Saturday, April 30, 2011

Great things about being blind. Another ice cream adventure.

As As I was writing about my ice cream adventures with tulia the other day, I was reminded of another ice cream story.  This happened with my first guide dog Gwenny.  Near where we were living at the time, was a little diner.  They had excellent burgers and fries and an interesting owner and cook who read constantly.  He even read as he was cooking your burger.  I had many conversations with him about books.  They sold ice cream too.  Once in a while, they would have mango ice cream.  I love many kinds of ice cream (especially chocolate ones and chocolate mint) but once in a while what I really love is mango ice cream.  Whenever he had it, he would call out of his door to Gwenny and I as we walked past, "Kim.  I have mango ice cream."  Sometimes I didn't stop.  But, often I did.  One particularly hot day, as we were walking by, I got the call.  We had to climb quite a hill to get home and mango ice cream sounded awfully good.  Gwenny was my first guide dog.  A wonderful black lab (not quite as small as tulia) full of personality, a great worker, and as most labs are, quite passionate about her food.  Into the diner I went, got a mango ice cream cone, and proceeded towards home.  The cone was in my right hand, Gwenny's harness in my left hand as we walked.  Gwenny kept glancing up at the ice cream.  She was looking back at me.  Not sure if she was hoping for melting, tipping, falling ice cream or what exactl.  Maybe all of the above.  But, as she looked at me, she ran herself right into a sign.  Smack!  I had been about to tell her to pay attention to her work but figured the sign did that for me.  She sat down right away and hung her head.  If a blakc lab could turn red with embarrassment, perhaps she would have.  After that, she kept her eyes and her mind on her job and off my ice cream.  I still love mango ice cream and whenever I eat it, I think of her.

Friday, April 29, 2011

If you are in Ottawa Canada sign up for my wonderful workshop

Hello all,

Please register for this wonderful workshop on creating and telling your own autobiographical stories.

Storytelling is such a useful skill for everyone to have.

I need more people for the workshop to go forward.

Please pass this on to anyone who might be interested.

I know that some of you can't take such a workshop during the week.

If you are interested, but would rather do this in the evenings or on weekends, please contact me at and let me know.

Intro to Storytelling with Kim Kilpatrick

We all tell and listen to stories by our families, friends, co-workers. What is storytelling and how is it different from reading or from telling jokes? In this very interactive and entertaining program, learn what storytelling is and learn to find, gather, create, and tell stories. Everyone has stories to tell. Kim Kilpatrick has been telling stories all of her life but officially has been a storyteller for ten years. "I love creating and crafting autobiographical stories and helping others to learn how to do this." We will also talk about many genres of storytelling. From folktale to literary work, from historic to epic, there are so many kinds and styles of storytelling. Come and find your voice and find your stories. You'll be glad you did!Tues 1:00 – 4:00 PMMay 17 – Jun 21 (6 wks)Fee: $120

Registration: Crichton Community Cultural Centre

2nd Floor-200 Crichton Street

Ottawa, ON K1M 1W2

phone: 613-745-2742 fax: 613-745-4153

Great things about being blind. Always there!

I always thought that  international guide dog day was on april 29.  I found this particularly appropriate because it was on April 29 1992, that I was introduced to my first guide dog.  The other day, I was horrified that guide dog day seems to have moved to april 27.  However, for me, guide dog day is april 29.  That was when my first guide (black lab Gwenny) came bouncing into my life.  I've had four guide dogs altogether.  I thank them all.  My howling blakc lab Gwenny (she howled when she got excited).  She was a fast fast walker!  A calm and steady worker.  A hard puller.  Hated the rain (as does my current black lab Tulia).  She showed me what guide dogs could do.  My yellow lab Margaret.  Very animal distracted.  One of the nicest dogs ever.  Barked a lot in the house.  Taught me how to handle with creativity challenging guide dog behaviours.  My golden retreiver Gia.  Steady and calm, sensitive and compassionate, quirky and fun.  She loved stuffed animal birds, she made fun squeaking noises when she got excited.  She guided me through my terrible arthritis flare with class and dignity.  My tiny shiny black lab Tulia.  Who wakes up happy every morning ready for the adventure.  With a phenomenal memory and a fun cute personality.  for all of them, who have been there through everything.  If I reach a hand out, there they are.  Beside the chair at the dentists, at my feet in planes, trains, buses, and cars.  Inboats and canoes.  Guiding us through heat and cold, blizzards and around and over snowbanks, across icy patches, in subways.  They sit through meetings, classes, workshops, storytelling perforamnces and concerts.  They are steady through sickness, loss and grief, laughter and fun times.  They have been up for walks and hikes and equally willing to lie quietly while I work at my desk.  They make me laugh, cause me to cry at their loss, fill me with independence, allow me to travel with dignity.  I thank them all.  I also thank the raisers who raised them and gave them up and the guide dog trainers who showed them their jobs.  Happy guide dog day.  Always the 29th for me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Great things about being blind. the ice cream finder!

We had a brief taste of warmer weather but spring sure hasn't been in a hurry to arrive.  The other day, it was warm and fairly nice though.  I felt like having an ice cream.  Two people and one guide dog went for ice cream.  The ice cream place was in a food court of sorts.  I'd never been there before with Tulia and had only been there once or twice before.
We weaved through tables and past other food places and then the person I was with, turned in to the ice cream place.  I told tulia, "Left.  Inside." and she followed.
We ordered and retreived our ice cream and sat down and ate it.
Afterwards, I told Tulia forward outside, and she found her way out.  We did a little more shopping around that area.  Then, we were off to get our bus.  We walked through the much mmore crowded food court.  I heard people's voices all around us.  I smelled various types of food.  We were in a wide open space.  I find navigating large, open, echoy areas somewhat challenging at the best of times.  It id difficult to know where you are and where you are going.  With a guide dog, this is somewhat easier although you often have to trust your dog and can't always provide precise directions.  Tulia was walking along, I could feel her moving left and right weaving through obstacles.
Then she made an abrupt right turn.
Who was I to say she shouldn't do that?  perhaps something was in our path.
Then I heard a cash register and a voice saying,  "Are you back?  Do you want more ice cream?"  in quite a surprised manner.
Tulia was sitting down at my left side.  I heard the swish swish swish of the furiously wagging little black tail.  "I brought you back here.  I did I did I did!  You were so happy when  you were here before!  With your delicious ice cream."  I laughed so hard.
Tulia has a phenomenal memory for finding places we've been to before.
Maybe she wanted an ice cream?
What flavour do you think?
Squirrel flavoured?  liver flavoured?  lamb and rice flavoured?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Great things about being blind. Touching colours.

Yesterday I wrote about colours and sounds.  Today, it is colours and textures.  Textures have always been very important to me.  Similar to those of you who can see items of clothing, I will not wear an item of clothing if I don't like the way it feels.  I couldn't stand to do that.  Even if someone said it looked better on me than anything else in the store, I would absolutely refuse to wear it.  Textures also remind me of what colours must be like.  I also associate textures with people's voices.  The feel of velvet which I love, I associate with some people with rich deep voices.  Velvet also reminds me of dark colours.  Soft silky and thinner material reminds me of lighter colours and people with high, clear bell-like voices.  Polar fleece somehow reminds me of reds or oranges and people with mid-range and full rich voices.  I love the feel of my guide dog's silky ears, smooth feeling cool stones, knitted sweaters and scarves, inticrate tapestires that I can touch, pottery dishes, the materials I discussed above.  I hate the feel of raw hamburger, burlap, slimy tofu that comes packed in liquid, any bumpy cloth,  outdoor walls that are bumpy and rough.  Some people's voices that I don't like remind me of some of these materials.  Now all you storytellers will be bombarding me with messages asking what your voices remind me of I'm sure.  I may or may not be able to answer!  None of you sound like burlap though.  That is reserved for certain people like my kindergarten teacher who wouldn't let me do anything in class.  When my retired guide dog Gia died a few months ago, I worried that I wouldn't remember what her fur felt like.  I still do remember it.  That long silky golden fur.  Touching that reminded me of water gently flowing over rocks or the sunshine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Great things about being blind. Hearing colours?

I was bothered for several hours by that quote about 80 percent of a storytelling experience being visual.  It really perturbed me a great deal.  I thought,  "Wait a minute.  Here is something I thought was so accessible and you are telling me it isn't?  Darn sighted people!"  And then I thought more about sounds and how I am so lucky to hear what I hear.  I think what I hear is more tuned than what those with sight hear.  Not that my hearing is better or more acute.  Just that I focus on it more.  People often ask me about colours.  How I perceive colours.  I usually think of them as textures or sounds.  Tomorrow, I will write about the textures.  For today, I will focus on sound.  One of the things that drew me to storytelling was the sound and rhythm of the human voice.  The way people tell stories, there speech patterns, intonation, cadences.  Of course, I've always been a voratious reader so that storytelling was a natural fit for me there too.  But, back to sounds.  Voices evoke colours for me.  I imagine those bright, high clear voices as being gold or silver.  Deep rich voices as being dark colours.  Calm, soft quiet voices as being greens or blues.  Also being a musician and lover of music, music does for me what I imagine beautiful paintings or sunsets or awesome landscapes give to those who can see.  The hearing of an orchestra with all of its different timbres and colours would be (I would imagine) like looking at a painting.  Hearing beautiful harmonies sung is like that too.  So beautiful, so calming, so inspirational.  The cello is a dark colour, the flute is gold, the guitar is a rich blue, the drums are red or orange.  Every genre of music has a different sound, a different feel, a different colour to it.  When people say they feel sorry for me because I can't see, I should say that I feel sorry for them because they aren't hearing all they can hear. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reminders of upcoming storytelling events.

Just a few storytelling reminders to share.
I will be performing at the tea party 119 York street with fellow storyteller Lynda Joyce on Tuesday May 10 from 7-830 Pm.
More music stories.
Hear about my first music festival experience?
My brush with a famous musician?
My first chaotic day of work as a music therapist with people with dementia?
Lynda's first and last performance as a concert pianist?
Her travels with her violin?

I am giving a six week workshop about storytelling and especially about creating and telling autobiographical stories.
To find out more about either of these opportunities, contact me at
Also, I am an artist with MASC going into schools and also working with seniors and adults.
My profile is at
I am a member of the Ottawa storytellers gig group.  Find my profile there and book me as a storyteller for your event.

Great things about being blind. Storytelling panic?

I was reading an article about storytelling the other day.  The author wrote about how much an audience member would miss in the performance if he/she closed his/her eyes.  It shocked me.  The author said an audience member would miss about 80 percent of the experience.  What?  I paniced for a moment.  Here I was, all of these years, thinking that storytelling was the most accessible art form for people like me who are totally blind.  What?  Missing 80 percent?  Really?  Damn damn damn vision anyway.  Unfortunately, I forget where that article was and haven't found it again.  After I took a few deep breaths, I put things in perspective.  Sure, I may miss the facial expressions but I can hear a smile in a voice, The smiling voice has a somewhat higher and brighter tone than the non-smiling voice.  The nervous voice wobbles a little more than usual.  The breathing of the teller sometimes changes as the story becomes more dramatic or exciting.  It can also change with the speaking of different characters.  I always listen to the pacing, the intonation, the accent, the changes in voice dynamics.  The language that flows from a storyteller always has fascinated me.  The rhythm of their speech.  The way characters are portrayed.  The motion of the story which carries me along.  I love to hear the different voices of different tellers.  The timbres of the voices as they drift out towards my ears.  Forceful strong voices.  Calm quiet voices.  Voices filled with laughter.  Maybe the people who don't close their eyes and keep them closed are actually missing 80 percent of the storytelling experience?  I stick to my guns!  Storytelling is one of the most accessible art forms for people who are totally blind.  THE PANIC IS OVER!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Great things about being blind. Easter eggs.

Someone asked me the other day, if it was difficult for me to hunt for easter eggs as a kid.  I don't remember it being particularly tough actually.  I just crawled around, felt around on surfaces, touched things and found them.  Perhaps I wasn't as quick at it as my sighted brother was.  But, I seemed to always have a fair number of eggs.  I remember that we also had messages and clues to go and find easter treats.  Mine were brailled by my mother.  Easter eggs remind me of one of my staple storytelling stories about me trying to hatch a dragon from chocolate eggs.  If you haven't heard it, book me as a storyteller and you can!  It involves much melting of chocolate!   Happy easter to all or passover or any other holiday you are celebrating this weekend.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

GGreat things about being blind. Finally noticed before my dog.

Last night I was at a storytelling performance. As Tulia and I entered the room and handed our ticket to the man at the door, he said, "You have a wonderful (and I was just waiting for him to say dog. I was all prepared to say that I did and thanks so much. Instead he said smile. I was a bit shocked. Nine times out of ten, it is the dog people comment on first. I got first notice for once. It felt kind of good actually.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Great things about being blind. Can you help me find the way?

I wrote yesterday about an experience workingnwith seniors. Here is another one. When I worked in a day program for people with dementia, there was a delightful man there with alzheimer's. He had the best one liners and a great sense of humour. He was at the stage in his dementia when he believed he lived just up the street and could get to his house with no difficulty. His house, in fact, was completely across town. He would sometimes get very angry and storm out of our program trying to get home. One or another of us would go outside and talk with him and try to get him back inside. It was bettr if we could keep him from going out but this wasn't always possible. One day, out he went. I went out after him with my guide dog at the time. I said that I just needed to take my dog for a little walk so she could go to the bathroom. Would he like to come along? "Certainly." We walked around the parking lot. Then I said, "I'm a bit lost. Could you show me how to get inside." I really wasn't lost at all. I was hoping it would get him back inside too. He said, without missing a beat, "That smart dog brought you out here. She can find the way back inside." I did manage to get him to come back with me but don't remember quite how I did it. I shouldn't have tried to trick a very smart man or to sell myself short I guess.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Great things about being blind. A stellar role model in her 90's

When I was working in a long-term care facility as a Music Therapist, I helped and was inspired by one of the best blind advocates I have ever met. She was then about 95 years old and had only lost her vision completely a few years before that. She was fiery and fun. When I first met her, she wasn't doing too much for herself. When she met me, she began asking all kinds of questions. How did I get here in the morning? She was amazed to know that I took two buses and walked several blocks. How did I cook? Clean? Write and read? Every time we met, the questions poured out of her. then, they changed from questions about me to questions about her. How could she learn to find her seat in the diningroom? How could she ask staff not to move items in her room? How could she get audio books? I made a few suggestions but soon she began thinking of suggestions of her own. Very innovative suggestions and some I still use myself for various solutions. Then, she began teaching staff, volunteers and students. she taught them, gently, firmly and with humour, how to guide a blind person properly, how to inform her when they arrived and left, and much more. I loved every one of our interactions. She said I had a lot to do with her evolvement just by being a role model. Near the end of her life, she was sick in bed and I came to visit her. She asked to pat my guide dog. I was bringing the dog close to the bed. I was leaning over to do this. Out came a hand and patted my curly haired head. "Did your dog get curly hair?" she asked in shock, "How did you do that?" I burst out laughing and then admitted that she had patted my head instead. We laughed for many minutes about it all and it is my last memory of a woman who embraced total blindness. May we all be so graceful and fiery as our lives go on.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Great things about being blind. Seeing Henry VIII.

I am working on a story about my work as a music therapist with people who have dementia and other disabilities. It reminded me of many wonderful, funny and touching stories for my blog. There was a woman who had dementia and also had very vivid and interesting visual halucinations. she would think that she saw people and would get quite anxious and upset if others could not see them too. I am sure this is amazingly distressing. One day, I was sitting playing piano when she came up and tapped me on the shoulder. "Excuse me dear. Is that Henry the eighth standing in the doorway?" "I'm not sure who it is," I could answer truthfully. "I can't see anything at all. I'm blind. But, if it is him, I suggest you don't marry him." she laughed and she did not become agitated and Henry seemed to have disappeared.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Great things about being blind. Standing out.

Sometimes it bothers me that I always stand out in a crowd.  That people remember seeing me on the street walking, or that I spoke at an event, or well let's face it they just remember my dog!  But, there aren't so many of us around so we are memorable I guess.  It was definitely a good thing the other day.  I ran into (well no I didn't run into her literally) I met someone who recognized me or thought she did.  But, we hadn't seen each other since we were kids.  She asked my name and told me hers.  I couldn't believe it.  Neither could she.  So, we had a nice long chat.  If I had been a sighted person with no dog and just melding into the crowd, our paths may never have crossed.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Great things about being blind. I'm blind and proud of it!

I was listening to one of my favourite disability podcasts last night from the BBC.
They had some stand up comics with disabilities on the show from around the world.
In the course of the conversation, one of them said they weren't proud of their disability.  They were proud of the things they accomplished even though they had the disability.   The other two both instantly said they were proud of their disabilities.  I thought about this for myself.  It didn't take me long to say definitively that I am proud to be blind.  I love it!  sure, not all of the time but most of the time!  It allows me to write this blog, gives me great storytelling material, and much more.  It has allowed me to be a paralympian, meet all kinds of wonderful people, live with wonderful guide dogs, and I could go on and on.  Many people assume that if I was offered the chance of full vision, I would jump at it.  I would not!  I've been blind since birth.  Blind is normal.  Seeing would be terrifying.  I wouldn't know what anything was.  I wouldn't know how to read or write.  Sure, I'm curious in a way about how things look but I am not pining away for vision, waiting for some miracle cure!  I don't need a cure!  I'm not sick!  I'm blind.  In these days of political correctness, I've heard my blindness described as:
visually impaired (my vision is not impaired because I have none)
visually challenged
A person with no vision
sight disabled
sight impaired
And probably many others I can't think of now.
I'm blind.  I'm totally blind.  I'm proud of it!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Great things about being blind. Taking photos.

Sometimes in the past, I would shut down when things became too visual for me. I would draw myself in like a turtle retreating into its shell. And sometimes, I would become bitter about the fact that things were so visual. Why is everything so visual? I have no idea what is going on? Fine, I'll just retreat. I never liked that I did this but did it none the less. I would do this in a loud environment, if people were dancing or moving around and I couldn't hear them, when others showed each other slides or photos, when a tv program or movie was so highly visual, I couldn't figure out what was going on. Instead of asking someone to explain, I might get resentful of the visual world and just withdraw. Gradually though, I have begun more and more to ask questions. To try to understand. The world is what it is after all. I started trying to learn photography a few weeks ago with my photographer friend Joan. Stay tuned. We do have exciting things coming up together in this venture. I thought I would be puzzled by it and maybe not like it. I am surprised that I love it and it actually makes me feel more and not less in control. Sometimes, I can only take small doses of information about visual things. But I do take them in. I tell myself not to pull back but to move forward and absorb what things I can from the visual, and leave the rest. I actually love the photographic challenge and deciding what I want to photograph.

Life is full of surprises.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Great things about being blind. Does my blindness help me to meet wonderful people?

Yesterday, I spent some time with a friend who also has a vision disability, and a wonderful friend of ours who started out being a volunteer but also has become a friend.  I started to think about how lucky I am to meet the great people I do.  Then, I wondered, as I often do, about whether or not my blindness contributes to the people I meet.  I'm sure it does.   Also, because I am blind, I tend not to judge people by appearances but by what they say and what they do.  Sometimes, I wonder if I would have the same friends or same interests if I wasn't blind.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Great things about being blind. Interesting work.

If I hadn't been blind, I doubt I would have had the experiences I had yesterday.  In the morning, I did my first ever stint as a journalist.  I did my first interviews for a story for accessible media on the accessible channel.
This channel broadcasts every program with audio description for people who are blind.
They try to have all of their reporters as people who are blind.  Between the shows, they put in interviews about events or people that might be of interest to people who are blind.
To find out more, go to
After that, I was in a training video for Elections Ontario.  this is for our provincial elections.  They are making a video to train elections staff on how to assist people with various disabilities.
It was all a great deal of fun.
tulia was a big hit.  In the video, we kept having to walk into the same room.  I'm sure she didn't understand that at all.  Why do we keep doing this?
It was a long day and Tulia and I were ready for peace and quiet when it was all over.
If I wasn't blind, neither of these things would have happened to me.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Great things about being blind. hearing street cleaners

I heard a street cleaner last night. Driving and cleaning streets. Hadn't heard one at all during the winter. It is loud and somewhat obnoxious but is a sure sign of spring.

Kim Kilpatrick
disability awareness presenter
I'm proud to be a masc artist.
My profile is at
My daily blog about great things about being blind is at
Contact me by e-mail at

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Great things about being blind. Bricking up windows.

Last night, I went to a storytelling event.
The storyteller was telling a story about england several hundred years ago. she described how the king at the time wanted to tax everyone according to how many windows each person had. The premise was that the wealthier the person was, the more windows they would have. Some of the characters were bricking up their windows so they could pay less tax. I thought, "Ah hah! Ah hah! If you are blind you could brick up all windows and pay no taxes." So, Mr. Harper, if you are listening and want to impose this tax on Canadians, I'll be going out and bricking up windows so I can pay less tax. Or then again maybe not! tulia likes to look out and I like the feel of the sun and the sounds that come in.

Kim Kilpatrick
disability awareness presenter
I'm proud to be a masc artist.
My profile is at
My daily blog about great things about being blind is at
Contact me by e-mail at

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Great things about being blind. Hearing the world.

I think that spring is finally here.  Spring always makes me happy.  The sun is warmer and I don't need boots, coat, hat, gloves.  But, I like it also because the windows are open again.  I always realize every spring that all winter with windows closed, I don't hear the world outside nearly as much.  I do hear car noises sometimes and sirens but I don't hear people's shoes as they walk past, birds singing, people having conversations.  I don't hear the tap tap of dog paws outside or the jingling of collars.  I don't hear the swish of bike wheels.  I don't hear the bouncing of a ball, the tap and slide of a skateboard, the squeak and swish of rollerblades.  It is Tulia's first spring with me.  This morning, she was sitting in front of our low livingroom window looking out and sniffing.  I sat beside her on the floor and listened for a while.  It seems as if we both like the open windows.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Great things about being blind. Not being awakened by lightning

We had major thunder and lightning storms last night.  They went on for a couple of hours at least.  I love listening to the rain when I am lying in bed.  It is so nice to know that you don't have to be out in it.  The rain poured down.  It makes a clicking sound on the metal railings of our balcony, a tapping deeper sound on the window.  A pounding sound on the pavement.  Then the thunder came.  It was very loud and shook the house and there was bright lightning I was told but the lightning didn't keep me awake.  The thunder woke me up fully once but my guide dog slept peacefully on.  I love hearing a thunder storm when I don't have to travel in it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Great things about being blind. Does your dog have a broken back?

While reading over my stories about interactions with little kids, I remembered this one which took place several years ago.  I was standing in an airport with my guide dog in her harness.  A little kid came up and started saying, "The poor doggy.  The poor doggy.  The doggy is hurt."  I touched my dog, examined her paws, ears, tail, all parts of her to make sure she wasn't bleeding.  She seemed  happy enough.  The parents were also a little confused.  They said, "No.  The dog is happy.  See the dog is wagging her tail>"  "no no no that dog is hurt."  "What is the matter with the dog?" I asked.  "She has a broken back.  She has a splint on her back."  He was talking about the harness.  Once I explained why she wore the harness and that its handle was for me to hold, he was much ahppier.  It was sweet that he was so concerned about the dog too.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Great things about being blind. Ignorance is bliss!

This week, we visited my mom's best friend.  They've been friends since they were seven and I have known the family since I was a baby.  Every time we visit their home, I hear the story about myself and the window.  Up until this visit, I didn't realize the end of the story.  This sure indicates one time when it was good to be blind.  It meant nothing about this seemed to scare me.  We arrived at their house one time when I was about 18 months old.  I was an active baby.  Some people say that babies who are blind do not explore their environments and remain in one place.  They need to be encouraged to move around.  I never had that problem.  I moved a lot and explored a lot.  When we arrived, my om's friend asked if they needed to put up a baby gate.  Mom said that I would be fine and wouldn't move around too much.  I crawled around the livingroom and approached the window.  It is a big window.  The livingroom is up a flight of stairs.  I pulled myself up on the window sill and somehow the screen went out the window.  I followed it out, fell a few feet to the ground below.  When mom and her friend ran out, there I was sitting on the grass smiling away and not even crying.  Guess it helps sometimes not to see the ground you are about to hit before it happens right?
This time, Tulia spent a lot of time looking out of that big window.
I didn't climb in or out.
Thanks to Bev and Ken for your wonderful hospitality and company!
You're the best!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Great things about being blind. Restaurant mascott?

Today, while driving back from a road trip with my mom, we stopped to eat lunch at a restaurant called the black dog.  Of course, Tulia being with us, we brought a black dog to the black dog!  And all of the staff at the black dog loved the black dog!  Does this make sense?  Anyone confused yet?  And of course, the staff at the black dog took pictures of the black dog and maybe they will use them as photos for the black dog restaurant!   Still with me?  So, if Tulia becomes famous at the black dog, will we humans get free meals in future?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Great things about being blind. Knowing the telemarketers.

Lately, I've been getting great numbers of calls from telemarketers.  I hate that.  But, I've discovered how to tell who they are and hang up before they can get talking.  If I pick up the phone and there is a silence followed by lots of background noise and muffled conversations, it is a telemarketer and I can hang up the phone. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Great things about being blind. Famous?

Yesterday, I had a delightful afternoon storytelling and answering questions for students in grades 4-6.  At the end, one of the students shyly asked if she could have my autograph.  That was a first.  I did sign her paper.  I'm  not sure if she can read it but a lot of sighted people have unreadable signatures too.  They asked me about how I learned to write.  I learned the shapes of letters from a set of magnetic letters we had on our fridge.  I never really learned to write long sentences but know basic letter shapes and I did learn to sign my name.  In grade eight, we had to practice signing our names every day for a few minutes.  This was at school for the blind.  After that autograph, I started to feel a little famous until we got up to go and everyone said, "Oh goodbye Tulia.  You are so cute."  They did say goodbye to me too but Tulia was more important and famous than I will ever be.  I don't mind at all.  Hopefully she'll let me stay by her famous side for many years.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Great things about being blind. More kid stories.

This actually didn't happen to me but was told to me by a friend who is blind.  Sometimes when offering a totally blind person a plate of food, it is helpful to describe where abouts on the plate certain food items are.  On occasion when I've been passed a plate, I have forcefully stabbed a whole roll with my fork bringing it towards my face.  I've also ensnared a paper cup of cranberry sauce and other interesting things.  My mom from an early age would say, "Your meat is at 12 O'Clock and your potatoes are at 6 O'Clock."  This means that you think of the plate as a clock face.  If the plate is sitting inf front of you, six is close to you and 12 furthest away etc.  My friend was doing a presentation on blindness at a school and she explained this concept.  A little boy put up his hand and said in a horrified voice,  "You mean, they eat their meat at 12 and don't get to eat their vegetables until 3?"  Happy eating everyone.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Great things about being blind. More interactions with kids

On saturday, I had a delightful interaction with a little boy.  It wasn't a long interaction but cute none the less and reminded me that I had been posting about conversations with kids about blindness.  I met this little boy and his brother and family.  My friend and I explained to the family that they couldn't pat Tulia when her harness was on because she was working.  I took her harness off so that they could pat her.  The mother was the most interested though.  but one of the boys said, "she has a cute little bum bum."  I was a bit shocked at first.  Did they mean me?  My friend?  Or the dog?  Tulia does have a cute little bum bum and her whole body wags when she is happy.  I was releived that he meant Tulia and not any of the people.  I still smile when I think of him saying it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Great things about being blind. Face in the birthday cake!

TThere is a story in my family about my first birthday. Of course, I have no memories of it. I was given a big cake with lots of icing. Because I was totally blind, they put one of my handss at one end of the cake and my other hand at the other end so that I could feel how big it was. I promptly plunged my whole face right into the middle of that cake. Ii guess it smelled good. It is my birthday today. Wonder if I dare do that again?

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Great things about being blind. The spring is coming! The spring may be here!

The signs of spring are everywhere.  Grass is starting to come up,  I know because I can hear Tulia's paws crunching on it.  Or maybe they are just crunching on the mud that will be grass at some point in the future!
The birds are singing like crazy.  I haven't heard the cardinal again but cute whistling songs from what I imagine are quite small and dainty birds.  Maybe they aren't but I like to think they are!  The sun feels warmer on my face.  I've stopped wearing my gloves.  Gloves are like blindfolds for the hands!  And I have my winter coat still on the hook downstairs but wore a spring coat today.  And I opened our windows for the first time in months.  Not the livingroom ones yet but Tulia will love to sit there and sniff the air.  She already loves looking out of our windows down there.  bring on the spring.  Oh yes, and also no snowbanks to clamber over.  No icy sidewalks to navigate.  Today on our way about, we were just skimming along the sidewalks.  Both of us were happy.   Tulia's bouncy walk always makes me happy.  It is like she has springs in her feet.  And her tail wagged against my leg when we left the house this morning.  Happy happy spring to all.  Tulia has survived her first Canadian winter!  And, I've survived another one!

Friday, April 1, 2011

great things about being blind. Our Super powers!

Did you know that blind people have super powers?  That I can tell what colour something is by touching it?  That if you drop coins on the floor, I know how many have fallen and what denominations they are?  I have one more important skill to disclose.  The ability to play an April fool's joke!  Happy april fool's day.