Monday, 29 December 2014

New Year New Adventures

2014 is almost over and 2015 is fast approaching. There has been a lot that has happened over the past year and I am looking forward to 2015. I am not making any New Years Resolutions because they are always the same and I can never seem to keep them so what the heck this year I am not making any then there is nothing to feel like I have failed at. So I am going to go into this year with a open mind and enjoy what it brings my way.

I do know that I am hoping for warmer weather in the New Year. It is -40c right now here. I am not shocked as we do live in Saskatchewan and well it just wouldn't be winter if it didn't get so cold you want to move. When it is this cold I hate going out but I go stir crazy if I don't so it is a catch 22 on that one. We did venture out with my husband today to go to the city and do some errands and some returns from Christmas and it was very very cold. Rick was not loving the weather today that is for sure but he is figuring out that he has to go out and do his business with less sniffing for the right spot if he doesn't want to freeze his paws.

My husband got me a colour identifier for christmas and I was so excited and then we started playing with it to see how well it worked and I was disappointed to be honest. It was not even right 50% of the time so that is not good. So I am going to return that one and see what I can find for something a little more accurate. As my vision gets worse it can be hard to accept the changes and the things that I can no longer see. But I have started finding people that are also VI (visually impaired) or blind so that I can connect with others going through the same things that I am and hopefully not feel so alone sometimes.

But back to the New Year ! It is going to be awesome and I am really looking forward to it. I am looking forward to the few things I have planned. I am trying to figure out how to make you tube videos and how I will be able to edit them which has proven to be a little challenging as I have never done anything like that before so I am hoping to have a video up in the next few weeks and see how it goes. I also have a few ideas for some blog posts which I am excited about writing. I have also started trying to promote my blog so hopefully I can get my view out there a little more.

Hope you all have a great New Year !!!!!!!
Until next time !
Ashley and Rick

Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas !!

Christmas is fast approaching and everyone is excited for Santa's arrival at our house. The kids are defiantly counting down the days and hours until christmas morning, and I have started the list of TO DO before I can have my christmas supper on Christmas Day for my family as well as to get ready for a family Christmas at my Grandma's house. So the days are not long enough lately but it will all be worth it in the end.

Rick and I have been getting out and going for our walks which is great and I really look forward to them I have been avoiding going to the city and doing any shopping after our last horrible trip (check out the previous blog post if you are wondering what that is about ).  In doing that I have been in a much better mood I think I will wait to go out to the stores until some of the business has subsided a little.

I left Rick at home the other day when we delivered some stuff to my grandma's he was at home for about a hour and that is the longest I have left him. I would leave him for a few minutes at a time working up to a little longer just to have him used to it in the event I need to go somewhere that it just isn't ideal to take him too. He does really well when I leave him but this time when I got home and let him out of his kennel you would have thought I was gone for 6 months he was so excited to see me ! Sure makes a girl feel loved at how excited he was to see me and he would not leave my side for the rest of the day as if to say "don't you dare leave me again".

I won't be posting until the new year so I hope you all have a fabulous christmas and all the best in the new year !

Until next time
Ashley and Rick

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Ignorance runs high !!!

We all I believe have those days that you just need to vent and get something off your chest, well today is one of those days so if you don't want to read any further I fully understand. There is nothing up beat about what I have to write today but a frustration that needs to be out there for all to see,

I love my guide Rick and would never go back to a cane, but with that comes some challenges and sometimes those challenges can be very hard to deal with on a regular basis. There has been a few days lately where I have not even wanted to go out shopping with my husband and kids or when I have let them run in and Rick and I wait in the car it is just easier ! How sad is that because the freedom that I feel with Rick is amazing yet there is that part that just doesn't want to deal with the ignorance and the rudeness and down right stupidity that is out there every where we go every time we go.

Every place I go in public I feel like the 3 ringed circus is in town. People are constantly "oh a dog, she must be blind ", "oh wow it is a seeing eye dog", "such a beautiful dog", "you are so lucky to have a dog", "puppy puppy awe you are so cute hey puppy ", (petting Rick ) "oh my god your dog is amazing can I pet him ", "she is blind", "awe poor girl is blind and she has kids", "that dog must have cost you a pretty penny" and the list goes on !!!!!! and on !!!!!! And along with all the comments comes the petting him and when I say please don't pet him he is working they begin talking to him and getting in his face ! LIKE REALLY ! I didn't say you can't pet him because he will bite you it is because you are distracting him and talking to him does the same. And as for the comments they are not always directed at me but really keep your voice down if you are going to talk about someone as they walk by blind does not mean I am DEAF ! I hear quite fine intact !

I wish people would take something into consideration I love my guide but I just want to be able to go shopping or out for a meal or where ever with my family and enjoy what we are doing or maybe I just want to get in and out of Walmart as fast as the next person. Would you like it if I came up to you and looked in your cart and said "Oh wow super tampons hey ? must be that time of month again hey ? so how is that treating you ? how long is your cycle. My brothers cousins wife's friend that I met 3 years ago buys the same tampons same strength and everything do you know her ? Like is there a group for people like you ? " I am sorry but you would want to punch me in the face ! Privacy and Respect is all I want ! Yes Rick is amazing I am sure you have many questions but there is a time and a place. There is also many other ways to find out what you are wondering about guide dogs example a blog or the web site for guide dogs for the blind heck google and youtube ! But being inconsiderate and rude when I am with my family is not the place or the time !

Now I am not saying that I don't love to brag about Rick and where he came from and all of that but do it in the right way ! I have had a few people stop me and say can I ask you a couple questions about your dog . Why yes you may, or if I am busy I have had to say I am sorry I am in a bit of a hurry but I can give you my e mail and you can contact me if you would like. Just be respectful please !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is defiantly a learning curve for me as to how to deal with this and also coping with it ! I don't like to be the centre of attention but I also have a tendency to tell you where to go in a hurry so it has been a huge struggle and I needed to get it off my chest !

Until Next Time !
Ashley and Rick

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Update ! and pic of Rick !

We had quite the cold snap there for a while, but it sure is much nicer out now. Rick and I like to get outside daily and go for a walk or play in the back yard. I enjoy getting out he defiantly helps when I am feeling down and don't want to go anywhere because he gets antsy and won't stop bugging until we go out even if it is to the back yard. The fresh air makes me feel better even on the bad days. 

Living with a disability can be challenging not only for the obvious reasons like challenges it poses to day to day life but just trying to feel normal and make the best of the situation that you are in. It is very easy to isolate yourself and not let people in. Sometimes it is hard to know if people are genuine or do they just pity my situation. I want to surround myself with people that don't treat me differently and can ignore my disability and see me for me. It is hard to find true people sometimes that really want to spend time with me because they truly like spending time with me. Being in a small community does not make this easy. It is also hard to do some of the things that you want to do in a small town as well, especially when you have a disability. The odds of me gaining employment in the town I live in are next to zero, people just can't look past my disability. I am no longer Ashley Nemeth I am the blind girl with the dog and I don't say that because I am throwing a one man pity party I have heard people say oh that is that girl that went blind and went to get a dog. 

I have like to think that I have pretty thick skin and that I don't let things really bother me all that much. But I do feel defeated some days. I am really looking for my outlet, because when I am feeling defeated and down I tend to take it out on the people around me and well that is not fair to them. 

So what am I going to do about it, well I am going to focus my time and energy into something I want to do. I have nothing but time so why not have a little fun. I was thinking of doing a you tube channel, I don't really care if I get any subscribers just like with this blog. But it gives me that outlet that I need and I really enjoy writing so here I am writing to you ! Maybe I will try and do a little writing on the side as well some short stories or something. 

I have been getting involved in some blind communities online through Facebook and other social media outlets and it is nice to connect with some people that are going through the same struggles as I am. 

Thanks for listening !
Until next time ! 
Ashley and Rick 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Snowy travels

It has been cold here the last few weeks and we have had some snow. We are lucky with the amount of snow that we have right now because many years we have much more snow than we do now. Rick and I have been trying to keep up our walks and keep getting out of the house and keeping busy. He is getting used to the snow and his boots. He has never really minded his coat but his boots are another story he was not fond of working in them at the start but he has really started to come around and works well in them. This does not mean that he cooperates fully when it is time to put them on however. When it is time for us to get ready to go out it is like I have a toddler all over again though. So that has taken some getting used to but I wouldn't change it for the world.
Winter travel used to be quite the nightmare for me with the glare off the snow, the complete white out and the lack of land marks like curbs, corners, grass, gravel anything other than snow. I used to have a lot of anxiety about traveling alone in the winter I hated it, by the time I got to my destination I was so stressed. I was starting to stay in the house more and more especially in the winter and I hated it. I am not a home body at all. I hate being home for a long period of time I get very bored and need to go out and find something to do so when I started to stay home it made me miserable. Rick has really changed this completely I am not stuck in the house, I don't have the anxiety about going out (so I don't have to talk myself into leaving the house anymore ) I don't feel the stress that I did when I used to go out. I can go out go where I need to go and want to go and just enjoy the ride. trudging through the snow isn't always fun but it is great to have rick to trudge along with. The cold well he doesn't really fix that but that's just what you get in Saskatchewan. It will only get worse from here.
I have been doing a bit of crocheting to keep me busy because lets face it, it is cold and winter so there is not as much to do so I have had to stay home a little more and it is keeping me busy. It has been a challenge getting back into it, with the lack of vision but when you only make dish cloths and simple things it ends up doing the job. And plus I don't sell them so no one needs to know they are not square ! *smile*
We have not been as active in our blogging and I would really like to try and get back at that and make it a priority because I love it and when I am feeling down it really helps me to get it all out.
We have been going into the city a bit with my husband and Rick does really well when we are out but the people are another story all together. And I always thought that kids would be the ones touching Rick when we were working. Boy was I wrong adults are the worst every time we go into the city someone will pet him or they say "I know he is working but he is so cute (bend down to his face) aren't you so cute and such a good boy, oh such a good boy !" like really that is not distracting him at all like petting him would have. So annoying and then when you ask them not to pet or talk to him I am rude, and then you get those people that say but he looks so sad. He is a Lab he looks sad al the time ! I have even had to defend him wearing boots. It is not cruel he is far from mistreated the boots are to keep his pads from freezing or being burned from the salt on the roads so intact it is very considerate of me to put his boots on. And then there is the people that stare and take pictures, like I am not the circus and just because I can't see you staring at me does not mean I don't know you are staring and the people with me are all sighted so they see you doing it. PS my kids know it is rude so really grow up. I know that people don't mean to be rude or at least I hope they don't mean to be rude but I really want to go out and not feel like a freak or the three ringed circus.
That is my rant of the day !
But no matter what I will never regret getting Rick what he has done for me is more than anything I could have dreamed or asked for.
Until next time !

Monday, 3 November 2014

Living !

Rick and I have been busy with many different things the last little while. Fall always seems to be a busy time with kids back in school, activities starting up again and just getting life going again after the summer.
I have been getting more and more involved with my toastmasters club and am really enjoying that. I am also looking into a couple of other things to try to fill my time while the kids are at school and give me that sense of accomplishment. I am settling into my new life better in the last few weeks. I have a lot of people telling me that they would love to stay home or wish they had that option when their kids were young, and I agree they probably would have liked it, but the big difference people are missing is that that would have been their choice and this was not my choice it was kind of forced on me. And like losing a loved one I am in many ways grieving the life that I had even though I have always had vision problems the last year has been one of the hardest. My vision has drastically changed and is well just plain useless at this point and that is not easy no matter how prepared you are no matter how determined you are it is difficult.
Rick is defiantly making this journey much easier and much more enjoyable because as my vision gets worse I don't have to worry or lock myself in my house because I know I can get where I wanna go with him by my side ! And thank god because I would not make a good hermit one day of being stuck in the house and I am done and needing to get out ! The bond between Rick and I is getting much stronger I trust him with my life, I couldn't imagine having to trust a white cane again ! That would be one slow walk now that I have Rick by my side !
It is defiantly a life style change having a guide dog, and a adjustment for my family especially my husband when it comes to the dog hair everywhere ! There is defiantly benefits to not being able to see because I don't notice the dog hair everywhere ha ha ! But the lifestyle is defiantly one that I will never give up. Sometimes it would be nice to go to a store and people not stare, make comments, pet Rick and ask personal questions but I will deal with those things to have Rick by my side.
The confidence I now truly feel is amazing and that is part of my issue with staying home and where we live, since we live in a small community it is hard to get out and do things because well there really  isn't a whole lot to do. And now that I have Rick and I want to go out and do things explore, do what I want because I feel like now I can. Even before my vision really took a turn for the worse I didn't like to go new places and do lots of things alone because I couldn't read street signs, menus, store signs and lots of times price tags and that was a really hard thing for me I hated showing that vulnerability but now with Rick I don't care lets go, lets live life and love it !

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Now what ???

Rick and I have been home for a while and doing great ! We are learning a lot from each other ! Now that I am home and life is starting to get back to normal, and before I left I was struggling with a few things one as many of you know was about the trip of going to train with Rick but there was also many things that kept me up at night and one of those things was staying home.

I have always been someone who loves my kids very much but still really wants to have my own successes and feel like I am doing something with my time. I feel guilty when people say to me "that is so great that you stay home with your children you are so lucky" because part of me doesn't want to be at home ! It has gotten worse since the kids are in school full time so I am home alone for the week and feel kind of useless. My husband says I am not useless because he likes coming home to a home cooked meal and that you are at home with the kids, but then in the same day my husband will complain about how much he hates going to work every day. I find myself resenting him for saying things like that I don't want my life to consist of being the one that cooks dinner every night, I hate that he complains about working when I want so bad to be working.

It is a double edged sword because I think it is great for the kids to be able to have me at home with them, maybe it is because I was forced to quit work due to my vision and just the obstacles of getting to and from the city to my job. I had a job offer from a dream company and was not able to take it because it was a inconvenience for people when I had to rely on them to get me to and from. So I guess I am resentful. But I feel like there is a huge hole in my life and it is not for the loss of my sight but the loss of my ability to work and feel like I am a productive contributing member of society.

I read a article on Facebook that it is a luxury for the spouse that works to have their spouse stay home I don't feel like I am a luxury to my family. Nor do I want to have this luxury and I have a tremendous amount of guilt for this !

Until next time !

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

One week down !

Ricky and I have been home for a week now and have been working well together ! We are establishing our routes and our relationship ! I am amazed at the difference he has made in me ! He is just amazing !
We are trying to become a stronger team and to do this we need to work hard together and have been out walking and working on his skills and mine ! We have also had a lot of fun blowing off some steam in the back yard playing just as hard as we work.
This past weekend we were a part of my great friends wedding. I was a bridesmaid and so was Ricky, he did a fabulous job and was great everyone there loved him. He also got to dress up and had a tux and bow tie he was very dapper. We also stayed in a hotel for the weekend which went really well the hotel we stayed at was amazing they were so accommodating and nice this was a nice change. Usually we don't get great treatment. And my friends that helped us this weekend and were so tolerant were so amazing ! You know you have amazing friends when the bride tells the photographer that we need to rap up the photo shoot so Rick can eat. True amazing friends, I couldn't ask for better people in my life.
We have also went to our first toastmasters meeting together and Rick was a very welcomed new member. Toastmasters is a great thing in my life and a outlet that I love to be involved in.
Next weekend we will be off to another wedding as my brother in-law is getting hitched. Rick has been thrown into my busy life and has adjusted very well.
I would love to say thank you to all of you that have supported us and helped us reach our goals !
Until next time !!!!!!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Life is good !

Well the second week of training flew by so fast. We did many things that made me very nervous but together Ricky and I did it. We rode the train, the city bus, and did many routes to unfamiliar places. Learned to take the escalator together, I have always hated the escalators since I could not see where the steps were when they were moving. Now we do them no problem.
I have always tried to be a person that doesn't let life get in the way of what I want to do but I have always had some nervousness about certain things when going about life with low vision. So I find it amazing that in this short amount of time Ricky has helped me to realize that I can do anything. I had a tendency to only go out when I had to and or wait for someone to go with me and now I don't care if someone comes or not and I wanna go out and enjoy life and tackle it one day at a time and do what I want not what people think I should do. My experience has been nothing but positively life changing.
Unfortunately with the good comes the bad but I am learning to deal with people and their ignorance. Last night we went to the school for the kids open house and when we were walking through the busy hall someone said "Oh I didn't know you could bring  dogs to the school now". Since I was with my kids and didn't want to cause a scene I took the high ground and left it alone. But I am truly surprised at peoples ignorance I am holding a harness in my hand that says "Guide Dogs for the Blind" this clearly states the obvious. I don't think I am special nor do I take for granted being able to take Ricky in public with me, but he is doing a job and giving me the freedom you take for granted on a daily basis.
Education is going to be the key for the people around us! But it doesn't matter what anyone says I am smiling from ear to ear and my new confidence and freedom ! I was a little depressed before and just couldn't seem to kick it no matter how positive I tried to stay. But now I am sleeping well again and smiling everyday, and beyond grateful for the people that have made Ricky my reality ! There are not enough words in the world to describe my gratitude !
Ricky and I will be heading to a hotel on friday to be a part of a good friends wedding I am very excited to not be nervous about finding my way around. Ricky will be by my side eager to find a chair and to get me where we need to go ! So life bring it on !

Saturday, 6 September 2014

HERE !!!

Hello Everyone,
I am here in Portland Oregon training with my new guide dog. We have been doing great. His name is Ricky he is a 2 year old 67 lbs yellow lab and he is the sweetest thing ever.  Our personalities match perfectly !

It is hard to put into words how happy I am to have him by my side, every time we go out and do a route to practice our skills together I am more and more amazed and in awe. We walk seamlessly down the streets of down town Portland during busy rush hour and don't bump a single thing. Being able to enjoy the walk and not have to find things on the way is amazing and just having to say find the door and taking off like a rocket to find it !!!! instead of fumbling around poking things with my cane trying to find it or relying on my husband or someone else to find it ! The same goes for finding stairs or a chair ! The things these dogs do is more than amazing there are no words that will correctly describe the feeling I get knowing he will be by my side for many years to come. We work as one and I am in awe he is my angel from my dad !

The day the instructor brought Ricky to my room to introduce us I was not sure how it was all going to pan out if we would click or not. That day I was not really sure it was going to work he didn't really pay much attention to me and every time he heard the trainer in the hall he would whine a little, and he laid on the floor away from me facing the door whenever possible. So I was a little discouraged to say the least. We started working right away and I slowly started to win his heart with food ! The trainer told me he could be easily persuaded with food and that we would eventually bond as a team. The next morning when I got up I rolled over to say good morning to Ricky and there he was with his head on the bed beside me and greeted me with a big kiss. Since then we have been working so good together he is a very affectionate fellow. He loves to cuddle and he now gets excited every time he seems me and never leaves my side. When I brush my teeth he is right there behind me when I get up and leave the room there comes Ricky a close step behind me. He is officially one of my kids. I love him to pieces and trust him with my life. I told him to go forward from a curb the other day and a car came whizzing up and he put himself between me and the car and I knew that he felt the same way about me.

I will try to keep you updated on the next week of our training, but so far I am on cloud 9 ! My cheeks hurt from smiling all day for the last 5 days !

Until Next Time

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Terrified !

I feel like the last few posts that I have done have been always about my upcoming trip to Portland Oregon for my Guide Dog. And there is a good reason for this and that is because I feel like a child starting a new school for the first day. I am terrified ! I know in my heart I will be fine but my brain is not cooperating and I have been losing a lot of sleep over this and really just cannot think of anything else. There is so much anxiety about all sorts of different things. The trip there and the obstacles there, being away from my family for 2 weeks, transitioning to a dog and not having the tactile feed back from my cane to let me know where I am and which house is mine on the street. This probably makes no sense to someone who is sighted but when I walk down my block I use my cane to tell me where I am by taping on my right side against the grass and when my cane comes across the first paved driveway I know that that is my house. When I transition to a dog I wont have that so I need to rely on time distance estimation and I am not very good at that. And there is the anxiety of just being in a new place and not to mention the worries that come with a mother leaving her kids for two weeks  and not being there for the first day of school and feeling like I need to have everything done for my husband so that they can hopefully not have a horrible two weeks while I am away. And feeling guilty for leaving my family for 2 weeks as well. There is a huge amount of guilt and that is hard.

One of the things that is keeping me going through this process is my dad. I know he would be proud of me for concurring this fear. He was always cheering me on and saying I could do anything. I defiantly really miss him and wish he was here so he could give me his no nonsense advice to just do it. But I have to remember that even though he is not here in the physical world he is always there for me in heaven and cheering me on.

My trip will begin in 9 days so my next post will be from Portland Oregon after I receive my dog on September 1st ! I will let you know how the process  is going and if I made it to Portland. I had a dream the other day where I ended up in Mexico so hopefully that does not happen ! lol !

Monday, 11 August 2014

Busy Busy Busy

Life has gone from boring and long to wow in a short amount of time. When my vision really went down the crapper I was wondering what the heck am I going to do and what am I going to fill my time with. I wanted to be productive and successful and all of those things like everyone else. So I began looking into what I could do.

This blog began as a way for me to express my frustrations and help to educate people on vision loss and blindness. I also began looking into other things I could get involved in, I found a couple of amazing things online. One of them is a site called Vision Aware They are a plethora of information on vision loss and living with vision loss, I became one of the peer advisors and now am a regular contributing member to their web site. I also found another organization called VIRN (Vision Impaired Resource Network). I am currently working with them on things like advocacy and education for the public as well as those whom are new to vision loss. I have started volunteering with the CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind) and helping some of the clients that are new to vision loss and want a companion. I have also gotten more involved with the toastmasters group in my community that I was involved in. I have a few other things that I am wanting to look into maybe a youtube channel those sorts of things, but all these new adventures have given me a lot to do and are defiantly keeping me busy at this time. I finally feel like I am starting to get my purpose back which is a great feeling.

Update on my guide dog, I leave in 19 days and am starting to get things organized for when I leave . I will be gone for the kids first day of school so I need to have everything ready for my husband so that this will go ok for him. (I am a little worried). I will also get back the day after my sons 7th birthday so I need to have things in order for him to still have a good day while I am away. I am really sad that I will miss these things while I am away but I also know that the kids are in good hands and it will be worth it in the end.

I will be leaving on Friday this week to go and see my sister in Calgary Alberta with my mom and my kids. This should be lots of fun minus the 9 hour car ride to get there. We have lots planned for our short trip so it will be interesting.

Until next time

Friday, 1 August 2014

Count Down !

The count down is on !!! I will be leaving for Guide Dogs For The Blind in Portland Oregon in 29 days. I am beyond excited. This is going to be life changing for me in a good way finally.

Truth be told I am absolutely terrified. Not of getting a dog and having a new partner in crime. But of the travelling there. I have been losing enormous amounts of sleep over this already. I have never flown into the U.S.A, so I have never had to experience going through customs or the huge airports and all the unknown and for me it is the unknown that scares the crap out of me. It is so terrifying to be in a unfamiliar place alone without the ability to see what is going on around you and asses your surroundings. Am I safe, is that person a little shady coming towards me. None of that is available to me. I feel like I am at the mercy of people around me. And we would all like to think that people are great, and some are but there are many out there that are not so great and not the people I want to be around.

Being in a unfamiliar place for the sighted is fine you may not know exactly where you are going but there are usually signs that will give you some sort of hint. For example you have arrived at a new air port and have a 2 hour layover. You get to your gate and are sitting for a while and start to think hmmm I really need to pee, so you get up and go wandering looking for that sign that says Washroom or you can find a employee and ask them for some general directions, they will generally point and say over there next to the coffee shop or something general like that. Now ... close your eyes ! and go through the same process and try to eventually end up at a washroom. Good Luck ! you will need it. And god forbid in that same time you kind of want a coffee, because the first adventure will give you ample reason to not want to leave your seat again.

Everyone tells me I will be fine and to ask for help, but what I wouldn't give to see that little stick woman in a dress to be able to find the bathroom on my own. It sometimes can feel degrading to have to ask for assistance to find the washroom and have someone wait for you to show you back to your seat. I am not 3 and hate having to do things like this that a 3 year old has to do.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Legally Blind moving on : Cane Troubles

Legally Blind moving on : Cane Troubles: We have been doing a bit of camping (when the weather cooperates), and some golfing with the kids. There things are all complicated with a c...

Cane Troubles

We have been doing a bit of camping (when the weather cooperates), and some golfing with the kids. There things are all complicated with a cane. My Cane is well useless in wide open spaces like a golf course or campground. I need something to be able to give me a hint to where I am like a curb, power poles, fences, and such but in a golf course there is well grass ! I like walking with the kids and my husband while they golf but sometimes they forget about me and I then have to try to figure out where they have walked to, this can be very frustrating and embarrassing. The other day we were walking through a parking lot going to a grocery store we don't normally go to and my husband and kids walked away from me and I got so frustrated, I could not figure out where they were and then got very nervous because in a parking lot you can hear many cars coming and going but again it is a wide open space and it is hard to get your bearings when you can't see where the cars are coming or going from. In those situations I kick myself for saying I want my independence because in those times I need some assistance. And I hate to admit that at any time.

Sidewalks are something that people take for granted, in the community I live in there is only sidewalks on the main street. This is great for those that drive and can see where they are going and horrible for someone who can't see where they are going. I have about had enough of walking into vehicles parked on the streets, trailers, campers and other things left on the side of the road as well. And not to mention recycling pick up day, every 10 feet you walk into a bin and you about want to scream ! And not to mention when I have to walk around these things I am walking out into the road and I may not hear a vehicle coming so I am possibly putting myself in danger and I hate it. It is one of my biggest pet peeves I just want to be able to walk up town and get the mail and not have any anxiety about having to run ion things like vehicles and garbage bins. Not to mention it is embarrassing.

With every one of these incidents I am reassured that the day I get my guide dog (39 days, but who's counting) will be a life changing day for me.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Time flies !

Summer seems to be flying by, the kids are already saying they are bored. But the time seems to be flying by we are just getting back into our normal routine now that my husband has gone back to work, I love having him home but it is nice when he goes back to work, I like my routine. 

The kids have been spending a lot of time at the pool, they love spending time at the pool and keeping cool. They always describe to me what they have been up to at the pool, I think in their own way they understand how I miss being able to see them and what they are doing. I know I can experience it in other ways but deep down I still miss those things like seeing them jump off the diving board and doing cannon balls, but they do a good job of painting quite the picture. 

I am in the process of deciding where my life is going to go, now that I am not working. I still feel like I need to have purpose, but I want to be able to spend as much time with the kids as I can. Life is to short. I think I am going to look into doing some volunteer stuff. I really want to help other people who are experiencing vision loss or whom are new to vision loss. I was lucky enough to prepare for this my whole life but some don't have that option or luxury. 

I am off to get my guide dog in 8 weeks (but who's counting) I am very excited about this new adventure in life. I can't wait to see how this will improve my life and my mobility. I am hoping to be able to keep track of my experience while in Oregon receiving my guide dog and doing the training either with this blog or maybe with a video diary. But I am defiantly getting anxious and excited to go. 

Everyday is a adventure , so here's to making the best of those adventures, and enjoying life to the fullest. 

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Back at it !

We are back from our short vacation, we had a great time, and kept quite busy. The kids had a blast water sliding and going to the zoo and shopping.

I enjoyed our vacation but I still have a hard time going somewhere new, it is stressful and then I seem to be a little more on edge and anxious the whole time I am there. I know that the only way around this is to keep doing it and getting over it and increasing that confidence I have in myself.

On our vacation we did some shopping and I had some not so good experiences. I want to share this experience with everyone so that they understand the frustration and they can either help if they are the person I would be relying on or know you are not alone in the frustrations if you are visually impaired. So I went into Victoria Secret with my daughter who is 10, (my husband and sons did not want to come ) I got my daughter to locate a store employee and I asked her if she could please assist me in finding what I was looking for. She said oh yes and seemed as though she was willing to help, so I explained I wanted a certain bra and the size that I would need. She says to me follow me ( my daughter laughed and lead me behind her to where she was going in the store ) she then opened a drawer and said here you go there are a few different colours. I asked her are they all the size that I am needing she says oh yes and walks away. So my daughter helped me pick out the colours and away we went to the till. I thought even though she wasn't super helpful I got the job done. But oh no that was too easy. The next day I went to try on the bras to make sure and they didn't fit at all, I thought this is weird I always buy the same bra in the same size and things have not changed so I had my husband check the size and to my surprise they were not the size I asked for in fact neither of them were the same size at all. Back to the store I go and explain to the lady that I had asked for a size and this is what I got and they are not the size at all. Finally I had my husband check the sizes before leaving to make sure I was leaving with the right ones this time.

This may seem like a petty thing to a sighted person but to me it is a huge deal, I have to rely on peoples honesty every day, when I ask for something it is not because I want to be a pain in the ass it is because I truly need your help or I would not be asking. Things like this always dampen my faith that people are doing or giving you what they say, and if I can't trust that people are doing or giving me what they say that takes away my independence because I then have to take someone with me just so I don't need to rely on those in stores and other public places.

Not all people are bad some will help and give you what you have asked for but it sure is frustrating how many times it does happen that that is not the case.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

New way to Vacation

This summer we are going to be doing many things that we do every year, camping, going for walks, having fire works at the farm with the family, going to the beach, etc.. All the stuff lots of families do and we are also going on a little 3 day trip to the U.S.A. And doing things like going to the zoo and water sliding and so on. Why is this relevant you ask ? Well the reason I tell you these things is because now that my vision has gotten much much worse, I need to experience these things in a much different way.
It can be easy to want to just avoid doing these things since it can make you feel sorry for yourself or wish things were back to the way they were. But it is important to me that my kids don't miss out on anything. I always need to remind myself that I can still experience all these things just differently.
My kids have been great, they are so understanding and loving. They will always take the time to describe something even without me asking.
Hearing my kids giggle and laugh while we do family outings, and listening to them tell stories while we sit at the campfire and enjoying the smell and sound of the campfire are all ways that I will have a great summer with my kids.
I am hoping that others that have to deal with the effects of vision loss are able to remember to experience life to the fullest and never give up.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Accepted !!!!!

I began the process of applying for a guide dog in February 2014. It has been a very long process with papers to be filled out, doctor reports, eye reports, phone interview, home interview and a review by the board. I was ecstatic on Friday June 13th 2014 and got the phone call I have been waiting for. I have been accepted into the Oregon Campus of GDB (Guide Dogs for the Blind). I was beyond happy and excited I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning. I got a date that I will be going into class for a two week period to get and train with my new guide dog. I leave for Oregon on August 31st returning on my sons 7th birthday September 13th.
It is going to be hard to wait some more for the next 11 weeks but at least I know that the waiting will come to a end on August 31st.
People may wonder why I am getting a guide dog as I am not Completely Blind but it is defiantly a miss conception that you must be completely blind. You just have to be legally blind which is visual acuity of 20/200 or less than 20% visual field. I defiantly am passed the legally blind requirement by quite a bit.
Getting a guide dog is going to do so much for my self esteem and confidence when travelling alone. I have a great deal of anxiety when walking even in familiar areas. I have a fear of getting hit by a car or missing a major obstacle and being injured or simply walking into the street and not knowing it. And I like to walk fast but I can not do that now as I have to be very careful not to miss things with my cane . I am also sick of getting jabbed in the gut when my cane gets stuck in a crack on the sidewalk or road. To have that confidence and independence back will be a huge thing for me. I am excited to not be so self conscious ( I hate the stigma that comes with using a white cane) and confidence to go to new places and not worry so much because I will have a guide dog and not be alone I will have a partner in crime so to say.
I will defiantly be keeping up my blog while I am away for training. As well as for the summer while I wait !
Until next time !

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Birthday Party !

Today is my best friends daughters first birthday. I attended the party and had a good time, but these things do not come with lots of anxiety for me. When there is a lot of people around it is hard to know if I am in peoples way or where an open chair is. Even for simple things like when there is food out to know what there is and where it is, these are all so awkward for me, I end up not eating at events like this because it is just easier. I miss going to functions and not having to worry about the food part, the other things like finding a open chair and having a difficult time with crowds is not new. I am very grateful for my friend Janelle she jumps right in and helps and knows I hate to ask, she will make me coffee (perfectly I might add), close her blinds so I am not having to wear sunglasses in the house, and she even made me a plate of food no questions asked. I can not express how much she means to me. There are not many people that will do that for a friend. We would all like to think all our friends would but when push comes to shove you really find out who your real friends are.
I need to work on my anxiety and work on asking for help. I do not like to ask for help, lots of this is not wanting to accept that I need help sometimes. I am defiantly working on being my own advocate. I joined toastmasters in September and this has helped me overcome some of my shyness and in turn is helping with the anxiety.
Anxiety or worrying is so much a part of my life that I don't know a life without it and would love to have a life without it. I don't like to complain about my disability or throw pity parties for myself, having said that there are so many days I want to wake up and be able to see whatever I look at clear as day, I feel like it would be easier and less time consuming.
I think that sighted people take for granted a lot of the small things. There are many things that I do during my day that would be much easier with sight. For example showering when someone decided to move the shampoo or conditioner from there original spot. Who said shampoo has to go first right ha ha ! Then doing your hair styling with your hands and no mirror, try it sometime. I like to do my make up and look pretty like everyone else, I used to be able to use the mirror and just be close enough to lick it, but now I see a blurry mess in the mirror so make up has been interesting. I have gotten pretty good at doing it with no mirror, you might ask how do you know? ha ha good question and the answer is thank god for friends that will tell you the truth when you send them a pic. Making kids lunches and keeping each one right because god forbid they would all like and eat the same things. Coffee I love coffee but it has become a regular occurrence spilling it or missing the cup with the sugar or cream. Cooking has become interesting some nights, figuring out when things are cooked or not cooked is sometimes like Russian roulette. And don't even get me started on the grocery store and trying to find what you need there! And even simpler walking, being able to walk and not think and pay so close attention to where you are and where you are going. Counting corners making sure you haven't missed a corner, making sure someone is not parked on the street and I am going to walk into there car, ( that is plain embarrassing and happens regularly), people take sidewalks for granted they would be a godsend in our town. Going to see my daughter at her musical, they sounded great but not being able to see what is going on or where she is, can be heart breaking but I am just thankful I could be there to support her and hear her.
I don't want to throw a pity party but one can not help but think boy would that be nice, in a man it would be nice to win the lottery kind of way.
But every day I am beyond thankful for my friends and family and those that have been there for me, and really make a difference in my life and keep me positive every day.  And do things that make me smile, like my husband painting my nails. You are all Awesome ! Love you all !

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Bad News

I have never gone to the eye doctor and had a good visit, or had them tell you all is well see you in 2 years. Man that would be nice. But reality is that every time I go to the eye doctor they tell me what I already know or give me bad news. Yesterday was no different, I went they did the regular tests, pictures, pressure, measurements that sort of thing. Then in I go to see the eye doctor and they put the big E up at the end of the room, "can you make out what is up there " part of me wants to blurt out E, I know it is a E for god sake. But I try as hard as I can to make out that lovely E and nothing. Then she hands me a card hold this as close as you need to and tell me what you can make out. So I squint and hold the card so close I know I look ridiculous and nothing. She takes the card and sets up the machine to look at my eyes and check if there is a prescription that could work and nothing. Surprise ! NOT.
Why they feel the need to tell me that things are progressing and getting worse, like I didn't know is beyond me. I know my eyes are getting worse without you telling me this. In case you didn't realize I open them every day to see not a heck of a lot.
Trying to explain to family and people around me what I see and don't see is hard. I have never in my life had good eye sight, I have been legally blind since birth, so I have no idea what you see, so for all I know I am missing nothing at all ! And truth be told I like it that way, it keeps me sane. This is my world as I know it and I can not change it so why not just live it the way it was meant to be lived.
My family and I went camping on the weekend and my kids and husband were watching a squirrel in the tree, my kids were saying look mom look mom and I started to laugh and my husband asked what is so funny. I began to tell him that I have never in my life been able to see a squirrel in a tree or a bird in a tree for that matter, he asked well why when I used to say look at that squirrel did you say oh cool. So I started to tell him how it was just easier, it sucked saying umm I can't see that when someone pointed something out so I just went along with it. It didn't matter to me if I could see it and it didn't seem all that important to point out the fact I had no idea what they were talking about. He looked at me like I had two heads but I think he is starting to understand how I feel and why. I used to pretend like I could see things that he could and never really made a note of what I couldn't see. Now that my sight is to the point where there is no hiding the cane or how I feel around for things I hate the pity, the stares, and the condolences I get.
I don't want pity, or condolences I am still here enjoying life and living it to its fullest. I may do it in my own way and I may be experiencing it differently than you but I am still experiencing it. To see your world does not define weather you are living it or not. To see your world is only one way to experience it.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

It has been a crazy few days, the weather has finally turned around so we have been able to spend some time camping and hanging out in the back yard with the kids. The biggest thing that has happened though is Friday I had my home interview for a guide dog from Guide Dogs For the Blind. This is the last phase of a process that started at the beginning of February. In a couple weeks I should  hear if I am going to be able to be matched and go hopefully in August to get a guide dog. This is a very exciting thing for me. I have considered getting a guide dog since my first year of University in 2003, so this has been a long journey that is for sure.

I seem to keep running into people who feel the need to show their ignorance in full force. They will think that I can not hear them and almost shout at me, while speaking to me like I am 5. Or like today just say things that they think I can not hear. For example I was out for ice cream with my husband and kids, a lady that i have known for quite some time she used to work for my parents, was sitting at the table next to us and when we got up to leave she says to her husband loudly "oh she has a cane, I heard she was going blind." I usually don't  let people bother e but I have had enough lately, so in response I said " Yes, and  I heard it doesn't affect my dam hearing." and continued to walk away.  I wish that people would talk to me, ask me the questions, I am not a child and I do not have the plague you can not catch blindness from treating me like a human being.

I believe these things don't need to happen in this day and age. This is another reason for this blog, the only thing that will change the way that people treat others in by education .

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

I would like to take this time to introduce myself. My name is Ashley Nemeth I am 29 years old and live in Saskatchewan Canada. I am a wife and mother of 3 lovely children.
I have decided to write this blog to help myself and hopefully anyone else going through the same things through these times when your mind is full and you don't know where to go.
I have been visually impaired from birth due to Ocular Albinism  . This made growing up odd at times as I was teased a lot about my eyes moving and not being able to see many things that all the other kids could. I had to use enlarged text books in school and had a teachers aid, I also used a computer that had a screen reader on it and a lot of other things that brought way too much attention to my differences. Now that I am older I have tried very hard to live a normal life and tried not to make it a known fact that I could not see very well. I usually failed at this and people found out but I have come to terms with this.
A lot of the reasons that I try to keep it to myself or tried is because of the ignorance of people. One would think in this day and age that people would be open and understanding to people with all kinds of disabilities and differences but this is not always the case.
In the last 4 months my vision has decreased greatly so that I now only have about 5% of my vision left. This has greatly impacted my life, I had to leave my job and am now having to figure my life out all over again and decide whatI want to be when I grow up. I have had no choice but to use my white cane and this brings a whole other can of worms with it. There is this stigma that I can't seem to get rid of with my cane, people see it and assume I am deaf and stupid  and speak to me as if I am 5. I am neither of these. I am very intelligent and capable, and I sure am not deaf in fact I hear very well.
I am struggling with moving on and accepting that my vision will continue to worsen and maybe gone completely one day. I am hoping that this blog will be a good outlet to say what is on my mind and help with this pr