Today has been a nice day. I went shopping with one of my close friends at a local shopping mall. A lot of people wonder how blind people navigate malls. There are several approaches one can take. It also depends on whether or not you have specific stores in mind. If you have a specific store in mind, one approach would be to walk into a store and ask which store it is. If it’s the store you were looking for, great. If not, ask for directions to the store where you want to shop. Sometimes, different stores have different scents. I can almost always point out Bath and Body Works as well as certain candle shops. Once you’re in the store you were looking for, ask for a shopper’s assistant. Some stores are better with that than others. Today, my friend and I went into a dress store and no one there was very helpful. The lady behind the counter wouldn’t come around because of my friend’s dog. If you need to go up or downstairs, escalators are easy to hear. Whichever way you need to go, it will always be the one on your right if they’re right next to each other. If not, you can place your hand on the side and feel which way it’s going. The biggest pain in the neck when it comes to malls is navigating the parking lot. They’re huge and it’s hard to know if you’re following the right row of cars. It’s not impossible, it’s just always ben a component of travel that messes me up. Regardless, we had a great time and neither of us left empty handed. It’s never fun shopping for several hours and finding nothing.
One thing Dishon and I have been doing together lately is watching a show entitled “Growing Up Fisher.” It’s a family show narrated from the perspective of a man telling his family’s story starting from age 11. The parents are divorced and he has an older sister. So what’s the difference between this family show and others on television? The boy’s father is blind. The blind community often gets upset when television tries to interpret blindness and add it to a character. Silly? In some cases. In my view, blind jokes are ok if they don’t give the audience the impression that the blind are dirty or incompetent. So far, this show doesn’t do that at all. The father’s character is a lawyer. He has his own place, helps take care of the kids and is funny. Blind comments or jokes that are made are comments that are often said by blind people who are comfortable being blind. More importantly, if you can’t laugh at yourself once in awhile, you will more than likely be unhappy in the long run. I highly recommend that you check out this show if you haven’t already. If you have NBC and/or On Demand of some sort, you should be able to find it. Let me know what you think of it. I’m off to watch the latest episode.
As regular followers know, I want a baby very badly. I’ve wanted kids since I was a kid. Regular followers also know that the hold up is money. I either need to find a supplement from home or work just to pay for day care. Getting to the point, my husband is the President of the Colorado Association of Guide Dog Users (COAGDU). The other day, he and I worked with a group of friends to put packets together for an upcoming guide dog seminar. It got me thinking about getting a guide dog of my own. I’ve always considered the possibility, but I wasn’t sure why it came to mind then. At first, I thought it was simply because we were looking at so much material related to guide dogs. But then it hit me; I thought it might take my mind off of babies. Anyone who follows my blog and knows about guide dogs will know that that is the wrong reason to get one. Others have said, why not get another pet? Well, our landlord doesn’t allow pets. Yes, I have Randall, Dishon’s guide dog, but he will always be his dog primarily. So at this point, all I can do is give him love, keep job hunting, and know that things happen the way they’re supposed to.
As a Christian woman, I do believe in the power of prayer. I pray a lot for family, friends, victims of disasters, families in mourning, etc. But I also believe that prayer is not something you should force upon someone. A few weeks ago, I was returning from the Missouri NFB Convention. It was myself, four colleagues and one of our students. We drove to and from. This particular part of the trip home occurred in Kansas. We had stopped for lunch at a restaurant known as Freddy’s. They have amazing custard. Anyway, We were enjoying our food and a man came to our table. He remarked that he was a Christian, believed in miracles and wanted to pray for us. One of my colleagues responded by politely saying that we were perfectly happy being blind and did not need a miracle. The man’s response was that he did not believe that and he still wanted to pray for us. My colleague, still being polite, said that she would rather he not do that. He left the table very upset. It’s such a touchy subject. People will debate that he meant well. And for all we know, he knows another blind person who is not happy being blind. Not every blind person is happy being blind, just like not every married couple is happy being married. There are people who are unhappy even in their own race. But not everyone is the same. To me, if someone is looking for prayer, that’s a different story. Had this man chosen to pray for us in his own time, that’s between him and God. Was I as upset about what happened as some others? No. But the point I’m making with this post is that blindness doesn’t have to be a tragedy and lots of people still think that it is.
I always thought that Craigslist would be such a pain to use. I also thought it cost a lot to post ads. It turns out it’s not only easy to use, but it doesn’t cost unless you are posting jobs or travel and vacation. I decided to post a few ads over the weekend. For those who have thought about doing so, it’s easy with both a computer and the smart phone app. It’s blind friendly, as well. The only part of the app that is iffy in the area of blindness is the menus at the bottom of the screen. When you run your finger over them while using voice over, all it will say is “button.” But once you click, you will know what they are. Since there are only five, it’s easy to remember which one’s which. Anyway, I have placed three ads thus far. Two were related to teaching and proofreading Braille and the other related to Avon. If anyone has thought about using Craigslist, I would highly recommend it. Be careful when doing so. As always, there are people ready to take without fulfilling their end of the deal. I have not yet run into that, but I am not going into it blindly, for lack of a better word.
It’s so easy to wait for someone else to do the work for you or stand behind you while you attempt to do it. As stated in other posts, I sell Avon outside of my full-time job. I’ve been having a lot of fun trying their different products and have sold some to a few friends and coworkers. I’ve had some trouble branching out further than that. So tonight, I got to thinking. Am I going to make a living out of this? Do I have what it takes? For one, I don’t like pushing people. If someone doesn’t want to buy something, they don’t have to. I also have difficulty with people who are rude. If you’re selling anything, you will run into rude people. Getting to the point, it was a beautiful evening in Littleton and Dishon had gone to the gym. One of the ladies who has been coaching me was planning to walk around my neighborhood with me to help my business grow. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened, yet. So I thought, why not try it on my own? I decided to start with the nearest houses. A few weren’t home and a few weren’t interested. One man who answered the door did take a catalog and a sample from me, but who knows what that will bring. My next door neighbor made my evening. She was so excited to look at a catalog and take a sample of a new perfume. While less people were interested than I’d hoped, I’m further along than I was. Even if this isn’t what I end up doing for a living, Avon has great products and I will enjoy using them. But I’m proud of myself today. As the Colorado Center for the Blind puts it, I took charge with confidence. If I can do that a little more each day, who knows what may end up coming my way. <!–
Yesterday was Dishon’s birthday. His main wish was to go bowling. So I reserved a couple of lanes at a local bowling alley and invited some of our friends to join us. We got a little turned around on the way, but we eventually found it and bowled for a couple of hours. How do blind people bowl? In my case, I didn’t keep track of my score. If you knock pins down, you can hear them fall. As far as our group was concerned, we all agreed to use bumpers. Not everyone uses them, but we all know what gutter balls sound like. It’s not the most appealing sound. For those who want to know their score, if they don’t have enough sight to see the screen, they can go to the front counter and ask as long as they know what lane number they had. After bowling, we went to dinner at a nice restaurant known as Ted’s Montana Grill. If you like steak, particularly bison, that’s one place I highly recommend. It’s not cheap, but it’s money well spent. Dishon was happy and that’s the most important thing. Initially, I was going to throw him a surprise party at our house. But he wanted to bowl so badly, I didn’t want him to be disappointed. So I coordinated and made it work. Some people went bowling, some people went to dinner. A majority of the group did both. It was great.
The state you live in will immediately determine how much people will panic about snow. Take Maryland for instance: I spent most of my life there, so I know full well that the amount of snow they have been getting there lately is out of the norm. Even an inch of snow sends people running to the store for all of the essentials. Then go to Colorado. There’s a drastic difference between the two states. We were expecting snow tonight. It still hasn’t showed up. Regardless, Dishon and I still went to IHOP for National Pancake Day. We could have easily been caught in the snow. But that said, ask yourselves the following question: how often are weather predictions correct in any state? Why wait until you’re expecting snow to run to the store? Make it a regular weekly ritual to get essentials. For us, buying in bulk is a pain because of our location. So we often do smaller shops. But here again, another difference between Colorado and Maryland is how many businesses are closed. Unless there are several feet of snow on the ground, we are getting on the bus and going to work. In Maryland, everything closes. My sister, as a matter of fact, was commenting over the phone recently about how many snow days her four children have had. Snow days are rare here in Littleton. But anyway, those are my thoughts of the day.
While we teach our students each day that they should take advantage of public transportation, there are times when taking a cab is necessary. As a woman, walking alone late at night when the buses have stopped running is not advisable.Unfortunately, on weekends, buses stop running sooner. You would think they would run later on Saturday nights, but that’s not always the case. Some stop running as early as 8:00 p.m. People who do not drive–blind or sighted–have a right to stay out as long as they want. So what do you do? Unless you have a buddy who drives and only wants a little bit of gas money or something to eat, odds are you’re taking a cab. Be careful with cab drivers. If you find one that you really like, get their business card. There are cab drivers that will take the longest route possible and the meter keeps on running. I had a cab driver who stopped for gas and left the meter running. He also failed to tell me that there was a $15 fee to get in the cab. Then, like I warned you about, he took the longest route possible and didn’t listen to my sister when he talked to her on the phone for directions. My cab bill ended up being $70. OUTRAGEOUS! I was only prepared to pay $45. At that time, I was living in the middle of nowhere. So if I wanted to get to my sister’s house, I had to take a cab. Another good reason to take a cab is if you go grocery shopping. Getting groceries on the bus is doable, but a shop for the whole month can be a pain. There are also emergency situations where cabs are a good thing. Here’s the issue: cabs do not always show up right away. If you’re a woman in labor, but not too far along, that’s not so bad until contractions get really close together. But enough ranting for now. Be careful with cabs if you need to use them.
Hello everyone. I hope everybody had a nice Valentine’s Day. I know I have been bad about keeping my blog updated, but this week has been crazy. I was not only working on my plans for my first Avon party, but I also had to prepare for the monthly chapter meeting of the National Federation of the Blind of Denver. I am currently the secretary for the Denver chapter board. That means I have to take notes during each meeting and read the notes from the previous meeting. Since it was my first time reading notes, I was nervous. It went really well. At the Avon party, I had several different samples of fragrances and gave away four door prizes: two for men and two for women. It was a lot of fun, but being my first party, I have a lot to learn. But as they say, every experience you have in your life can be a learning experience.