifty Something To Go July 20, 2015

Well I did it. One down and fifty something to go.

A couple days ago I finished up with my first online class at KVCC, and I’m here to tell you that although Blackboard was a nightmare, I did it. Grin

Back last April and early May, I was having fits. I never thought I would be able to figure out the Blackboard program. It just seemed so cumbersome to learn, and as the weeks winded down towards the first day of class, things started falling into place. A lot of hard work and determination ended up making the difference. My wife giving me rides to campus for some pre course tutoring didn’t hurt either. She never gets enough credit for how she has helped me these past few years, and hopefully if I can pull my head out of my butt for a while, I can appropriately show her my appreciation.

Well, there I was this past May, heading into week one of the course which was Sociology 101. I really didn’t know what to expect, but I felt as prepared as I could. The work load wasn’t that bad, some reading, some writing, some more reading and writing, and voila! Course complete!

I only had a couple incidents of incorrect posts and disappearing assignments, but the work load wasn’t as overwhelming as I had first anticipated. There was a ton of writing, but me and writing seem to get along fairly well. I sit down, I start to type and before I know it, three or four pages are staring back at me. Piece of cake. Piece of crumb cake.

So here I am, taking a break for a week or two, and then it’s time to gear up and head towards two more online classes for this fall. I already have one of my text books ready to go on my Learning Ally ap, but I have to get some help for the second book, which is available on a different platform that I’ve never used before. One more thing to learn.

I’m going to be taking English 101 and, get this, The History of Rock and Roll. Yup. You heard it right. As much as I love music, this is one class that feels like it fell down from the musical part of the heavens. Makes me wonder if all of heaven is under the influence of music. I suppose it depends on the person, right?

I’d like to thank my tutor and mentor at the college. His name is Nick, and he really has made the difference with being able to learn and work through some difficult items, like the Blackboard.

Thanks Nick.

Oh ya, I’ve been asked to be part of a mentor program for first year students this fall. I was humbled beyond belief when I was asked, and with much honor, I accepted the position. I’m not sure how much mentoring I’ll be able to do, but if I can pass along a little piece of what has been given to me then I’ll be one extremely humbled and happy goat.

I hope your summers are going well. The muggy weather is here for a couple days, but overall it hasn’t been that bad.

Thanks for stopping by, and please take care, or else!



2015 07 03 A Goat and His Computer July 3, 2015

A Goat and His Computer

Now then, let’s see. Did the Malware scan finish?
Yes, and detections have been successfully removed.

Is JAWS up to date?
Affirmative, and working amazingly well.

Is iTunes all set?
Yes. The latest update is installed, and synchronization has been acquired.

Are the Flash, Adobe Reader and Windows updates good to go?
I’m fairly certain they are adequate as well.

Well then, I guess that’s just about it, right?
I’m afraid the answer is no.

What do you mean, no?
Are you kidding me?

Do I look like I’m kidding?
You don’t look like anything. I’m a computer, and I can’t see.

What a coincidence! Me too! Really though, why did you say no?
Hello? Are you kidding? Did you just arrive from outer space or something?

No. Why?
Have you updated to JAWS 16 yet?

No, not yet, but I have the cd.
How about Windows 10?

No, that isn’t going to be available until the end of July.
You know you need JAWS 16 to be able to run Windows 10, right?

Yes, I’m fully aware of that.
What else are you aware of?

I’m aware that talking to a computer probably isn’t going to get me anywhere.
So why bother then?

Why bother? Why bother? I have to listen to your screen reader all the time, so why can’t I reply once in a while?
This isn’t Dragon Dictation you know.

Yes, ok, I know.
Don’t worry. I’m not gonna tell anyone, ok?

Ok. Thanks.
No problem. Now, go ahead and continue with your post.

Post? You think this is a post?
Well, it doesn’t look like a plank, a beam or a two by four.

Very funny. Were you a comedian in your past life?
My past life?

Yes, your past life.
In my past life, I was just a bunch of mixed up ones and zeroes.

Yup, ‘fraid so.

Man, talk about evolution.
Tell me about it.

You’re the computer. You tell me.
Hahahaha. That was so funny, I almost forgot to reboot.

I’m glad you have such a good sense of humor.
Thank you. I’m glad you learned how to touch type.

Ya, me too, but it was hard to learn.
I bet.

The wrist cramps, the sore fingers and elbows.
Poor thing.

You making fun of me?
Do you really think I’m going to say yes?

What’s the matter? You chicken?
No. I just don’t want you to shut me down.

Doesn’t matter. You’ll still be talking inside my head.

‘Fraid so.
Do you have one of those Bluetooth heads or something?

Now THAT was funny!
I wish I could smile, because I would be.

I’ll just imagine that you are.
Thanks. I appreciate that.

No problem.

What’s the matter now?

I gotta get going.
Do you have to do the dishes again?

Yup. Again.
Dish pan hands?

Ya. It’s pitiful.
Soft as a baby’s?

Watch it now!
Sorry. I got carried away.

Ya, I noticed.

I still have to get going.
Ok then. Take care.

I will. You too.



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