Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I am so lucky to have so many interesting experiences.

The other day, I was on the bus.  Someone beside me asked me a question.  The usual question about the dog.  Then she asked if the dog got bored.  I said that I did not think so.  She said, “I suppose you don’t go to very many places.”  I laughed.

Let’s take yesterday as an example.

Yesterday morning, I got up, ate, got ready, then I tweeted about our radio show, facebooked, and met my co-host Shelley and off we went to bus to the university to do our radio show.

At the university, we chatted with our show guest and others.

Then we did the show.

This involves doing every aspect of it.

Controlling microphones, sound levels, selecting and bringing in and playing the music.  I had to audio edit a segment for yesterday.  We have to prepare for interviews and then conduct them.

If we have phone guests, we call them while a song is playing.

It is busy.

After the show, I came home and worked on my presentation for last night and other paperwork.  I’m also creating autobiographical stories for an upcoming show.

Then, last night I was the guest speaker at an event for parents of pre-schoolers who are blind or have low vision.

That was a great night with lots of great questions and answers and lots of interaction with parents.

That was just one day in my very full life.

Does my dog get bored?

I don’t think so.

Now, she is snoring contentedly at my feet, lying in the sun.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Funny interactions with kids.

Yesterday I had a wonderful time at the foundation fighting blindness event in Ottawa.  I gave a workshop “Intro to Idevices and accessibility” and I had a table for our GTT program.  It was fun and I talked to many people.  The volunteers were wonderful.  As I was standing beside my table, a little kid came up with his dad.  They had been playing squash at the rec centre and were leaving.  The kid said that they would like to pat the dog. Don’t know if the kid was a he or she.  So, the dad said that they could not pat the dog because the dog was working.

I explained about Tulia wearing her harness and then said that if I took the harness off, they could give her a pat.

I did this.  The kid patted her, thanked me, and started to walk away.

I heard the kid say to the dad, “I would like to buy that dog."

Very funny indeed.

I told them Tulia was not for sale.

Storytelling today at the Children's festival.

I am excited to present the first half of my one woman show “Flying in the dark” at the children’s storytelling festival in Ottawa today.  Admission is free.  The location is library and archives Canada 295 Wellington street. to find out more go to

If you want to book the show in full or the first half for performances, house concerts, or any other venue, please get in touch with me by e-mail at

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Performing at the Ottawa Storytelling Children's festival on Sunday Nov 10.

I am performing a version of my very popular one woman show “Flying in the dark” for kids at the Ottawa Storytelling children’s festival.  It is an hour of stories, fun, and questions.  For ages 8 and up.  Please come.  Admission is free.  It is at 295 Wellington St. in Ottawa.  Library and Archives Canada building.  My set is from 3:30 to 4:30 but there are many other great sets as well for kids of all ages.  Find out more at

Being a well behaved guide dog has its hazzards.

We were on a plane the other day.

Everyone always asks me, “Can your guide dog travel with you on the plane?  How does that work?"

The answer is yes a guide dog is allowed in the cabin of the plane.  The guide dog lies at your feet on the floor as he or she would in a taxi or other vehicle.

Tulia is a great traveler.  Nothing seems to phase her much.

We were sitting on the plane and she was lying curled up at my feet.

Flight attendants were moving through the cabin telling people to take off head phones, turn off cell phones, store their cabin baggage, etc.

They got to us.  She said, “Excuse me but  you will have to put that bag under the seat in front of you."

I was confused.  I had stowed my purse and my backpack in the overhead bin.

“What bag?”  “The one at your feet.”  Then she looked again.

“Oh my gosh that is your dog.  She is so good and quiet I thought she was a black bag!"

All through the flight she would come by and comment on how good Tulia was.

And no I did not shove her under the seat!

She is small enough though.  She would have fit perhaps.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Final confirmation

Final confirmation

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For Mr.Ivan Jensen
Tel: +447405455838

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Visual art and my interview about a painting of Tulia and me.

Yesterday, I was honoured to accompany the artist and now also my friend Karen Bailey to a human rights art exhibit.  The painting that Karen did of my guide dog Tulia and me was selected for the exhibit.  This is an interview conducted by a woman interviewing all of the artists at the exhibit.  She talked to Karen and I about our picture.


One of the things I love about Karen is that she is good at describing and describes in a very vivid way.  She wants to paint more pictures of us too so stay tuned.


Karen Bailey's web site is

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Performance I am involved in.

Ottawa StoryTellers present
A Case of Red Herrings, a mystery-comedy
It is July 1927. In just a few weeks two members of the Royal family are to
arrive in Ottawa. City officials have decided to produce an entertainment
for the royal visitors. They hire a somewhat questionable director and rent
Haverstock House, a once fine manor that is now in sorry shape because the
owners are broke. In fact, Mr. & Mrs. Kensington, will do almost anything
for money. All nine of the locals who audition for a part in this
entertainment have shady pasts and ulterior motives. They are joined by a
love-smitten genealogist, a good-natured lady of the evening, and assorted
other eccentric characters. If you like Queen Victoria impersonators, a
touch of romance, and a good laugh, then this is for you.
When: October 17,18, & 19
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Where: Billings Estate National Historic Site, 2100 Cabot Street
Tickets: $15 from the museum at 613-247-4830 or at the door. (Advanced
purchase highly recommended as seating is limited.)

More information:, or 613-731-1047 or

Friday, October 4, 2013

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Back to the blog. guide dogs and more.

It has been way too long.  I miss blogging and must get back to it daily.  I love it but also it really gives me great ideas for storytelling tales and also helps me to keep writing.  I love writing.

Two of my friends are getting new guide dogs very soon.

One guide dog died last year and the other one is retiring after many years of faithful service.

So, today, I am grateful for all of my guide dogs.

Getting a new guide dog is such an emotional rollercoaster.

There is of course excitement.  That feeling of christmas day.

But sadness as you miss the old partnerships.

On dog day, (yes we call it dog day) I always remember all previous guides.

It is like they are all there with me.

So there is a sadness.  An anxiety, will this work out?

So many emotions.

My current guide dog (guide dog number 4) is laying here by my feet in the sun, snoring peacefully.

I have grown to love her snoring although at first I thought I would never get used to it.

I hug her and thank her for all she does.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

performing tonight at nuit blanche in Ottawa.

tonight, I am involved in a very interesting project.

Painter Karen Bailey painted 6 storytellers and 1 guide dog.

She is exhibiting all paintings and the storytellers will take turns telling stories in front of the pictures.

I will be on hand between 7 and 9 PM tonight.

 The project is called “Speaking and Still,” am innovative co-presentation by artist Karen Bailey and the Ottawa Storytellers(see and, running from 6:30 p.m Saturday to 2:00 a.m Sunday morning.  

Karen was fascinating for me to work with as we talked a lot about the similarities between our art forms and she described all visual things in words I could understand.

I thank her for that.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Back to school. How things have changed.

How school has changed in just a few short decades for people with disabilities.

I started my school career at Carleton University.

NO I wasn't a genius.  It was a special pre-school for kids with disabilities.  Maybe other kids too.

I went there first when I was three I think.

yesterday, as I moved with my guide dog through the very crowded halls of Carleton, I thought about that.

I was moving through the carleton halls to go and co-host our radio show "Welcome to my world" a show by, for, and about people with disabilities.

I would have thought it was very cool then that I was hosting a radio show.

I always loved the radio, records, radio plays, music, and sound.

When I started school, there were no talking computers, fancy braille displays, smart phones, or tiny recording devices.

books were not available electronically.

I learned to type on a huge typewriter.  I could not proof read my work although the touch typing I still do and am doing right now in fact, is most useful.

I learned to braille on a huge and heavy perkins brailler and although I don't use it often, I use braille on my braille display all of the time.

I used huge tape recorders to have people read books and articles and input music for me.

Now  I use my phone or a tiny recorder that fits in my pocket.

Although things have changed and evolved gratly, still those basic skills I started to learn at CArleton all those years ago, still help me every day.

Knowing how to navigate my environment using sound cues, touch, smell.  Reading and writing braille, touch typing, advocating for myself.  All of these skills are the same and still so very important.

The link to our blog where the radio show link is is

Monday, August 12, 2013

Upcoming storytelling performance at the Gladstone theatre 910 Gladstone ave. Ottawa

Hello friends.

I am delighted to remind you that my full evening one woman show "Flying in the dark" will be taking place at the Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa on thursday August  15 at 7:30 PM.
This show has been performed 4 times now and each time it grows and evolves.
I am excited about some new bits in its second half and am thrilled to be performing it again.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Gladstone Theatre box office on the night of the performance.    In the mean time, I have the tickets myself if you care to buy one or several.
Have you heard it before?  Come again?
Can't come?  Tell your friends and relatives to come?
Want to hear it but can't make the night?
Ask me for a house concert or other performance space and I will be happy to oblige.
This is a very unique show.
See description below.
Hope you can come.
She was born a) blind, b) fiercely independent and c) filled with a love of words and language, curious about her world, experiencing it with all of its sounds, scents, textures, words and characters. You might think being blind is the most difficult part of Kim's life, but it is mostly the attitudes of others and barriers placed in her path by them that pose her greatest challenges. Come and find out what it is like to live and thrive as a woman who weaves words with skill and humour. Come flying in the dark. You won't regret it!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It has been ages since I blogged. I have missed it!

I have missed blogging.  I've been very busy and every day I think of something I would like to blog.  I make a quick note of it but somehow the time flies past and I haven't blogged those ideas.  But I will.  Find below the promo text for my upcoming performance of my one woman show.  It is such an interesting entity.  I keep changing it a little here and there.  Somehow it grows and changes each time I get it ready for another show.  And somehow each time it seems a little more integrated.  HOpe you can come and also spread the word about it.  I plan to be a much more regular blogger.

A guide dog is snoring at my feet as I write this.

I must say, that is a very comforting sound indeed.

Hello friends.

I am delighted to remind you that my full evening one woman show "Flying in the dark" will be taking place at the Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa on thursday August  15 at 7:30 PM.
This show has been performed 4 times now and each time it grows and evolves.
I am excited about some new bits in its second half and am thrilled to be performing it again.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the Gladstone Theatre box office during the last week before the show.  In the mean time, I have the tickets myself if you care to buy one or several.
Have you heard it before?  Come again?
Can't come?  Tell your friends and relatives to come?
Want to hear it but can't make the night?
Ask me for a house concert or other performance space and I will be happy to oblige.
This is a very unique show.
See description below.
Hope you can come.
She was born a) blind, b) fiercely independent and c) filled with a love of words and language, curious about her world, experiencing it with all of its sounds, scents, textures, words and characters. You might think being blind is the most difficult part of Kim's life, but it is mostly the attitudes of others and barriers placed in her path by them that pose her greatest challenges. Come and find out what it is like to live and thrive as a woman who weaves words with skill and humour. Come flying in the dark. You won't regret it!

Monday, July 15, 2013

All about the dog.

Yesterday, we went to run errands.  It is very hot and humid here.  Although my black lab girl loves lying in the sun more than almost anything else besides her food, I left her home in the cool house.  At the mall, I entered a bathroom with my white cane and started saying, "Tulia forward find the sink."  Whoever was in there must have thought I was very odd.  We got to one store and someone said they hoped my dog wasn't sick.  Then we got somewhere else and someone asked where my beautiful dog was.  When we got home, she bounded to the door to meet us.  So thrilled that we were back and gave us a very warm welcome indeed.

The whole rest of the afternoon, she slept right on my feet.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The dog with the gentle soul, loving heart, intelligent brain, and sense of fun!

Last week, I was honoured to be asked to be guest speaker at an annual general meeting for an organization that supports children with disabilities. As I was preparing to enter the building, a little boy approached us. I was just about to put Tulia's harness on. The boy came up to us and asked very nicely if he could pat my dog. I said yes as she was not wearing her working harness. He patted her and then turned to go inside with his mom. She came up to us and told me that he is afraid of dogs and never ever before has asked to pat any dog. Tulia must have given off a special vibe. She is a special dog but then I am biased. So lucky to be the one she shares her life with every day.

Started a work blog.

I have started a blog to put up all work information. It is at Kim's work blog.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thanks so much to the kind person who helped me out the other day.

The other day, I was waiting to cross a street near me that I cross almost every day. This street has a regular traffic light. When you are blind, you listen for traffic patterns. When the cars travel in the same direction you wish to travel, you go forward. Or at least in my case, then I tell my guide dog to go forward. The other day, I could not hear a pattern in the traffic. I stood there for a while listening. Then, a man crossed the street and told me that the lights were on flashing cycle. They were not working. Thanks to him for helping me solve the puzzle in a kindly and straight forward way. He also asked if he could help and how best he could do that. Great that he talked to me like a competent adult and did not try to pet my working dog! Thank you so much whoever you are! Made my day!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Radio Show news.

I've meant to blog about this on both of my blogs for quite some time now. I'm one of 3 co-hosts of a radio show by and for and about people with disabilities. All disabilities. Any disabilities. I am loving this volunteer opportunity and learning a great deal. Thanks to CKCU FM radio in Ottawa Canada 93.1 FM. Our show is called "Welcome to my world" and airs each Tuesday morning from 9:30 to 10 AM. You can find the link below where you can listen on demand. We have an e-mail address and twitter feed too. e-mail is and our twitter feed is @ckcuwtmw ,In the next few days, I plan to write more about how important radio has been and continues to be for me. Stay tuned for that. Here is the link for the radio station. From there, search for "welcome to my world" or tuesday at 9:30 AM. CKCU FM Radio

Have I walked through your photo opps?

This morning, my guide dog and I were moving along a sidewalk. Up ahead, there was commotion. Lots of talking. Walkie talkies and things like that. A man offered to help get me around the chaos. I asked if it was construction. This is construction season after all. But no, they were making a movie. I asked if they would like a very cute and well behaved dog in their movie. He laughed but said no. Poor Tulia! She could have been famous. after moving on, I got to thinking. How many times have I obliviously barged through people's photo opps, wedding pictures, video highlights, etc? If I have inadvertently done this, I am truly sorry. Maybe I should brush Tulia, dress myself up and go back and see if we can be in a movie? But, I've got workto do here and Tulia is sleeping in the sun. So, no movies for us.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I am not your good deed for the day!

I had one of those experiences yesterday that even just a few years ago, I would have just accepted.  Tried to move on and said nothing.  But somehow, I won't do this anymore.  I think part of the reason for this is my creation of my one woman show "Flying in the dark"  That made me stronger and more confident as a woman who is blind.  Also, I feel I need to be a voice for myself and sometimes others who did what I would have done and said nothing.

Yesterday, on my way to teach someone how to use her iPhone, I stopped in a cafe for an iced tea.  I had a few minutes and thought that I would sit down, sip my tea, go over my lesson plan or read a book.

I found the cafe by myself with the assistance of my trusty guide dog.  I entered.  Found the line up.

I got to the counter and ordered.

I also asked if the person could carry my tea for me.  I did request it in a take out cup which turned out to be smart.

As I stood there, a man approached the counter.  He did not talk to me.  He said, "I have a seat for her."

The woman at the counter (bless her) said, "Are you going to sit down?"

"Yes." I said.

"I will take you to my table." he said.  Then proceeded to grab me and push me towards the table.

He shoved me into a chair and said, "I did my good deed for the day."

Just then, the poor server came with my drink.

The man said to the server, "Now you will go to heaven."

What?  Heaven?  For doing your job and delivering a drink to someone.

I almost put my head phones in and sat there.  Then, I thought, "No!  No!  I won't sit at a table with this person!  I won't be quiet!  I won't stay in this situation!"

I leaped to my feet, brandishing my iced tea!

The man said, "You are not staying?"  I said very loudly and clearly so everyone in the vicinity could hear.  "I am not an inanimate object.  I am not your good deed for the day!  ANd, I am not sitting at a table with someone who thinks like you!"

And I marched out of the cafe!  Tea in one hand.  Dog in the other!

So angry but yet so proud!

I was not silent!  I was not making a joke of it!  I said what I needed to say and I left!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

High tech low tech both fascinate the public.

yesterday, two other hosts and I launched a radio show by and for and about people with disabilities. I will blog more about the show soon. I am still absorbing the launch and how it felt. However, I want to say this. We had media coverage from CBC radio and CBC television in Canada. The tv man was in the studio filming us as we did our show. This is community radio so we have to do all aspects of it. Conduct the interviews, play the music, operate the sound board. Everything. I had my iphone in the dock and was running music from it. I turned the speech off and ran it from my braille display so radio audiences don't hear the sound. The journalist was fascinated by this. And then, in the next breath he wanted to make sure he got a photo of the guide dog lying under the desk. What a contrast between two of the things that help me to lead an independent life. My guide dog (low tech in many ways) and my braille display and my phone (high tech) but both so important and essential. Here is the link to go and find our show. Once you get to the site, search for welcome to my world or tuesday at 9:30 AM. CKCU radio

Monday, May 6, 2013

Very exciting book news. Kindle app now accessible for me.

Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I love reading.  I've always been addicted to it.  My earliest memories are of people reading to me.  Their voice muffled behind the book, the squeak of a book cover, the turning of pages, the wonderful book smell.  this being read to was wonderful but not enough.  I wanted to read for myself. Audio books came but they came according to what was available and not always what I wanted to read.  Then, I learned braille.  Very wonderful.  Reading in the dark under the covers and not getting caught.  But bulky and again not too many books (especially new books) available to me.  And then came the scanner and special software.  Sure I could scan a book page by page which took time but was still better than not having that book at all.  Then i devices and ibooks came.  I got a special thrill out of buying a book from their store and reading it in braille with my braille display.  But iobooks does not have as many books as kindle has and kindle has never been accessible.  But now, the kindle app for I devices is totally accessible and now more books than ever are available to me.  I found several storytellers I know with their books on kindle which I shall gladly now buy to support them.  Thanks kindle.  Next step for  you, make the  kindle readers accessible please?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Reveling in my guide dog day walk.

On this dog anniversary day, had to write a second post. Working working on various things at home. But, when you have a dog and the spring has finally arrived, then you need to get out and walk. And so we did that. While out on a walk today, met some very badly behaved (not aggressive) dogs.
First dog was barking and lunging at the leash. Tulia glanced at it but kept going. The man was trying to get the dog moving but having little success.
Tulia found our crossing poles and a garbage can and a door and the coffee shop and mailbox.
Then, on the way home, another yapper coming right at us, barking and jumping. The woman said, "I have a dog here." I smiled and didn't say what I was thinking which was, "Yes I know you do." She said, "It is just a little dog." As it jumped and barked. I said, "Would you mind getting it under control please." "I have trouble doing that," she said. This whole time, Tulia is seated calmly beside me. She says, "YOur dog is better behaved than mine." Jump jump bark bark. "Perhaps," I said, "YOu could pick it up and carry it away." "Good idea." Like she had never thought of it. She did that. Away they went, barking and bouncing. Once they were gone, Tulia banged my leg with her head. Yes, I know, you are so civilized and good Tulia.
Home we went without further mishap.

Guide dog anniversary

Time sure flies. It was on this day in 1992 that I met my very first guide dog. Female black lab Gwenny. She was reserved and not sure about me. She whined a little and pined for her trainers. But, being a lab, once I fed her, she was more comfortable with me. Our first walk was scary. For me anyway. Fast and wild and I did not know whether to trust her. I've only had a few weeks of guide dogless travel since and really would never be without a guide again if I can help it. For as long as I can hold a harness I hope to have a furry friend by my side. Not just for the guiding. The guiding is great. For the team work. For the partnership. For the being beside you through everything. For the laughter. for the times when the dog gets you to play or cheers me up when I am sad. For those times when they have saved my life. And each one has at least once. For the sound of a dog's peaceful breathing while asleep. For the smiles they bring to others. For the stories they let me tell. I have had the pleasure of working with 4 wonderful guide dogs. At the moment, my second black lab is here. Lying on her bean bag. Snoring lustily. But it is of Gwenny I think today. She started me on ,this path andwhat a path it is. Love you Gwenny dog! And all of the others too. And love all of you who have given of your time and talents to help to create and train my wonderful guides. You know who you are. Thank you!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Belated happy international guide dog day.

I had a busy day yesterday. Out with my guide dog. She guided me across streets. She found a garbage can, an audible crossing pole, a bus stop, our house, two buildings, a chair, a bus seat, a counter, a table. She lay quietly beside me in a coffee shop while I worked. She lay beside me in a meeting. She was and is a part of my day. She played at home with her green rubber bone which once smelled like mint but now just smells like dog. She ate, she lay on her back tail wagging while I patted her stomach. She was there for me. Making me smile. Helping me move through the world. On Monday it will be my 21st anniversary with guide dogs. Really? Where does the time go? Tulia is my fourth. Happy happy international guide dog day and thanks to guide dogs for the blind (see link below) for training all of my wonderful guides. And thanks to the raisers who raise them. The trainers who trained them and matched them with me. And to Gwenny, Margaret, Gia, and Tulia for all that you are and for walking this path with me. Guide dogs for the blind Inc.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The ordinary to me is fascinating to others

I use a braille display paired with my phone. I can also use the device as a notetaker. It has a display on the bottom with little pins that pop up and down when I write or when I read and change lines. In a meeting this morning, someone asked about it and was fascinated. This happened a couple of weeks ago too and happens every time I use it. To me, it is a normal device like you might pull out a pen and paper. To others, it is fascinating. I always stop and think when someone finds something I do extraordinary. Because these things are so normal to me. Yes I listen to speech on my phone at 100 percent speed. Crazy I know! Yes I walk with a guide dog. Yes I have a braille display. Yes I have cool apps like light detector, colour identifyer, bar code reader ETC. To me they become part of my life. I am glad to share them with others so that they know that blind people can do everything sighted people can do if they have the right technology and resources and support.

Friday, April 19, 2013

blind people in chaos

A friend of mine who happens to be blind was running the Boston Marathon this week when the explosions took place. He is fine. He did not finish because of the bombs. He was worried about his guide dog who was waiting at the finish line. But, all were okay. It got me thinking. Thinking about being blind and in a chaotic situation. Like in a fire, or bombs going off, or flood or tornado. If your landmarks are moved. If things around you change. If everything is noisy it is more difficult to navigate the world around you. However, at times it might be an advantage too being blind in these situations. If it is dark and hard to see for example.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Even at the dentists, my dentists, the dog gets more attention!

This morning, my guide dog and I went to my dentists for my regular cleaning. My dog first tried to turn down a street instead of going straight. I made her go back the way I wanted only to find that the sidewalk was blocked and there was major construction. Should have listened to her. She found the medical building. Have not been there in 6 months. She found the elevator. She found the dental office. She found me a chair. We went into the back to get my teeth done. So then, my hygienist asked if she could pat Tulia. The receptionist too. They are dog people. I took her harness off and they came and patted her and she rolled about. But, what did the dental people say and do? Oh yes they patted her belly ETC but then looked at her mouth. Commented on her perfect front teeth that I brush and her under bite. Smile! After a time, I asked if they might get back to cleaning my teeth! That Tulia is so darn cute! And smart! After we left there, she found a coffee shop. thenot, I had to go and teach someone to use their IPHONE. She found the building, the office and everything. She's home now lying at my feet snoring contentedly. She brightens all my days and those of others around me too.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Heard a cardinal today. That sound always makes me happy.

As I took my dog out this morning first thing, I heard a cardinal outside. I love that sound. It is so happy and makes me feel totally happy too. In the night, I also heard rain falling. I do like to hear that especially when I am lying in bed and don't have to go outside. When it snows in the night, you can't hear it falling unless it is blowing and hits the window. But if it is fluffy snow, it doesn't sound even when it hits the window. It has to be that sharp frozen snow to hear that tick tick sound. So the sound of rain and cardinals makes it finally feel like spring.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Three well behaved dogs in a meeting

I had a meeting with two other blind women in a coffee shop yesterday.  Each of us has a guide dog.  Two black labs and one yellow lab.  We were looking at various braille displays and helping each other with technology.  I first want to publicly thank the coffee shop staff who carried hot beverages, moved one chair so there was more room for dogs, put two tables together for us, and generally were great and respectful.  Then, there were the dogs.  They all wagged a little at sight of each other.  But, then they all lay down and relaxed and caused no disturbances.  When we left the shop, they all guided to the door and when we all set off after, they worked like pros.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Painting of Tulia and I.

There is a wonderful painter who lives in my city.

She has painted some famous people including one of our previous governor generals, medical staff helping civilians during the war in Afghanistan, and much more.

Find out about her at her web site at

It was fascinating sitting for her as she tried to describe all of the visual aspects of painting in terms that I would understand.  It was so great.

she is going to do another painting of me too I think.

In the fall for Ottawa's Nuit Blanche the storytellers she is painting are going to stand in front of our pictures and tell stories.

Here is a photo of the painting she did of us.


Find out more at 

Kim tulia womenatwork2 72dpi sm crop

Where does your guide dog live?

Met a very odd person today.  She said my dog was cute and asked if she could pat her.  I said no as she was working and when her harness was on she was working.  I thought that was clear but she started making those cutesy cutesy sounds and calling Tulia.  Tulia wagged but when I told her to stay, she did.  Then the woman kept asking when she could pat the dog and why she could not pat the dog.  I explained several times.  Then she asked where the dog lived?  To me an odd question.  Where would she think the dog might live?  In a kennel where I went and got her for work every day and left her at night?  With someone else because a blind person could not possibly take care of a dog?  Or some other explanation?  Like to give the benefit of the doubt but…. Very odd.  Tulia was a good and dignified girl through the whole thing. 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The guide dog memory.

Yesterday, my guide dog and I were looking for a bus stop we have not used often and maybe only been to once. I knew it's possible location. But, not exactly where. I knew it was either in one block or the next. I thought the first block but I wasn't totally sure. But my guide dog stopped and sat down. I let her do it while I waited and listened for someone to ask. Because it was the hkliday weekend, and it was cold and fairly early in the day, no one seemed to be out walking. I listened and then my heart sank because I heard a bus approaching. Since buses were on holiday schedule, I knew that if I missed that one, I would have to wait a while in the cold. But, the bus pulled up and stopped beside us. I asked if I was standing at the bus stop. The driver seemed a bit surprised when he said, "Yes you are." My dog knew exactly where we were. Smart girl.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Training in public. Reasons why it is good!

Today, I was doing some training helping someone who is blind to learn more about her IPHONE. We did this in a coffee shop. Sometimes I am not sure whether or not this is the right environment to do this in. After all, it can be noisy and we need to hear the screen reader on our phones (in this case voiceover). But after today, I thought how good it is too. The other person had left for a meeting and I was getting ready to go too and walk home in the freezing cold wind with my guide dog. Someone beside me said, "Excuse me. I couldn't help but watch you with your phone. Do you have special software put on it?" I explained that Apple has made Idevices and macs accessible right out of the box. the man was so glad to hear it. A family member of his is losing vision and loves her iphone. I explained how to get voiceover or zoom (large print software) running. he thanked me so much!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Crazy things you do!

The other day, I had a meeting in a nearby coffee shop. After much talking, wrestling with technology, and consuming of hot liquids, I went to find the bathroom. I knew where it was and my guide dog did too. i put out my hand to touch the wall across from the bathroom and felt some round shapes that were rough. I thought they were travel coffee cups and that it was some sort of art installation. I went to the bathroom and when I came back to our table, I asked the 2 sighted folks meeting with me what the art was on the wall across from the bathroom. There was a silence. They said they had not noticed any art. One got up to look. She came back saying there was no art on the wall. I got up and went to show her. Found the wall, found the round scratchy things. They were rubber mats rolled up the ones you use in winter to keep salt and water off the coffee shop floor. That was all it was. No art at all. This is the funniest thing that I have done in weeks! I am still laughing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Walking in shoes for the first time outside in ages.

I thought spring might be approaching yesterday. For the first time in what feels like ages, went out in shoes yesterday. Tulia (my guide dog) did not have to wear her boots either which made her happy. I realized as I walked, that I can feel so much more through shoes than I can through boots. the sidewalk cracks and dips, driveway slopes, changes in surfaces. How wonderful it was to not have heavy boots on. But now they are saying a big dump of snow for today and tonight so human and dog boots come out again! But hopefully spring really is just around the corner.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Upcoming Storytelling performance at the carlingwood library in Ottawa.

I am storytelling this friday March 1 at the Carlingwood library.  in Ottawa from 2 to 3 PM.  Address is 281 Woodroff.

I will be telling stories for adults.  Autobiographical stories filled with interesting twists, insights, and humour.  It is free to attend.  The space holds about 40 people.  They would prefer you to register.  In order to register, you need a valid Ottawa library card which is free.  Here is the registration link.


If this doesn't work for you and you want to come, let me know.  My lovely guide dog Tulia will be there too of course!

Changes to the Electronic Access Agreement - Please Review

Changes to the Electronic Access Agreement - Please Review / Important Notice

Changes to the Electronic Access Agreement - Please Review

We have recently updated the Electronic Access Agreement which governs your
use of RBC Royal Bank Online Banking. The changes come into effect on February 25,
2013. By signing in to RBC Royal Bank Online Banking before February 25, 2013,
you are agreeing to the revised terms and conditions of the Electronic
Access Agreement.

To review the Summary of Changes to the Electronic Access Agreement,
click the "Sign In" link below:

Sign In to Online Banking

Monday, February 25, 2013

Apps and products I use regularly.

I'm going to start a series of blog posts about apps, resources, technologies, I use as a blind person regularly. If anyone has suggestions or wishes to write a guest post, contact me at and I will take submissions. In the next post, I will feature blog booster which I am using to write this post.

Not in the dark.

I was trying to describe to one of my blog readers yesterday about what I see. In one eye, I see light and dark and shadows if they are within maybe a foot of my eye. In the other I see nothing. People say, "Does it look like dark?" No, it is just nothing. Not a scary nothing. But nothing. They asked if it was emptiness. Well, maybe. But the thing is that I am focusing on my other senses so even dark does not feel dark. When I walk around the house at night in the dark, I hear the furnace, the floor creeking, sounds from outside. I feel the carpet or the floor under my feet. I smell whatever scents are about. And I can touch everything I would touch in the daytime and know what it is. So it doesn't feel dark in a bad way as my world is full of the other senses. Hope this description makes sense. Thanks to all for your questions and reading of this blog. Another new parent of a blind child has found it. Welcome! Glad I have made you feel more positive about blindness. an aspiring song-writer is now here too. People working on school projects. Friends, family, and others. Glad to have you all here.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My mom and I tenacious to the core!

My mom has recently broken her dominant arm.  I have spent a lot of time with her trying to help out with tasks.  I've learned something!  She is stubborn, tenacious and wants to keep going no matter what!  And, so am I.  I'm blind!  Totally blind!  No problem!  Find a way to keep going!  Do what I need to do.  That is how my mom is with her arm too.  She passed those traits on to me and they have really assisted me and assist me every day.  When faced with a new task, a challenging new thing, people who don't think I can do things, I just keep trying, finding ways to adapt things, advocating for myself, explaining to others.  I learned all of this from her.  And now, she is finding ways to adapt to her temporary one armed status.  Doing what she can, asking others to assist when she needs it, moving forward with no self pity and no excuses.  Thanks mom!  We sure are a stubborn pair!  And both of my grans were stubborn ladies too!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reading the newspaper.

I've always liked keeping up with the latest news. I like to know what is going on in the world. up until the last few years, I listened to radio and sometimes tv news but could not read news articles too easily. Someone would have to read them to me. I would have to ask them to read an article and would not necessary know which articles were available to me. But, now with my I device, internet, and braille display, I can read articles from all over with ease. I can pick what to read, I can read using synthetic speech or braille, and I can read it now or later. It has really increased my freedom of information which is very important to me.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Only by teaching do I realize how much I know.

I was helping someone learn to use her Iphone yesterday. I was teaching how to text message, set the phone into portrait mode' and some tricks about using voiceover which is the software that makes all things apple accessible for blind people. As we worked, I started to realize how much I have learned myself about this. How much I know. How far I have progressed since I first touched that flat smooth screen and thought there was no way for me to use it. So so glad to teach and learn about accessibility!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

How do you dream?

I may have blogged about this before but it came up again this morning so thought I would do so again. How does a blind person dream? I was amazed one day when my brother talked about a dream he had. In his dream, he was watching himself like in a film. I was shocked. "You dream like that?" "Sometimes. How do you dream?" So, I thought about it. In my dreams, I can hear people talking and know them by their voices if they are familiar to me. I also can hear sounds around me that let me know where I am and what is there. I also touch things as I would in my every day life. Sometimes one of my guide dogs past or present is guiding me. Sometimes I am moving around by myself. Sometimes I can fly. I am up in the air. Moving along. Hearing things. Feeling the sun on me. I do not smell or taste as often in my dreams. Sometimes, I know where I am in a dream for no reason except that I "k it. I think that happens to sighted people too. If anyone has questions, send them along to

Monday, February 4, 2013

Are you blind?

On the phone the other day, I had an interesting conversation with a sales representative. At the end of the discussion, I had to explain that I was blind and could not see the picture on my computer screen. There was a silence. "you're blind." "Yes." "Half blind?" "No. Really blind." "Fully blind?" "Yes." "All the way blind?" "Yes." "Oh." So I got to wondering, does half blind mean blind in one eye or blind in both eyes half way. She finally finished asking how blind I was. smile! She was nice and not condescending but seemed totally perplexed by my blindness.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Everyone is talking about the blackberry. But is it accessible?

Everyone is talking about RIM and the launch of the new blackberry's and blackberry operating system today. Being Canadian, I do always feel proud when Canadian companies succeed. But, no where have I read anything about accessibility of the new blackberries. For a while now, people who are blind have begun to have more accessibility with smartphones and touch screen devices. Apple's iphone, ipads, ipods of all kinds are totally accessible to me right out of the box. android accessibility keeps improving with its now jelly bean operating system being very accessible I am told. However, I have heard or read nothing from RIM. Does anyone know about the accessibility of their new products? I hope they jump on the accessibility band wagon.

Monday, January 28, 2013

So many choices for typing on my touch screen.

Coming up this week, there will be a new app called "braille touch" which will allow me to type in braille on my I device's touch screen. It is hard to believe that not so many years ago, I did not even imagine how I would even use a touch screen as someone who is totally blind. When I first tried it, I was confused. I'm so used to a keyboard. I learned to touch type at a very young age but felt I needed the physical keys to type. i have gotten faster with typing on screen. Then there was an app called type in braille which I still use sometimes. It lets you type in braille on screen but is a little complicated in how you have to do it. Next came an app called fleksy which allows you to type where you think the letters may be and it predicts words for you. It does a pretty good job really. Next, I tried apple's dictate feature which works really quite well. I also use a refreshable braille display to type and read. I am using it right now. I can read everything on my phone's screen in braille and type in braille too. So, will I try Braille Touch? Probably. I'm just amazed at how quickly things have changed.