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Blog - September 2013

Smartie Pants

I have a stubborn streak. Surprise! My ex used to say I was the second most stubborn person he had ever met. My mother was number one. Sometimes it serves me well and sometimes it bites me in the $@#^.

When it serves me well, it allows me to be as independent as I want to be. My children call it “Cindypendence”. I draw on that stubbornness to attempt all the activities I want to engage in as a single, blind woman. When it bites me, it bites hard. However, I will bite it right back. I want to share a couple of examples of Cindypendence.

I told you I hosted my first dinner party. It was a huge success even though two fingers are bandaged. As you know, I brought very little with me when I left my past life.

Paella

Last night was my first dinner party as a single blind woman. There is a lot of baggage with this - in my past life, my ex was the OCD cleaner, so I knew the flatware and glassware was sparkling. My ex was also the collector of china and serveware (surprise!) so I knew I had any service piece I could possibly need. I left all that “stuff” behind. I now have the basics and am learning to make every piece a multi use piece and to choose dishes that don’t require sighted assistance.

However, last night, I made an exception. I make a damn good paella and a new friend wants to learn how to make paella. Perfect - I can make the dish and have a sighted friend inspect the mussels both before and after cooking. Everything was a success.

Family

So last time I talked about friends - today I am going to talk about family. I have an amazing family and over the next few months you will understand why I say my family is amazing.

One of the reasons I chose to return to this small town was because I raised my family here. My children grew up here, I established friendships here, my children established friendships here, I understand the geographical issues here and small town people know one another and everyone knows who the blind woman is. There is only one blind woman working with a dog guide in this small town, so I have no anonymity. I do have unconditional support.

Let me share an amusing story. Early this Spring, I called a friend and invited myself over for morning coffee.

Blind sex offender skips jail: Corrections cannot accommodate blind prisoners

The accused, blind since the age of 16 as a result of a car accident, worked with the City of Calgary as a spokesperson and presenter on issues of blindness and disability. He has represented Canada at the Paralympic Games in 1984 and 1992. (By my reckoning, he must be at least in his 40's as a result.)

The accused, who has a prior criminal record for fraud over $5000, was convicted in 2012 of assault and sexual assault involving a friend. The question of sentencing -- and whether it would be proper for the accused to "be sentenced to a period of incarceration in a correctional facility given that he is blind and requires 24 hour assistance from his guide dog" -- was considered by a judge of the Alberta Provincial Court in April of this year: [R. v.

Friends

I am slowly learning that when friends say they are happy to help, they really are happy to help. I have to admit that I am stubborn and try to do as much as I can independently - not sure whether I need to prove to myself that I am capable or prove to others that I am capable - regardless, I have always had difficulty asking for help.

In my old life, I didn't have to ask friends to help. My job was a stay at home Mom. I love to cook, help my children and keep a home. My ex took me to run errands, picked up things we needed and assisted in keeping the home. Now that he has been issued a one way ticket to Dumpville, I no longer have a driver. Most of my errands I can look after by myself with a back pack and a plan but some errands need a driver and a car.

Playing Bridge

I play bridge, not very well, but I enjoy the game. We play cards and we have a beverage or two, we share stories and make one another laugh. What could be better?

We take the summer off and last week the season started again. I have encountered a problem though. I use braille cards - I hold the cards with my right hand and use my left index finger to read the cards. In early July, I chopped up my left index finger with an immersion blender. It has healed nicely but the cuts were to the bone, through the nerves and I have lost all sensation in the fingertip. I have to figure out how to best make this work.

I tried holding the cards with the left hand and using the right hand to read them but that just felt awkward.

What I learned today - I'm back

I’m back!

Hello again my friends. I have been hiding for the last year, but finally Cindy is back. Some of you know the story behind my absence and some of you don’t. For those who wonder where I went I will explain below. For those of you who don’t care where I went, move on to the next blog entry - you will be bored.

My ex-husband came out of the closet last year. I chose to leave and moved back to the small town where we had raised our family. I was shocked, devastated and unprepared to live the next stage of my life as a single blind woman. My dog guide had to retire and I had plans to train with a new dog, and my mother died. I hunkered down, reassessed my life, my goals, my challenges, my dreams and came up with a new plan. So here I am - the new Cindy.

President's Report - September 5, 2013

Hello, AEBC!

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. -- John Quincy Adams

Summer has come and gone. Fall is upon us. The children return to school; we return from vacations; and it's time to get back to the serious work ahead of us.

If you, your chapter, or your committee has a news item or announcement or resource of interest, please send it to me (tibbs@blindcanadians.ca) for inclusion in my next report.

A. Announcements and Reminders

1.

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