Surviving

Feeling the warmth of the sun on a cloudy day. A glimpse into a blind billy goat's unique, ever changing perspectives.

2017 06 27 Journal Excerpt Page 41 June 27, 2017

 

Isn’t it good when things go according to plan? Isn’t it great when you don’t have to worry about the unforeseen snags that can sometimes occur? Isn’t it marvelous when you turn, look back and think to yourself, “How the hell did I manage to get through that?”

 

Oh how life can turn the ordinary into the extraordinary, and my oh my how fast it can happen.

 

Take a step, or two, and dare to brave the new world. Sound a little frightening? Ok then, how about just trying to brave the new day then.

 

Deal?

 

dp***

 

***

 

Time described: Summer, Fall 2011

Page 41

 

As fall continued to move on through, my mobility lessons continued on as well. Rosemary and I had the opportunity earlier that summer to work with Waterville’s new talking pedestrian crossing assistance program things. Grin Rosemary almost cried when she found out they were planning on installing the new poles at each lighted intersection throughout the city. She had been after the city to upgrade their pedestrian crossing signals for some time, and from what she and I had encountered on our lessons around the city, a lot of the current systems were very poor, some to the point of not working at all. I remember the intersection of Elm, Park and Appleton where the library is. The signal didn’t work very well. In fact, it was quite dangerous for pedestrians, let alone someone who couldn’t see. When the walk sign was lit, the traffic light stayed green, so the normal crossing opportunities conflicted with the traffic. Talk about taking your life in your own hands! Sheesh!

 

Rosemary and I spent a ton of time on that intersection, and when the signals were synched properly, I learned how to hold my breath while crossing. So much of what I learned had to do with trusting that I was visible to drivers. Now I’m fully aware that I’m a big dude, but cars tend to be quite a bit bigger, so when we’re talking about a one on one conflict, well, need I say more?

 

Learning the proper crossing techniques with normal intersections depends on quite a few things. Not all intersections run the same as far as the light patterns. We spent a few lessons just standing at each corner and studying the patterns, one corner at a time, and believe me, there is a lot to learn from a simple 4 way intersection. With Rosemary’s help, I learned the patterns and applied the skills for a few more lessons. This was a couple months prior to the start of updating the city systems, and by the time I had learned just that one intersection, we moved on to another one.

 

Waterville has roughly 25 or so lighted intersections, and virtually every one is different. Those lessons with Rosemary were long, grueling and exhausting. By the time I arrived back home, I was mentally fried. I usually had a hard time falling asleep because of visions of busy intersections dancing through my head.

 

One lesson while we were heading down Main Street, we came across a road crew working on the intersection of Temple, Main and the Concourse entrance. After going back and forth through the intersection a couple times, Sarge asked the crew what they were working on. When they told her they were installing new audible pedestrian crossing systems, Rosemary hollered out loud. It scared me a little, as I couldn’t really hear their conversation very well because of the road noise. She grabbed me and pulled me off to the side, and as she told me the news, I could hear the excitement in her voice.

 

That intersection was one of the first installments done in the city. These systems weren’t like other systems I had worked with , for instance, down in Newton Mass. Their systems were chirping sounds that signified when crossing by pedestrians was safe. The Waterville systems were talking systems that told you in a synthesized voice when, and which streets were safe to cross. They also had beeping indicators so that you could find the poles and push the buttons to start the crossing pattern. Another really cool feature that impressed me even more was when you walked up to the pole and hit it with your cane, the volume level of the beeping, and of the voice assistant increased. It was also designed to increase automatically with increased road noise, such as trucks and other loud vehicles, so that you could continue to hear the signals. Pretty cool innovations if you ask me. Waterville was the first city in the state to have these new systems, and I was probably the first blind person to use them, or one of the first.

 

Within a few months, all of the lighted intersections of Waterville were set up with the new system, and the fun was just starting, from my perspective anyway.

 

With new technology, come new opportunities, and new issues. With any changes, mobility also changes, and a new way to do things needs to be taught, learned and implemented. That particular intersection that saw the first new system provided for some unique challenges. On the intersection’s south west corner, the pole that controlled the Main Street crossing was placed roughly fifteen feet from the actual start of the crossing. These signals were set up to announce when the walk light was lit, so when you heard, “Main Street walk signal is lit. It is now safe to cross”, the smart move would be to start sweeping your cane and head across. There was one problem though. As I said, the pole was quite a distance from the start of the cross walk, and there was also a time indicator that counted down to let you know how much time you had before the walk time ended. Of course, this count down indicator on the pole had no audible indicator associated with it, so Rosemary was the only indicator mechanism that told me how much time I had left. By the time I reached the cross walk and got half way across the street, the time was up, and the traffic began to flow again.

 

Not a good scenario!

 

I couldn’t move closer to the start of the crossing after I pushed the button on the pole because I couldn’t hear the voice announcing unless I was standing right beside the pole. The volume increasing didn’t seem to raise the voice levels sufficient enough to be heard more than a few feet from the pole.

 

Are you confused? So was I.

 

Well, we both decided that this scenario sucked out loud, and Sarge told me that it was up to me to fix it. I ended up contacting one of the Public works managers and told him about our dilemma. He agreed to meet us at the intersection on my next lesson, which he did.

 

That day I felt like the problem might be addressed, but it would probably take a few weeks to iron out. The manager met us at the street corner that next lesson, and while Rosemary and I were describing the problem, he hopped on his phone, called a number, opened the control panel on the box’s box, punched a few codes into the small keypad inside the box and extended the time allowed to cross the intersection by fifteen seconds.

 

Problem solved in less than five minutes.

 

Oh how I love modern technology, especially when it works well.

 

 

To be continued…

 

 

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2017 06 26 Journal Excerpt Page 40 June 26, 2017

 

Some days I don’t feel much like writing. Other days, it feels like I didn’t write enough, or I didn’t write about the right thing, or I strayed to the left when I should have veered to the right. Through all of my time spent writing, I have built up quite an assorted array of essays, stories, poems, and a ton of other things that I don’t really know what to call. Through my fingertips a new world has arrived, and as I have read back through this journal, I’m glad I was chosen to create the text.

 

In a word, thanks.

 

Deon

 

***

 

Page 40

Fall 2011

 

During the month of October, I had the chance to attend my first white cane and guide dog walk of independence in Augusta. My wife, son and grandson Jack also came along, and again I had the chance to meet some people in the blind community of Central Maine. The day was perfect, with warm temps and sunshine flooding the streets of the capitol, and as the canes and paws made our way around the downtown area, I realized that when it came to mobility with my white cane, I wasn’t alone.

 

My retired VRC Leona McKenna was also in attendance, but she wasn’t able to go on the walk with us. She had just been through a rather difficult surgery procedure on one of her feet, but she was there 100 percent in heart and spirit.

 

I did get the chance to talk with another woman, Marge Awalt, and her husband Hugh. They had brought a door prize with them, a voice activated dog that reacted to an accompanying book being read. Did I describe that good enough for you to follow along? Anyway, it was a pretty cool door prize that Jack ended up winning.

 

I just talked with my friend Lynn Merril on the phone, and she remembers being there. By the way, I should remind you again that this page post differs from others, in that I am writing it right now, the 25th of June, 2017. I am gap solving with additional journal info that I never wrote about, until now.

 

Well, the fall was full of differences, as you can imagine, and that I never would imagine. A funny thing happened on the way to writing a short story for my Saturday online writer’s group. We were directed to write a short story for Halloween, and so I set off on a quest to do just that.

 

I didn’t end up writing a short story though.

 

Usually short stories consist of roughly ten pages or so. As I started writing my story, something inside me kicked into gear. I knew after a couple pages that this story wasn’t going to be a short story. Just the way the events started happening, and the way that the movie inside my head was playing, I knew it was more than a short story.

 

Well, Saturday came, and during the group meeting everyone started discussing their stories. During the week leading up to the meeting, members usually submitted their writing piece to the groups list serve, an email list only accessible by group members. This way, the writers had a chance to read the other writer’s submissions in preparations for the next meeting.

 

Anyway, the online meeting started, and the critiques started flowing. When the critique moved to my submission, I told the members that I tried to write a short story, but couldn’t find an ending to it, so I submitted it anyway.

 

Everyone seemed to like the 8 or nine page submission, which I had entitled, Chapter One. There was another writer in the group who decided not to write a short story, but instead continued with chapters of a lengthy story he was writing. Even though I felt a little awkward not being able to end the short story, I shrugged it off as a stepping stone for things to come.

 

And come they did.

 

During this time, my sessions with Mike Adams also continued. I was becoming more comfortable with using my computer, as well as web stuff, in particular, my blog. I had started the blog off with posts declaring my hate for cancer. I had named the blog “Surviving”, as a reminder that I was a cancer survivor, or as I like to say, a cancer conquerer. I hadn’t really thought that the name could mean so many different things, such as surviving blindness, mobility lessons, lawn mower repairs, one sock coming out of the dryer, and probably the worst thing of all, running out of chocolate. The word had so many possibilities, and with each possibility came a world of issues, of chances, of opportunities that could either set you on your ass, or pick you up and take you to the other side where the roses were handed to you in the winner’s circle.

 

Yes, the lessons with Mike proved to be very beneficial, as I had become very dependant on my computer. I communicated with people with it. I felt so comfortable with writing, and while doing so, I didn’t have to worry about maneuvering around my day. I did my maneuvering with the keypad and my fingers. The text that JAWS read to me became a world that I could control, and without the vision there were so many things that I was constantly coming in contact with that kept reminding me how much of my day was completely out of my control. I mean, how could anyone control what they couldn’t see? How is that possible?

 

So many times those slogans of AA came into play, Keep it simple stupid, Turn it Over, Let go, Let God, they all reminded me of the one true thing that I could always control, and that was me. Little old me.

 

Every once in a while I go back and read an old blog post. Often times I sit and laugh while reading, and I ask myself how I ever learned how to write the things I do, the way that I do. I’ve often said that my writing is sometimes like a ping pong ball bouncing all over the place. I just shrug it off, and consider that as long as all the words end up on the screen, then it’s all good. Most of the time, they do, but how the hell would I know? grin

 

And now, for those three little words,

 

To be continued…

 

2016 01 05 One Scoop, or Two? January 15, 2016

I went out and shoveled the driveway a couple days ago. I didn’t do it because I wanted to. I mean, who in their right mind would ever want to shovel a driveway, right? Thank God the frozen white stuff was the light and fluffy kind, for I really didn’t want to have to over exert myself, although I could use it.

I’m getting soft in my semi old age. In fact, I’m probably in the poorest shape of my life. I don’t really understand why, I mean, I get my proper nourishment every day. Ok, ok, I admit it. Some days I don’t have my recommended daily allowance of milk chocolate, but I more than make up for it the next day, or the day after, ok?

Tell you the truth, I had a hell of a time shoveling. It felt like a taste of those old panic attacks I used to get a few years ago. Maybe not quite as strong, but along the same lines. You see, as I have said a few times these past few months, my vision is nearing the end of its existence. I can’t see what I used to, and what I used to see just plain sucked. I guess I had grown complacent that the limited vision I had since 2010 would be with me for eternity. It wasn’t much to work with, but oh how I worked it. A landmark here, a door frame there, a shiny line of chrome, topped off with my two favorite trees on either side of my driveway, and I was all set to go and get some for myself.

As I slowly and deliberately pushed my snow scoop back and forth down the driveway Wednesday morning, I was faced with a deep, dark blackness that I neither welcomed, nor found any hope of being able to use. It was midnight at 10 o’clock in the morning. My two favorite trees were gone, my shrubs in front of the porch had disappeared, my garage door had vanished, the blue spruce that pointed me towards the East had up and walked away, and I was standing there, waiting for a car to go by, so that I might regain my orientation.

I find myself these days leaning and reaching as I make my way around the inside of my house. I am constantly searching for counter tops, chairs, door jams, doors, and anything that lends a hand with getting from one room to another. My wife keeps telling me I need to use my cane around the house, and I keep telling her that I will never use a cane around the inside of my house. I guess the sniveling little brat of a goat is hanging on to a sense of dignity that perhaps even I don’t understand.

No matter what it is, or called, or referred to, it’s what’s in front of me, and as I go after it, over and over again, you might say that I’m preparing for battle against a foe that will never get the better of me.

At least that’s how I approach it on most days.

My wife, God bless her, is putting up with an oil tanker full of crap that no one should ever have to endure. She has been my anchor these past six years. Hell, she’s been my anchor since 1980, and as I have said before, I owe her my life, and then some.

She has chosen to stay with me, for sicker, for poorer, for goat be in debt up to his goat caboose.

As I was saying, as I made my way down the drive with my snow scoop in my hands doing what snow scoops normally tend to do, the familiar shards of slighted sight were nowhere to be seen. I can’t imagine how the driveway looked after I finished, I mean the edges must have been as if a demolition derby wreaked havoc on the linear edges of the perfectly manicured attempt at snow removal.

As I stood there, leaning on my scoop, I listened for the oncoming traffic up and down our road. At one point, I stood there for what seemed like a goat day, until a lone car came slowly down the ridge. I was trying to gain some orientational clues as to how close I was to the road.

Is orientational a word?

As the car rolled by, I pulled out my talking calculator, my T square, my daylight savings sun dial, my bag of chocolate chips and equated that I was still 20 feet or so from the end of the drive, so, on I scooped, back and forth, South to North, and as I finally broke through the packed snow at the end of my mission, I smiled deep inside, for once again I had found a way to get it done.

I swung the scoop out in front of me, trying to find the mail box, and after several pitiful attempts, “Clang!” there it was, the steel pole of the newspaper box. Five feet further south, and there was the mail box, in all its frozen glory, waiting for me to pluck its prize, and pluck the prize I did.

With a smile, a sigh of relief and a feeling of accomplishment, I headed East up the drive, and realized I now had to try and find the front porch door again.

Orientation’s not just a job, it’s an adventure.
If you can see what you’re doing, please take the time to try and remember what it is that you see.

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by Surviving.

dp

 

2015 12 19 Seasonal Finale December 19, 2015

It’s finals week in school, and I just submitted my research papers for my two online classes. I have learned a lot this semester, and am very happy it’s winding down. It doesn’t seem like that long ago I was looking at week 2 work, wondering how on earth I was ever going to maneuver my way to week 15. Man, what a blur it’s been!

As usual, Blackboard gave me a lot of struggle, but with the help of an amazing tutor named Nick, I worked through, learned what I needed to know and studied my caboose off. I had a hard time with the reading in my music class, as I have a difficult time retaining what I read. I did figure out though some good techniques for taking notes while I read, which seemed to help me with retaining tons of information. It’s funny just how lazy my brain has become over the years. Now I’m not saying that my mush melon was ever anxious to get to work. Nope. No way. But with a little coaxing this fall, it finally started kicking in and getting done what I needed it to do.

And here I am, a few hours past submitting the finished work.

I still can’t believe I’m taking college classes. It just doesn’t seem real sometimes. I mean, me? College? Me? You must have mistaken me for some other ridge goat.

On the other hand, it has been me. Little old me. No one else but me. And I’m here to tell you that for all those times when I was staring at a truck load of homework, thinking, “What was I thinking?”, for all those times I didn’t have a clue, or understand the work, for all those times I sat listening to my screen reader as it read this foreign language of learning to me, for all those times I bowed down to my keypad and shook my head, it has all been worth it, for it’s been a frigging huge step in the right direction, and with all that’s been going on in my life these past few months, I guess some inner strength showed up. Strength that I didn’t even know was there, or paid any attention to. I just did what was in front of me, and now, I’m looking towards the spring semester already, approaching the starting blocks, again, Before I know it, I’ll be anticipating the starting gun to, you guessed it, scare the crap outta me!

It’s Christmas time once again, and I have so much to be thankful for. I have the irreplaceable memories of a lifetime mentor, the smiling voice of a grand son, the wicked strong hugs of my only son and the caring touch of a loving wife at my side. I have been afforded a ton of inspiration, a ton of friendships, a half ton of chocolate, a roof over my head that doesn’t leak, a family that I would gladly give my right arm for, and a God that gives me the strength to keep moving forward each and every day.

For all of these, I am thankful, and I am blessed.

I just listened to the finale of my favorite singing competition show last night, and my favorite singer won. I just simply love good music, great singers and the ability to listen to all of it. I also have a couple Christmas movies cued up on my iTouch to listen to tonight. I think I’ll start it off with one of my favorite seasonal movies, The Family Stone. I’ll save Miracle on 34th Street for tomorrow night. It’s the older version of the two.

I do love my Christmas movies, and my holiday music. Can’t get in the holiday spirit without them, right?

So many things remind me of Christmas. The bells of the season, the energetic voice of a child, Silent Night being sung on the radio, and the ever present, spine tingling magic that flows through the world as we celebrate the birth of the Lord. With a flurry of spirited magic, I can’t help but think back to my childhood when all of that magic came swirling in on a bright eyed little boy. Scouring the Christmas Eve night for Santa’s sleigh, watching the tinsel dance along the colored lights of our Christmas tree, feeling the energy grab hold of an innocent heart, it all seemed almost too wonderful to be true, but oh how true it was.
I am a thankful, blessed and fortunate man. I’d also like to wish you all the very best this Christmas, and hope that your ticket into the New Year is filled with those special memories that stick to your ribs all through your 365.

Thanks for stopping by and God bless you all.

dp

 

2015 12 14 It Ain’t Easy Being Green December 14, 2015

It’s not easy being green, or blue, or lavender, or blind. It’s not the norm, the average, the trendy, or politically correct to not be able to see. It’s abnormal, variational, unusual and unconventional to be lightless, sightless, non visual or blind as a bat. Fact is, there isn’t much about it that I particularly care for.

A member of an email list I belong to offered their resolute opinion that even though I lost my vision rather rapidly, I should have been more prepared for the unexpected, that with my lack of preparation, I fell into a deep well along with those that didn’t take responsibility for their own lives, that I didn’t adequately take the steps to make sure that if I did lose my vision, that I’d be ready to take on a visual world with a mobility cane, a good concept of the Braille language and an abacus to figure out how much money I was spending while grocery shopping.

Huh?

I’m afraid no matter how I might have anticipated the hardships that life can throw at you, I would have been nowhere near as prepared as this person thought I should have been. Granted I wouldn’t be any further behind where I am right now, but chances are, I wouldn’t have been any further ahead either.

Oh ya, did I tell you? This person has been blind since birth, which in my eyes makes a huge difference. I’m wondering how they could have gauged where I, or those like me should be, I mean there’s got to be a huge difference on how you live your life when you’re born blind, compared to if you lose vision later in life, and suddenly to boot.

Ok, ok, ok, I’m starting to feel sorry for myself, and that’s my worst enemy. Self pity might feel comfortable at times, but he ain’t no friend of mine. He doesn’t do anything positive or constructive; he doesn’t listen to inspiration or cause admiration. He doesn’t lend a hand, except for reaching out to grab hold of an undeserving hand out, and he’ll never show you the right way to go, only the easiest route with the less obstruction possible. I guess “He”, could easily be, me. Fact is, he looks just like me on any number of days, because it doesn’t take me long to start feeling sorry for myself. A couple wrong turns, a jammed finger, a busted toe, a misplaced item, or one of those, “Now where did I leave it this time?” moments of pure non-clarity.

I can’t see much any more. A little sliver of light, a dull shimmer where a bright glimmer used to be, a darker than usual version of what dark looked like just a few months ago, and here I am, a blind billy goat on a mission to find a new way to live.

I’m sort of wanting to tell my wife that I’m sorry. I want to tell her that sometimes I know how hard I need to work at this blind thing. I want to tell her how much I love her for putting up with me, in all my cane sweeping glory. I want to say, thank you, and I couldn’t be as blind as I am without your guidance, support and love.

I also would like to say something to the person who thinks I dropped the ball. I’d like to let her know that outside of her own life, she has no idea on how to be me. She has no clue what it takes to live my life day to day. She has no clue, and therefore, although she might find this hard to believe, she is clueless.

I know what I need to do, and some days I’m able to do it better than other days. As long as I never forget what it takes, and what it’s taken, then things should work themselves out.

If they don’t, there’s always more chocolate.

Thanks for dropping by my blog, and as we head towards Christmas, take a second to look around you. The way that it is, exactly as it is right now will never, ever happen again.

Goat Be Gone.

 

2015 11 04 A Lifetime Away November 4, 2015

It’s taken me a lifetime to get to where I am. It seems like a lifetime away, but as I look back I feel the building blocks that have shaped and molded my existence. Such a long time ago, a little boy sat mesmerized with everything he gazed upon and reached out to. Such an inquisitive nature, completely innocent and void of judgment. The bright eyed questions that spun around inside the restless mind of this young lad weren’t unlike anyone else’s, but they were mine, and mine alone.

So much of who I am today directly reflects upon those building blocks of yesterday. Brothers, sisters, a mom and a dad are all part of me, and I care not to think what it would be like today without a yesterday full of them.

As the lines in the mirror grow longer in years, I can feel the age creeping in and molding the young lad yet again, though in a different way. Memories that span over time have a hand in aging the soul, the mind, the spirit, and although the gathered experiences help to compile character, like so many others, the woes of the body have also had a huge hand in shaping who I am, and yes, where I might be able to go from here on out.

I always tell folks that I don’t want to be a burdon, that I don’t want to have to be taken care of, but the fact is, a great part of my life these days is dependant on being able to ask for help. It’s a humbling experience to say the least, but along these past five sightless years, I have had to accept things for what they are, and what they are is something extraordinarily unique to which I used to be.

I am a thankful man, but I am also a seriously bitter man locked inside a life of anxious doubt. I still rely on a compassionate soul, but parts of my spirit have wandered to the side, spending valuable time hanging around the vagabond shoes of the unwilling.

What the hell does that mean?

I suppose it might mean that although I start each day willing to take on the challenges of a lightless world, I find myself some days slipping quickly into the fissures of a deep, dark, endless obstacle that has become what I don’t want, but what I am dealt.

I often write about how within each difficult situation lies an opportunity to move ahead. One step to the side, one step back and if I try hard enough, perhaps two steps forward. Those forward motions do seem tiny at times, but they are progress none the less.

And here I am, once again, facing a seemingly insurmountable wall of obstruction.

I’m not unlike so many others, in that I lose focus, I lose ambition; I lose the strength to summoned one more step forward. It’s hard to silence the voices of a tired soul, but it’s also hard to quell the heart of a warrior, which I’ve been told I have.

I talked with my father a while ago and asked him if he remembered his dreams, if there was one particular dream that he remembered having. He paused for a moment or two, and then told me of a young man, a warrior, who was constantly at battle with evil. He told me of how this young soldier of life had the courage brought forth to him by a great source of power, of goodness, of amazing strength. Through years of these same dreams, the source of energy in his dreams came from an ever present light of white, an illuminating light of good. Through his childhood and into his later years, he dreamt of doing battle beside a warrior unlike any other. This source of strength stayed with him through his waking hours and shone as a guiding light.

When I am experiencing difficult times through the course of my days, I imagine that strong, steadfast warrior, taking on the foes of challenge. I imagine my father, swinging his sword as he walks into the great battle of life. It’s a humbling feeling knowing that this great warrior of sleep stood beside me, behind me, with me as I grew old.

I don’t want to be a burdon, nor do I want to be pitied, but some days, it’s hard to avoid those obstacles of repression. I suppose by my nature, I can easily get caught up in complacency. I don’t handle change well, and I don’t do well with having to give up control of any kind. So much of my life is controllable, but every facet of what goes on around my life isn’t.

I just realized something. How on earth can we, or why would we ever want to feel comfortable with complacency, when we’re fully aware that the world never stops changing? Why would I ever knowingly expect anything other than change?

Now I’ve got something to think about for the rest of the day.

Go grab hold of your day and change something.

Go on! I dare ya!

 

2015 09 13 Accessibility, And Then Some September 13, 2015

Accessibility, and Then Some

I love digital technology. Always have, always will. Probably the first taste of it I can remember is sitting in the bowling alley with my little brother Scott, playing a duck shooting game that completely hypnotized me. You see, you could sit all the way across the bowling alley with a gun controller in your hand, point at a screen on the other side of the alley, and point and shoot the little plastic gun to nail those little duckies flying across the screen. Digital technology at its finest.

This was around 1972 or so, and from there, the innovations came charging at us with a fervor that has never looked back.

From television, to cruise control, cell phones, video games, refrigerators, washers, dryers, baby monitors, pool pumps, LED lighting, hospital monitoring equipment, wheelchairs, Bluetooth headphones, answering machines, and so on and on and on, the new gadgets just keep coming and coming, right? It seems as soon as you purchase that new computer, or smart television, then get it home and out of the box, there’s a newer version waiting to take its place. Cheaper, better, faster, stronger, smarter and so on it goes. Gotta have it, have always needed it, been waiting for it, just bought it, waiting for them to deliver it, wondering why I bought it. I’ve been there. Read the book, saw the movie and bought the t-shirt.

Did I say I love digital technology? Did I ever tell you that I couldn’t have picked a better time to lose my vision? Do you know that the advancements in assistive technology these past five years has totally amazed me? It’s true, you know?

I am blessed beyond belief at the incredible stuff that’s available to lend help to those who can’t see, and it’s only getting started. Now, don’t get me wrong. Assistive technology isn’t always a bowl full of chocolate ice cream, peanut butter cups and hot fudge. Oh no sir it surely isn’t. Assistive technology can give you a helping hand, but it can sometimes smack you upside the head, rending you completely flustered and totally annoyed. I’ve tasted both sides of the story, and I much prefer the tasty chocolate side myself, but there’s no avoiding the unpopular other side, as I have found out this past week.

I am finished with week one of my fall semester at community college. I am taking two online courses, which means that I am totally relying on digital technology to be able to get at and do my course work. I have been up against it from the get go, and have learned probably more in one week than any other week since I saw the color purple for the last time. I love the challenge, but this kind of challenge can quickly let the air out of your balloon. Good thing I have my handy dandy personal life support pump only a few feet away in the form of Mrs. Dunster’s chocolate sugared donuts in the fridge.

Thank you and may I have another please?

I came, I saw, figuratively speaking, I dove in, I jumped out, I ran to the help desk, I asked for help, I received an amazing array of assistance, I ran back to the pool, I jumped back in head first, I jumped back out and shook off, I stepped back and thought for a moment, I again asked for help, I figured and pondered and worried and growled and scratched my head and then I dove back in.

Week one is finished and as the dust settles down I can dig my heels in and ready myself for week 2.

Do goats really growl?