Due to attacks from dogs off leash and my being ill, I am now breaking in my fourth guide dog. She has been with me since December 17th, which happens to be the week of the first of many big snow storms. I have ice phobia so we stayed home a lot! Now that the weather is supposed to be better, I asked my guide dog trainer to come for a home visit to regain our confidence. Well, he walked in the door and the first thing he said, “She’s gained 10 pounds at least.”Read More
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Last week I referred to putting a beer in my son’s lunch . I have received many inquiries about that so here is the real story. That son is now 24 years old, so it has stood the test of time. My husband and I enjoy good beer which means it is never in a can. The grandparents were in town taking care of the boys while we went away for a few days and they brought there own beverages. We also never had canned sodas in our house, so having cans in my refrigerator was very unusual. Grandparents can get away with such things, so there you have it—cans in my refrigerator. My son was all excited about the Lemonade in the cans. What I did not know was that somehow beer cans got in there too. I suppose Grampa bought some beer in cans.Read More
I am going to tell you part of my plan for being blind, going blind, and fully embracing life as it is. I was actually accused of being a "Pollyanna" by my older sister who was also blind. She would always say to me, “Now Mary Ellen, you are just not being realistic to think that you can keep doing that.” She might be referring to continuing to wear mascara as my vision diminished, or continuing to cook for my family. It used to infuriate me because I had no intention of ever stopping anything I wanted to doRead More
My first iPhone arrived in 2012 while I was at guide dog school receiving my third guide. I had no idea how to work with either of them and I became quite frustrated. I was pretty stressed out because I was trying to learn how to work with my new dog and I could not even answer my phone. Fortunately, several students had iPhones and they took pity on me. They would call me over and over again so I could practice 2 finger double tapping to answer. I was so relieved to at least be able to answer and make a call. After a few days of having my phone, I began to notice all the cool things the other students were doing and I started pestering them to show meRead More
Traveling Blind Last month I was determined to go into the city without a sighted companion. I boarded the train with my cane in hand. Along the way I gathered more blind people going to the same meeting I was attending. By the end, we had a herd of blind people,3 with dogs and 3 with canes. I had never experienced anything like this before and my anxiety was high. The tradition of the group was to go to the coffee place across the street before the meeting, so off we went. I held on to a man who was amazing with his cane and I trusted him to keep me relatively safe. Blind people traveling on a busy city sidewalk is truly an adventure which requires bravery and deep concentration. There is a constant chatter between everyone so that we mark our progress to the goal. Well, when we got to where the coffee place was, it wasn't there anymore and the terrane had changed. The people with dogs were commanding the dogs to find the door which wasn't there and the cane users were tapping all the walls to find the door. I decided to stand back to see how this would unfold. All the while, the voices in my head were having a party amongst themselves. Part of me was horrified to be part of such a scene and part of me thought it was hysterically funny. It could have been a comedy or a mediocre reality show. I had to decide for myself in that moment which scene I was participating in and whether or not I cared what anybody looking on thought. It all came down to the frame of reference I chose for myself. I chose to laugh while I was in this crazy movie and cry when I got home. Laughter helped me to enjoy the experience and crying helped my nerves to settle after I was safe at home.
Laughing at the voices in my head and in the face of reality usually keeps me moving forward.
Blindness as Spiritual Path I have been a seeker of what is real all of my conscious life. I do not remember a time when questions have not reigned all powerful in my mind. Questions such as, “Why do we sing the same songs in church and say the same prayers every Sunday?” or “Do these people really believe or even know what they are saying?” The questions were so plentiful that my listening ability was obscured by the noise. As I grew older, the questions became more inspired such as, “Can I choose to be content and peaceful?” or “Is it possible to accept my loss of vision as a desirable gift. I have recently chosen to listen sometime instead of always questioning. I am now pretty sure that the answer to the last question is, Yes! I can see blindness as a cherished gift to be opened over and over again throughout my life. This gift is exquisitely beautiful with textures, smells, sounds, new ideas, and best of all, enlightenment of the highest order. It is mine if I choose it. The possibilities are infinite!
Now, the logical question is, “If blindness is a gift, how does it manifest?” Well, this is where true listening is absolutely required in order to hear the secrets that dwell within the core of the gift. Actually, I think they are not “secrets” but very loud exclamations of truth. The trick is we have to decide to hear them and decide to heed them. Life is a sequence of choices that we make in every moment. We choose the perspective from which we create our life. I have chosen to regard blindness as a spiritual path, one of many ways to explore the essence of my being. Being blind is an incredibly rich perspective from which one can gain true understanding at the highest and deepest level. All that is required of me is to perceive blindness as a gift for it to be one. Sounds simple doesn’t it?
It is almost 9 years ago since I wrote the words above. I still like them but in these8 years, my parents have died and my breasts have been removed. My vision has diminished greatly. Sometimes those words feel like pure bullshit! Tonight though, on December 31,2013, I still know blindness is a gift if I decide that it is and tonight, I do.
What Blind People Want…? Today I decided to bravely venture into the world of internet shopping. I know this is possible if not quick and easy.
What I want is a clutter free, add free, straight forward website. This website would only have items tested or designed by blind people.
Will you tell me what are your favorite things? What makes your life easier?
I am looking for:
1. A backpack with easy to access pockets for my phone, wallet, and cane.
2. A light, airport friendly guide dog harness.
3. pouches to hook onto the harness that are big enough for a phone, relief bags,and even a small wallet.
Let me know what you want or share what you have found. Maybe we can create something together.
My shopping adventure left me with all my money still in my pocket.