Independence Can Be Scary

Hello Everyone,

I am a pretty confident blind person when it comes to getting around and traveling. There are so many times that people say to me, you are just so brave and are not scared I just can’t seem to get there. And they feel like they are failing, that they will never be independent because of it. So today let’s be real for a minute.

I am scared, I am terrified, I am anxious as all heck, I doubt myself, I doubt my abilities. These are all very real things in my world. It can be scary to stand at an intersection with all of the noises around you and trust that you are going to get yourself to the other side safely. There are many times where I doubt myself and stand there for two cycles of the light so that I can work up the courage to go.

When I go somewhere new for the first time in the same city, or a whole new city. I feel anxious and my brain gets pretty creative with what may happen on that journey. I plan it out, I  talk my self through the process.

Fear is real and fear is ok. It is how we push ourselves to do the things that we feel like we can’t do. I feel like there is no one sighted or not who doesn’t have some sort of fear, anxiety, and self-doubt at some point or heck many points along the way.

Fear is what can drive us to work through it and prove to no one but ourselves that we can do it. You are not alone in fear and you are not alone in doubting that you will get to where you want to go, but you are supported to get there and you will get there. Believing that you will get there and telling your fear to “watch me” will get you to where you want to go. Whether that is crossing that busy intersection, riding the bus, moving out on your own, going for that new job or promotion, or just living the life you want to live; use all those feelings to propel you to where you want to be.

YouTube video of me crossing a street and having a little chat with you and my dog Rick .

Until Next Time

Ashley and Rick

Blind Dreamer – “Do you see in your dreams?”

Hello Everyone,

Do people who are blind dream? How do you dream if you don’t see in your daily life? These are questions that I get all the time. Now everyone is different but I can see how people would wonder about something like this so let’s chat about how I dream.

First of all, do I dream? The short answer is yes. Now how I dream has changed a little over the years. Why is that you may be thinking, well it is simple; because the way that I see has changed over the years.

When I was younger and had more vision I saw things in my dream the same way that I saw them in real life. So they were not clear, they were blurry and I could not always make out what I was seeing. Which makes sense because that was how I saw the world at that time. As my vision got worse over the years that is what was quite normal for me.

Now I have been totally blind now for about 5 years and that has really changed for me. For the first little while, I would dream like I had before. It was like I was dreaming from my visual memory. But over the last year, I have really noticed that I don’t have the visual memory that I used to. So now I really only dream with my other senses. I will hear things, or smell them and sometimes oddly enough taste or feel things.

I have found over about the last year that I don’t always remember how things looked or have a hard time pulling up an image of something in my mind. I was always told that your visual memory will sometimes fade, and I have definitely found that. Now I don’t think that this is for everyone, just like blindness the experience that one has when you are blind is a spectrum and not the same for everyone.

There isn’t a part of life that someone who is blind doesn’t experience they just experience it differently.

Until Next Time,

Ashley and Rick

Support Local – Reduce Waste

Hello Everyone,

I have been on a journey the last few months trying to cut back on my waste, adopting some zero waste alternatives in my home and in my personal life. I am far from zero waste at this point but I am definitely working to reduce my waste.

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I found this local granola company that I fell in love with last summer. I found them at the Farmers Market and loved their product. They make small batches of amazing vegan granola, my favorite is the Maple Pecan Olie Oil granola.

They recently have made a huge change on the suggestion of a customer and that was to offer growlers. So you purchase a growler full of granola and then you return the growler and receive a new growler full of granola. You only pay for the jar the first time. I think this is amazing, a small company that makes it a priority to listen to their customers and reduce their waste.

When we shop local and support our local businesses we are helping to support those that are in our communities and we are also supporting sustainable business. I tend to feel like we have become such a big box store kind of society, and not for the better.

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My parents owned a bakery for 26 years and it was a great way for our family to earn their living, it instilled a work ethic that I never would have received had we not owned a family business. It also taught me so many valuable skills at a young age, like management skills, problem-solving skills, customer service skills, and that quality matters. I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of a small family business that shaped me to be the person I am today. It is also the reason that I try to support as many local businesses as possible and I have a passion for business and management.

I believe that listening to your customers and doing business the way that you feel is right, not the way society tells you, you should, makes for an amazing business. There are so many times when the personal touches and ethics are taken out of business. We forget that morals, ethics, compassion, and passion is what will make an amazing company.

Check out this company they are amazing and have some Amazing granola. Small Batch Granola Mix , Instagram @mixsmallbatch, e-mail mixsmallbatch@gmail.com. Lets all show them some love.

Until Next Time!

Ashley and Rick

Don’t be ashamed…….

Hello Everyone, 

As I get ready to do some travelling for work, and go to some training I am reminded of my anxiety and worries as they sneak up on my again. I am a very independent person and I pride myself in being able to live a life that I want to live without letting my disability or people’s perception of capability dictate how I live my life. There are times though when we have to face anxiety, fear, worry and all the ugly. 

When I have to go somewhere new a lot of the ugly shows up for me. I am someone who needs to know all the details, everything from the set up of the venue, the layout of the course, if there is a buffet for meals. The more information I have the better I feel. Now that is not always possible and realistic. So that is when I find myself dealing with anxiety, I worry about all the logistical things like, is there going to be someone to assist me with orientation to the new space, will I have assistance with the buffet (buffets are a blind persons worst nightmare), will I seem like I am incapable if I need to ask for help, will I have access to all the materials being used. There are so many things that people who are not blind or partially sighted don’t think about that we have to and the biggest anxiety for me is making a good impression. What I mean by this is when you are at an event you want to meet new people and network, make a good impression. I find it really hard to network in a large group when I am alone because I can not tell where people are, it makes it hard to approach someone and strike up a conversation. I have been in situations where I am left standing there and probably looking a little pathetic because I can not figure out where people are and if they are alone or who they are or any of these things. Then there is the issue of people thinking I am being rude because I am not looking them in the eye when I am not I just can’t see. 

I have anxiety about these things but it does not stop me from doing the things I want to do. It makes me a stronger person on the other end, I used to be embarrassed to talk about it and I felt so alone when I had anxieties like this. Now I know that I am not alone and if I talk about it, it makes it better because I hear myself and can realize I am going to be fine. My friends are also a great support to reassure me that I will be fine it will all work out and that I am more than capable. 

We all doubt ourselves and have anxiety around different things. People who don’t have a disability struggle with anxiety and worry. It is not something to be embarrassed about it is something to own and know that the more you deal with it, the stronger it will make you. The only thing having the ugly show up every once in a while says, is that you are human.

Until Next Time, 

Ashley and Rick  

How A Blind Mom Cleans

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all doing well.

I get many questions around whether I clean my house or if I have a cleaning person or does my husband do it. The answer is I wish I had a cleaning person but unfortunately, it is me who does the majority of the cleaning. I do have a husband who helps out and three kids who have chores (I know I am a horrible mom) but the bulk of it falls to me.

The main thing that people don’t think that I do is clean the bathroom so today we are going to discuss how I am able to do this. First of all, I know the set up of the bathroom so I am able to locate the loo very easily same with the bathtub and sink.

I have a caddy that has all my cleaning supplies in it, I carry that to the bathroom and then start the process. I really hate cleaning the bathrooms just thought I would throw that out there. I usually start with the mirrors and I touch them and then spray the cleaning on the mirror. I am sure I leave streaks behind every once in a while but I am not using them so that is ok they look clear to me.

 

In the pictures above you can see my caddy as well as how I tell apart the two bottles that feel identical. One is Windex and one is Multi-purpose cleaner, I have two bump on dots on the multi-purpose and one bump on dot on the Windex. This really helps to make sure that I am using the cleaner that I want. The other bottles have a shape or defining feature that I have memorized so I am able to tell which one is which.

Next is the sink and counter, I spray the sink and counter surface with cleaner and then I wipe it down systematically. I start at the one side and work my way down and over the counter in small sections so that I get the whole thing.  I do it almost like a search and rescue crew would search for someone who is missing it is very methodical.

Next is the toilet and I do the same as the sink I just spray down the part of the toilet that I want to start with and work my way around the toilet. Toilets are nasty, I wear gloves to do the toilet because I am blind so I do use my hands to check if I missed any cleaner or if I can feel anything. The bathtub and shower are done the same way.

I try to clean the bathrooms more often so that if I did miss something hopefully I will get it next time. It is possible to do all the cleaning in the house if you do it systematically.

I know it may seem impossible to some that a person who is blind cleans and does all of these “normal” tasks but when blindness is your reality it really isn’t that out there; it needs to be done and we do it. The way we do it is probably different but we definitely do it. In fact, my husband will tell you even though I can not see the world around me, I am a clean freak, it drives him and the kids nuts. If it is out of place I will find it, it must be my super power!

Until Next Time,

Ashley and Rick

Finding that “Me” Time !

Hello Everyone,

Spring has sprung here and I am loving the warmer weather and the need for fewer layers. Things are really starting to pick up around here the kids seem to be busier and wanting to do everything right now.

I have been at work 4 days a week now for a month and we are adjusting to that. I am loving my job but am noticing that more now than ever I need to take some time for myself.  I am also realizing how very important this really is.

When I was staying home with the kids for the last 4 years they were in school all day so I had the ability to take some time for just me each day that I was home. Even when that time was just cleaning with my favorite playlist cranked it was quiet me time, time to reflect.

Now that I am working and trying to juggle everything I did as a stay at home mom with working and getting enough sleep and keeping everyone happy, there are days where I fail miserably.

My days start at 4 a.m. when that dreaded alarm goes off, I then get myself ready for work then on to the dogs and kids lunches. I do pack them and prepare them the night before so I just need to put it all together. Then on to backpacks and making sure it is all ready to go with what they need. Out the door by 5:15 a.m. I don’t mind the early mornings, I am not a morning person by any stretch but I don’t mind getting up. I am grateful to have a job after struggling for so long to be given a chance that no matter what time I had to get up I would.

After work it is home and then supper, homework, showers, family time, lunches, cleaning and then hopefully to bed by 10:30. So the only reason that I am telling you how my day goes is because I am trying to figure out where the “me” time fits in there. I travel to and from work with my husband so we get to have some time alone and to talk about things but I am still left feeling like my cup is emptying.

Making sure that we find time for just us is so important, we are not able to take care of those we love and give to those we love if we have nothing to give. So I know I will be finding some time in this hectic amazing life of mine. What do you to for some me time.

 

A new beginning​ awaits

Hello Everyone,

It would have been my dad’s birthday today, I miss him more than words. He passed away 5 years ago from cancer. One year after he passed away I began to very quickly lose the rest of the vision that I had.

These events in my life have changed me as a person. It has showed me that life is short, when you lose a parent it is hard no matter what age you are. I don’t think it makes it easier when you are an adult. My dad was only 48 years old when he passed away and I felt robbed of the relationship that I had with him. We were very close, we worked side by side in our families bakery and we are a lot alike. I will always treasure the time that we had together especially those happy memories that I carry with me every day.

When I lost my vision I felt robbed of my life as it was, I was angry that I had just started to accept the loss of my dad and now I was thrown this curve ball. I never ever imagined I would have been strong enough to handle losing my vision.

It took me some time but I knew that with the strength that I got from my dad and his stubbornness that I would be ok. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. I have come so far from the person that I was 6 years ago. I am more confident than I ever would have imagined, and I am extremely happy with where my life has taken me. I also know that my dad is with me on this journey and giving me the strength to conquer anything that comes my way.

Loss seems like the end, but for me this end has been an amazing beginning. I can not wait to see where it goes next  !

Until Next Time,

Ashley and Rick