Tag Archives: Advice

Hey! Wise Advice for My Butthead Neighbour

I am so irritated I could spit. I wish I was the kinda gal who could chill when people are behaving like total a-holes. It’s one thing if smokers want to kill themselves, go around smelling like ashtrays, become a burden on the health care system which our tax dollars are paying for, make their children sick, loose productivity at work because they are outside caging a smoke…wait, that’s more than one thing…the point is, I only believe minimally in smokers rights, because when their addiction impacts ME and invades my personal space, I have to draw the line! The butthead who recently moved in next door (anorexic-looking twit with a 8-4 job, a stupid boyfriend who makes her squeak when they’re having sex, and a cat that I feel VERY sorry for), might be very quiet tenant (except maybe for all the knocking on her door by people using a ‘secret code’ on the door seven thousand times a night, golly gee, is she selling drugs too?!), but it turns out the common wall we share, transmits her cigarette smoke. Great. I pay an obscene amount of rent money for my haven, my oasis, my mecca of personal space…and I am forced to suck up the result of HER addiction. Hey Butthead! Capital District Health Authority is giving FREE smoking cessation aids if you join their program. Com’n babe. You can do it! Quit killing yourself and that stupid cat of yours, and most of all, stop irritating ME...and then maybe I won’t be so inclined to use all of the 200 watts of speaker power (‘Van Morrison Live’ tonight) to blast out my frustration. The fact that my window must be open during a wacky March blizzard, just so that I don’t croak, seems a little silly. Sigh. Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so touchy about the smoking thing tonight, but this morning, I walked by a Metro Transit bus shelter (ironically, it was outside the hospital), and a bunch of QEII hospital employees were using it as a smoking hut. Very nice. Where are you HRM by law enforcement officers?! You guys just blew a $350.00 fine TIMES at least three or four buttheads! If you added up all the potential butthead infractions and collected the fines, maybe we could afford to run this city efficiently. OK, Now I need to put on some music again…let’s see…I really like that John Mayer CD…


Wise Advice for RCMP

That’s right. I just had to step out of my incognito state. I’ve been away, not dead! Give me a break RCMP! Mr. Robert Dziekanski is dead, however, thanks to a bunch (one in particular) of Tazer-trigger happy goofs (oops, I mean officers) who zapped the life out of this poor Polish guy who simply had the bad luck to choose the Vancouver airport to land in on his first visit to Canadian soil. I guess he never got to the ‘soil’ part of Canada. He was too busy wandering aimlessly for a zillion hours, lost, tired, jet-lagged, jonsing for a smoke, in a bloody nightmare welcome to the land-‘O-moose- on-a- postcard, imitation- maple- syrup- products-come-Duty Free shops and baggage carousels, trying to get ANYBODY to speak to him in his own language in an INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT! His big mistake was picking up that most dangerous of weapons, the dreaded ‘stapler’. Yeah right, coppers, take down this exhausted guy who’s been on a plane for 15 hours and in an airport twilight zone for 18 hours with FIVE TAZER BLASTS! Then, goof around some more (make sure he’s REALLY dead, eh?) while you all try to decide what to say to the boss (that would be the RCMP big cheeses?… then a public Inquiry)…oh, I guess the whole damn country wants to know now, huh? Who would have thought that it would get all blown out of proportion like this?! I bet that’s gonna put a crimp in your Easter holidays. Ah, shucks fellows. You forgot to watch out for the babe walking by with her dreaded cell phone/video camera! May you (especially you, Millington) all get nailed to some big internal cross of conscience come this Easter time as you celebrate the christian tradition. Frankly, I’m not into that ‘jesus rises’ stuff, being a broad-minded, liberal thinking UU and all…but I still like the chocolate. Sigh. I guess I’m back from Hiatus

Quit Crapping Up the Internet!!!

I’ve had it with going through and deleting an endless bunch of smutty, bizarre, horrific and obscene ‘comments’ from my spam queue on this blog and the pile of crap spam e-mails in my various e-mail in boxes. Holy moly! What kind of nut jobs are out there anyway?! Sheesh! Why can’t we patrol the Internet better? I am seriously saddened by some of this. Sure, I KNOW there is child porn, beastiality videos, sales of dangerous miracle cures, whacko ’employment opportunities’ and other pathetic stuff going on, but REALLY, can you leave me out of it please!? If I get one more unsolicited e-mail from ‘Mr. Gupta’ asking me for money for his charity, or somebody telling me to send  my password and ID to a hotmail account (how lame is THAT!?) I think I will throw a virtual hissy fit.  It’s only moderately soothing to forward the fake banking spam to the web security at the real banks, Paypal or whatever, or to hit reply with a big “F You!” to the password seekers, but this soaks up my time.  Yeah, I love the Internet and the wonderful pile of information at my fingertips…yada, yada… but the phising, spyware and adware, is getting me down.  Frankly,  I can also live without the ‘funny stories’, ‘cute videos’, ‘must try recipes’, ‘chain hugs’, ‘heartwarming poems’, and all the other stuff in the pile of junk that I get from my so-called ‘friends’ e-mail me, day in and day out.  Some people must have time on their hands like warts.

Don’t Sit On the Cat! and Other Advice For Blind People

People ask me all sorts of questions about how I manage to do this,  that and the other thing. Here’s a sample: “How do you cook without burning yourself?”   “How do you know when your period has started?”   “How do you know if the lights are on or off?”  “Do you ever step/sit on the cat?”  “How do you know if the food in your ‘fridge is still good?”   “How do you know what bus to get on?” Sigh.  Frankly, I worry about the people that ask these questions. For their benefit, and that of those people with vision loss out there who haven’t quite ‘got it together’ yet, here are a few more tips.  Cooking is fun for me. Sure, it is a bit of a different process. I do not attempt to multi-task when cooking for safety reasons. It is one thing for a sighted person to roam away from a stove-top full of pots to make a phone call or balance their check book, but I like to stick with the task at hand. It is safer to be by the stove and avoid potential a disaster…like setting the kitchen ablaze and ruining dinner in the process. I use larger pots and pans than sighted people might.  This helps avoid overflow when things boil. I use fewer pots, preferring to make many recipes that can be made with one or two pots instead. I prepare ingredients beforehand so that they are ready to add when I need them. My experience as a chef comes in handy some days. I cook effortlessly for the most part. I seem to have an internal guidance system which helps me time things right; set water to boil in huge pot, chop garlic and vegies while waiting, cook pasta (keep lid off and metal spoon to stick in pot  handy to prevent ‘pasta eruptus’ on the stove), drain pasta (into large colander IN sink), put pot back on burner (no need to wash it), add olive oil and garlic (inhale deeply), add vegies in order of ‘cookability’.  OK, I just invented a word, so sue me. I refer to the vegies that take longer to cook, like carrots, celery, turnip… then  stir the cast iron pot (prevents any sticking and cooks evenly), add other vegies (like green beans, zucchini and tomatoes), add spices and minimal vegetable stock.  I  let it simmer for a while. When that’s cooked, I put the multigrain pasta into the mix and stir it up. Voila! I have a big honking pot of tasty, healthy pasta and vegies without need for fuss and 5 hours at the stove. I listen to my talking book or radio while I cook and clean up as I go. If I drop food on the floor,  two things happen; I immediately say “Leave It!” for Opal’s benefit, and then pick it up and toss. Some people find that long oven mitts helpful to avoid burns. I don’t bother, but then I have years of experience. You can buy them through assistive aids sites (like Maxi Aids.com). If I am chopping and need to set down my knife, I slip the blade under the cutting board, so when I come to look for it, there will be no gashed fingers to deal with. I also NEVER put knives or glass items in the sink. These are set aside or washed and put away immediately (Hey! I take blood thinners  and don’t want to spend my day at the ER).  About the funky food in the fridge (FFF). I keep a close ‘eye’ on the contents of my fridge, checking and using items regularly. Like with all my ‘stuff’, I keep items in assigned places in the fridge. I label containers of leftovers with a date, though normally, they are eaten within a couple of days or frozen for future use. When in doubt, I enlist someone with sight to scope out the quality of food (usually around the same time they look at my clothing for stains). 

Our cat, little Lucy is a chatty cat most of the time. That’s very helpful for us both. She learned very quickly when she came to live with me, that I can’t see her, and she needs to STAY OUT OF MY WAY!!  Once in a while, she goes incognito and silent (sheesh). You can put a bell on your pet’s collar. I always check the seat which my big butt is about to occupy. This is a good habit for blind people to get into. That way, you avoid sitting on your cat, dog, hairbrush, basket, aunt Mim etc. 

Independent living for a blind person is good and admirable. However, my wise advice? Don’t be an idiot! If you NEED help, ASK for it. Don’t waste your time and elevate your frustration level by worrying about stuff. If you are lost, listen for footsteps and ask the person attached to the legs where you are, or if they can get you  to a point you are familiar with. If you don’ know which bus has pulled up or when to get off it,  ask. If you need to find a washroom anywhere or want a clerk to find something in a store for you…ASK.   Ask with a strong voice, not like a timid mouse. Ask politely but with conviction. It’s OK. 

Lights on or off? check the switches routinely. Or, if you’re feeling wealthy, you can buy a talking light detector. And knowing if your period has arrived? Mercifully, I’m menopausal, but I do remember a time when I used my nose efficiently to detect the distinct odour of blood.

HEY!!! Wise Advice For the IDIOT with the Crazy Sausage Dog!

Hey! Yeah, I’m talking to you, babe… the idiot with the yappy wiener dog that jumped Opal today. I’ve had it with you. If you can’t control that nutty knackwurst, you had better stop walking the same sidewalks that  I’M  walking on with Opal. Maybe you think that you have some kind of god-given right to allow your fat, whiny bratwurst to do whatever the hell it pleases, but I’ve got news for you lady: Next time?, I’m tracking you and that jumbo sausage- on- legs down, and I PROMISE that I will report you to animal control. You are very lucky that I was too concerned about MY dog today, or else I would have whacked you upside-the-head on the spot! What were you thinking, allowing that horrible hot dog to attack Opal?????!!!!! You had to see us coming.  You’re the same pinhead who was at the Tim’s coffee shop last week, aren’t you? You left that little lump of liverwurst in the entry way, between the doors! … where it barked, frightened old ladies and would not allow ME AND MY REGISTERED GUIDE DOG to enter!! My wise advice? Keep that annoying and hazardous poor excuse for a pet dog out of our way!

Blind people’s smart ass answers to stupid questions from sighted people

Yes, I know.   You all expect us to be polite and forthcoming when you ask us one of those typical stupid questions.  Surprisingly enough, there are times when some of us would like our privacy and space to remain uninvaded.   I have here, free for circulation, some useful smart ass answers to those stupid questions  sighted people ask  blind people. These are to be saved for those inopportune times when blind people find themselves trapped on a bus, train, aircraft,  or when attempting to eat a quiet meal in a restaurant etc.  

  1.  QUESTION: Have you been blind all your life?  ANSWER: Not yet.
  2. QUESTION:  You blind people have great hearing right?  ANSWER:  Pardon?
  3. QUESTION:  Is that a Guide dog?  ANSWER:   No, it’s a drug detection dog. I’m a narc disguised as a blind person.
  4. QUESTION:  Is that a Labrador? ANSWER: No, it’s a dachshund.
  5. COMMENT:  I’d have to kill myself if I went blind.  REPLY:  Why wait?
  6. COMMENT TO GUIDE DOG (working):  You’re sooooo beautiful. REPLY FROM HANDLER:  Thank you, but I’m spoken for.
  7. QUESTION:  Those dogs are smart, aren’t they?  ANSWER: No, it’s pure luck that we get anywhere.
  8. QUESTION  (directed to the person standing next to the blind person in a store): Does she need something? REPLY (from blind person): Yes, ‘she’ needs to speak with your manager.

Blind Etiquette 101 for…Retail Businesses

Do you own a small retail business? Are you a manager or employee in a shop, grocery store or other retail outlet? Here are some basic suggestions to help you or your staff in responding to the needs of your customers who may be blind, or partially sighted. First, think about the physical space in you store. Make it a firm policy to keep floor space clear of boxes and other obstacles. If you have any say in design features, such as lighting and signs, consider inquiring about what can optimize your site. Local organizations for the Blind, may be able to provide you with suggestions of specific types of lighting and how to use them, as well as other ways to create contrast (strips on steps etc.) Signs on bathroom doors should be a combination of large print, tactile symbols and Braille. Building standards and codes vary from place to place, however there are all sorts of Accessibility guidelines and checklists available from many sources, which can help you make your store or business accessible to EVERYONE. It can be daunting, with measurements of counter height and doors for wheelchair accessibility, automatic door openers, ramps, TTY access, etc. but try and think of the overall picture: If someone in a wheelchair, or someone who is Blind or Deaf, were to visit your store, what barriers would they face? ‘People skills’ is usually the aspect of accessibility, which creates the biggest barrier for people with disabilities. For people who are Blind or have limited vision? Here’s what you need to know: Identify yourself as a store employee, before asking a blind or partially sighted customer if they want help. OFFER assistance first (No grabbing of the arm etc.). It could be that the person does not want or need help, so don’t take a refusal personally. If they do want assistance, ask what they require. They will tell you what they need, or how they want to be guided (take your left arm etc.) If you are giving directions, be SPECIFIC. For example, “The washroom door is ten meters away at ten o’clock”, and not “Over there”. If I had a buck for every time I was told something was in that mysterious place called, “over there”, I’d have enough to buy a small condo. If the person has a Guide dog with them? know the do’s and don’ts that pertain to them (no petting, no talking to the dog, no eye contact…) and abide by them.  Also be aware of Access laws that protect Guide dogs and their handlers and allow them entry into your business (this extends to other properly qualified service dogs). The dog does not know where to find Ladies lingerie, so the handler might want to take your left arm and go ‘sighted guide’, or have the dog “follow”. It’s up to the handler in the specific situation. In a grocery store, Blind people have some unique, preferred methods for shopping. Realize that they can not read labels, or aisle markings. Whoever is available to be a ‘shopper’ (clerk who is helping), should have a good knowledge of the store and where everything is located. My biggest frustration in grocery stores stem from ‘shoppers’ who can’t find anything, and take me and Opal through a 2 hour odyssey. That’s not fair to the dog. It’s also frustrating to have a ‘shopper’ who has little knowledge of what constitutes a ‘good buy’ in produce. I may have access to the online ‘flyer’, but I have no idea what is actually available in the way of produce in the store when I get there, how much it costs, or if it is any good. Packaging makes it impossible for me to smell or feel the trussed-up package of green beans or asparagus, so I am counting on the ‘shopper’ to tell me what’s available, how it looks and how much it costs…in a timely fashion. No two ways about it, the art of description requires some thought and practice on the part of store clerks. If the blind customer has a large number of items on the shopping list, the challenge is even greater. Many people who are blind, (with or without a guide dog) will take hold of the shopping cart while the ‘shopper’ pulls the cart from the front. That way, a five foot-wide berth is not required to accommodate the cart, customer, ‘shopper’ and Guide dog. A good ‘shopper’ will advise of tight spots and turns. They will think ahead to where things are located in the store, so that there is no need to wander back and forth in the store. I try to plan for a maximum shopping time of forty minutes, for Opal’s sake. People don’t realize that a grocery store trek is one of the most challenging parts of her job. Smells, food spilled over on the floor, people trying to pet her, and the stop-and -go of the whole adventure is most difficult. She prefers working; being able to “find the bakery counter” at my direction, in a local store (actively working) over a situation where she is in harness, yet not guiding me in the store (when we go for a large number of items that require the help of a ‘shopper’ to locate them). Paying for items? Cashiers should (for everyone) say aloud, “out of twenty” when handed a bill. They should put the change in the customers hand, and then give the receipt. If a signature is required for a credit card payment by a blind person, the easiest way to accomplish this, is for you to place the card directly beneath the ‘line’ where they must sign (as a straight edge guide). If your customer with vision loss is taking a cab from your store, try and have someone watch for the taxi, so that they actually know it has arrived (cabbies should know to get out of their car, or at least announce themselves, instead of pulling up in an area where other cars are coming and going when the person waiting can’t distinguish one car from another…but they don’t necessarily). I tend to avoid shops that are so packed with stuff that I can’t navigate. Special displays everywhere create an obstacle course for someone using a white cane. With a Guide dog, a person may be able to work around stuff, but still require adequate manouvering room. If the aisles are too narrow because of bins and displays, Opal can not take me through it, if the space is not there. One thing I emphasize with my blind friends; when someone does an exceptional or even adequate job of assisting you, fuss it up a bit, maybe even tell the manager. When service or access is not adequate, point out the shortcomings. I would love to see all businesses, big and small think about Acessibility issues. I don’t like to refer to my right to shop where I choose, as ACCOMMODATION, but rather, as EVERYDAY INCLUSION. Ask your local service organization for the Blind to give your employees a little ‘blind people relations’ skills talk. Check for pamphlets that they might have for distribution. Create a space where everyone feel welcome and people will come back to spend more money in your place of business. Remember, that they will probably tell other people about their experiences too (good or bad), and THAT has even broader implications.