Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pros & Cons-by Natalie

You would think that having a legally blind father would have more cons than pros but coming from a girl who has lived with Dad for 17 years, you might be surprised. One thing that would probably be listed under cons, is going out in public. As a fairly noisy family of 7 we are already conspicuous enough, now add a long white cane, an Australian-style cowboy hat and a guy with a funny looking eye. We stick out like a sore thumb. Most people make an attempt at politeness and only stare bug-eyed when they think we are not looking, some people on the other hand, make no such attempt. They will stop in their tracks staring openly at us, mouths wide open, and I can’t say I really blame them, we make quite a sight. But one thing in my opinion, makes up for all the cons and that is my relationship with my Dad. Due to his eyesight, not as many people will hire Dad and so he has been able to spend much more time at home than most fathers with regular jobs are ever able too. Because of this I have developed a very good relationship with my Dad. If I ever have a problem I can always go to him and I wouldn't trade that for anything. Not that I’m bragging or anything, but I am pretty sure that I have the best Dad in the world.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

TRICK OR TREAT!!! -From Teri

A few years ago Tom got a trick for Halloween. Our children thought it would be funny to trick or treat to Dad, as he was passing out the candy. They managed to sneak out the back door, throw a couple of blankets over their costumes and run to the front door. Disguising their voices and shrinking a couple of inches, they sang trick or treat. Tom opened the door and started passing out candy, and the kids burst out laughing. We all laughed for a while about this, and we still do, including Tom. This is a Halloween classic at our house.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Driving the Corvette

Over the years I have driven several vehicles; cars, trucks, motorcycles (Four different times with only one crash.) a tractor, a three-wheeler (Crashing through a barbed-wire fence, taking out two fence posts and walking away with a scratch on my knee.) and a jet ski. But today my friend took me for a drive in his cherry red, T-top 1970 Stingray Corvette! We were driving down a road that ran parallel to I35 when he pulled into a side road and asked if I wanted to drive. -I took it down the side road with no traffic. I even backed it up and turned it around to drive down the road again! It was awesome feeling the 300+ horsepower engine kick in as I hit the gas. Its hard to say who is crazier, me for driving it or my friend for letting me. Thanks John, that was AWESOME! (If you are a law enforcement officer reading this, I was describing a dream!)
Enjoy the video.

Thank You

I would like to thank all of you who take the time to read my blog and for those who share your comments. However, it is I who has been the greatest beneficiary. This is the closest thing I’ve had to a journal for many years and sharing my thoughts and experiences has helped me to cope with my challenges. This experience has also reinforced a belief that we often do not comprehend how we impact the lives of others. Sometimes a small compliment or seemingly insignificant act of kindness can have a profound impact on the life of another. I have also considered how we would all be enriched if more people shared with others the story of their lives. This can be difficult at times, especially when disclosing vulnerabilities or melancholy but we all have a lot to learn from each other.

And a special thanks to my international viewers. I was surprised to discover that my blog has viewers in the following countries-

Czech Republic
Burkina Faso (Africa)
United Kingdom (Hi Tony!)

Note: This list lists groups of viewers from largest to smallest, excluding the United States and Canada.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Human Behavior

Because of my blindness, I get treated differently by most people, sometimes it is for the better, sometimes not. (See my pos from July 8,, Race, Respect & Blindness) It is an interesting phenomena and raises questions in human behavior as to why people treat me differently. For instance, as I walk through a Wal-Mart, I have observed some parents will grab their children as I approach and pull them close. I’m not talking about toddlers who could be injured if I ran them over, I’m talking about kids that are 8 or 10 years old. I suspect that some people react with fear when they encounter something, or someone, in which they are unfamiliar with. In other words, in some cases, a lack of understanding breeds fear or mistrust. Or perhaps I just look really scary!

When I encounter another person with an obvious disability who may be struggling to open the door, I do not immediately assist them. I will wait a moment or two and then ask the individual if he or she needs help. I hate it when others try to assist me, especially when I do not require help and so I will only help if needed. If I do need help, I will ask. I may struggle for a moment or two, but since I value my independence I will try on my own. I do recognize that people are just trying to be nice and its better than someone trying to trip me or knock me down. This is just one of those things that I have to endure. However, sometimes it is more annoying then others. I attend school at the University of Central Oklahoma and like most college campuses, the majority of students are 18-22. Sometimes I will approach a door and some 20-year old girl will run up and open the door for me. I hate this. Knowing that she means well, I force a smile and say “thank you” and enter the building emasculated.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Blindness & Technology: JAWS

Keep in mind that my videos are a work in progress. I actually hate how I look and sound on my video but I'll have to get over it. Anyhow... This video explains how I use a screen-reading program called JAWS, (Job Access With Speech) and is probably the best software in the market. And it should be, it costs a lot of money- over $1000 per license. Again, with the assistance of training and technology, most of the limitations from blindness can be overcome.