Yesterday, the Colorado Center for the Blind walked a beautiful bike path to the Hudson Gardens. It was a gorgeous day. The agenda was to tour the gardens, have lunch and then participate in a basic self-defense class. One may wonder how we managed to stay together on a bike path. Well, I would be lying if I said we never get separated. But often, what we’ll do is if someone gets ahead, they will wait at a turning point and verbally direct people to turn left or right. we also are informed if we should be walking on sidewalk, gravel, dirt, etc. The bike path we walked yesterday changed frequently as far as what it consisted of. If you ever walk a bike path with a friend, put a blindfold on and pay attention the your other senses. Feel the path change from sidewalk to gravel beneath your feet. Smell the air and feel the sun on your skin. Listen to the group of birds chirping in the trees. Beautiful things like nature and the outdoors truly demonstrate that blindness is not a tragedy. It’s just a characteristic. You can still enjoy life without sight. You can still smell the flowers and feel a nice breeze on a spring day. You can still go to the beach and smell the salty air combined with the food on the board walk. You can still enjoy the sensation of sand between your toes. If blindness was really a tragedy, I wouldn’t be able to say what I’ve said with confidence.
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.
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.
Colorado is amazing. This past week has been ranging between 60 and 70 degrees. The sun has been shining and the breeze has been light and refreshing. This morning I stepped outside to take out the trash, and what did I find? It was snowing and still is. Dishon is on the plane home from the Oklahoma NFB convention. What a way to come home. My best friend Katie has been staying at our house this past weekend which has been awesome. We rarely see each other as she lives in Wisconsin. So it was nice to have company while my hubby was away. She even brought her guide dog. While we didn’t paint the town red, I cooked my famous chicken alfredo and we simply enjoyed spending time together. Last night, my sister brought her two children over and we enjoyed Subway and sat outside before the sun went down and the sky became grey foreshadowing the coming snow. So at least she was able to enjoy nice weather for a majority of her visit.
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. Sorry it has been so long. This is just a little update on what we have been doing. Enjoy.
My apologies for the lack of updates lately. It’s just been so busy. Dishon and I are currently in Southern Maryland staying with my aunt Tori. Tonight we are having a New Year’s 80’s party. Yesterday we visited the Baltimore Aquarium with my aunt Dana and uncle William. One might wonder what we could possibly get out of a place like that. In our case, we have enough sight to appreciate the sea life with the appropriate lighting. Some of the tanks were very well lit and we saw everything from sharks to jelly fish. The jelly fish were especially easy to see due to their bold and bright colors. We also saw some dolphins. I tried my best to catch some video of them swimming with the camera that Dishon got me for my birthday. Once I can figure out the best way to upload videos from the camera to the internet, I will be sharing some with you all. Tomorrow, New Year’s Day, we will head north to visit my sister, father, and a few nephews and nieces. We fly home early on Saturday morning. I have and will continue to enjoy my family, but as they say, there’s no place like home.
Like any married couple who try to see their family as often as possible, Dishon and I are traveling for the Christmas Holiday. We are currently in Louisiana visiting his side of the family. We landed in New Orleans on Saturday at around 3 in the afternoon. What a difference in weather. When we boarded the plane, it was 15 degrees outside. When we landed in New Orleans, it was 78 degrees, rainy and humid. It still gets cool at night. Dishon gets his love for cooking from his father who has already started cooking Christmas dinner. This Saturday, we leave for Maryland to visit my side of the family. Not sure what that week will bring, but there’s nothing wrong with things happening spontaneously. I hope everyone is having a great holiday wherever you are and however you celebrate. Stay safe and warm.