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Hope

I am writing this post with a head on my lap.

For those of you who follow my blog, you know I hosted Thanksgiving dinner and you know I had a few sad moments. You may not know this is a new house for me. I moved here in May. I did have a sighted friend give me the entire tour - where are the smoke detectors - where is the water / gas / power shut off - where is the electric panel - where is the furnace and how do I set the thermostat?

So here I am, hours after everyone has left. The pots have been soaking and I am scrubbing them clean. The oven had some spills so the self clean has been turned on. The smoke detectors, of course, go off.

The crazy mixed up world of blind dating

I have been single now for a year and a half and have taken the leap into the unknown waters of the dating world. Remember, I am 55. The last time I had a first date, I was 18 years old. Back in those days we went to bars, we met at school, we had lots of single friends with single friends. Finding a reasonable date was relatively easy. Finding a reasonable date at age 55 is a little more challenging.

I am always up front and make sure a potential date knows that I am blind. I always offer two choices - they can run away, as long as they are not carrying scissors, hedge clippers, or chain saws - or they can ask any and all questions they may have.

The Passing of Abraham Nemeth, creator of the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation

We have just learned that Dr. Abraham Nemeth, Professor Emeritus of mathematics at the University of Detroit Mercy and inventor of the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Scientific Notation, has passed away. His contributions have touched the lives of many braille-reading Canadians.

The below press release was copied from the NFB website and the original version can be found here

National Federation of the Blind Mourns Passing of Dr. Abraham Nemeth, Honors His Pioneering Work to Enhance Braille

Baltimore, Maryland (October 2, 2013): The National Federation of the Blind today mourns the death of Dr.

Bookshare Now Being Offered to CNIB Clients

This may be of interest to those of you who are CNIB clients. The information posted below has been copied from the CNIB Digital Times newsletter (September issue). You can find out more about this exciting new opportunity by visiting this link on the CNIB library website

Bookshare now available through the CNIB Library!

CNIB clients can now sign up for a free one-year subscription to Bookshare, an accessible online library for people with qualifying print disabilities!

President's Report - October 1, 2013

Hello, AEBC!

We must become the change we want to see in the world.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

Welcome to the October edition of the President's Report. This month has been busy for AEBC, and there are some exciting developments in the community that we need to harness and build upon, like the availability of accessible prescription drug labels at a Canadian pharmacy. Sure, it's only one pharmacy, but it's a start.

We've also had a busy September with the strategic planning session, hosting a number of discussions that have proven to be very fruitful. I am impressed with the energy and enthusiasm with which so many of you have shown to the process.

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.

CRTC Response to DV Working Group Results

In 2009, the CRTC established a working group to look at various matters relating to descriptive video. In particular, the working group was to look at some technical matters (such as enabling the pass-thru of DV), some practical matters (such as providing means for viewers to activate descriptive video, and ensuring that the availability of DV would be advertised in program listings).

Among other things, the DVWG was responsible for the production of the audio description public service announcement that has seen considerable air play. (The, "A woman enters a kitchen..." PSA.)

The CRTC's response to the DVWG's activities is provided below.

Collaborating Through Art

The paintings now showing at the Bean Scene Downtown Kelowna (274 Bernard Ave, Kelowna) are to a large extent collaborative works completed by me and another artist. Pay close attention to the names of the artists on each label. Many of the paintings are my own creation, but at some point in the process it is quite likely I had a sighted person take a look and give me feedback, which I may or may not have incorporated. Beyond this, there are four other artists, who have literally shared the painting experience with me. I have learned a lot about collaboration through this painting experiment. There are as many interpretations about the nature of collaboration, as there are artists!

President's Report - August 5, 2013

Hello, AEBC!

The summer is half over and we're marching steadily toward the fall, and much has been going on.

Of significance to the AEBC is that the strategic planning initiative is moving forward and you will have a number of opportunities in the next month or two to contribute your input into where you think AEBC is, should be, and how we should get there.

Please remember that 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.

This is not intended to be a one-way communication. I want, we want, your feedback.

Reflections on ACB & BPI Columbus

I wanted to write a short note to you all about my 10 days in Columbus Ohio attending the 52nd annual conference of the American Council of the blind. This was my third time attending an ACB convention. Therefore, I have attended 3 NFB and now 3 ACB conventions. The experience of attending conventions of both of the major blindness consumer organizations in the States is very different. I find ACB to be a more inclusive organization in the sense they seem to embrace diversity more openly than NFB. whereas the NFB is for the most part a more revivalistic experience where they really use the convention to symbolize their philosophy on blindness.

Accessibility and the Public Interest

Technology is the great equalizer when it comes to people with disabilities. Regardless of how accessible the technology is however, it is only as accessible as the underlying infrastructure. If web sites, apps and content are not designed to be accessible, it does not matter if your personal access technology is.

The absence of accessible information, communications and technologies deployed in support of programs and services will often result in inaccessible outcomes.

there are plenty of examples of inaccessible information, communications and technology deployments, but I will provide just a few to make the point.

In the case of Information...

Information is content.

President's Report - July 3rd, 2013

If we do not like our work, and do not try to get happiness out of it, we are a menace to our profession as well as to ourselves.

-- Helen Keller, "Know Thyself," The Home Magazine, September 1930

Hello, AEBC community members!

The time has finally come to get this show on the road. At the annual general meeting this past April, I was elected as your President. I then headed off into the sunset to get married and have a honeymoon. That is in part why this first update is so long in coming!

I intend to use these President's Reports to provide a global update on the AEBC's activities, and my own thoughts on these issues.

Emergencies effect everyone, even those of us with disabilities

June 20, 2013, saw a record flood hit the city of Calgary. It's probably the worst natural disaster this part of Canada has seen in generations. An unusually wet spring combined with a significant snow pack has resulted in communities from Banff to Calgary and surrounding area litterly get wiped out; it's been a perfect storm.

It's been a huge devistation with the price tag likely to be in the billions. Sadly, four people have lost their lives and I'm sure everyone feels for their families for the tragic loss. Would our service animals be welcome at an emergency centre? How about someone using a wheel chair or motorized scooter.

So what happens to those of us who may live alone and have a disability when mother nature strikes.

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