Monday, July 30, 2012

Very concerned about the interview about blind people regaining sight.

I am writing with great concern with regards to your interview
tonight with the eye doctor and regaining sight for blind people.
Let me start by saying that I love your program and listen to it
faithfully through your podcast. But, what I heard tonight, made
me furious and outraged. I truly believe that the view that both
your host and the doctor expressed about blind people, is a very
negative and harmful one. I am one of those kids who has been
blind since birth. I see only a tiny bit of light in one eye.
My parents were told to treat me like a normal kid and not to
pray for a miracle. I grew up doing what other kids did. I was
encouraged to do anything and everything everyone else did. I
played sports and music and without my blindness would never have
had the wonderful experience of being a paralympian. I live a
normal active life. I have never pined away for my vision. Not
seeing is normal and natural. I just got on with life. I'm not
heroic or pathetic or saintly. I am blind. I was born blind. I
learned to read and write braille, then type, then computers and
braille displays. I use I devices, computers, and have a guide
dog. I travel independently. I work. I participate in sports.
I play music. I am a storyteller. I attend concerts, movies and
other performances. I have many friends and an active social
life. I volunteer assisting others. My life is not dull. I can
run down the stairs. Your doctor said that a blind person could
not do this. He also described his clinic as a sad and gloomy
place. This is not what blindness is to me and I do resent it's
portrayal in this manner. Blindness is a part of who I am. It
is fun, interesting, infuriating, fascinating, frustrating,
wonderful but it is a part of me. A part I would not change.
The real barriers I come across every day are attitudinal
barriers when others believe that blindness is nothing but
misery. If you would like to read my blog "great things about
being blind" I provide the link below. It concerns me that the
first person parents of blind children meet is a doctor who
believes blindness to be so negative.
Thanks again for your shall.
Kim Kilpatrick

Saturday, July 28, 2012

amazing to watch opening ceremonies with audio description!

okay Okay, I admit it! I am adicted to the olympics and paralympics. There is never enough coverage of paralympics in my opinion. But, even for me, there is enough coverage of olympics. I have always loved watching even before I was a paralympian myself. but, I have never really liked watching the ceremonies. They are always quite visual and I do not know what is going on. I was not going to watch the opening yesterday either but when I heard they had audio description (describing the action for people who are blind) I turned it on and was so pleasantly surprised and thrilled. I also followed along with my twitter feed. Tweeting with friends around the country and across the world. Thanks to those who described and thanks to those who tweeted along with me. Congratulations UK! Go Canada go!

Olympic opening finally accessible to me.

I admit it! I am olympic crazy! I love the olympics! Both winter
and summer but summer more so as I was a competitive swimmer and
paralympian. Yesterday, I turned on the opening ceremonies. I
do not always watch the ceremonies. They can be boring for me as
they are always so visual and I do not know what is going on.
But, yesterday when I turned it on, the audio description
started. So, as I sat there, I could hear all about everything
that was going on. I also had my twitter feed open following
along and tweeting with others around the world. It was amazing!
I loved it so much. Thank you to audio description and thank you
to those who made that possible. Some day everything should be
audio described all of the time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

People have strange ideas.

Yesterday, while out walking with my guide dog, a lady came up
and said that the dog was too small for me. A guide dog should
not be that small. I kept walking. What a strange thing to say.
She is one of the smallest guide dogs I've ever seen but she is
just right for me! It makes me wonder why she would have come up
and said that. Takes all kinds of people to make the world
interesting doesn't it?

Please disregard any spammy messages that get into this blog.

Hi all,
Thanks so much for those who pointed out that sometimes a post
somehow gets on to my blog. One of these spamy posts saying my
on-line banking etc is bad. Please please disregard. They are
spam and please never click on anything unless it looks like it
comes from me. Thank you so very much. And thanks for those who
read and keep me posted. I try to keep track but get busy

Monday, July 23, 2012

Public bathrooms.

As promised a few days ago, here is a story about public
bathrooms. They are tricky to navigate for someone who is blind.
They are never laid out in the same fashion. When you enter the
room, you do not know where things are. And even when you find
thebasics, you do not know where other things are. For example,
you find the toilet but are not sure where the toilet paper is,
where the flusher is. You find the sink but where is the soap.
Are there paper towels or a dryer. Where is the garbage can?
Within the past few years, new difficulties have arisen.
Sometimes you find the sink and are feeling about when the taps
go on of their own acord. Same now with paper towel dispensers,
hand dryers and even flushers for toilets. My dog can help me
find the basics in bathrooms. Like the door to get in, doors to
stalls etc. But not where soap is or anything like that. So,
entering a public bathroom is always quite an adventure.

Friday, July 20, 2012

forest fires and blind people.

I heard today that there is a big forest fire in a major wooded area a few hours away. I have camped there many times. It is sad to think of it burning. I started to think that blind people would have an advantage when trying to get away from a fire as they could close their eyes in the smokefilled air and move away along the ground. They could feel the heat with the face and orient themselves maybe better than a sighted person could. But, then the sound of the fire might disorient you and the smell would mask all other smells. Not that I am about to go and try fighting the fire to see if I am better equipped to cope. Just an exercise in thought from a safe distance. Thanks to those though who are fighting all of the fires around here during this very dry summer.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A blast from the past.

Last night when I took my dog out for the last time, I heard someone calling my name. Turns out it was a guy I worked with when we were 16 at my very first job. I was a camp counsellor for little kids. He recognized me and remembered my name. When you are the only totally blind person working at a camp and the first one ever to do so, I guess you stand out. He says he has seen me before but could never stop as he was driving. That was a very fun job and a great group to work with. I worked extremely hard but it was fun too and it got me launched into the world of work. For those who took a chance on a totally blind camp counsellor, you are awesome!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Finding a bathroom.

The other day, I was having a meeting in a coffee shop that my
guide dog and I know quite well. We found the place with no
problem. My guide dog finding all audible crossing poles she
could along the way. We had our drink, our meeting, and then got
up to go. My guide dog marched with purpose straight ahead. I
knew the way outside was to our right but I was curious as to why
Tulia pranced so quickly and confidently in that direction. She
pranced proudly up to the bathroom door. "Here it is. Here it
is." Wag wag wag. It reminded me of when my mom used to ask if
we needed to go before leaving home. Did she figure I had had a
drink and now should go to the bathroom? Tomorrow, I will talk
about how going to bathrooms in public places is always an
adventure for people who are blind.

Friday, July 13, 2012

It's written right there on the board!

Yesterday two times this happened to me. I'm not sure if the people realized whether or not I was blind? I'd like to hope they didn't know. They weren't able to see my guide dog over the counter? At least, I hope this was the case. If not.... I went out yesterday to run errands before it got too hot. I entered a store and asked about some items in the bakery. "They're all listed on the board over there." "I can't see it.' "Really?" Then she did read it to me. In another store, I asked a similar question and receivd a similar answer. I was despairing of humanity as I approached a street crossing. My heart sank. There was a huge fan blowing loudly and a large truck parked at the corner so I couldn't hear anything except loud noise. This makes it impossible to read traffic. As I was standing there, a man approached and said, "I imagine all of this noise makes it hard for you to figure out when to cross the street." A rational human being who doesn't expect me to read menus on the wall? Thank you! I could have hugged him. I agreed he was right and he told me when the light had changed. Maybe he should go and educate those store people?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

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Confused or just listening?

The other day, I got off a bus at a somewhat unfamiliar location. I've been there before but not too often and not for a while. I waited for the bus to pull away. I do this because the loud noise of the bus always masks any other sounds in the environment. Once it had pulled away, I stood for a few seconds listening to what was around me. The sounds of the streets beside and ahead of me. I smelled the air to figure out if I could identify where I was by scent. Then, I was just about to tell my dog forward and set off when a woman came up and asked if I was confused. No I was just figuring things out. She then asked if my dog was confused or not very well trained. This was odd because as she was saying this, my dog took me around something in our path. It was extremely hot outside and I was in a bit of a hurry so I said slightly sarcastically, "Does she seem badly trained to you?" "Well no but shouldn't she know where you are going at all times?" "No. I have to know where I am going and direct her and she helpes to get me there safely>" "Oh! I didn't know that." Very many people think our dogs just take us everywhere and we have little or nothing to do with it. So, thought I would post about it here. Off for a walk before the real heat sets in again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Is my guide dog training me?

Hi all,
It was cooler for a couple of days but today heating up again and
it is supposed to stay hot for many days. Tulia and I just got
back from a walk. I may have said this here already but she is
quite smitten with finding me
poles for audible crossing buttons. When we get to a corner, I
ask her if one is there. She spins her head left, right,
wagging, and if the pole is there with the button, she prances us
over and puts her face right under the button. I don't even know
where they are half the time as they are always in different
places but she sure knows them and finds them. If there isn't
one there, she hangs her head. She loves finding things.
Anyway, this morning, we went to the bakery which she hasn't been
to in ages and she found it. Then we walked some more and found
some crossing poles and she found a bus stop too which we didn't
need and a garbage can and a million coffee shops. Anyway, we
got to this corner where I know an audible pole is. She stopped
walking so I put my hand out, expecting the pole and encountered
a backpack. She had stopped not for the pole but because she
couldn't get around as there where lots of people there. The guy
turned around quite startled. I said I was sorry. I didn't tell
him I thought he was an audible crossing pole. I guess Tulia has
me well trained right?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sorry for junk mail posts and a cute Tulia story.

I am sorry that sometimes some post sneaks on here telling you to click or join or something. I may have to go in and change my blog settings so this doesn't happen. Don't click on anything unless it is in a blog post from me just to be on the safe side. Today, my guide dog and I were on the bus. A man across from me said, "That is an old old dog." I'm not sure if he was blind himself as no one but no one calls Tulia old. If anything, they say she looks like a young pup. I said that no she wasn't old. Others on the bus chimed in and said she didn't look old at all. Then, he said, "That dog is looking at you like oh it is so sad you are blind." I almost laughed out loud. Patiently, I said, "Well, I don't think so because if I wasn't blind, she'd be out of a job!" The people around us roared with laughter. Then he said, "That dog doesn't like being with you very much." At this, Tulia tilted her neck and kissed me right on the face. Everyone in the bus roared some more with laughter. So did I. Then of course, Tulia hammed it up. Tilted her head at the people and someone said raised and flicked her eye lashes. The man didn't make any more comments and we soon got off the bus with people around us still snickering. Takes all kinds I guess.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thanks to all for reading and your comments and kindness.

I know it has been a few days since I've updated this blog. I
miss it when I do not write. It is like writing a diary or
something similar. I like thinking of topics and telling of my
adventures. I want to thank you all for reading and commenting.
People have been very kind, sending me articles or links and
suggesting topics. If I do not always respond to you
individually, be assured I read and ponder what you provide to
me. Thank you! I promise to be more faithful about keeping up
with the blog. Happy summer.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Canada day!

It is Canada day hereddjuly 1. Our national day. I'm so proud
to be Canadian. Happy Canada day to all.