The thing that interested me the most about this morning's panel was discovering that, just like the deaf community, with regard to sign language versus speech training, visually-impaired people and those who work with them have their own set of factions, too; we're just not as out for blood as the deaf factions can sometimes be.
I was asked during the panel if I had ever learned to use Braille. I said that I had not, because I had always had enough usable sight that I had never needed to learn anything but print and had not been interested in learning it, save as a curiosity. The lady asking me the question suggested that learning Braille would be a good idea for anyone who is legally blind, because the younger you learn it, the easier it is to pick up and retain. While she had had decent sight in her youth, now that she was in her sixties, her sight had become much worse, and she wished she had learned Braille when she had the chance.
So sure enough, after the panel was over, another lady came up to me, saying, "Oh, you shouldn't worry with Braille if you have usable sight. Braille is very cumbersome, and if you want to use it to assist your consumers, you can use a typewriter that will work like a normal one, except that it embosses Braille instead of printing letters."
Next to me, Jef was talking to another lady. Her main topic of conversation was pretty much, "You get around really well, but why don't you have a dog?"
Fortunately, no one brought up the folding cane versus straight cane controversy that is currently raging. The people who use folding canes love them because they can be tucked away into purses. The people with straight canes prefer them because they are much sturdier than the folding variety. I have never had my folding cane fall apart on me, but I imagine I'd be very disconcerted if that ever happened. It is also becoming the standard to use very long canes--53 inches long or more--because they give you a greater sweep radius as you swing the cane in front of you.
Apparently, though, a lot of blind people have poor cane technique; they either don't use their canes very often, or they hold the cane close to them, straight up, instead of sweeping it before them. I was surprised to learn that.
Anyway, all very interesting. In two weeks, I am to talk to a group of children in another panel, as part of the BVIC (Blind or Visually-Impaired Children) program. I'm trying to work out ways to simply some of the things I said today. I suspect a lot of it will be working it out as we go, but I look forward to it.
God Granted His Wish: Jef, my co-panelist, was told something interesting while he was in training, learning how to adjust to being blind. Someone in his class made some remark about God and Jef snapped at the guy. His teacher then took him aside and said, "I don't care if you believe in God or not, but I am seeing some hostility here. You tell me that you have a wonderful wife and two children yho you love. Well, I'm here to tell you that God has granted your wish."
"And what wish is that?" Jef retorted.
The teacher replied, "If anything had happened to your family--if any of them had lost their eyesight, you'd be praying to God and asking, 'Why them, Lord? Why not me?' Well, God has granted your wish. It's you, instead of them. So shut up, and start dealing with it."
I thought that was a darned impressive thing for that instructor to say.
Jihad Name is: Sister Katana of Compassion.
I think my favorite so far is 'Brother/Sister Hand Grenade of Loving Kindness.' Hehehehe!
Prince Charles married Camilla Parker-Bowles today, finally capping a 35 year-long relationship. I wish them both every happiness. After 35 years, I think they deserve at least that. According to a news article I read, Diana blamed Charles' affair with Camilla for breaking up her marriage. Personally, I think what doomed their marriage from the start was the presumed need for Charles to marry a 'suitable' wife.
Admittedly, I don't know very much about Charles' and Diana's courtship, but it seems to me that expecting a man of Charles' age to marry a woman he didn't love simply for religious and political reason was a disservice to Charles and to Diana. She should have had the chance to marry a man who loved her for who she was, rather than a man who had already given his affection to someone else.
But what do I know?
Actually, I'll tell you what I know....
Chantal's Commentary on Hat Fashion:
So there I was, watching the wedding guests leave St. George's, and I noticed that many of the women wore hats. At first, I thought I must be seeing members of the royal family. But there were so many of them that I soon concluded that no, these were just ordinary women wearing hats to keep their hair from being blown about, etc. There were a lot of interesting hats to see.
I thought Camilla's hat, shown in the image at left, was quite nice, one of the best hats I saw. It had enough decoration to be interesting, but it didn't have so much decoration as to look ridiculous. There was this one woman in a yellow hat that looked like someone had morphed Big Bird into a cush ball and stuck him on top of a hat brim. It was just a big ball of yellow feathers, everywhere! Too many feathers.
Then there was the Fox News reporter covering the story. She had worn a pink outfit, and her hat somehow reminded me of strawberry ice cream with a huge, cake icing rose stuck on the side of it. It was just a bit much.
Another hat that I thought was interesting was red with a wide, black band around the crown. Nice hat, but it was a bit large, I thought, sort of like wearing a two-layer round cake on one's head.
The best hat I saw was worn by a woman in a pearl-gray suit outfit. The hat matched her suit perfectly, with a rolled brim, a deep, gray-blue band, and no feathers that I could see. I thought that woman looked very chic without looking like haute couture.
The worst hat I saw...Man, I would not have left the house in that thing. It was burgundy-brown and looked as if it were comprised of two hats, one stuck on top of the other. So wrong. So not the time to be inventive with one's hat.
Ah well. Me, I'm the type of person who, unless I was pummeled out of the habit, would probably wear the same hat with most things I own, simply because it's easier, that way. Pick a hat that will go well with most outfits, have maybe a couple of other hats on standby, and no more. Still, the hat-watching was much fun, and Mark laughed at me all the while for being a hat snob and fashion critic. (g)
Icon Meme (from havocthecat):