Kids and blind parents August 18 2020

As school is starting, I was remembering my parenting experiences being a low vision parent. Below are some situations that I found myself in.

Kids And Blind Parents
Parents have challenges raising children. The children are always testing the limits of family rules. The child see what they can get away with and what the parent will tolerate .
But with a blind parent, the ability to monitor and control is limited. For example, You go to a gathering with your child. They decide to visit a friend. You find that you have been parked facing a corner and you are talking to a wall.
Or you and your daughter go into a bathroom and your daughter pushes you into a stall and quickly goes into another because she needs to void . You are left to investigate to see if there is a clean seat. To check if there is paper left on the seat and to check if the commode is clean. Also to check if the lock works. When I finally exit the stall my daughter is impatient to leave. “What took you so long?” She asks .
Another time we were going to use a restroom in a National park. The room was very busy and my daughter spotted a partially open door on a stall. She pushed me in and went to use another stall. I hung up my cane and proceeded to use the commode. I heard a Mother outside my stall calling a little girl’s name. I also could hear a quiet voice from my left. I thought she has locked herself in the stall next to me. I will have to inform the Mom where her daughter is. When I opened the door. I started to talk to the woman and my daughter grabbed me and rushed me out of the restroom without washing our hands. When we had traveled to the far side of the building my daughter finally told me that the small child was in my stall with me. She was playing with the flushing lever so was between the back of commode and the wall. I never thought that she was in the stall with me. I am sure that I would have gotten a lecture from the Mom but she was temporarily stopped by the white cane. My daughter was sure she would find us and press charges.
My daughter and I were in an amusement park and had to find a restroom. Like most busy places, the restroom had a line of women waiting for a stall. There was no line at the handicapped stall so my daughter opened it and went to wait in line for another stall. When I was finished I opened and was surprised to find a women in a wheelchair so close to the door that I was not able to leave the stall. She started to lambaste me that I was not allowed to use this stall. I started to hit her wheel chair with my cane and asked her to back up so I could exit. My daughter later told me that all the women were amused to see this battle of the disabilities being played out in front of them.
I have a blind friend that related a story about grocery shopping with her visual son . She would tell what was on the list and she expected him to find the item and put it in the basket.
When she was at the checkout line she was surprised at the amount of her groceries. After thinking she handed a list to the check out clerk. and asked her to remove any items that were not on the list.
There were Pop-tarts, candy and two little cars. After that she felt each item as her sun put it into the basket.
Kids test all parents but blind parents have to be creative in their response to testing situations.

On your toes
where your children go
keep a hold.

August 13 Water Spirits

During this time of stress and Corona Virus confusion, I find peace and solace on a shoreline watching the waves. It doesn’t matter if the water is fresh or salty, As long as it is large enough to have waves, I am entranced.I had an opportunity to visit the Lake Michigan shore this past weekend. The north western winds produced white caps and churned up water. The rhythmic beating of the waves as they crashed and removed the beach with each landing was hypnotic . I was reminded of the power of nature and it’s ability to mold and change the land. The beach is shrinking and the dunes are losing ground to the tides. In one place, a poplar tree on the top of a bluff had it’s roots exposed for twenty feet as it pointed to the water. Beach grasses were no match to the constant encroachment of the rising lake.I stand on the shore with my feet sliding on the sand in the water knowing how easily I could be tumbled by a wave as it made landfall. No wonder water particularly, moving living water is a symbol of renewal. I feel the strength that the lake gives my spirit and soul.I walk down the beach climbing over obstacles thrown on the beach. I end my walk at a set of stairs leading to a chapel on the bluff. There I find a peace in the space where the native Americans learned and practiced their faith from the missionary’s. I can look out and see their graves in the cemetery next to the church. Many are marked with only a simple white cross when a disease like measles killed many from the settlement. I hear their cries to the heavens as the waves continue to beat the shore. I add my silent prayer to all those souls to have strength and courage as we face the corona virus knowing that it will not last. I bow my head, feeling the past, present and future blend together. I rise, and dip my fingers in the baptismal font on my way out.Living WaterLiving water moving, carting life.Holds death and life in its shadows.It is deceptive in it’s calm morning demeanor, but by evening the tides and waves have changed their power.They grab stairs, chairs and sandy beach to the depths.I think of death but know that the items will rise and appear again . Though changed.So we are here but a moment and when the tide of death takes us,We will rise and be changed.

August 11, 2020 a Stoker’s Lament

The stoker that I refer to is not a coal shoveling worker. The stoker is the second person on a tandem bicycle. The front person is the captain. The larger, stronger or the person that has sight is the captain. The stoker adds more power especially on hills. They call breaks . My husband, John and I have been a tandem team for over 20 years. When we approach another cycler, we get different reactions. My husband is scowled at by female bikers until they see me. Then they break into a large smile and greet him as they pass. I,am peppered with comments , usually from male bikers,”She’s not working!” or ,”She has her feet up!” or”You lost her a while back!”. I have put up with these insults for 20 years. I can’t think of a snappy comeback.The truth is the pedals are connected and both persons must pedal to stay upright. If I put my feet up on the handlebars, I would fall off. I hold on to make sure that I stay with the bike.In the past two decades I have heard several nice comments, One fellow stated,” She is gaining on you!” ”You have a hitchhiker!” But the best comment I heard was spoken by an older gentleman walking. He stopped and said,”I wish that I had a beautiful woman following me!” A comment like that goes a long way. As for the other comments, I wondered where their partners are? At least I am out with my husband and we are enjoying a shared activity.
Roll on, roll ondown the road,two person power,makes the tandem go.
Comments shouted,from trail and street.Most of then,I fail to heed.
I smile and a nod,A compliment lingers,then it’s gone.
I savor it,like good wine.I wait for another,I have the time.

The Blind Traveler August 6, 2020

BlindTravelAs a visually challenged person, I find that I must be aware of where I am and how I will get from one place to the next. I use the feeling in my feet, trailing with my fingertips, my cane , and sighted guides. When traveling with a friend in a car I relax my awareness of where I am. This changed after I received a ride home from dance class. I were taking an adult belly dance class. I was to get a ride with a cab a fellow dancer said to cancel the ride she would take me home.We were laughing and talking all the way to my home. You must understand that I live in a subdivision that has 4 different house types. There is a two level, a Tri-level and a ranch and a Straight across ranch. I live in a straight across ranch. Denise pulled into a drive and told me that the garage door was open. After gathering my things I got and waved good bye before entering the garage.The door into the house was in the correct corner of the garage but as I felt the edge of the door, I realized that the screen was closed and was aluminum . My househad a wood screen door that we seldom closed. I was in the worng house!I hurried out to see if I could catch my friend but she was long gone. I had no clue even what direction my home may be. I had to return to the house to ask an embarrassing question. Where am I and how far is my home? Fortuately for me I was not far from my house about 10 houses away. The neighbor knew me and where my house was and offered to take me home.Since then, I try to know where I am and now I have a smart phone to help me if I am lost again. “Hey Seri, Find my home!”

FeelingsI feel my way through my world.With cane, fingertips and feet,I know where I am,most of the timeBut even an experienced traveler can get distracted,disoriented and lose their way.Then they must bite the bullet,and ask for help.We get by with a little help from our friends.

August 4th 2020 Reflections

Do you See What I See.
I love to take walks in the woods. But ever since I was lost in a woods as a toddler, I prefer to walk with a partner . That partner is my husband or daughter.
As we walk we disturb the fauna . A squirrel will scamper across the path. A bird is singing on a low tree branch or a deer turns his tail flag as he runs away.
To be truthful , I miss many of these animal antics. But when I am asked if I saw this or that movement I hesitate to say what I really see.
One day I had the courage to admit I didn’t see the particular animal . But I went on to inform what exactly I did see.
See that large shape by the tree? It looks like a bear digging for roots. And over there by the split rail fence is a brown shape that is close to a deer trying to decide if he should watch us or run. I also see a branch of a low shrub shaking with a mother bird working on her nest. I was seeing all these things in my mind’s eye.
My husband turned to me and stated that the mind can see better than the naked eye with a little imagination.

Rain distorts the reflection in the pane.
I contemplate my twisted hold on reality.
Memories of the visual world change with age.
reforming like a deck of shuffled cards.
The rain forms tears from heaven.
They water our souls and spirits.
I take a card and see what memory is is on top.
Building a story around the thought.
The fracture is my reality.

July 30, 2020 A Bundle of joy or a Barrel of Monkeys

Today is my daughters 28th birthday. This week I have thought about the many memories I share with my husband on being parents. We found we were expecting when we were our late 30’s. After testing we knew we were having a girl. My husband named her after the woman that delivered our mail. Ruth was a name that was not in either family. The only comment I said was she may have speech problems with the letters r and th. She did. When she outgrew the articulation difficulty, A classmate mentioned she had lost her accent.Ruth was born in a different hospital then we were scheduled at. They suspected heart problems. She was sent by ambulance to University of Michigan. We waited for a call with news. When the doctor was pleased when he said our daughter didn’t have the heart problem that was suspected. She would be kept and have eye surgery for glaucoma. He also mentioned that no baby could scream as loud as she did whenever the ambulance turned on the siren. We went to break her out of the ward. The nurse insisted that Ruth must finish her bottle before discharge. I dumped 3/4ths of the contents and allowed Ruth to suckle on the rest. The nurse signed the discharge papers and we were off with the baby in tow.We were scared of this small bundled. She looked like she could be easily broken.We learned that babies could roll off beds and not be injured. We grew with our daughter as we shared smiles and milestones.Our three person team included John’s mother , Helen. We all looked to her for information and comfort. A age three Ruth stated that Granda was her best friend.Her first word was not Mama or Dada but GaMa.We traveled with Ruth from an early age. Once, she ran away in a crowded terminal. She was so short , we couldn’t see her through the peoples legs. After that she was tethered to her Dad.We took her everywhere we went. At 3 months, She was zipped into her dads jacket as we followed a path in a snowstorm on Mt. Washington.Ruth grew and developed her character . She loved stuffed animals and not dolls. Her favorite stuffed friend was a pink bear named Joey. She couldn’t go to sleep without him. She would put herself to sleep talking to him about her day.Ruth was an artist, singer, writer and poet. she loved Math and Science. She was able to work in both sides of her brain.Now she is a married woman with a career in Bio-statistician. She has a loving beautiful soul. I am so proud of her. With all our love.Mom and Dad
The BirthdayMy mind focuses on the birthbut that was long ago.She has matured and has grown.I still see the girl within,Excited hand shakes begin.I know her and yetI can’t forget.How she feltupon my back.

July 28,2020 Hazardous Waste

In the past week, I know that the mask order is having some effect. There have been over a dozen used masks along the roads and sidewalks . Some may have fallen out of vehicles but they have been discarded after shopping or banking. People are less likely to pick up this waste to dispose of it without protection . This spring there were not the groups cleaning the roadsides in my community. Next year , we will see an abundance of masks along with other wind swept trash.Maybe we could start carrying a disposable gloves to our walk or bike ride. Stop and pick up the masks putting then in a disposable bag. The flora and fauna will appreciate it.If we are wearing masks to protect ourselves and others, The masks could pose a threat if not disposed of properly.Treat the masks as Hazardous waste and dispose of then in your junk bag.
marigolds an amber circle enclose masks

July 23, 2020 Can we afford The Cure?

Our family doctor recommended both my husband and I get inoculations for pneumonia. We stopped at a local drug store . The pharmacist indicated that we were due for a hepatitis vaccination. We decided to get both. Our out of pocket cost was nothing but when we looked at the bill , the cost would have been over 500 Dollars. The pneumonia is a yearly shot. The hepatitis needs a booster in 6 months. These drugs are not new and still they are over 100 dollars each. We are on Medicare and have health insurance. What about the group of the population that have minimal insurance coverage? Will they be able to pay for health?We are awaiting a vaccination for the coronavirus . What do you think a new drug will cost the consumer? It is not likely that it will be a one time inoculation. It likely need boosters every 6months to a year. Will people be able to afford it? Will insurance companies rule the new drug experimental and not reimburse.Many will choose to take their chances . Is our government looking into ways to help most of the population afford the cure? Or are we looking at the few being able to have access and pay for it.
Curecorona virusunder trials nowresults look promisingeach dose can be costly

July 21, 2020 Inner Compass

Inner compassAs I write this story, I am reminded how memory plays a role in where items are in my home. I know that my coffee cup is to the left of my I Pad. My slate and stylus is in the middle of the table and the phone is on the far right wall.As I go navigate through my home , I know where the hallway starts, where the bedrooms are and what is in each.I can feel the tiles of the kitchen floor and know where the pots, pans and food items are located to be a successful cook. When cleaning, I feel the containers and even smell the contents to know if I have grabbed the correct cleaning solution .In my family room, I have my knitting yarns by color in a cabinet. I can easily locate each basket of color to work on a project.I can vacuum rooms by feel and following the room’s walls and working my way into the middle of the floor space.My Dad once closed his eyes to see if he could get around his home of 50 years. He admitted that he couldn’t find his way from his bed to the bathroom without running into furniture or a doorway. He asked how I could maneuver and not run into items.I told him that after trial and error, my inner compass know where most things were located. Just don’t move anything in my world

After I broke my pelvis, I had to relearn to balance and stand. I lost my inner compass. I would take my walker and end up in the living room when I was aiming for the bathroom. I kept running into furniture and walls, like my Dad. I had to count my steps to know if I was down the hall. I counted steps to the kitchen table and to the step down into the family room. Retraining took several weeks and I still have occasional difficulties. I hope that my inner compass returns.
Inner Compass
Do I turn right or left?How many to the bathroom in the middle of the night?In a strange room, can I identify where I am?Sometimes yes, other times no.traveling through my home each day is a new adventure.I put pieces of the puzzle together to fix my broken compass.

July 16, 2020 Beauty of the field

In the past month, there have been several news stories about a four acre plot of perennials planted by a farming family as a living memorial to their deceased family members.The field has become a go to sight for it’s natural beauty. Located between a blueberry field and the country cemetery, it calls locals and others to admire and snap photos.But some of the admirers leave their own mark on the scene. People have driven over graves to get a better view of the field.The local township had to lock the gates of the cemetery to stop the destruction.Now, the sightseers are parking on the road and trespassing into the field to pick flowers and pose for photos.As they walk in the field, they trampled foliage, making trails in the field. The callousness of people for others reminds of the debate over wearing a mask to protect others or not wearing a mask is a persons right. What about the rights of the landowners and the dead that the field is honoring. 
I hope that we as Americans can have consideration for all and not think that an individual’s right outweighs the many.

Beauty in the field By Carol Farnsworth
On the shores of Lake Michigan, in blueberry country,There is a field of color, scents and buzzing bees.4 acres of poppies, bachelor buttons and daisies.Wedged between the ripening berries and a country cemetery holding generations of farmers.The field was planted to honor two family members and as a memorial to the beauty they loved.They are buried in sight of the field, resting in hallowed ground.But the living can’t enjoy the sight without causing destruction.They drive on graves with their cars to get a better photo of the flower field.Even walking through the flowers trampling pathed. I wonder what the dead think of the living and their callousness?Are they pondering eternity?The berries will ripen and drop.The flowers will wilt and spread their seeds.But why can’t man enjoy the sight and the thought that is behind the beauty in the field?