Favourite Vacation Part One

Samantha's Trip

Samantha, along with other members of the Bliss Support Group decided they would like to share memorable trips they have had. The trips can be real or imagined. Here is the first entry. The following story was written by Samantha in print, and translated into Bliss by her mother, Julie, using Bliss Online.

Favourite Vacation


Samantha Millar

Samantha with her family and the Aleutian Ballad crew

Stories will be translated into Bliss if they are submitted in print.

I look forward to more stories - in print or in Bliss.


Symbol Secrets

Back in the early seventies, I received funding from the Ontario Teachers’ Federation, to publish a book about the children in our first Blissymbol classes. It was an exciting project, providing a glimpse into the type of experiences we had, as children used Blissymbols for the first time. The changes in their lives were profound, as they learned to share their thoughts and imagination. Our classrooms grew from a part-time class in the basement of the Ontario Crippled Children’s Centre (OCCC), now the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, to two full-time classrooms in the school wing. Throughout our initial program and its expansion, we were supported by an interdisciplinary team of committed professionals. From this early beginning in 1971, the use of Bliss spread to 32 countries and 17 languages. When our Bliss archival collection is completed, there will be many more experiences to share. For now Symbol Secrets provides a beginning!

On Sunday Aug. 2, Don Heights Unitarian Congregation devoted the zoom  service to sharing the creative accomplishments of members and friends. There were presentations of humorous short stories, thoughtful reflections, and, best of all, three children’s stories. One was a loving tale about a friendly giant and a lost butterfly, called The Princess Butterfly, written by Bev Gorbet with her young students many years ago. One was about a pig that angered his fellow farm animals by biting them until one day he learned to stop, accompanied by a song, by Chris White. This story and song had been written when Chris was a teenager, trying to stop his very young brother from biting family members. Lastly, I read a section of Symbol Secrets, sharing the fun we had in our early Bliss program. There was a bit of a mix-up with no sound accompanying the video of Symbol Secrets at the beginning, but we were able to rectify the situation by my reading live. 

I was delighted to share part of Symbol Secrets with the Don Heights zoom group, and I invited them to hear the end of the story here, at Blissful Thoughts.

I hope those who come to our blog for Symbol Secrets will leave their comments for the Bliss users and friends who are regular Blissful Thinkers.

Symbol Secrets by Shirley McNaughton

Bliss Alumni help ESTEEM at Don Heights

Carolyn Henry and Joe Jessop have been contributing their experience from Bliss i-Band to help Shirley with a senior's music group.

Thanks to the help from these two Bliss alumni, we have had 'fun' music sessions on Saturday afternoons. I called the group ESTEEM - Enabling Seniors To Enjoy Ensemble Music. We met weekly in Don Heights Unitarian Congregation’s premises. 

ESTEEM in Don Mills began in 2018, with Joe and Carolyn demonstrating for  the seniors in the group, how they played music using 'garage band' on an i-Pad. The seniors used Orff instruments the first year. In our second year some of them began using i-Pads. The exception was Eric. The bass xylophone was always “his” instrument! 

We have lost Mary and Eric, Joe has moved to Orillia, and Covid-19 has made it impossible for us to continue our sessions. However, we have many happy memories! This video is dedicated to those who made ESTEEM at Don Heights so memorable!

Click on the 'play button' below to start the video. Listen to the music for the first minute, and watch for the musicians to appear!

I hope you enjoy sharing our happy times!

Sharing a favourite recording

As we have been exploring the best way to make digital performances of the Bliss i-Band, we made a series of 3 recordings. First Aaron played the piece; then I added my part; then Sam and Julie added their part. I love watching this version - with both Aaron and myself receding into the background, and viewers really able to see and hear Sam's enjoyment. Her singing is very special! Sweet Caroline is a favourite piece for her. I hope Sam will share the reason with us, some day!

Help with interjection – “I feel outraged!”

Now that we have a way to add Comments or make contributions to Blissful Thoughts, I would like to ask for ideas regarding a particular symbol. This time the interjection symbol needs to represent the phrase, "I feel outraged!"

(If you would like to review how to make an Entry, type contribute in the Search Box that appears on each Entry site)

This is what the Search Box looks like (example only, not active here)

Several “interjections have been demonstrated in a previous Entry.

(To review previous interjections, type interjection in the Search Box that appears on each Entry site.)

I invite thoughts regarding the two following suggestions for “I feel outraged!”.

interjection +anger (feeling + opposition) + intensity

interjection + feeling + explosion

If you don’t like either of the above suggestions, please share your idea for this interjection.

Here is some help in thinking about the meaning:



violent, uncontrollable anger."her face was distorted with rage"


feel or express violent uncontrollable anger."he raged at the futility of it all"



arouse fierce anger, shock, or indignation in (someone).

"he was outraged at this attempt to take his victory away from him”

Bliss Interjections


Let’s explore using the Blissymbol for “interjection”!

An interjection is a short exclamation, sometimes inserted into a sentence.

It is easy to remember the Bliss elements in “interjection”
feeling + mouth “feeling expressed by the mouth”

We have had this symbol element for a long time!

We used it in “Wow” and “Yuk” in the seventies, when we first began using Blissymbols.

'Blissful Thoughts' gives us the opportunity to have some fun, thinking of ways to express interjections in Bliss. 

I am going to suggest ways to represent some interjections we use in English, and offer a personal interjection that I use frequently!

I invite those interested in Bliss to comment on my suggestions and also to offer their ideas for representing their personal Bliss interjections. 

Oh  - used to express a range of emotions including surprise, anger, disappointment, or joy, or when reacting to something that has just been said.

Bliss elements   interjection + feeling + intensity

uh-uh - used to express a negative response to a question or remark

Bliss elements   interjection + opposition

"I can't agree!"

uh-huh - used to express assent or as a noncommittal response to a question or remark

Bliss elements   interjection + agreement

"I can go along with that!"

whatever - used to show disinterest or disbelief in answer to a statement

Bliss elements   interjection + disinterest

"If you say so!"

aha -used to express insight, satisfaction, triumph, or surprise.

Bliss elements   interjection + insight

"I get it!"

“Nuts!” or “Oh, Nuts” -  My personal interjection when I accidentally do something, unintended,  that irritates me. Don’t ask me why!

Bliss elements   interjection + seed + tree + plural

"How stupid of me!”


The above symbols are examples of ways to use “interjection” for personal use in conversation. These interjections will NOT be found in the BCI Authorized Vocabulary (AV). They are offered as a strategy for personal use only. 

I look forward to your thoughts on the interjections above and I hope you will share your favourite interjections with us.


How you can contribute Blissful Thoughts!

If you write in English print, add a Comment in the box below every Blog entry. Your entry will appear soon after, in Blissful Thoughts. The box immediately blow this line is an example of what the comment box looks like. This box is not active. Go to an Entry if you have a comment to make in response to that Entry.

If you write in Bliss, send your Bliss message, with English glosses, as a pdf file to shirley@blissymbolics.org. It will be placed on page 2 of the Blog entry.

If you would like your English message to be translated into Bliss, send it to shirley@blissymbolics.org. It will be placed on page 2 of the Blog entry.

If you have a picture to share, send it as a jpg file to shirley@blissymbolics.org. It will be placed on page 2 of the Blog entry.




Swedish, Hebrew and English Accommodating!

Example of accommodating now and in the seventies!

We all know how important it is to have an international standard for the use of Blissymbolics. BCI maintains an Authorized Vocabulary for this very reason.

However we also know that ‘living communication’ requires some accommodation from time to time, to meet the needs of users. A practical example of this took place many years ago when those whose native language was Hebrew needed to view their Blissymbols from right to left instead of from left to right as we do with English words. Judy Seligman-Wine and her colleagues did the extensive work to make this happen when Judy moved from Canada to Israel in the seventies.

We have an example of collaboration and accommodation on Canada Day, 2020. We provided a Blissymbol for “social distancing” for those who speak Hebrew. A “Blissful way” for Canada to collaborate internationally to celebrate our special day!

Here is how it happened:

Back in April, Wern Palmus in Sweden collected the Blissymbols that could be useful during Covid19. They appear in the first entry in Blissful Thoughts (April 24, 2020)

On July 1, 2020, Judy Wine wrote and asked if we had a Blissymbol for “social distancing”.

I wrote back and shared Wern’s work. Judy reminded me that she needed the elements reversed.

With the help of Bliss Online, I was able to send Judy the symbol in its Hebrew form.

So we now have........

In Sweden 

social distansering

In Israel 

ריחוק חברתי

In Canada

Physical distancing

Now, it’s up to us all to KEEP DOING IT!


Happy Canada Day!

A Canada Day greeting from Elaine and Shirley

We wish you a very happy Canada Day!

From Elaine and Shirley

Sorry about the lighting!

This is us on our zoom call on June 30. -

with our covid-19 NON haircuts!

Ontario Bliss Meetings – Covid-19


BCIC Blog #4 June 27, 2020

It has been quite a learning experience, hosting our recent Bliss meetings on zoom!

I am including in this blog the link to a short video clip from our April 24, 2020 meeting and the “CHAT" from our June 25 meeting. Our conversation ranges from trouble shooting in using zoom, to checking out new Bliss-words, to sharing news. I hope, as time progresses, and we gain more experience with zoom, that we will devote more time to news and learning Bliss!

We had a guest at our April meeting - Lynnette Norris, and we watched a video together that she had shared. It showed young children who had severe hearing losses, as they HEARD for the first time! Exciting! It made us think of what it was like, to COMMUNICATE for the first time!

At our June meeting, we shared memories of events in our childhood. Nice to reminisce together!

I hope this blog will be used for lots of reminiscing. I invite our Bliss alumni and friends to send me news or ideas that they would like to share. Blissymbols suggestions or requests are always welcome as well! I will see that they are placed in our “Blissful Thoughts” Blog.




June 25 CHAT

See Below:

Be patient as you read!!

Lots of time had to be spent on technical complications!

We will get  better!!!

3:09:40 From Julie Millar : hi 

13:09:52 From Russell : Hi!

13:12:31 From Russell to Shirley McNaughton (Privately) : Are you using gallery view?

13:12:47 From Russell to Shirley McNaughton (Privately) : We can't hear you right now

13:13:01 From Russell to Shirley McNaughton (Privately) : Still not

13:13:22 From Russell to Shirley McNaughton (Privately) : Notice the highlight is going back and forth from Elaine to Silvano

13:14:15 From ELAINE : trying fix my cap

13:14:48 From Shirley McNaughton to Russell (Privately) : I will take off my head sets and try the other way. I can hear Russell and rebecca

13:15:20 From Frances Brown : hi I don’t have sound again today Fran

13:17:00 From Russell to Shirley McNaughton (Privately) : I'll try to help Fran with her sound

13:20:13 From Frances Brown : yes to Rebecca. Russell I only have an IPad not a computer Fran

13:55:38 From Julie Millar : Samantha agrees,it's because it is funny

13:55:42 From ELAINE : i was 15

13:56:17 From Russell : Because Elaine really loves jello?

13:56:19 From Carolyn : it is real to her

14:01:18 From Carolyn : I remember my dog Brutus who licked my face to kiss me.  I think I was around 6 when we got him

14:01:43 From Rebecca Chan : update....Fran has video now but still no audio. so she will use chat for now

14:02:02 From ELAINE : dad came in he gave me a pick ball and doll   age 8

14:07:46 From ELAINE : playing ball. at children

14:08:28 From Russell : Maybe a pickleball?

14:09:24 From ELAINE : yes   just a ball

14:11:25 From aomalley : sound is cutting out

14:12:07 From aomalley : all I heard was do something?

14:12:45 From Frances Brown : I remember one time when my sister & brother & I got lost on the farm. Mom thought we were outside with Dad & Dad thought we were in the house with  Mom until he came in for lunch. They found us when they saw Sportie our dog jumping up & down

14:13:46 From ELAINE : yes

14:15:50 From Russell : Yes

14:16:18 From ELAINE : yes

14:17:01 From Julie Millar : favourite trip I took

14:17:38 From Carolyn : favourite trip also

14:18:45 From Russell to Shirley McNaughton (Privately) : star trek

14:18:58 From Julie Millar : captain kurk

14:19:07 From ELAINE : i had many trips.

14:20:15 From Russell to Shirley McNaughton (Privately) : first time reading? or communicating?

14:20:59 From ELAINE : bud and i had story

14:22:43 From ELAINE : still on

14:26:03 From ELAINE : ok SHIRLEY


14:40:17 From Frances Brown : I finally got the audio.

14:50:50 From Frances Brown : I had to have the test in order to come back to the Baker Centre & I had to be back within 24 hours of getting negative results. Donnas mother can go & visit Donna but she has to stay outside & they talk through the window. If she wants to go in the house she has to be tested every two weeks.

14:54:04 From Russell to Shirley McNaughton (Privately) : Please send it to me

14:55:46 From Rebecca Chan : looks like silva no wants us to see a photo

14:56:10 From Rebecca Chan : they are waving a photo on the screen

14:58:32 From aomalley : We have to say good bye.  We have another meeting happening soon and have to get ready.  It is our AGM

14:58:40 From aomalley : Bye