Saturday, December 31, 2011

Response to Viral Protest from Five Year-Old

This is my response to a protest which has gone viral online from a five year-old girl who objects to all of the dumb pink toys for girls and the blue smart toys for boys. Sorry fellow doll collectors, if I were the parent of a girl I'd have to agree. Yes, fashion dolls have careers, but it's never Explained how they Got those careers. Barbie may be an astronaut or run for President, but what was her life like Before she attained these heights? I thought little girls wouldn't care, but evidently at least One young girl Does. So I sent an E-mail to the BBC commenting on what she had to say.

Please count this as a post for tomorrow. Unless something comes up about which I Need to write, I'm taking the day off!

When I was a kid the space program was a big thing. We weren't rich, but I had fun
playing with plastic rocket ships and wooden blocks of differing shapes. I built
cool things like arches and fire places with the blocks. Also, I enjoyed plastic
farm animals.
But now that toys are more common and kids are mostly urban dwellers the classy toys
are more expensive, Usually. For parents with the money there are the Karito Kids
which get children involved in playing with Smart girls (the dolls) Reading, (books
which come with them) and Giving, via an interactive website. Less well sculpted
the Hearts for Hearts dolls are less expensive and also Smart. They have interesting
stories and an interactive website where kids can learn about how people live in
other countries. Of course their are also the American Girl Historical Character
dolls, which come with Books about the character. And there are the Vanange dolls,
coming from places rarely studied, like the Domenican Republic, Seychelle Islands,
and the Philipines, as well as European countries and the U.S. Each comes with
a poster book, and some of them meet one another.
If one has the money, who Needs Barbie sized fashion dolls? The dolls I am referring
to solve mysteries, one wants to be a panda expert at the zoo, another has to move
from the Domenican Republic to the Seychelle Islands where her father is a marine
biologist, (she must learn a new culture and language) and many of the Karito Kids
visit other countries in their part of the world. The doll from Mexico visits Argentina
and Brazil. The doll from China visits Japan, etc.
For parents with less money there are craft project books, the "Hearts for Hearts"
dolls, and books to read! Blocksand other building sets are still a good idea for
girls as well as boys. There are intelligent art projects and toys available online
and in educational stores as well as beautiful puzzles.
Even the Toys'r-Us Journey Girl dolls have personalities, a creative parent can make
up and write a history based on them. For instance, the African American doll Taryn
wants to play jazz in New Orleans. Ok, what instrument does she want to play? Does
she has to work at playing several before she finds the right one for her? Has she
ever Been to New Orleans? If so, what was it like in her opinion? If not, what
made her decide she wants to go There instead of somewhere else? How did she come
to like jazz at such a young age (she is supposed to be ten) anyway? Does she like
creole or cajun food? Has she ever eaten either? etc.
from U.S.

Happy New Year

I wish all of you a Happy, Safe, and Prosperous New Year! Please drive defensively, have a good time and if you even Think you might need to, Call a Cab, your life is worth So much more than taxi fare! Thank alll of you for being kind enough to read what I have had to say this year.

I once decided to tell off my boss, no matter What resulted from it. Went to lunch that day and got the Best fortune cookie I Ever had read to me. "Take a lesson from the whale. He only gets harpooned when he surfaces to Spout!"

Well this blog was begun because I Couldn't take that wise lesson, but I Didn't tell off my boss.

May you all have health, peace, safety, and happiness!
And may all people find ways to find self-acceptance and to stop warring with themselves and one another

Friday, December 30, 2011

Very Important for Our Whole Country

I'm not trying to persuade Anyone to join But I Do care about our returning veterans and think the Wounded Warrior organization is Worthy of our support. So Please read below.

Dear MoveOn members,
After almost nine years, the loss of more than 4,400 of my fellow American soldiers
and countless Iraqi civilian lives, and at a cost of $800 billion that was badly
needed at home, the War in Iraq is over.
Finally, the troops have come home, where they belong.
As an Army Reservist, I'm part of a brother and sisterhood. We look out for each
other during good times and bad. The mission has been accomplished, not because we're
leaving Iraq, but because our troops committed themselves to their country and have
served the people of the United States to the best of their abilities.
Right or wrong, our nation sent these troops to war.
Our military men and women have done their duty and for that they deserve our thanks.
Now, my fellow veterans need our support.
The Wounded Warrior Project is dedicated to helping the thousands of wounded warriors
returning home from the current conflicts and their families.
Will you chip in whatever you can afford during this season of giving as a tax-deductible
contribution to the Wounded Warrior Project?
Click here to give to the Wounded Warrior Project
The tag line of the Wounded Warriors is,
"The greatest casualty is being forgotten."
Now that the war is receding from the headlines and soldiers are reentering civilian
life, it's critical that this generation of troops is supported.
Veterans, suffering from wounds both seen and unseen, have returned to high unemployment.
Thousands are homeless or about to lose their homes. They need treatment for their
injuries and support transitioning to civilian life. In short, my fellow veterans
need our help.
One of the most important principles of the Wounded Warriors is their emphasis on
helping injured servicemembers aid and assist each other. That's how we ensure that
we will have the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded servicemembers
in our nation's history.
No matter whether you opposed the war or supported it,
will you help support our veterans by making a tax-deductible contribution to the
Wounded Warrior Project?
Contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project
Thank you for helping our wounded warriors.
P.S. For more information about the Wounded Warrior Project, go to
Want to support our work?
MoveOn Civic Action is entirely funded by our 5 million members–no corporate contributions,
no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a
long way.
Chip in here

Very Interesting! My "Labels were: "Our veterans deserve our support and help, here's one way to help" will Not allow "these characters" (whichever ones they mean) in a Label! Why Not? Anyway, I will rewrite labels.

Just for Fun

This came from my sister, don't know where it originated.

'Twas the month after Christmas,
When all through the house,
Nothing would fit me,
Not even a blouse!
The cookies I'd nibbled,
The eggnog I'd taste...
At the holiday parties,
Had gone to my waist!
I remember the marvelous meals all prepared:
The gravies and sauces,
The beef "nicely rared".
The wine and the rum balls,
The bread and the cheese,
And the way I NEVER said,
"No, thank you, please."
As I dressed myself in my husband's old shirt,
And prepared once again to do battle with dirt,
I said to myself (as only I can),
"You can't spend a winter disguised as a MAN"!
So---away with the last of the sour cream dip,
Get rid of the fruit cake, every cracker and chip!
Every last bit of food that I like must be banished,
'Til all of the additional "ounces" have vanished!
I won't have a cookie,
Not even a lick!
I'll want only to chew,
On a celery stick!
I won't have hot biscuits,
Or corn bread or pie,
I'll munch on a carrot,
And quietly cry.
I'm hungry...I'm lonesome...and life is a bore!
But isn't that what January is for?
Unable to giggle,
No longer a riot!

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Well I've already broken the rule about Not talking politics. So, because I've been thinking about it lately, I guess I'll break the second rule and write about religion.

I have gotten so far away from fundamentalist Christian views that I was honestly Horrified to hear a good teacher, wonderful father, and to the best of my knowledge, a faithful and I Know a loving husband lead a prayer by thanking God for loving him anyway, even though . . . and he called himself names.

I noticed it first in the difference between Buddhists raised in primarily monotheistic countries and Buddhist students raised in Asian countries. The Buddhists from countries didn't hate themselves. They weren't raised with the idea that they were so bad as babies and toddlers that God's miraculously born Only son had to be tortured and killed because of Them. They weren't raised to believe that they were first and foremost Flawed human beings who Needed to be saved from their degraded state. The assumptions were so subtle that when I tried bringing up a discussion about this, the Buddhists from Sri Lanka, Tiwan, China, and the person from India just didn't Get what we were trying to talk about.

I remember in one of Pema Chodron's books or talks, that a number of Western Buddhist teachers met with the Dalai Lama. They brought up the problem of Western students who mentally beat themselves up for not being good enough, or who had self-hatred to overcome. Pema Chodron said the Dalai Lama was confused, it was difficult for him to understand that Buddhists in the West Really Did Hate themselves. When all of the Western teachers agreed that this was a major problem for their students, the Dalai Lama is said to have replied that there really Must be a difference between people in the West and Tibetan people.

I remember going to an interfaith meeting where there were representatives of Islam, Judeaism, Christianity, and Bahaai faiths. I asked if these faiths believed in original sin. Everyone said no except the Christian minister. My best understanding of his answer was something like, "We don't think of it that way anymore, but yah, it's in the Bible." I took this to mean it isn't Stressed in some more liberal Christian denominations, but that it Was still a non-stressed part of their belief system.

People have asked me how I account for evil, if I'm not a Christian. I think human nature has in it the potential to do tremendous good And tremendous Harm. And I have to say that the ways in which religion is often used by politically ambitious people does a lot of Harm, in my opinion. I respect those people of any religion who try to Live it in Actions, Instead of just Talking about it. And I am not interested in trashing the religion of anyone, even when I completely disagree with some of its beliefs.

But although I am far from perfect, Not "enlightened" Not a Buddha, I am simply Not willing to hate or harm myself for a deity. Does this mean I won't give up a thing I want? No. If someone is in need I will try to hep. Does this mean I think I have the right to do anything I want? Of Course Not. I believe a person can be moral and compassionate without a belief system which teaches them to dislike themselves.

And I believe self-hatred causes Damage, Serious Damage. I know many people who will say they don't hate themselves, they just Accept the fact that they are condemned sinners unless . . . the rest of what they must do depends upon their religion and denomination.

But to me, believing one is truly damned, not good enough, is self-dislike, at Least. I can remember being so small and scared that I couldn't stay awake in church. But I awoke when the preacher yelled, "and he that believeth not shall be Damned" and whacking the pulpet a couple of times. Ok, so the Mo. Ozarks are said to be the "buckle of the Bible belt" and you don't attend a religious service like that. But Are you ok, as a falible human being with your God? Or do you have to accept that you never Will be deserving of His love and compassion unless you . . .

Sometimes I feel very conflicted. I have friends of differing relitions and of no religion. They are All kind, smart, Moral, Caring, people. I know some of them who have been Extremely kind to me would be Horrified at my beliefs, as I am at their beliefs. So the only thing I know to do is let them be who they are, including when they do something for a religious reason, and Not be who I am. For all the talk of "sharing our faith" by those who want to convert others, I find no one Really wants to "share". What they want is to find out what I believe and why I believe it so they can point out how I am wrong and They are Right, depending upon backing from the sacred book or books of their faith. But I may not Believe that these books are absolutely true Or a good guide for my life.

I get tired of keeping my mouth shut. The thing is that everyone who "shares" his/her religion seems to think it is the First time I have listened. Wrong! But if I "shared" my beliefs it probably Would be the first time anyone had heard it.

When religion promotes honest self-examination and Questioning, when it promotes Tolerance and Kindness toward one's self And others, I'm for it, if it makes a person's life more meaningful.

But when it forbids questions, crushes Healthy self-acceptance and self-love, Or crushes love of others who don't share its beliefs, I think it is a negative force in society.

My beliefs are based on what I think is true for me, and I have no wish to convert anyone. I wish I could receive the same respect from others. But the structure of many religions or their sacred texts works Directly Against Respect for Anyone who disagrees. Believers are Told to Convert others to please god. So I live with a level of frustration which I usually try to keep to myself. But, obviously, not tonight.

I will delete any E-mails aimed at conversion. It is Not the first time I have heard what Christians, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Seventh Day Adventists believe. I am glad your faith comforts and makes you happy and kind. This is worthy of respect and so are you. Please try to show me the same respect.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Waking Up!

Yesterday I completely screwed up my schedule, though I got through it all right. So How did I get through Christmas? A little too much to drink before bed, (I wake up during the night anyway) and Way too much Sugar, which I rarely eat. I was feeling physically ill yesterday and had to go over my mistakes. I've already mentioned three, counting the schedule screw ups.

Of course I knew that Ann wouldn't be here for Christmas, but somehow that was Completely disconnected in my mind from how much Christmas month (we stretched it) food I bought. So yesterday the small cheese blocks went into the freezer. Cheese freezes well (unless it is cream cheese) and thaws slowly, no unauthorized raids on it. In went the coffee cake too. It might not have a nice texture when thawed, but it should still taste good.

How long had it been since I had eaten my anti-cancer diet, taken researched vitamins, about a week and a half, changed that yesterday, too. Back to the old regime. Bought Only Healthy groceries, no drink or two before bed last night. Today, what I need to get done is clear in my mind.

Guess I didn't do as well as I thought at getting through Christmas. Why? A couple of times I have descended into pain so bad it physically hurt, all the way through my chest, throat, and stomach. These are the times I have cried. It still takes a lot to make me cry. Fear of that kind of pain is why I ran away. I am Thankful I Didn't blow money on things I don't want or need. The food will keep and can be eaten slowly over time. I'm Glad no one showed up at my door and that I didn't forget to delete unidentified E-mails. But I did not do as well as I thought. The only thing there is to do is what I have done, straighten out my eating and drinking habits and try again. Before Ann died I had between two and four drinks a year, in family gatherings. It's been harder since she died, more like a drink each week or two, Until I discovered alcoholic eggnog I liked, Yum! Good alone or in coffee, and Full of sugar. Nothing wrong with any of this, in moderation. Just have to get Back to moderation, which began yesterday. Have to watch it New Years Eve and day, a time of reflection for Ann and me in the past. Don't know if I Want to reflect too much on this past year.

It is ridiculously warm here now, but we have gotten a little ice, two days ago. (And you think the weather is changeable in Chicago?) I feel terror of the snow we still may get. Ann was found under it. It fills up all of the curbs, covers sidewalks and holes in the yard which are tactile landmarks, and freezes gates shut. Dreading finding my way around in it, with no one to yell for if I get lost. Will just have to call for help on my cell phone.

So, like it or not, I am awake again and thinking more. I am glad. When I look back over the week or two before Christmas, it's scary.
It's not like any big deal, when judged against people who grew up drinking and are often disorganized. But being blind means I Need to be organized and I didn't grow up with any liquor at home. What scares me isn't what I did, but that I didn't even notice. As someone who has been through two rounds of cancer surgeries and chemotherapy, I feel a Need to pay more attention to what I eat and drink than most people do. Now I Need to find that audio book I don't remember borrowing from the library, if I don't want to pay for it.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas and After

Spent some time yesterday with a kind friend who also did not want to be alone on Christmas. It helped. Instead of Christmas traditional we had a small block of cheese with sun dried tomatoes and pesto on crackers or blue corn chips, coffee with sugar-free flavored syrup, and pumpkin butter cake. We listened to one another's favorite songs, some of them, and discussed how creative people in hideous circumstances were. It began because I was researching unusual instruments. My friend plays a psaltery (hope that spelling is right.) I enjoyed listening to it and a lap harp I have which she played with a cheat sheet under the strings. I told her about some of the instruments made by the blues artist Super Chickan, including a six string Didly Bow, a Chickantar (guitar using a gas can for a body, if I understand right) and the car muffler used in a concert by Homemade Jamz Blues Band, which blew up during concert, yet they were Still able to perform. We talked about how African American slaves were forcibly separated from their musical instruments and how (talking drums) work. They found a way to beat on shipping crates at different places on the crates, to create messages. My friend is a metal worker and has worked with wood, cardboard, many materials, to make three dimensional designs for classes. She decided to make a didly bow. Sorry about my spelling, I haven't read this instrument's name in Braille.

When she left I felt like a smothering blanket settled on me. I sang a couple of songs from my "venting tape" and it helped a bit. Then I ate more cake than I should and napped, Bad Combination! But when I woke, about an hour later, I felt some better. By the end of the day I was reading, sewing and drinking green tea which was flavored. The plain stuff just tastes like drinking the front yard and I don't like it.

Whoever sent me E-mails with no name attached, just a string of numbers should know I delete All e-mails without a name I recognize. Also, if I Do recognize the name and open the mail I Won't click on an eclosed link, unless its purpose is clearly explained. I Don't Appreciate such mail and also Delete it!

Staying away from stores today, no interest in fighting through after Christmas sales, exchanges and complaints, etc.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Joy to the World,
All the boys and girls now,
Joy to the Christmas shoppers at a mall,
We're so glad we ain't with you all!

This was a harmonized answering machine message which Ann and I used to do between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It still makes me smile, even though I have no one to sing harmony with. Of course, for you young ones, it was sung to "Joy to the World" by the rock group Three Dog Night.

I am Grateful for some pleasant memories which help me to survive Christmas, so far. This is one of them.

Sometime during this Fall National Public Radio (NPR) had a "What is your favorite sound" question. The sounds people submitted tended to be more complex than one of my most favorite sounds. I love the sound of a floppy-eared dog shaking its head. I don't know why, perhaps because my two Seeing Eye Dogs were both Labradors, but that particular sound always makes me happy. It's funny when a little dog does this, because the sound is so Different than big ears flapping.

I also love the sound of our Mourning Doves flying. It's a funny sound, unlike any other. Kind of like a tiny helicopter taking off, but another totally unique sound.

It's cold here now, and every night I am Thankful for Heat and a roof over my head. I hope my small food donations have helped someone eat better. I try to donate throughout the year, but once the gardens die back I really pay more attention to it.

With the economy in its current state, think I will have a garden with some friens this year. But for now it is wonderful to have a warm bed to sleep in. Some of our nights have Been "three dog nights" (it takes three dogs sleeping around you to keep you warm).

I read a book once which described this season of the year well. Read it as a kid, so cannot remember the name properly. The book said that Christmas tore poor families to pieces. All the things you wish for your kids and can't provide, all of the special foods other people have, all of the warm family relationships shown on TV or in store windows, etc. For those who, for emotional or physical reasons will be Enduring Christmas, my heart is with you.
That is why
I wish each of you the best Christmas you can have, or the best Hanukkah or Kwaanza. I hope things turn out Better than you expect!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Learning to Cry

I am learning to cry! For people who already Do cry this may seem like an altogether sad thing. It's true, I am learning to cry out of loneliness, sadness, and anger because Ann isn't here. But I got the ability to cry driven out of me so early that it is something I haven't been able to do but once, since the night Ann died. I have wanted to cry often, felt the tightness in my throat, pain in my chest and stomach, but tears just wouldn't come. It helps to live alone, for me anyway, to learn to cry. For years I defined the presence of other people, Any other people, as unsafe. Ann is almost the only person I have cried in front of, since my father died when I was 15.

Last night I finished the third "Harry Potter" book, in which Harry was told that his father was alive in him. Ann and I were not related. So I wondered if I could find her traits which might have rubbed off, in the 30 years we were friends, and which were now a part of me. I remembered getting those taped books after my cancer diagnosis, when neither of us was sure I could tolerate chemotherapy and live. People in this area of the state were Still trying to get the books banned from the libraries, but our friends had thoroughly enjoyed them. My older sister, knowing my health outlook wasn't promising, asked if there was anything I really wanted. I really wanted to read those books! So I got them with her help.

After remembering this I remembered things Ann and I discussed about the books, the good lessons we thought they could offer kids, like, best friends quarrell sometimes, people under pressure are more likely to snap in anger, and there Are things worse than dying, like the dementors.

Then I started to cry because it had been enough years since we read the books together that if Ann were alive, she would have enjoyed our reading them together again, as I am enjoying rereading them.

And, knowing Ann was not physically present, I talked to her anyway, telling her how nothing filled the hole she had left in my life and that often life just feels like going through the motions, or living in a hollow shell, which I did not care much about. I said I wanted her to be happy. I also said I was angry with her for dying.

Then I realized I had been crying and was surprised. I am actually Thankful for this Pain Release Valve, even if it only helps temporarily. Over time, I suppose it will begin to relieve the degree of pain I feel. That is what I am told, anyway. It isn't pleasant, but I am Glad to be getting back a human ability taken from me so many years ago by cruelty.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Feeling better today, don't know why, but Thankful! Wish I could cut out doll clothing patterns made by Ann, I actually hhave a bit of time to sew.

Still haven't gotten refund from Gallery for 18 inch dolls Not useful to blind child. On their site, they say complete refund is given for any reason. They do Not specifically say doll's hair can never be brushed or washed under water, or that wire under stuffing connects legs and arms to body, etc. I returned them in perfect condition, they have had them back for a while. Keep "losing" my information. Have contacted them Five times now. Annoying.
For those of you who celebrate Christmas, have a safe, warm, and Happy Christmas.
For those who might not celebrate it, enjoy your time off, be safe and warm.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Bummer, Mostly

Nothing can fill the hole a loved person who dies leaves in your life. I have distracted myself with things, with food I really don't need to eat, with keeping quite busy. I shall Endure Christmas with another person with a visit from someone who, like me, wishes it would go away. This does not mean I wish to spoil anyone elses fun. It is simply all I know to do. A listserv of people to which I belong is all sharing Christmas plans. The military families among them are understandably worried about and missing their loved ones. I Deeply Hope they All make it home safely. Lots of people have it worse than me. But I wouldn't wish even This on anyone!

One Good thing about the Buddhist belief in impermanence (constant change, nothing lasts forever, even what we call the Self it constantly changing and hopefully growing) is the knowledge that I Can get through this, as I have gotten through so many other things. It just doesn't Feel that way right now. I crave, am attached, to things which I Know won't make me feel better in the long run, but Will provide some distraction value. Yet I am getting tired of trying to distract myself, just beginning to let myself feel as rotten as I feel. But where is the balance? I still walk for a mile or two, several times weekly. It helps. Still feel happy when the sun touches my face, and still try to remember to take the vitamins which have helped in keeping me cancer free. I can be quite busy and still feel bored, like the routine of my life never changes, just gets more or less busy. Doesn't feel like enough, but it will have to be until my situation changes or I learn something new which helps me to understand it differently. One good thing, I sewed a doll dress and have most of the decorations on it done. Many dark and cloudy days, I'll be glad to see the Sun return, whenever that happens. Finches and canary don't sing on days like these either. Wish I hibernated, sometimes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Unwanted Visitor, Bleeping Smoke Detector, obnoxious calls, This Weekend

Sucky weekend. Friday night I was cooking a pot of chili in a slow cooker left on all night. It hasn't done this before, probably because I had slow cooker sitting on cabinet, not stove. But smoke detector kept bleeping, as if it was giving low battery warning all night. Even this bleep was loud. The dog freaked, jumping and waking up scared every time the damned thing went off.

I spent more than an hour movint a step stool down the hallway and climbing up to feel the walls and ceilings in the area where smoke detector Should be. Zilch. Found a defunct doorbell speaker, all of the lights I already knew about, no smoke detector. No sleep either!

Sat. night, for the Second Sat. night running, a man I don't know came to our door. I opened door on chain, he just stood there. Finally I said "What do you want?" and he guessed he got the wrong house. Dog barked when the man came to door. And as soon as door was opened on chain, stuck his nose out. Yeah dog!

For the week in between these weekends, I have been getting calls where person won''t identify themselves. I let answering machine pick it up, just noise, always noise in background, someone thumping on table or desk where their phone is, etc. left on machine. Calls were every 2 to 3 hours, from around 8 A.M. to nearly 11:00 P.M.

Finally in rage, as I happened to be nearest phone, I snatched it up near end of a hard week, and snaped "Stop calling me!" Calls stopped, except for the morning one.

But today got two calls again.

Sat. a kind friend came over helped me find smoke detectors, in not usual places. Battery tested all of them, they are fine. No more putting slow cooker on plug behind stove. But at least now I can find all detectors.

Will call phone company tomorrow, switch my number, get Talking caller I.D.?

Today a friend came over to check outdoor lights (not suficient but used) were working and grill over window still in place. Unclear communication led to me missing Christmas concert in which my niece had a solo. Sleep? Not enough.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

One's Purpose in Life

I read once a book called "Voices of Our Ancestors" by Dhyani Ywahoo. In it she said that each person had to figure out why they were here. She suggested looking at ones talents and as I get older, I have also looked at what things keep happening in my life. What is easy to do that I keep doing?

The "problem" about this is that one's purpose in life may Not be what one Wants it to be. Native peoples of N. and S. America, had rituals of differing kinds to find out early in their lives what their purpose was. Also, in smaller groups and less technological cultures, parents and especially elders watched young people carefully, for the purpose of nourishing their gifts. These things don't happen in our dominant, post-industrial culture very much.

But I think I have finally figured out why I am here. I'm a bit behind traditional Cherokee people, who are believed to become fully mature adults at age 51. I am 55.

What I Want to do is run a tiny business, creating OOAK (one of a kind) original clothes for dolls. I want to sell these dolls for a price low income and middle income parents can afford, and I want a believable story to go with each doll. It is also important to me that the dolls I sell come from all kinds of ethnic and religious, and non-religious backgrounds. I never seem to run out of clothing designs or stories.

BUT, what I am Meant to do is to help people in many differing ways, who are willing to work for their Own benefit. It might be encouraging a very bright person to go back to college, talking about it with them. It might be helping someone trying to overcome past trauma from abuse. It might be teaching Braille free of charge. It might be offering informal counseling, or connecting people to the right resources. It might be writing about how we can donate relatively cheap, healthier foods to a food pantry.

I'm not aware of a particular name fo what I do. It's a combination of social work and teaching. But whenever I begin having too much time to sew or to spend by myself, someone always comes along who needs something I can give. Sometimes it is food, sometimes something less tangible.

But in Each case the person is doing their Own emotional work. All I do is be a friend in the best way I know how. Don't misunderstand, I'm not saying I am always successful, or great at anything, but I seem to be a good support person for those I know. And being, as Ann and I were, a transportation hub for things to travel through to those who need them is part of this job.

This is really a personal journal entry which probably Doesn't belong online. But it Is something I would have discussed with Ann, if she were alive here. And that is why I started this blog in the first place.

I did not have any sudden revelation or grand experience in realizing why I'm here. But I was told about some affordable apartments by one friend and happened to be talking to another who needs to move and is paying more for her one bedroom apartment than the two bedroom ones I'd just learned about cost. Someone called me needing tolearn Braille mathematical symbols. This person has been through awful medical problems and is wondering why They are here, as they had always wanted to get married and have kids. We ended up talking a long time. This individual's disability has effected their social life, including dating and marriage to a large extent.

So within one day these two small things happened, I will be teaching (as well as I can) Braille math symbols and rules, and hopefully providing emotional support to someone who is bright and willing to work for themselves. As I look at my life, I see that Something like this happens nearly every day. Some relationships I have are based on my willingness to give. Others are mutual, where I receive assistance as well. I will spend part of Christmas day with a friend who is in a difficult emotional place, but who gives back and whose company I enjoy. We will eat mostly junk, talk and laugh when we can, and pretend it isn't Christmas. I am glad to have a Friend to hang out with, since Ann will be gone.

I hope this makes sense, I think I know why I'm here, though it isn't why I Thought I was here or what I had planned.

Today was a day off, did hours of hand sewing (I do this better than machine sewing) cooking soup with cooked beans donated by a friend, and reading (audio) Harry Potter book. But tomorrow I'll be hanging out with someone.

I think sometimes a person's job is to Heal themselves, and in that process, to help others in various ways. It doesn't fit this culture well, or our outward plans, does it? f

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Native American dolls WHERE?

For Months now I have been searching for a Native American doll which a blind child can play with! Ain't none, at least, Not so Far. Most of the Native American or "Indian" series Barbies (2 different series) don't look Native American. And the doll I'm looking for would, ideally be larger anyway. It's kind of Hard to hug a Barbie, hard plastic, and too small if you are over 4 or so.

The problem I keep running into is, new paint job, SAME FACES! Ok, it saves the company money, I get it, but Really! My doll expert who has been Incredibly patient has helped me look through Amazon, (lots of cute Native babies there, even one with an older face.) American Girl, Out of the Question money wise, Hearts for Hearts Girls, (contributing to the charity World Vision) Paradise Galleries, (beautiful face sculpts, but hair can't be handled much or brushed at all, upper arms and legs are sometimes wire covered with stuffing and cloth, could break if moved too much) Journey Girls, (good substitute for American Girl for about one third the price, except that price has gone up $5 or more this week for Late Christmas shoppers. No Native Americans and the Same Basic Face Shape, but different hair.) So far, the Only possibilities are at Dolls Like Me, and Maybe Ebay, but they need a good eyeballing from the patient pro. Oh, I've also checked BFC Inc. (Best Friends Club, Inc.) large dolls. No Native Americans, but two differing face shapes. Karito Kids, a doll from Mexico, no Native dolls.

Of course, the reality is that all Kinds of people have Native ancestry. There are Latino Native Americans, African American Native Americans, European looking Native Americans, and Asian American Native Americans, and every other kind of Native person I may have left out. What I am looking for is a minimum 13 inch, maximum 22 inch doll whose Native ancestry shows, as in dark, mostly straight hair, a skin tone somewhere in the medium range, and a pair of dark hazel, or brown eyes. Ideally, the doll would have a face in which Some Native ancestry showed, and it Could be Played With by Touch!

Carpatina has a doll they call a "Japanese school girl" with auburn hair and hazel eyes, hu? And this doll looks, according to both the pro doll expert And Dolls Like Me, like a racially mixed person with some Native ancestry. She may be my choice, or a "multi-ethnic" Corolle doll who looks like a Native American, Pacific Islander, Southeast Asian, (she could pass as any of these) according to Dolls Like Me, a cool site. This doll is a bit small at 13 tall, but she may have to do.

I noticed an interesting thing while doing this search. There are NO Native American Boys or Male dolls. I remember the author Vine DeLoria, Jr. (Standing Rock Sioux) who wrote "Custer Died for Your Sins" and many other books, writing that Native men were viewed as wild animals, wild life, and therefore dangerous. True in dolly land. There are some dancing Native male action figures but Coco`um is the only Native male doll I have seen who has been allowed to grow beyond 6 inches tall. From the statics onasaults on Native women by non-Native men, I think we can Guess what Native Girls are thought to be.

And people wonder why there is a "self-image problem" among Native kids?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Living in the air, I fear falling.
My life has no roots anymore.
There are sighted people in the dark whom I can't see.
There are sharp-eared people in the night whom I can't hear.
You had my back, no it's bare.
If I shout for help, no one's there.
But most I miss the Feeling of your presence,
Your voice, your hands, your laugh, the times we shared.
The absence of Ann leaves me abAnndoned.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Comfort Books

In order Not to have more comfort foods than I Do, I substitute dolls, and books. Ann and I read the Harry Potter series in audio because, of course, there was a major effort to ban these books from some local libraries. Ban a book, you make people Want to read it to see Why! And although a comentator on the BBC stated that he just Couldn't understand What an adult could see in these books, Ann and I enjoyed them thoroughly. They are full of normal kid behavior to make one laugh, as well as good basic concepts, what helps us face fears, when something good is accomplished, a sacrifice is usually made by someone, NO, Not a Blood sacrifice, get a grip. They also demonstrate how kids' friendships change over the years and how these difficult changes can be dealt with. Lessons like, you can be driven mad by your desires for the future and forget to live today, are also there. Besides, I had a house parent at blind school who reminds me Very much of Delores Umbridge, a Great name for the type.

My two comfort series are quite different. I wish the last book in the Harry Potter series had been divided into two books, with more detail. But it is what I think of as my "kid comfort series." And J. R. R. Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is my "teenage comfort series." Ann Loved the beauty of Tolkein's Elvish, and so do I. I love parts of his "The Sylmarillion" (Sorry, never read thi title in Braille) not just for the interesting mythology, but for the beauty of the language!

So right now, as this depressing Christmas draws near without Ann's presence to share it with, I'm sewing and rereading " Harry Potter" series whenever I get the chance. a Comfort book and pleasant activity, whenever I get the chance.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Dreamer and the Dream

The Dreamer and the Dream

One thing I love about good Science Fiction is the way it plays with ideas. When Deep Space Nine was airing Ann and I tried not to miss it. But I must have missed this one. The writing for that show is so Consistently Good it Still amazes me!

I cannot tell you the name of the episode, as that is flashed across the screen or written in print, (not my language) on the box.

But I will tell you About it. Guessing from the music, it was set in the 1940's or possibly the 1950's in a large city, possibly Harlem, though it might have been any large city with a segregated African American community. I don't know where that era's Sci. Fi. Pulp fiction was published in magazine serial form, but it was a city which had such a publisher.

Captain Benjamin Sisco of Deep Space Nine is in the middle of what feels like a Hopeless war with a superior enemy force which seeks Total Control of All of our quadrant of known space. He has just lost Another good friend, a ship's captain and his crew to this foe who would make all subservient to them or dead. When his father comes to visit from Earth it is because he is seriously worried about his son.

Captain Sisco collapses and his brain shows an incredibly High level of synaptic (nerve interaction) activity. Is he dreaming, having interactions with those known as "the prophets?"

A young, talented African American writer begins to write of a time 400 years in the future. He dreams of a station in space, whirling among the stars. And the Captain, like himself, is African American. But there are all Kinds of humanoids there, some tall, some short with big earlobes, and shape shifters, too. He writes so brilliantly that it all becomes believable, but . . .

The other Sci. Fi. Writers, (including a woman who must write as a man in order to get published) love his work! His girl friend owns a restaurant and wants him to get into another line of work, one that Pays!

But he Knows his work is good and either it can't leave Him alone or He cannot leave it. There are arguments with the magazine editor where All he has to do is Make his Captain White! But he can't do it, it isn't the truth living inside him.

Periodically he meets an African American man on the street who keeps giving him cryptic advise which always boils down to "write your truth from inside of you". I can't tell you if this man is a preacher or a homeless man, as I couldn't see him.

The magazine's editor keeps arguing that this young African American man can't have his picture on the periodical's cover along with the white Men, because the public "isn't ready to accept Negro and women writers." When our young writer mentions W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, and others, the editor dismisses him by saying such authors are Only read by educated, liberal people, Not the general public. But Finally a story is written which is So good that even the editor can't resist. He agrees to get it published!

The young writer joyfully Celebrates with his girl friend and his friends who Want to read more of his work and See his name in print, even If the pay is crumbs.

When this writer happily enters the editor's office next he is told that his story is not going to be published and that the magazine owner has ordered the editor to fire him. As his stories about white people Have been published, the other writers for the magazine argue on his behalf. Everyone Knows it's the color of his skin and his insistence on African American characters in "white roles". Which have seen his work trashed and our writer unemployed, on the street, and possibly in danger of losing the girl he loves. At the end of this scene the young writer is broken, sobbing, insisting that all he has written Is Real.

On the street once again, he meets the man who guides him. This time he is Told that He, the young gifted black writer Is both the dreamer and the Dream.

Captain Sisco wakes as his brain returns to a normal level of activity. After experiencing what everyone refers to as his "dream" of struggle in the past, he decides he is where he is meant to be and that he will continue to struggle in his time, 400 years After the time of his "dream." But he, like us, must wonder if his Current reality is the dream.

This episode, like "Sanctuary" (written about earlier) was so convincingly acted that I was in deep pain, starting to cry along with that young man when his dream was broken and his gifts thrown aside.

Once I came back to my reality, I'm afraid my first thought was, "Hell, who dreamed up This mess of a life?"

Then I thought about the belief of Buddhists and Some Native Americans that we are all children of a common dream. Our dreams weave together to make our common shared reality. I wondered how far back, how long ago a totally blind, hearing impaired person had to dream big in order for me to be using a machine that could talk loudly enough and send my words to people I don't know, across spaces I cannot physically travel.

Sorry if this copied from "Word"" in a chopped up fashion.

Friday, December 9, 2011

You Called Me a What?

I don't choose friends on the basis of their sexual preference. So I have straight friends, "don't touch me" friends, lesbian nd gay friends. But for some reason I have had two gay men friends, at different times, call me a name I resent. The name is "fag hag."

When I asked a gay friend what the deal was, (he doesn't call people names) he said he thought the word "fag" was about self-hatred. And if one hates one's self, it is easier to label others, too.

I remember one friend who has chosen not to continue as a friend, saying something like, "oh, you fag hags are all alike. You hang around then desert us as soon as you get a boyfriend." What actually happened is that He started dating boyfriends and disappeared.

Neither he nor any gay man will be called a "fag" by me. This is conservative rural country where such a word is not a proud reclaiming of identity. And I am Not a Hag. Like everybody else, I have faults and good qualities. But my faults don't make me a Hag.

What brought up this topic was that my friend who Doesn't call names was recounting a conversation where a disabled woman called herself a "fag hag." I stopped the conversation, saying I didn't like this term and asked what he thought it really meant. His first reply was something like, "Well, she called herself that, she's had several gay friends." My response is So What? Over the years I have had several gay friends. The two who called me "fag hag" both disappeared. One of them stayed rent free in my mobile home while putting himself through nursing school. I was helping Ann in her home, to try and cope with disability, school, and work. So I was happy to give him a roof when he lost his factory job and decided to work his way through school. He too found a boyfriend, at which point I became expendable, and vanished.

I understand that when people are working on a romantic relationship it takes up most of their time and all of their interest. But the next time someone uses that name for me I will stop the conversation then and there to discuss it. And I would guess That person will disappear. Better sooner than later, I think, less painful.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Food Donations Can Contribute to Illness

The Sanskrit word for a group of people trying to live by the Buddha's teachings is Sangha. The mail below is something which really happened and which I sent as a reaction to it.

Dear Sangha,
A friend of mine went to a food pantry. I was told that all of the women there,
needing food were overweight, had bad skin, and looked exhausted. When my friend
got food the reason why might have been at least partially explained. What had
been donated for the pantry to give out was all starchy, processed food. My friend
was thankful to get anything at all. But said, when I asked, that she got things
like white bread, cheap cake mixes, instant macaroni and cheese, and similar foods.
If we have the money ourselves to eat something better, it would be an inexpensive
kindness to donate more healthy foods. Brown rice, old fashioned oatmeal, dry beans,
lentils, and split peas are all relatively cheap. For fruit pinapple in its own
juice is available, as are peaches packed in pear juice. Raisins are a relatively
cheap dried fruit.
For those who eat meat a can of tuna, chicken, or even a package of all meat bologna,
(not the most healthy of foods) would contain more protein than my friend received
in any single food packet given. Peanut butter contains sugar, but it also has
protein. A can of peanuts has protein without the sugar.
Basic cooking ingredients like spices,olive or canola oil, artificial sweetener,
dark molasses, or honey, salt, cornmeal or whole wheat flour might also help.
Beverages such as flavored tea in teabags can be a real treat. In Only my opinion,
powdered milk doesn't taste as good as milk in a carton, but one Can cook with it.
Old fashioned cocoa is delicious on a Winter night,(as is cocoa mix) and popcorn
cooked on the stove is good too.
I'm not trying to crusade against all mixes or canned foods. I'm saying
I believe that a diet of only these things contributes to ill health.
If the pantry has freezer facilities, frozen veggies are available which don't
contain the same salt, sugar, and other aditives which are in canned foods.
It is my hope that we can still donate to food pantries and try to be aware, mindful of
what we are giving the people in our communities to eat. Before donating something
it might help to ask, "Would I want to eat that?"
I'm not telling anyone What to eat. But as someone who has had to rely on gifts
of food in the past I feel that for those who have no choice but to eat what we
give them, more mindful giving will do two things. It can help alleviate a feeling
of deprivation and anger, and offer better health if we donate foods with some
variety and quality
Thank you for considering these words.

Sorry this came out so chopped up, copied from my E-mail. I hope it makes sense to anyone kind enough to read it.


Anger in Grief

Besides feeling angry or frustrated that Ann is not here to help me, there was a bunch of stuff I hit yesterday. I don't like taking dog out at night with no one to call to in the house, if I need help. And I must have entered the angry stage of grieving. Ann had every right to leave, whenever her spirit decided it was time. An accident may be an accident or it just may be the way a person's spirit's chooses, of leaving. I am not wise enough to decide which Ann's death was.

Yesterday started with a dentist appointment. Evidently I've been grinding my teeth in my sleep enough to bruise the bone underneath. Glad I put a bit of Ann's life insurance money ahead for a dentist or I'd have had one hell of a bill, but I didn't. Everyone in that dentist's office is extremely kind and patient with me making payments. So I am Not complaining about them in any way. Just feel frustrated with the circumstance, fried my prepayment to find out I was doing something in my sleep. Will have to go back onto the payment system when something Really serious is wrong.

Then a dear friend took me shopping for groceries. We both forgot the adds for luxuries like pumpkin bread, a pound of salmon on sale, and cheap cat litter, which Ain't a luxury. I did not sleep well at all the night before. Sometimes I look forward to something so much I feel very angry when it doesn't work out. I couldn't seem to stop this feeling, so, I determined Not to take it out on my friend. After all, I make mistakes too, I didn't think to ask if we had the add. And my friend has been very kind!

Kept my inner temper tantrum to myself. Then someone I care about a lot came over. Ann and I used to be a "transportation hub." By this I mean that if we got something we did not need we worked, investing time to find out what social agency or individual Did need it. I have decided to try and continue this tradition. Sometimes I just have a feeling that a specific object is going to, or Should go to a specific person. The person who came over needed a thing which I'd been keeping, which had belonged to Ann. I let it go with difficulty, even though I know I will do fine without it. Considered it a good practice for nonattachment. Just as not taking my internal tantrum out on my friend was a good practice in patience. So far as I know, neither of them has ever read this blog. One doesn't know about it, the other is too busy and overwhelmed with struggles and duties.

Then I thought about having a room mate again. And instead of sadness, memories of how Ann and I couldn't or didn't meet one another's needs came bubbling up. Logically, it is not the job of one person to meet the emotional needs of another. In real life, when people live together, this is hopefully Some of what they try to do. I began remembering all the things we each had to adjust to about the other. I am not willing to move, told my new landlord when I rented in June this year that I meant to stay a long time, and I do. A room mate with pets, who does art, who eats differently than I do, we would need a bigger house. I use one bedroom to sleep in and one to work in, sewing, beading, storing fabric and dolls, etc. That leaves one room for the bird' cage, , a file cabinet for papers and a love seat which folds out into a bed for company. This house either needs one occupant with a lot of stuff who works from home, or a cohesive family unit with two parents, where at least one works Away from home, and a school age kid. I became angrier, realizing I need time to heal, don't want another room mate.

You can be best friends with someone, but until you Live with them there is still a Lot you cannot know! Do they snore loudly? Do they pick up their books and clothing? Do they leave food sitting out to spoil? Do they do their share of the work? Do they eat food You bought, without asking permission?

What if one of you has more income than the other and so pays more, a larger share, of the bills? Does That person have a right to have any say over how much electricity is used? Do you have any access to one another's credit cards? What if one person has more credit than another? Does someone like to watch TV loud at night or play music loud in the morning to help them get going? What if you don't like or trust one another's friends? Do either of you have stinky feet? Does one person jump into an adventure out of curiosity while the other holds back so much they have to be forced to change by circumstances?,. And if one of you finds a boyfriend or girlfriend, can they bring that person home to spend the night? And can you each let the other person be who they are and Not expect them or push them to change into who you need or Want them to be?

Ann and I had to struggle with some, but not all of these questions. We both ate similarly, had our own rooms, agreed not to bring guests home for the night, and neither of us stole from the other. We were both night owls, who worked hard to cope with a day time schedule. We generally liked the same kinds of music. We helped one another as best we could and became better at it with time. But it was a real struggle for many years, as we were very different kinds of people from differing social classes and backgrounds. I don't know of any two people who worked harder than we did to make a life together. And I know of very few people who work as hard, married or not.

I do not want to do such Hard Work again, in addition to learning to cope with my own life separate from Ann and trying to find out who I might be as an unpartnered individual.

Today I woke thinking, "I don't want another day!" but Wendi, my friend and healthcare aide is so patient and easy to work with that she made the day painless and comfortable, I am Thankful to her!

Writing Christmas cards (Wendi has beautiful handwriting, I have to type) was very hard. But we're almost done, yeah! I don't begrudge Anyone a Christmas card, but it was hard to think of what to say without the help of someone who also knew the people in my family. I feel tired nearly all of the time. So much to think and feel!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why is Google Considering Quitting Chamber of Commerce?

I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat. Your political preferences aren't my business and I put this info. here only for your consideration. Please consider it. Thank you.
Click here to sign your name:
"Google, stand up for democracy and your users—quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce!"
Sign the Petition!
Dear MoveOn member,
Right now we have a huge opportunity to deal what's being called a "serious blow
to one of Washington's most powerful lobbies."
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an army of lobbyists for hire by mega-corporations
like banks and those in the fossil fuel industry.
In 2009, it spent more corporate money on lobbying than the next five biggest spenders
And 93% of its campaign spending goes to support Republicans and attack Democrats.
Google is a paying member of the Chamber, which means that part of the money they
make from Google users—ordinary people like us using Gmail, Google search, and other
Google products—goes into the Chamber's pockets to fight for Wall Street and Big
Oil. But the
Washington Post
and Politico recently reported that
at Google headquarters, employees are intensely debating whether Google should quit
the Chamber in the next few weeks.
Google quitting would be a huge blow to the Chamber's credibility. That's why we're
partnering with SumOfUs, a new movement to give consumers a voice in corporate decisions,
to make the case to Google that they should leave the Chamber. As Google users, we
can help those Google employees make their case.
Sign the petition now from Google users to Google employees to ask them to stand up for us and our democracy by quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Google's unofficial motto is "Don't Be Evil." And they want to do what's right for
their users.
But by staying in the Chamber, they're legitimizing an institution that's hurting
their users all around the world every day.
That's why we're partnering with the new organization SumOfUs to encourage Google
to leave the Chamber.
There are dozens of reasons for Google employees—and Google users—to want Google
out of the Chamber.
Google's business model relies on a free and open Internet; right now the Chamber
is pushing Congress to pass an Internet censorship bill that would empower big corporations
to shut off ordinary citizens' websites without even a hearing.
Google invests millions in renewable energy; the Chamber has called for a "Scopes
monkey trial" to assault the science of climate change.
Google leads the world in workplace policies supporting LGBT employees; the Chamber
fights against basic anti-discrimination laws.
The Chamber's power rests on its credibility as a voice for business. When Apple
quit the Chamber in 2009 for ideological reasons, it made headlines all over the
If Google quits, it will be huge news and will undermine the Chamber's influence
in Washington.
Google users are the 99%. The Chamber is the 1%.
Join the call now for Google to be a champion for its users all over the world by
quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:
Thanks for all you do.
–Daniel, Julia, Elena, Peter, and the rest of the team
1. "Google mulls divorcing Chamber of Commerce," Politico, November 4, 2011
2. "New Lobbying Reports Show Big Business Keeps Spending to Influence Politics,"
Center for Responsive Politics, January 21, 2010
3. "The U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Leading the Charge in Electing a Republican Congress,"
U.S. Chamber Watch (PDF), November 2010
4. "Google mulls divorcing Chamber of Commerce," Politico, November 4, 2011
5. "Sopa condemned by web giants as 'internet blacklist bill,'"
The Guardian, November 16, 2011
6. "Way Behind the Curve," The New York Times
, September 29, 2009
7. "The U.S. Chamber: Not a Friend to LGBT Businesses," U.S. ChamberWatch, April
25, 2011
8. "Apple Leaves U.S. Chamber Over Its Climate Position,"
Washington Post, October 6, 2009
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Unwelcome Visit, Snow

Last night a man I don't know came to the door at about 8:00 P.M. He said he was here to meet Another man I don't know. I explained, truthfully, that I sometimes got calls for this person but had never met him. This was a rent house, I said, rented at the end of last June, and I had never met the person he was looking for. The guy didn't sound like he believed me and I was left wondering if he planned to come back later.

I am used to hearing nothing at night, when I usually remove my hearing aids. But slept with a hearing aid in, jumping at every noise, (furnace coming on, cat moving about) and had bad dreams. All I could think about was drugs not delivered by the person being looked for. Bad night.

But I'm ok today, mostly. This is our first snow, (not much either) and Ann died under the snow. Hard to avoid thinking about it as I go outside, hoping it hasn't covered all sidewalks, yet. Sometime this Winter it will. Sucks! But I've lived through it before, probably will again.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Kindle that Reads Aloud Not Usable by Blind?

One of my kind sisters tried to get me a Kindle with the "text to speech" feature on sale the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day, online. It would have cost $85 and would have allowed me to take an audio book around the house, to a Dr.'s office (using earphone) to Listen to books being read. Cool, hu?

For a totally blind person it's about as cool as a touch panel on a microwave without any tactile markings. As my sister said, "You know it works, but you don't know how."

You see, the Menus Don't Speak. To get "text to speech" one has to Visually read the menu, (look at little arrows maybe? don't know.) and Visually Choose the command for the thing to start reading. How much more expensive would it be to either use tactile markings with an audio cassette of instructions, or to make the Menus talk Too!

I may have to save up for a $300 machine if I want to listen to the latest audio books anywhere besides Sitting in the room With my computer! Gurrrrrr!

There is a state branch of NLS for Mo. and I am Very Greatful for their services! I have an Excelent reader/advisor who sends me books through the mail. But I often read more than one book at a time. Usually I'm reading a non-fiction book like "The Filter Bubble" which takes concentration with a fiction book from which I also hope to learn, but which draws me in, instead of me choosing to concentrate on it. I can clean house, wait on a Dr., sew or bead or work in the garden while listening to these books because whatever my body is doing, my mind is mostly in the book. For an intense, true story I recommend "The Hungry Tide" by Amitaz Ghosh. For fun and Christmas spirit I recommend "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blind and Sighted People How to Describe a Face

When I talk about the faces of dolls, or for that matter people, with a sighted person, I never know if we're communicating.. I have found that with dolls we usually Aren't. Sighted people are usually describing the paint job on a doll's face, and I am usually referring to the mold used. But with people, those with vision aren't so easily fooled by the "paint".

So, since sighted people see in three dimensions and I must touch in two, then assemble a complete picture in my mind, are we saying the same things when we use the same words?

When a sighted person says that a person has a "round face" are they talking about the shape of the face from right side of it to left side? Or are they saying that if I start at the forehead and trace down one side of a face, going beneath the chin and up the other side back to the forehead, the shape is basically round? Maybe they're saying that the face is round in Both of these ways and without the specifics of nose, chin, the face is like half of a sphere. Which is it, or is it different for each sighted person calling a face "round"?

Long faces are easier, I am guessing that they are long from top of forehead to bottom of chin.

Almond shaped eyes are another confuser. Only Ann, who was an artist, knew what I meant when I studied doll faces and said that some dolls had almond shapped eyes because their cheekbones tilted them up, and some had this shape because the upper eyelid came down in a curve which brought a point to the outside corner of an eye. Is this how people who are East Asian tell what country or countries a person is from or do sighted people even notice this? Some African people have almond shaped eyes, and so do some Native Americans. And in "doll world" just about Everybody does. It is confusing.

An oval face should in theory be the same width at the forehead top as at the chin, but foreheads are almost Always wider than chins, so what is an oval face?

An egg shaped face kind of makes sense, pointed end of egg is at the chin, right?

A rectangular face should be longer from forehead to chin than it is wide, I think. But where does that leave facial features? Someone might have a square face, (if you mean tracing around its outer contours) and large cheeks while another person could have the same square face and small cheeks. This may be an untranslatable language. Sometimes Ann and I ran into problems in her descriptions of art. Finally I discovered that what she was doing was showing an aspect of a thing. It could be emotion, or the imitation of the play of light and shadow on a thing or person. She liked to work with reflections of something shown and shown again in water and sometimes water and sky. I understood intelectually, but this was Out of my physical experience, completely. Still, she taught me a lot about sight and what light, shadows, and reflections can do.

High cheekbones is another problem. Cheekbones aren't the bones just below the eye, protecting the eye. on dolls they are clearly marked out, but on human faces the scale is too big to find them easily, especially if there is flesh on the face, the person isn't Super thin like a model. I have been told I have higher than usual cheekbones. I can feel them at the side of my face, making that the widest part of my face. Is that what people mean? Or do sighted people mean they can follow the cheekbone around visually and separate it, in the front of the face, under the eye protecting bone?

I will take a doll quiz. I would say if asked that the Mackey face is small and square. I have a Mackey faced Barbie from Kenya and I really Like her face! I would say that Imani dolls seem to have triangular faces. They are pointed in front and widen as you trac the sides of the face, (chin, at cheek level, and almost at forehead) back toward the hair. Are we speaking the same language? I would say that the SIS Dolls have round faces. Does this mean also that they have strong cheekbones to hold their faces in a rounded shape? On male dolls, because features are more pronounced, I can follow individual features better. Also, Disney dolls often seem to have clearer face shapes. Bell's face is kind of triangular, narrowing at the chin. The faces of Pocohontas and Coco`um have prominent cheekbones which slant their eyes, while Nacoma has a smaller, rounder face. Disney's Snow White has a basically round face while Barbie's Snow White has a longer, thinner face. I don't know what shape I'd call the face of Barbie's Snow White. a thin oval. Mulan has a lovely face, (like my Quan Yin statue) with eyes that slant because her cheekbones do. What shape is Mulan's face? It is fairly straight up and down on the sides below her forehead, but pointed in front.

Ann once said I had one of the most varied doll collections she had ever seen. I think it's because I pay attention mostly to the face and hair.

I like interesting noses that take up space, like Mulan's, Houda's a doll called Elise has a gorgeous face and nose, and I think the nose of Bionce Knowles is beautiful. Opal has a good nose and the Get Set Club dolls All had and have great faces. Then there is Cher, the Calisto doll, the Original Xena doll, all are unique and cool. It's actually easier to feel shape on a smaller doll's face (play scale) than on an 18 inch doll's face. I can get the whole face at once with an 11 or 12 inch tall figure. But I haven't ever been able to translate that understanding to my own face or to that of larger dolls. I find this Frustrating!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Visiting a Psych. Ward in the Ozarks

Today I went to visit a friend who found it necessary to visit a psych. ward for the first time. It was scary. When I worked with blind people in the prison system, they had to search anything I brought in, Braille teaching books, etc. Same here, but they let me keep my white cane. I was worried that they wouldn't. It was scary giving up my large button, amplified, cell phone. Not being able to see where the staff were, what would I do if I needed help?

I wasn't worried that the individual I visited might loose it and do something dangerous, but I couldn't see other patients in the ward.

All went well and it was hard. I was glad to visit with my friend, but it reminded me of state blind school on a weekend. There, all of the kids who were residential (lived there for months on end) were lonely, bored, and very badly in need of comfort! One instructor from the school began to bring their dog, but had to stop because both the person and dog were mobbed by desperate kids trying to touch another being from the outside.

My friend said they had not seen the sky, felt the weather for days and missed it. While we were visiting a person came over and occasionally interrupted us with questions about himself/herself. I could feel this person's need for kindness and attention and comfort. I smiled at this person while my friend talked to them by name.

I had once considered checking myself into a psych. ward and after visiting, was glad I hadn't. My friend was More than ready to leave!

What they do there is try to get someone admitted stabilized, partly with a round of activities to keep them busy. Also, they administer drugs. My friend went in voluntarily, but was told a Dr. would have to ok his or her leaving. I suppose if my friend left Without the official nod, it would be leaving "Against Medical Advise" (AMA) which counts as a bad grade when one is seeking psychological help.

What surprised me, and shouldn't have in today's economy, was that there was no After Care Planning. My friend quickly realized that no one was going to do anything to fix their problems. My friend was told to find a therapist who would accept Medicaid, the only insurance they are fortunate enough to have. This will not be easy!

So I, possessing only a Bachelor's degree in Socil Work and a whole lot of experience, began talking with the person I visited about after care and that person talked with me about what They thought would work, then took notes on things we Both thought made sense. This person is Truly overwhelmed with their life situation and self-hate. This person is going to need to find things which make them happy to use as comforting rewards, And will need emotional support after leaving the hospital.

Sorry about the awkward writing. But I'm not interested in disclosing what town the hospital was in or anything about my friend.

I hope I can help my friend, but they are right, you have to get help sometimes, But, you Must Invest in your Own life and Healing to survive and hopefully begin to Thrive!

For me, dolls have been a large part of my healing as therapy is scarce here for people without good insurance or money, and Helpful therapy is even More scarce.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Things to Like and Not!

Things that drive me nuts! Fifty pound dog learning from ten (at least) pound cat how to Jump onto the bed when he's Bored! Scares the sh-- out of me when sleeping! Ten pound cat (see above) Thundering across top of bed, just over my head when he Wants food, whether I'm Trying to sleep or not. Scares the . . . you get the idea. Same person, having No emergency, calling me Three times a night! Annoys the . . . of me. Emptying the cat's latrine, grosses me out as is full of . . . Gag!
Same doll faces, just new paint jobs. (Beats the H out of Latrine duty though!) Dolls meant for three year-olds when dolls are dressed like sex workers.

It Creeps me Out going out in the dark, (when they let the dangerous bipeds, (like us but dangerous) lose. Must do this to take out dog.

Things I like, learning something new, trying new food, reading, sewing, new doll faces, cool feeling fabrics, learning about other peoples, customs, songs, music. Walking two miles with a friend, (when wind isn't ripping face off bones. Gardening, often, harvesting, Always. First touch of Sun on face in the morning, smell of rain. Beading, designing doll clothes and bead patterns myself, (but much more time consuming than using someone Elses pattern). New doll or human hair styles. Bird winding, playing tape of canaries singing makes my canary try to outsing them and the finches shout. I think they miss it. Sometimes when I feed and water they begin the shout and I swear they're telling me to start the tape. And, for better or worse, dogs and often cats.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Correction: and Christmas Without Ann

First, I apologize to anyone trying to make sense of last night's rambling (to put it politely) post. Got Journey Girl costumes mixed up, so here is the correction. The Asian doll, named Callie, has fau fur boots and a pink Vest, Not a coat, but the vest has fau fur trim to match the boots. Fau fur is white, I think. The Kelsey Journey Girl with auburn hair and green eyes has a fau leather coat which is brown and it also has fake (tired of using "fau") fur trim. She has shoes which have furry feeling uppers and hard soles.
All of the Journey Girls can Stand Independently, Yeah!

If I didn't feel scared of the future in general, I would be Glad to see the backside of this year! Started writing out Christmas cards today. Ann and I used to write them out together. When one of us got stuck or couldn't think of the right word, the other could help by filling in info. in which the card receiver might be interested. Or one of us would say to the other, "Just say in everyday words what you want to and then we'll figure out how to shorten it for this card." Also, since Ann was a visual artist, she could draw or paint on cards, or we made combined cards, like the year I used combinations of Braille shapes (in dots) to make Christmas tree shapes and Ann colored each of them differently. She was good at picking the right kind of card for each person. Cards to friends and family will be more ordinary and boring from now on.

Don't know what the hell I'll do Christmas day by myself. Sleep maybe, or play with dolls, sew. Get drunk? Nah, tempting but a rotten idea! Our family gets a gag or small gift for the person whose name they drew last Christmas. Living on Disability, we did this and got one another small presents. Not this year. Very sad! But I know I will get through it.

One Buddhist belief is Impermanence, what we consider the "self" keeps changing and so does everything else. The hard part of this is death and pain. The good part is that however horrid things Are, or Feel, they also will change, are not Permanent. I'll be glad when this holiday season is done, and maybe sad too, because Ann will have been gone for almost a year. It doesn't seem possible! But then I was so overwhelmed with just Coping with everything from a Memorial Service at the house to unpacking in the house I moved to that although I knew Ann was gone, had died, I only had time to feel the pain of it in brief spurts of semi-free time, until the last week or two of August. Ann died Feb. 1st. So it will soon be a year and it feels much more recent than that.

I kept getting stuck in the midst of cards today. A friend was writing what I asked, but I'm Glad it wasn't a literal transcription or there would have been a lot of "aaaa" and "um, let me think" in most cards. Cards will also be shorter now, without a colaborator to help me think of things the particular card receiver might care about. After doing 8 or 10 of them, my mind just went depressed and blank and I had to stop for the day.

I could use a Nap! But whatever happens, it is impermanent, whether it feels that way or not.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

18 inch dolls and hily Collector Sale?

Hey Phily Collector, is your doll sale over? I couldn't figure out, after following your link, Where your stuff Was on the page, from my computer's speech.

New subject. Maybe no one cares since some or maybe all of you are collectors of 1/6 scale dolls and action figures. But after describing my impressions of a BFC. 18 inch hard vinyl doll, I thought the Joourney Girls deserved a write up. I like them and understand how they can compete with American Girl dolls. They are a bit older, supposed to be ten instead of eight. So they have slight beginnings of breasts. There is an African American doll who, I've been told, looks just like the picture of the little girl on the box. She has a wonderful curly Afro which is black, and brown eyes. There is an Asian American doll who is darker than the BFC. doll Yuko. No one can guess what country her Asian ancestry is from. I like her corduroy pants, sparkly tank top, (Pink, of course, bummer) and fau leather jacket with fau fur trim. She has boots which are trimmed in the same fau fur as her jacket. Her hair is straight and black. There is a European American blonde with blue eyes, I don't kno how her hair is or her clothes. (Still undescribed) A European American with brown hair, glasses, and I think blue eyes, and a European American with curly auburn hair and green eyes. There is a Latina with tan skin, a round face, and I think I was told she had chestnut colored hair and brown eyes. So why no Native American doll? It Should be popular.

The quality of these dolls' hair is good and can be styled, except for the African American doll, whose hair could be over straightened or tangled from combing. The dolls are posable with vinyl arms and legs and soft middles. There heads turn from side to side but don't nod. I like the clothes of the Asian American doll best, but I do believe All of them have Pink in their clothes, Gag! Too Much Pink in doll world!

These dolls are vinyl to just above the waist, so sit up well.

They can wear American Girl doll clothes and cost between $29 and $35, instead of $100 or More!

Ok, I confess, I bought at least one. No, not All of them. They are hugable! Ann and I used to hug one another before going to our rooms to crash. In this new place with some new people I'm not anxious to go around hugging strangers.

The eyes of these dolls do not open and close, I feel sorry for them. You can see too much, physically and metaphorically, if you can't close your eyes. The eyes of the BFC. doll don't close either. In my opinion, her black straight hair which is cut in layers, gets rough at the ends from too much combing, but the Journey Girls don't seem to have this problem.

Journey Girls have no articulation at ankles and wrists, none at the elbows either.

I can understand the lure of the American Girl Historical Characters but they are budget breakers and a child with an imagination can put her or his doll into any place and time. The historical stuff is inspiring and probably the Journey Girls can't match the narratives of Historical Characters. But Taryn, the African American doll wants to play jazz in New Orleans. They Do have Goals which Have to be Worked toward. Obviously, I like these dolls. I'm old fashioned when it comes to kid's clothes though, and don't like some of the short skirts of some of the dolls. Hey, I'm not sure Taryn Has any pink in her outfit! Yeah!

More than enough for now, sorry if you were bored. I do still work with (sew for) 1/6 scale dolls.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thankful today for a friend who drove me somewhere then hung around to help me straighten out a messed up sewing project! Also thankful to Ann for making out her life insurance policy to me, as I had to her. She is helping to insure that I can live in a house with Heat! I've lived in places Without it Before. I can remember having to go to bed when the sun went down, not because it was dark, no problem. But because it was So Cold!

Toni Morrison wrote a book called I think, "One Blue Eye" (I am happy to accept correction if that title isn't right, it has ben many years since I read it. It was a very Painful book about an abused African American girl and her belief tat she Must have blue eyes.

One of the mood setters for the book was a description of trying to keep warm under a quilt in Winter. And as usual, she Got it Perfectly. You don't dare move one square inch, even if your cramped from laying in the same position all night. Because if you do, you know the pain of the numbing cold from the bed where no body heat has warmed it will be terrible and you will be too miserable to sleep until you have warmed That square inch, if you can. Of course, Toni Morrison said it much better than I can.

It is finally beginning to get cold here, possible flurries by morning, and every Winter I am Thankful to have Heat! I've slept in a bedroom where ice glazed the inside of the window next to my bed. And in a house where it was so cold my fingers hurt too bad to keep reading Braille atop the covers. Reading Braille Under the covers isn't easy and it can get too cold to be worth the discomfort. Each time you turn a page of paper thick enough to hold Braille dots, you either do the book damage, (unthinkable to me) or you have to raise the covers up a bit, letting in More cold air.

I am thankful to have this computer from Rehab. Services for the Blind, and for the instructors who taught me how to use it.

There is a Buddhist technique for helping us remember that we are all interdependent and interconnected, whether we think we are, or want to be, or not. I think of it as "tracing down the roots" of a thing. I truly Enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning and consider it a luxury. So I tried one day to figure out how many people and other beings had given me my treat. There was the Earth, the rain, the sun, the climate where the coffee was grown. Without these things, land, light, warmth of sun, water, we'd all be dead. Then there are the people who grew the coffee, making sure on a regular basis that it got what it needed to survive. There were the native species of plants displaced by a coffee plantation or small holding. There were people picking the coffee, roasting the coffee after it was dry, packaging the coffee, loading it onto vehicles to take it to the U.S. That is a lot of people! But there were also unknown factory workers somewhere making bags to hold the coffee, or jars or cans, and for bags some factory workers had to make those coated wire devices to hold the bags closed. Most of these people are going to be poorer than I am, they Deserve my gratitude. Someone has to seal each coffee container.

Trucks and truckers may take the coffee to boats, can you imagine the number of humans who made all of the truck components? And trucks run on diesel, which has to come from oil which comes from Earth. Then the oil must be Refined by More people.

Dock workers unload my coffee, truckers or freight trains or maybe even planes take it to my part of the country. It is driven by people to stores and working people unload it, stock shelves, and check me out when I buy it at the store. Someone/s made the store or shop, Built it, made the shelves in more factories, lit it, invented fluorescent lights, cash registers, and grocery bags. And some humans made my cup and others manufactured the pan or coffee pot I use and still More people brought me the Gift of indoor running water. After about 45 minutes of Thank Yous, this exercise drove me nuts and the coffee, which I still enjoyed was cold. But I got the fact that Nothing I have came to me Except from the Earth and Sky and the human labor and creativity of other people.

I cannot take complete credit for any thing temporarily in my possession. All of it is temporary. Even if I create something, the materials I use came from Earth (or their inventor did) and human work. I am a very fortunate person and am thankful to all of those people whom I will never know for the life I have right now, as I experience it.

That is one Buddhist way of realizing interdependence with all life and with fellow humans. Everybody says "The Earth is our Mother". But it's True. Without the Earth, Sun, Rain, and Wind, we'd all be dead. It is really just that simple and that profound.

I find the Earth too big to comprehend. I wouldn't be here or enjoy what I enjoy without Earth. But "natural phenomena" kill also. Earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and mud slides. Part of this is caused by our own human foolishness, building homes (when there is a choice) in the midst of wild fire country, or on the sides of steep mountains where mudslides and/or avalanches are likely, building nuclear power plants on or near known fault lines. And there is climate change. But some of these things are Not avoidable and never Have been. So I am thankful when I can be and when I cannot I try not to afflict others with my moods or if it is due to natural disaster, I try to help people who need it.

Lots of rambling, but I thought the Buddhist technique of teaching interdependence was interesting and I Feel good today for almost the First time since this "holiday season" (beginning with Halloween) began. Feeling come and go, but it's been a Long Slog, this Fall and through the beginning of Winter. I am thankful to all the people (including the musicians whose music I enjoyed) who have helped make this day a Happy feeling one!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Flavas Awards and Filling Emotional Holes with Dolls

Hey Phily Collector, Great description of Tawny's accessories, Thank You. Silver jewelry is particularly hard to find in doll land.

What is Tawny's hair like, Kioni "Diamonds and Denim?" It sounds like she might share a face with Kioni but with a different paint job. Is this right?

Your description of accesories was Very helpful!

I've been realizing that I have a problem. Logically I know that Nothing can replace Ann and that if I ever have a friend again who I can feel warm and close with and talk to about anything, it will take time to grow such a friendship.

Emotionally, even though most of me Knows better, I have been Craving dolls to fill the hole left by Ann's death and living alone with fear, due both to her absence and my disabilities. I'm wrecking what is left of my bank account. Not wise, good, or safe, in this economy.

I learned to trust Things, not myself and not other people, very early. So when in a lot of emotional pain, that old pattern returns. Not a problem if I don't take it to excess, a Problem now.

But I am finding it a Very difficult problem to handle, though maybe I have an idea (thanks to a Cherokee healer) on how to start. I will implement it and see how it goes, will let you know, especially if it works.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Thanksgiving Day without Ann makes me aware that although my family was as kind as they could be and I like the house I'm renting, I have no sense of being in an emotionally warm home. Ann and I used to spend some holiday time together, whatever else we did.

I collected dolls for other reasons in the past. Now I find myself looking for a Thanksgiving ay or "black Friday" sale on those I want, just to fill my loneliness. No luck anyway, a good thing for my budget.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ann and I used to trade off holidays. One year we would go to my family Thanksgiving, one year we had our own. I don't miss the labor of getting up early to cook, but Thanksgiving won't be the same without Ann.

We did an unusual and yummy thing, instead of using traditional stuffing. Ann could not digest wheat, so I mixed uncooked brown rice with chopped nuts, spices, veggies., and fruit. We might have ginger-pear turkey with nuts and veggies. Or we might have pineapple (in its own juice) turkey with almonds sliced and celery and carrots.

Since Ann hd a documented severe sleep disorder, she slept in. I would get up and mix the stuffing we had already discussed, Or, if I had an advance plan, make it a surprise.

Ann learned something on a cooking show which made our turkey Look weird, but Taste Better. The chef on the show would mix up the stuffing, slit the turkey's skin and insert some stuffing into each slit. This was especially helpful with the white meat, which can get a bit dry. But it gave our turkey bumps, Braille turkey? No problem.

The meat took on some of the flavor of th fruit (juice included) and spices used in stuffing.

There are foods Ann cooked which I miss and cannot duplicate. She made Wonderful fried chicken, once every couple of months. She devised a cornmeal and spices coating which I came to prefer over flour, bread crumbs, or cornflakes.

I tried using her spice mix and baking the chicken. But she drained it so well that my baked version was much more greasy, yuck!

Ann also made wonderful creative omlettes. I can make good scrambled eggs, but Not omlettes.

And Ann made French toast. When she first suggested this I was Not enthusiastic. At the state blind school they had to make mountains of the stuff and pile it on plates. So it just tasted like soggy, eggy (no it ain't a word) white bread. But Ann used glutten free bread and mixed spices and sweetener in with the eggs. It was Very Good. She could also make pancakes, turned over at exactly the right time, not me.

But I still have Much to be Grateful for! I am dry (it has been pouring and cold here) have a place to rent, have running water, and am alive. Besides all of that, I have a computer used to communicate with others and food to eat and share. And doll clothing to sew.

Without Ann it is Hard to feel thankful, but I am and I do. People have been very kind to me this year, to help me survive it, and the pleasure of learning about dolls has been part of that kindness.

I thank each of you who have taken the time to write, I have enjoyed our correspondence. Thank you to those of you who write blogs also. I can learn things I wouldn't otherwise know and just enjoy reading about products I did not know existed. If you are spending Thanksgiving alone, have a peaceful and creative day. If you are sharing it with others, have a peaceful enjoyable day with your company.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Power of Shame

I keep thinking of that interview with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Leymah Gbowee, heard on the BBC. She drew Christian and Muslim women of Lyberia together to stop the civil war tearing their lives, the lives of their children, and their country to pieces. They used many nonviolent actions, sit-ins, speaking out, public prayer, a sex strike, and something I had never considered, the power of shame. The way in which this was used was for women of all ages to threaten to strip naked in front of government officials. In this country that sounds like an invitation, doesn't it? Annvitation to have sex or sexually abuse women. But in Lyberia it was understood to be what it was, ant of compete desperation! When the BBC. interviewer asked Why the women chose to do This, the answer was clear. Ms. Gbowee said it made the men stop in shock to think, "What have we brought our mothers and grandmothers to that they would do This?"

To have the courage, after a history, during the civil war, of rape and mutilation, to become SO Vulnerable, to discard one's own shame as an abused woman and shame those carrying on the war which caused the abuse, I can't Imagine!

And it worked! The men in the room Had to know that some of these Very women had been raped by forces under Their command. Yet until now they had taken their asaults quietly, not discussing them when it could be avoided. Some of these women had to have been those who survived mutilation committed by the forces commanded by the Very men who were forced to see them.

I have always thought of the power of shame as a negative, something abused children of both sexes and abused women and some men kept silently buried deep inside themselves. In order for there to be shame on the part of perpetrators of violence, there must once have been a culture of Respect. I wonder how long it has been since our society has, as a whole, had a culture of Respect for mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers. Some people, as individuals and as groups mostly always have.

But I wonder if the power of shame is Really used, or is Capable of being used to change behavior here. Oh some of us make moral judgments about public figures who are caught being human in their private lives, but that's Not the same as forcing those who have done great harm to face it. Do I think I have the answers? No. I only wish we still had enough Respect for one another that shame Could be used as a power for Healing.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Terminology for Disabilities and Perceptions of People With Disabilities

I want to clarify a bit of language around the topic of disability. First, blind people use words like "see" "look" and "watch" about as often as do people with sight. When I say I "watched" a movie it means I listened to it with descriptive audio. I missed the color displays, but got the same basic info. you did from "seeing" it through your eyes. If I "looked" at something, I touched it enough to get the info. I'm interested in. Some blind people, including me will use words like, "checked it out" or "scoped it out" but these are easily understood terms which sighted people understand.

For some people it is important to state that they are first a Fellow Human Being, then that they have a particular disability. Thus, words like "wheelchair bound" "in a wheelchair" or "crippled" are offensive. A person Uses a wheelchair, white cane, works With a dog to assist them or to guide them. The wheelchair is a Tool, Not the person Using the tool.

A person with partial sight is usually referred to as Visually Impaired. But again, it is He or She who is visually impaired, Not that Visually Impaired Guy or Girl. The person Is not the impairment, the person Has the impairment.

Since I'm totally blind I have no objections to being called a blind person or a deaf-blind person. But that is because I'm older and there is so much more to get upset about in the world that I don't find these terms offensive, so long as I am not called a "girl" or the word "poor" is not put ahead of blind or deaf-blind.

But the politically correct phrasing would stress Personhood first, and that makes sense. A person who is blind or a Person who is deaf-blind is not summed up by his/her disabilities.
I'm just old enough that "blind person" is better than Other names I have been called.

People with disabilities have the same range of feelings and behaviors as those without disabilities. As adults we do not want to be treated like children! I was So glad when I Finally got a bit of gray in my hair because people Stopped calling me that "litle blind girl". I used to think I would die among the ranks of "little blind girls" even wrote a poem about it.

This brings up another subject, honesty. When I ask a friend I trust how something looks on me or if colors match, I am asking for the truth! "Those pants really don't work with that shirt" is Not an offensive comment if I am asking. I'm likely to say "Thank you, what would work better?" The same is true for fabric coordination, I Want to know if my possible choices work, look good, or Not.

You have to work to get info. when you cannot see it and have trouble physically hearing it. I was royally annoyed the other day to find that "hand-mace" doll clothing is Not "hand-made." I am thankful to the friend who told me this, I just Wish I had known it Sooner!

It seems that "hand-made" can mean I followed a pattern and used a sewing machine. I have been designing doll clothing and sewing it By Hand! Now I need a truthful friend to tell me how much of my work must be ripped out and redone on the machine! I asked a different friend why nothing was said earlier. Her response was that my stitches were small and my sewing was good and she thought is was awesome that I could do this, even though some stitches in a seam were crooked. I cannot Hope to compete with sighted seamstresses if I don't have decent Info.! My seams are straight, but contain crooked stitches which mark them as Made By Hand, and inferior looking when cmpared with "hand-made" doll clothes. Very Frustrating. Now I must go through All that I have made and re-do seams which have a few crooked stiches in them!

It all could have been avoided by someone telling me that "hand-made" did Not mean sewn By Hand. But to be fair, probably no one thought of this for a while, then they did not know how to tell me. Then, as my second friend said, it was so amazing that I can do what I do that they saw no need.

The truth is that some people with disabilities are wonderful people. Some are a pain in the butt, and most are a mixture of traits, just like people without disabilities.

If anyone has a real question, please feel free to ask. I'm pretty offense proof..