The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Hiding in plain sight…

While on my last mobility lesson with Elaine I ran into one of my judo student’s mothers, who said a quick hello in passing, as not to interrupt us. I was so fixated on what I was doing with Elaine I managed to forget her name to introduce her!

However, this brings another point. Though my judo students and parents know, I will now be using a white cane to travel. (We talked about it in class and what the white cane means.) I still have that uneasy feeling of “Now they know I can’t see well“. I’ve never really hid my disability from others; but now with the white cane in hand I can’t help but feel a little embarrassed.

HidingI also feel a little sad for other friends and how they may feel around others in public, because they cannot hide their disabilities because they use wheelchairs or walkers to get around. Do we ever really get over what others think of us?

How should you feel?

The only way you would know I had bad eyesight was if I was reading something with the paper close to my nose. If I met you in passing on the street, unless I had my cane, you would never know.

I really do my best to educate my students about how some people are different, and how some children, and adults have disabilities, like bad eyesight, are blind, or can’t walk. I teach them to respect disabled people as equals, and that you should never make fun of some one because of their disability.

I also explain as much as I can, and as much as I think they will understand about the disability at hand, be it my own eyesight, or our pen pal friend Cole who has Cerebral Palsy; and because of Ilia, Cole’s service dog, we also get to talk about service animals, like assistance dogs, and guide dogs. – I do my best…

Well, at least explaining why I’m using the white cane is a little easier then explaining how I’m a photographer, with a white cane… But if you really want to know you can read my post, The Blind Photographer.

To my own amazement some of my students, some of the youngest already know more then you think. As J says “I know a boy in school who uses a stick like that.” referring to my white cane. (I also know the boy he is talking about.) Or the some times off the wall questions I get, like from K who asked “Does Ilia carry Cole’s food tray in school?“…

So, what are some of the odd questions you get? Or how do you feel in public, when you wish every thing was just “normal“. Please, post your thoughts and comments!

Orientation and Mobility: Trust the Cane + Steps!

Well today I had yet another exciting mobility lesson with Elaine; and I do mean exciting, and nerve-racking to say the least. Today was yet another “Trust the Cane” exercise, this time at a local mall; but not to worry it was not too crowded on a Wednesday afternoon, so people were not the main issue at hand.

We entered and she instructed me to make my way to the mall center court with perfect cane technique… no problem. We stopped and discussed the finer points of using the directory to locate stores. She pointed out that our local mall directory is not that well thought out, in that they only direct you to a section where a store is located, the stores on the map itself are not individually labeled.

She instructed me to note my location, and I can sight the large store signs of the main stores, with minimal trouble. Landmarks where always a strong point for me, this is not an issue. I would rather travel by landmark then direction. We then continued and made our way to Boscov’s… Entered and I was instructed to locate the stairs and escalators. – Oh yes, we know what is coming now!

At the stairs, we reviewed cane technique and what the cane can tell you about the stairs. The treads height, depth, and width; all good things to know. Is the step high, or low? Wide or narrow? Is their carpeting or are they solid.

Transferring the cane to my left hand to hold the railing with my right. You hold the cane about mid shaft, with the thumb down arm extended out and elbow locked. Resting your cane on the second step you push outward for each step up you take so the cane “clicks” each step in front of you… When you reach the top, the cane will swing away, with no click… This is how you know you have reached the top, or a landing.

Oh but wait, we have even more fun. Because after you go up, you must come down!

This is by far one of the most nerve-racking experiences any person who is blind or can’t see well DREADS; taking a header down a flight of steps. I am no different, going up is not the problem, it’s going down!


Again, a technique. Locate the edge and feel the cane drop. FEEL THE EDGE WITH YOUR FOOT. I missed it the first time! CRAP! – I feel like Wile Coyote on the edge of a cliff!

After locating the edge, the cane is transferred to the left hand again to hold the rail with the right. Extending the cane out and slightly down like a spear, you take your step holding the cane just above the passing steps. You walk down until you feel the cane hit, you have one more step, and you are at your landing.

Are we having fun yet?

Oh wait; yes, we are going to have LOADS of fun now! Here come them blinder glasses again. Now we do it all again. BLIND! – CRAP, CRAP, CRAP! The adrenaline level went from OK I am fine with this to WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING in one second flat.

Being extra careful, and moving extra slow. I made my way back up the steps. Turned and made my way back down slowly. And up and down about a dozen more times like this. With Elaine always by my side, if I did manage to miss a step; how ever it did not make me feel any better.

We finished this lesson on the steps, removed them damn glasses and made our way back out of the mall. What a fun day! NOT! I wonder what we will do next week?

Inauguration Day 2009

What do I have to say about this history? Well, not much, sorry. Nevertheless, I thought I would make a post about it any way, because it seems like every one else is. He is only a man, one person. He’s not a god.

People seem to forget who runs this country. Though the President has many powers, he’s only one person in the LONG chain of people who run this place. People seem to forget that things pass threw local law makers and representatives before they ever land on the Presidents desk. The President only listens to what others tell him.

The tradition of the Cabinet dates back to the beginnings of the Presidency itself. One of the principal purposes of the Cabinet (drawn from Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution) is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating to the duties of their respective offices. The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive departments. ~

So, think before you blame the President for all the nations troubles. There are dozens if not hundreds of people he listens to for advice… He’s only a man.

So, how much do we pay “The Man“…?

  • President of the United States makes about $400,000 a year
  • Vice President of the United States makes about $221,100 a year
  • Speaker of the House of Representatives $217,400
  • President Pro Tempore of the Senate $183,500
  • Majority and Minority Leaders of the House and Senate $188,100
  • Senators make about $169,300
  • The Librarian of Congress makes about $168,000
  • George W. Bush will leave with a pension of $196,700. The pension begins immediately upon his departure from office at noon.