I’m still plugging away at learning to use my iPhone, and so is my friend Jane. About once a month, we call each other to chat. Neither of us is very proficient, and we proved it when one day, she accidentally used the face time feature, instead of just calling me. It was completely ridiculous for 2 totally blind people to use face time, but oh well. We laughed and chatted for a while, and then we thought we had ended the call. I started to say hung up, but we don’t hang up anymore. We ended the call, or so we thought. We said goodbye, and then I turned back to writing my blog. I was happily typing away, when several minutes later, I heard this little voice from the couch beside me say, “Mary, I’m still here.” What? I thought I was alone. Good thing I didn’t talk to myself. We tried every which way to end that call, and still, we couldn’t get rid of each other. More laughter. This was getting goofy. There she was, in that little square on my couch, telling me she still hadn’t gone away. Finally, I told her that I had to get my writing done, so I was taking her into the kitchen and leaving her on the counter. I checked back in about a half hour, and she was finally gone. I have never used face time since.

This story, along with others, is posted on the Vision Aware blog Visually Impaired, Now What, in the technology humor section, under “When Your Technology Talks Back to You.”.


Strolling in the Park


I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but Dora does not have a stroll mode. Last Saturday, some ladies from my TTN wellness group, walked together at Innis Woods Park. It’s a lovely setting for strolling and enjoying the beautiful landscaping and flowers.

Unlike our regular daily walks, I did not allow Dora to forge ahead at her normal breakneck speed. I got quite an isometric workout, holding her back with the harness in my left hand and the leash in my right. While we weren’t exactly hiking, we were walking at a normal speed for normal people. That meant holding Dora back too walk like normal people. We are used to charging down the sidewalk. All my dogs, except for Cisco, who didn’t last with me because of it, have walked at a very brisk pace. I’ll never forget the time that my friend Mar Sue and I went downtown to introduce my first Seeing Eye dog Mindy to her new office. Although it was a Sunday afternoon, there were people on the street, and Mar Sue got a kick out of how people would “snatch up their babies and flatten themselves against the wall,” when they saw us coming. My friend Janet says basically the same thing when we are walking together at Easton Town Center. I don’t mean to bulldoze our way through crowds, but that’s kind of what we do. My daughter would get embarrassed when my second dog Sherry would find a space between the 2 people walking ahead of us in the mall, and I’d realize we were plowing through, rudely separating them. Dogs don’t care. They just know they’ve got a job to do, and it’s full steam ahead. I know that my stride is shorter these days, and we don’t go as fast or as far as I once did, but Dora is better than any treadmill could possibly be.

Daddy’s Little Girl

As I walked this morning, on this Father’s Day, it was easy to reminisce about the sweet moments I had with my dad, when I was a little girl. As the song goes, I was “the Easter bunny, the star on the tree,” to him. To say it simply, he adored me. I remember being a little frightened of my dad, because he did have a temper, but I can recall only 1 actual spanking, and that was probably because I had been caught in a lie or some other unacceptable act of disobedience. My dad was not a singer, but most of my memories are tied to songs. Often, we would walk together to the corner grocery or the drug store up the street. He’d hold my hand, and he’d start in with an old Army marching song. “Sound off,” he’d call, as our strides fell together, I’d echo, “Sound off.” Then it would be “I had a good home but I left, left, left right left. Sound off 1 2. 3 4!” It’s not the same when you try to type it, but you get the idea.

I can never hear the song, “Me and My Shadow” without getting a little weepy. Sometimes, when we’d walk together, he’d sing it, because he felt like I was his little shadow. It’s a sad song, but for me, it holds tender memories. “And when it’s 12:00, we climb the stair, we never knock, for nobody’s there. Just me and my shadow, strolling down the avenue.” It was our special time together, walking to the store to get a loaf of bread or a bottle of cough medicine, but there was usually a candy bar in it for me as well. Walking to the UDF, known as United Dairy Farmers back in those days, meant one of those giant milk shakes they made in the blender right before your eyes.

My dad was a fisherman, so just before a fishing trip, he’d take me with him to the local park, where in the dark of night, armed with flashlights, we’d secretly dig up nightcrawleres. Ever the prissy little girl, I wore finger gloves to help him with this task, but I did it, just for the excitement of the adventure.

My dad was a gardener, and on Sunday afternoons, he’d set me up on the stone garden wall, where I could watch him, and as the family story goes, sneak a sip out of his bottle of beer. One afternoon, I drained the bottle and then declared , “Daddy, you’re drunk.”

As I grew into a young teen, he taught me how to ride a bike, to hit a wiffle ball and to shoot baskets into the hoop on our garage. He taught me how to play ping pong, but then I began to lose my vision, while at the same time, beginning my passion for dance. Daddy suffered through a lot of dance recitals, but he eagerly constructed a ballet bar for me in the basement and hung a wall mirror. I had my own dance studio down there. When he was working a day shift for a laundry company, he would pick me up after school in the laundry truck he was driving, and I have this glorious memory of getting to ride shotgun, sitting on a bag of laundry. Sometimes he’d pick me up from school with the dogs in the back seat, hanging their beautiful Dalmatian heads out the window with tails whacking the front seat in happy greeting. My dad was the one who instilled my love of dogs.

Do you hear that song? “You’re sugar, you’re spice. You’re everything nice. And you’re Daddy’s little girl.”