Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blind people can get more halloween treats.

I do not remember this but my family has told me. My first halloween trick or treat, I would prance up to the door and say who I was. Then I would remove the mask so people could see I was blind. This exhibited a frenzy of candy giving. I got more and more. Home made fudge and candy apples (yes then we could accept those) two of everything. My parents told me not to say who I was and not to take off the mask so they would not know who I was or that I was blind. I looked very puzzled and asked, "Why? This way I get way more candy." Happy halloween.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Taxi anyone?

I've mentioned this before here, but, I will say it again. My guide dog has a phenomenal memory. The other day, we walked to a taxi stand at a near-by hotel to get a cab. Yesterday, we passed by there again. When we reached the stand, my dog sat down and bumped me with her head. "This is where those cars are that you like!" I laughed and laughed, patted her and we moved on. She is truly a genius of a dog. Maybe I should get someone to teach her to play chess? I was never good at that myself!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Stay safe in the storm.

Much of North America will be hit by a big storm this week. Fortunately, I believe that we will miss most of it where I live. When you are blind, knowing your environment is very important. When I go out in a few minutes, I need to walk a few blocks to the bus stop. My dog guides me along but I do use certain landmarks to know where I am. A mailbox on my left, I can hear it is there and know I am close to the corner. I know where the garbage cans are along the way for doggy gifts. I know the bus stop pole. If a storm moves these things and others, I could be a bit turned around. Also, wind makes it difficult for me to hear traffic, people around me, and can be quite disorienting. So storms bring challenges to us all but sometimes different challenges to people who are blind.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More about the blind man and the sword incident.

I read a few more articles about the blind man in england who was tasered by local police. They believed or thought that his white cane was a sword. They had been alerted to a man wandering around with a sword. They saw him walking with his cane. They called and told him to stop. The thing about this is that if you call out, "Stop. Hey stop." I would not necessarily know you were talking to me. You would have to say my name if you knew it or actually tap my shoulder or be very close to me. So, he did not stop and therefore was tasered. Very odd situation. Some major disability awareness training needs to be done pergh?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I come with the dog!

I had been in conversation with someone who wanted to film me for a documentary. It sounded quite interesting. Documentary on blindness. I got an e-mail yesterday about it that stopped me in my tracks. Yes, wanted to film me but would do it without the dog. Without the dog? What? Wanting me to walk around the neighbourhood without the dog? Film what it is like to be me to be blind without the dog? I said no and I would not participate. No no no! I walk with the dog for a reason. Not for show. Not for the fun of it although it is fun. I walk with the dog to have safe mobility. By filming me stumbling around with no mobility aid, does this give a good impression of blindness? No! My dog is part of me. Part of the team. Sure I could use a white cane and do but that is when I choose to do so. But, if someone wants a picture of my life, the dog is in it. Would they ask someone with one leg to take off their artificial leg and hop about? No! Would they ask someone who uses a wheelchair to get out and roll about on the ground? No! I am and always have been honoured and glad to have my dogs in my life. It makes me sad and angry when people do not understand this. I am glad that most people get it.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What I get for reading murder mysteries at night.

Last night I was reading a murder mystery before going to sleep and I had a really awful dream that someone was chasing me through the house. But, then it was cool because it was one of those dreams I could shape myself. I turned off all of the lights and heard them blundering around. I went into the closet and texted 911 with my phone and my dog was there too and the police came and got the chaser. Bad dream turned cool for sure.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Something I learned

The other day was talking to a friend about another friend. In the process of the conversation, I discovered that my friend has dark skin. I have known her for several years and never knew this about her. It is so interesting to me that a characteristic that others use to identify this person in their mind, never even had entered my consciousness.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Some police who need to have their eyes checked perhaps?

I was startled the other day by an arsicle. Some police in the UK thought a blind man's white cane was a sword and tasered him. A sword really? For anyone who does not know, the white cane identifies someone as blind or partially sighted. there are longer white canes that people use to travel if they are totally blind or have very low vision. There are also smaller shorter canes called identification canes. People carrying these canes do not need them to walk with but use them so that people know they have some vision difficulties. When someone travels with a white cane, they swing it of course. This is so that you can feel objects around you as you touch them with the cane. Yes you move it back and forth. Yes you touch things. Yes you may bang into things. That is what you do. But a sword? Really? Thank goodness I travel with a guide dog. I hope no law enforcers ever think my guide is asome kind of danerous weapon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Exciting to be starting a new project.

Tonight, I am co-chairing the first ever monthly technology user group for people who are blind or have low vision in my city. People can bring their technology, share experiences and tips. We can help each other learn and find out what technology works best for us. If you want to know more, e-mail me at

Thursday, October 11, 2012

You never know who you will help.

Yesterday, on my way to do some storytelling with seniors, I sat in a coffee shop listening to my stories on my Iphone and preparing my thoughts. The coffee shop was on our way to the bus stop. Someone said, "Excuse me." I thought, "Oh no. I don't want to chat now. I want to prepare myself for storytelling." But, I smiled and said hello with a somewhat sinking heart. "You are able to use that Iphone and you are totally blind?" I said yes and explained how I devices are totally accessible to me. The woman found it fascinating and then admitted that her mother was losing vision and it was great to know that there were devices that she could use. As I went to catch my bus, I was so glad I had let her interrupt my preparations.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So glad to work with little kids.

Yesterday, I told stories in a school to kindergarten, grade one, and grade two kids. Fun fun conversations.I always love the chance to educate the very young kids. Then, hopefully they will grow up being open to people who are blind. tulia of course had great fun being patted and admired. A teacher said, "What a great life for a dog." I agree. I hate it when people think our guide dogs have a terrible life.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Thankful to be blind in Canada.

It is Thanksgiving day here in Canada. I am thankful for many things. But, for the purposes of this blog, I am very thankful to be blind in Canada. Sometimes, I remember something and hear something about blind people in other countries. Developing countries. Here, I have computer equipment, a braille display, a guide dog, the ability to have learned how to get around independently, laws that protect my rights. Is it perfect here? No. Are there things we can do to improve? Yes. But, in some countries, blind people have no equipment, no ability to move about independently, not always support to be educated. So, on this thanksgiving day, I am thankful to live here in Canada and to have had a family who supported me in all of my adventures.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Facial expressions.

Someone was talking about facial expressions yesterday. Reading people's faces. This person looks sad, angry, worried Etc. I can hear things in people's voices yes. But, I can't look across a room and see someone's face. A wink. A shrug. I wonder how much I am missing or if I get most of it?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Using your eyes!

I was told recently that my guide dog uses her eyes very expressively to communicate. I have been told this before. She pulls people in with them. She shows people to move out of the way with them. She raises her eyebrows. Someone said to me the other day that she was looking at me and then looking at them. They were guiding me and she glanced at them as if to say, "Okay. I'm off duty I guess?" It got me wondering. If my dog is so visual in her communication, does she find it frustrating that I don't get her visual signals? I imagine no. She uses other signals with me. She wags her whole self. She nudges me with her head. She puts a paw on my foot. She rubs her body against my legs. But, at first, she might have been a bit confused? Why is this person not communicating with me? Perhaps I am reading too much into this. Any thoughts?