You are here:

The Blind Canadians Blog

Words

I was out for lunch with a high school friend last week. I finished high school many, many years ago and she and I have maintained a friendship through marriages, children, career changes, divorce and rebuilds, and aging parents. As always, we shared stories, we laughed and we bragged about our children.

We had just finished lunch and were enjoying coffee when a man approached our table and said hello to my friend. It turns out he attended our high school as well. I have not seen him for years but my friend has kept up with him. She hugged him and asked if he remembered me.

There it was ....... that awkward moment of silence. “Oh, yes,” he said. “I remember you. How are you doing? I heard you had gone bl........”

“Yes,” I answered. “I am blind.

Weeding

It’s Mine!!!!

Those of you who have followed my blog know that I have been in this house for a year. This is my first Spring!!!!!! It is absolutely lovely!!!!! I have spent many, many hours in my gardens.

The previous owners created low maintenance perennial gardens. Low manintenance perennial gardens still need to be weeded. Here I am, on my hands and my kness, running my hands over the dirt. At this point, the plants I want to flourish are above elbow height and those I don’t want to flourish are still thumb height. That is the gauage I use. I pull out everything thumb height or lower. If a weed is above elbow height, I have a couple of sighted friends armed with spades, weed spray or pruners.

Choosing a Customer Focused Relationship whith Service Providers

There are a number of organizations in the public, nonprofit, and private sector providing services to blind, deafblind and partially sighted people throughout Canada.

With so many new accessible technologies being introduced that enable our community with access to information anytime and anywhere, , greater numbers of blind people can be found online and connecting with others who share a common vision and interest in the benefits of accessibility as the means of joining, participating and contributing to the social and economic life of Canada.

Spring

Today is National Sea Monkey Day and National Piercing Day. Hmmmmm - I don’t have a sea monkey and I don’t plan on any additional piercings. However........if I were to purchase a sea monkey and then take it for a piercing would I be eligible to celebrate twice? Or........if I had my navel pierced with a charm of a sea monkey would I get two slices of celebratory cake?

I have been enjoying the arrival of Spring and have been busy weeding and preparing the gardens. An acquaintance asked how I managed to weed the gardens. Simple answer - same way you do - I pull out the weeds!!!. I have been in this house for just over a year now. Last spring and summer I learned the back yard. This spring and summer I will learn the front yard.

Important announcements and requests for feedback!

Hello, AEBC!

This report is coming to you a little earlier than usual, and not long after my last one, because quite frankly, there is a lot going on and I think it is important that everyone know what is happening and the opportunities that you have to participate!

1.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities - Are we making progress?

As many of you know, a few years ago Canada signed on to, and ratified, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities -- abbreviated as the CRPD or the UNCRPD. The purpose of the UNCRPD has been described as follows: "To promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities, and to promote respect for their inherent dignity." It has been seen by some to be something of a watershed moment, giving international and legal recognition to what is often referred to as the social model of disability -- the notion that people with disabilities are not hampered by their disability, but rather by the social construction in which they live which does not adequately accommodate their differences.

Presidential highlights from the 2014 conference and AGM in Ottawa

This past weekend, 30 AEBC members -- some of them new members, some of them recent members, some of them members from 20 years ago -- gathered in Ottawa for the 2014 conference and annual general meeting.  In this blog post, I will touch on some of the highlights of the conference, for those who were not in attendance and who were not listening to the live stream.  (We had as many as 20 listeners to the stream, a record since we began offering this service a few years ago.) 

Good things come in small packages

The best things in the world really do come in small packages. I am participating in a volunteer project in London over a number of Monday afternoons. I wake up early Monday mornings. Hope and I leave the house at 6:15 and walk to our Via “shelter”. We don’t have a train station in Strathroy, we have a shelter much like the public transit shelters in most Canadian cities. The train leaves Strathroy at 6:43 and arrives in London shortly after 7:00 am. We walk to the bus stop and catch the city bus to a stop a few blocks from my daughter’s house. A quick text to my daughter to let her know I am walking the last few blocks and Hope finds her way to the front door and the arms of my 2 year old grand daughter.

President's Report - March 20th, 2014

Hello, AEBC!

It's March. We're a little over a month away from the conference and annual general meeting in Ottawa, this April 25th to 27th. Check out http://www.blindcanadians.ca/programs/conf/2014 for all the details, including the registration form.

Are you interested in running for the board? Pursuant to s. 28.4 of our bylaws, "the 1st Vice-President, Treasurer, and one Director Without Portfolio shall be elected during even numbered years." However, over the course of the last year, Dar Wournell (our secretary) resigned and Jennifer Jesso was appointed to fill her position. Under s. 32.3 of the Bylaws, that appointment is effective only until the next membership meeting, and therefore, the position of Secretary will also need to be elected.

Aqua Boot Camp

I had my biennial physical in October. It’s always a little amusing when I do this. Remember, small town. My family doctor is a family friend. I play bridge with his wife. His children are friends with my children. One of his daughters, son-in-law and 4 grandchildren live 2 doors down from my son and daughter-in-law. I did medical transcription at that clinic for about ten years and I know all the staff, I usually go out for lunch with the women in the business office at least once a month. And his office is in the clinic where my ex has an office. Again - small town! Anyways, everything is great but I have some loss of bone density. He suggested I take vitamin D and Calcium which I started. I thought some additional exercise might be beneficial as well.

T-Base's Tweet-a-Tree Program

I wanted to let you know about an amazing environmental program recently launched by a company that’s near and dear to my heart, T-Base Communications. For those who know me well, you’ll know that I founded T-Base on the premise of not being able to access my financial and government documents in a format and timeline I needed to manage my affairs. Since that time, I have semi-retired and now advocate on issues related to accessible information and communication technology. T-Base’s role has also evolved over the years, continuing to provide accessible formats for North America’s largest telecom, educational and financial institutions.

Where Have All the Advocates Gone???

When the NFB:AE, now the AEBC was founded, the blind community was full of advocacy. Admittedly, that was at a different time and place, when we lacked the equal rights legislation that has been achieved; lacked equality in the world of work (which we still lack); and were promised that technology would be the big equalizer (which it has been for some and a new barrier for others).

Today, despite the achievement of equal rights legislation, we still face numerous old barriers as well as the introduction of some new ones.

Sunday Dinner

Sunday dinner

In my past life, I always hosted family dinner on Sunday. Yesterday, I hosted family dinner a la new Cindy. My daughter, son in law, grand daughter, son, daughter in law and a friend joined me. It was an absolutely lovely day.

My children are budget conscious, so I wanted to do a very special dinner. My friend buys half a beef from the butcher and offered to provide the roast. He popped in Saturday morning on his way to work with two roasts. One was a rump, the other a sirloin tip. The rump went in my left hand, the sirloin tip in my right - I like to sort things alphabetically (my liquor cabinet is organized the same way- Cherry Whiskey for one of the bridge ladies on the left and vodka on the far right).

Teleconference discussion on March 4th: The future of library services in Canada

On Tuesday, March 4th at 8pm Eastern, Sharlyn Ayotte will be hosting a teleconference discussion to explore the future of library services in Canada. This session is intended to tell you a little of what we know so far, and to gather your viewpoints and feedback to inform AEBC's next steps.

Background information: As many of you know, the topic of so-called 'accessible library service' has been front and center over the past couple of years. AEBC has been advancing the notion that accessible, alternative-format library services should be provided by government just as public library services currently are.

16 Tthings

I read a blog earlier this week by Jackie Pilossoph about life after divorce. One of her entries is 16 things people say in the world of dating after divorce that she wishes people would say instead. I am pasting her list below, but I have added my own takes on her list. I would be curious to hear what any of you have to say about this list, your own experiences and your thoughts about dating after divorce.

I have talked about dating at 55 years old. It is unfamiliar territory. I have been trying to navigate this new terrain for a year now, after taking a year to re-evaluate, re-assess and re-prioritize.

Book Club

Today was book club. This book club has shared favourte stories, favourte authors, favourite genres for ten years. Today was a new experience. My neighbour, the mother of one of my son’s very good friends who was a constant companion at my dinner table when the children were at home, an English teacher at my children’s high school has penned a historical fiction loosely based on her father’s immigration to Southwestern Ontario from Holland. Her book was our February 2014 choice and the author attended our meeting.

I thoroughly enjoy book club.

Family Day

Yesterday was family day. Hmmmmm. My “family” has changed significantly over the last couple of years. I do have an amazingly good relationship with all of my children and their partners, but my children and their partners now have mom in Strathroy and dad and his partner in London. They have inlaws, siblings, cousins, too many grandparents and some needy aunts and uncles. I think it is best to avoid extended family celebrations this day. Instead the “singles” got together. A group of my single friends congregated at a friend’s house, we ordered pizza, we brought wine, we celebrated our new lives.

Pecan Pie

Pecan Pie

Years ago my dinner table was the heart of my home. My four children, assorted friends and occassionally the ex when he was home, congregated around my dinner table every night. There was a bounty of food, lots of laughs, stories about everyone’s day, and a feeling of comfort. I always made a dessert and the children usually finished it that night. Now the children are grown and I live alone. I make dessert only when I entertain. I don’t care for sweets and I don’t need the extra calories.

I invited a group of single friends for dinner on Valentine’s day this year. They are all helpful in the kitchen, so I chose to make a Wild Mushroom and Scallop Risotto. I had eyes to watch the scallops and add the liquid to the risotto as needed.

President's Report - February 11th, 2014

Hello, AEBC!

2014 is upon us, and we're getting geared up for the conference and annual general meeting in Ottawa, this April 25th to 27th. Because of the importance of that event, and because there is so much information to be communicated to you, details about the AGM will have been sent in a separate message. See http://www.blindcanadians.ca/programs/conf/2014 for all the details, including the registration form.

As we start looking toward the AGM, we must now also begin looking toward the next year, and next two years. More information will be coming your way about the strategic planning process, and the recommendations that will be flowing from that.

Tattoos

Perhaps fifteen years ago, I was busy in the kitchen doing prep work for dinner for my four children, assorted hangers on and my ex. My daughter was home for the summer after her first year at university. She worked as a life guard at the town pool and didn’t have to clock in until 2:00 that day. One son was at work, the other two sons had returned after a midnight shift at a local factory and were snoring away. My ex was at work. My daughter came into the kitchen and turned the television on. She clicked onto the “Jerry Springer” show. (I know - UGH, but she was only 18). It was another “Who your baby daddy” episode. As she put together breakfast for herself, she hitched her sleep shorts up and mimicked the antics of the show participants. That’s when I saw it.

Pages

Subscribe to The Blind Canadians Blog