Friday, December 28, 2012

The Christmas feeling

Christmas for me is simply a plethora of feelings, emotions, and so much more. Christmas for me is a season where so many memories race across my mind. I can tell you that Christmas for me can be viewed in two different ways; as someone who has precious little vision and as one who once upon a time had enough vision to see so much.

When I had enough vision to see many things, I could appreciate the flickering candles in Church, the flashing colored lights as I skated around an outdoor rink, crowded streets with scurrying shoppers, Christmas trees loaded with decorations and presents piled high beneath, tables loaded with dishes of food, and of course! Santa Clause! I used to spend so much time in the toy departments admiring the dolls and doll houses. Drawing sets and coloring books. I used to help decorate the house and always enjoyed putting up the angels, the lights, and most of all; the manger with all of the figures. Now that my vision has dwindled to almost nothing, I have all of these memories to bolster my enjoyment of Christmas and in addition, I use my senses of sound and smell to help me continue enjoying. Fragrances of burning firewood, pine, baking cookies, and turkey and pork all help me to conjure up pictures and images of years gone by. Sounds of bells, kids laughing, Santa Clause ho ho hoing, and the scraping of blades on ice add to my happy memories. You see, I have so many ways to recreate, reproduce, and make new memories.

Christmas as a blind person could be really interesting. So much to enjoy and so much to share with others. Christmas through the eyes of a blind person could be a very different perspective for many. You can learn more by visiting

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day. Merry Christmas everyone!
Come by and enjoy some of my audio mysteries at

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Some day at Christmas

One of my favourite Christmas carols is "Some day at Christmas," made popular by the late Michael Jackson. Yes, some day at Christmas, when I could wake up on a peaceful morning and welcome yet another special day with my loved ones around me and the Christ Child in my heart. When I would be able to say, "Finally! All is well and now blind kids will have an equal opportunity to be like their mainstream counterparts." When they can play with mainstream toys and be able to use cell phones and IPods just like sighted kids. When they would be able to play with games just like their sighted friends and not have to worry about inaccessibility. When their classrooms and playgrounds would be free of accessibility barriers and they would have an equal opportunity to be just kids!

Some day at Christmas when I could go to bed just before Santa makes his rounds, knowing that all of my wishes have been granted. That all websites have been made accessible. That all supermarkets and stores have been made fully accessible to blind persons. That online courses and distance learning have all been made accessible and usable to blind persons. That blind persons have equal access to all reading materials in the same way that sighted persons do.

Some day at Christmas, after Santa has come and gone leaving a huge package for me under my Christmas tree, I could wake up and say, "Finally! The banks have finally gotten it! Their ATMs are now fully accessible. Blind persons can now access all point of sale devices and touch screens without having to ask for sighted assistance. Blind passengers can now access kiosks at airports, they can enjoy movies on board aircraft, and no more problems at airports, train stations, and bus terminals for them."

Some day at Christmas, as I sit quietly in a church along with others waiting for the Christmas Mass to begin, I could say, "Thank you, God, for ensuring that from now on society will treat blind persons as normal persons who can function on their own and the only thing wrong with them is that they are unable to see."

Some day at Christmas! Ah, yes, it is only my dreams but who says that dreams don't come true? The smell of cookies baking in my kitchen is real! Christmas carols being played around me are real! Children laughing and families decorating are real! Is it too much for me to ask Santa to help make my dreams come true? The late Steve Jobs made some of my dreams and those of other blind persons come true! Dare I dream that there could be another Steve Jobs out there just waiting to bring hope to the blind world?

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, wishing you a very merry Christmas! Joyeux Nočl! Feliz Navidad!
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas is for me

I have had the good fortune to enjoy many wonderful Christmases, with and without vision and it does not matter! Christmas is for me. The smells and the sounds, the laughter and the merry making.

When I had enough sight, I used to enjoy going out to window shop. To see the bright colorful lights, the flickering candles in the church, Santa's bright red suit, and streets crowded with throngs of folks of all ages. I also loved to smell the scent of rich pine, cakes and goodies baking in ovens, and taste the various Christmas foods and drinks. I also loved to walk in the snow and watch those big white snowflakes race each other to the ground, but most of all I loved to ice skate around those huge outdoor rinks decorated with Christmas lights.

That was then and this is now but not much has changed for me. True it is that I can no longer see the flickering candles, the colorful Christmas lights, and the big fat snowflakes, but this does not prevent me from enjoying this special time of the year. My sense of smell is still intact along with my sense of taste and I use my memories of years gone by to help me along. I focus on the times when I could see and intermingle those memories with the now. I am blessed! I am lucky! With or without sight, Christmas is for me! I am a kid at heart, playing with my talking games, playing my electronic keyboard, and my Christmas CDs.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, Joyeux Nočl, and Feliz Navidad to you all!
I'm Donna J. Jodhan. Will see you again in the New Year.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Under the Christmas tree

It may not be Christmas yet but, boy, do I have some wonderful memories to share with you. Memories of me as a child with very little vision enjoying my experiences under our family’s Christmas tree. I had enough vision then to see the lights in their different colors. I could see the other decorations on the tree as well but I did not have quite enough vision to help decorate the tree.

That was okay by me. I enjoyed smelling the fragrant pine of our live tree. At night, I would crawl under our tree and lie quietly among the presents taking care not to crush any of them. My two brothers were always trying to peak into their presents and they would let me have a feel of mine. I would shake them to see if I could tell what mine were but my brothers would peek and tell. Oh, how much fun it was then.

I always loved our Christmas tree and everything that went with it. I loved everything about those wonderful trees. The smell of them, what lay under them, and what was placed on and around them. Ah yes! Under the Christmas tree!

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell others about my memories of being under my Christmas tree.

Come by and enjoy some of my audio mysteries at

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The color of Christmas

As Andy Williams used to sing out each year, "It's the most wonderful time of the year," and this is certainly the case for me. It is that time of year when the child in me decides to show itself. I am never too embarrassed to express my joy whenever I hear Santa's rich laughter and whenever I smell the sweet fragrance of pine. All of those colorful presents, bows, lights, and other goodies dancing before my eyes!

Now that my vision is down to a bare minimum, I use my imagination to help me out. I imagine all those mysterious colored packages under a huge tree decorated with blinking lights. I can almost see those colorful lights dancing in my memory and I can practically reach out and grab one of those mysterious packages from under the tree. Lights intermingled with artificial snowflakes, all kinds of Christmas figures, and at the top of the tree? The shining star!

I must not forget my angel and my manger with the Baby Jesus lying in Mother Mary's arms. The animals, shepherds, Joseph, and the three wise men. All fixed in my mind's eye forever. The toys all come alive in my mind! Doll houses filled with little people. Furniture, tea sets, and strollers with baby dolls. Even the racing cars, train sets, and those ice skates dancing just out of my reach. The skis waiting for me to put them on and the colorful balls and game sets.

Ah yes! The color of Christmas, and I will forever be a child at this time of the year!

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a happy, Holy, and safe Christmas! Come by and enjoy some of my audio mysteries at

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Little Christmas tree

It was the night before Christmas and in my dreams I slipped lazily and happily into memory lane. Another time had come and as I stood there, the little Christmas tree twinkled in front of my eyes. The tree smelled so wonderful! It gave off the scent of warm pine. The colored lights danced in front of my eyes as they took turns blinking on and off.

I moved oh so carefully towards my little Christmas tree, being careful not to step on packages neatly piled in front of it. I had to get as close as I could so as to see everything. My partial sight only allowed me the luxury of seeing things very close up and at best only a few things at a time. Nevertheless, it was enough for me. I gingerly reached out and placed my index finger on one of the little lights, a little yellow one. Then I took my time at identifying other colors. Red, blue, and green. Then I had to take my time at finding a spot where there were no lights. I found it after a few moments and I held a tiny portion of a branch between my fingers.

Next I looked upwards and found the star at the very top. I stood gazing for quite some time thinking of the story that my parents would tell me every Christmas, the night that Jesus was born. What a lovely memory for me. Then I bent down and felt for some of the packages and finally I made my way to where the manger had been set up. There I spent most of my time examining each little figure; Baby Jesus in the arms of Mary and Joseph, the three Wise Men, the shepherds, and the animals.

Ah! That was a memory of when I was a child and had enough vision to see it all. Now I can only recall this memory each Christmas and that’s okay for me. At least I have a memory that I can recall and one that I can cherish forever. Merry Christmas everyone!

I’m Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you happy Christmas dreams! Come by and enjoy some of my audio mysteries at

Friday, December 14, 2012

No readable medical forms for me

This is one of my greatest concerns: whenever I go to a hospital for any type of medical procedure, I am unable to read the medical forms for myself. I have to depend on sighted assistance to do so and it is a fact that no two persons will read something in the same way. No matter how hard one tries, they would never be able to read any form accurately and do it word for word. I have a hard time understanding why it is doctors' offices are unable to produce forms electronically. They create these forms using a word processor so why is it so difficult to simply convert these documents into an electronic file format and then make them available to everyone?

So many persons can benefit from this, not just blind persons, and so much time would be saved if this is done because those needing them could read them beforehand prior to arriving at the hospital. Yes, and they could be emailed to the person if that person has an email address.

Am I being unrealistic or am I dreaming of something that may be just around the corner? In the case of the latter, I hope not. There is absolutely no reason why I could not hope for something that could potentially benefit so many, save lots of time, and standardize so much.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and help me spread the word about this. Come visit me at

Thursday, December 13, 2012

At the hospital with Mom

In the normal scheme of things, it is normally the sighted person that assists and supports the one who is blind, but for me it was a role reversal, not too long ago.

I accompanied my mom to the hospital for her eye surgery and it was quite a different experience for me. For whereas in previous times it was her playing the major role, I found myself playing the reverse. I did my best to be of good support to her. I knew that I had to concentrate very hard because of unfamiliar surroundings.

I sat with her as she waited and then made sure that I would be waiting for her after her surgery. I asked the nurses to let me wait right outside the surgery room for her and they willingly agreed. Then, after wheeling her out, they came and accompanied me to where she lay relaxing in her chair. I sat with her until she was ready to leave and the rest went very smoothly.

A new experience for me but one that I know that I could repeat.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell others about my experience. Visit to learn more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Those noisy restaurants

They are not my favorite places. Those noisy restaurants are challenging places to be at the best of times. For anyone, whether or not they are blind. For me, they are confusing because when I am unable to hear those around me, when I am unable to hear as the waiter reads the menu to me, and when I am unable to engage in conversation because I am unable to hear, I become nervous, confused, and my first inclination is to simply leave my table and go towards the exit. For me, personally, it makes things that much more difficult whenever I am unable to hear what is going on around me. That is, to hear what is happening in my immediate vicinity. I find this to be so even more now that I am unable to see. I guess that is because I depend more heavily now on my sense of hearing due to my loss of vision.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to come visit me at

Friday, December 7, 2012

Remembering the faces

It is only too sobering that faces change as we grow older. The entire process begins the day we are born and ends the day we leave this world. For me, I am in a kind of interesting pickle, so to speak.

When I had enough vision to see faces, I froze these images in time and carefully placed them in my memory bank knowing that these memories will probably never match what these faces look like today. I lost my vision at the beginning of 2004 and the faces of my nephews and nieces have all changed since then.

Marcus is a teen now and Martha is a young lady; their faces have changed. Faith is not the little girl anymore, she is approaching her teens. Christian and Jason have matured as young men and so has Thadd. My sisters-in-law have grown older and so too has my brother Jeffrey and my mom. In short, they have all changed but it does not really matter. I shall hold on to my memories of these faces of my cherished family forever.

Just think of it like this! Old images die hard and that's it for me. My imagination will preserve these memories forever but will always strive to include the new ones as described to me by others. Maybe one day I'll be lucky enough to see these faces once more.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and inviting you to go out there and share my blogs with others. Come by and visit me any time at

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Describing cards to me

There was a time when I could see the pictures on a card and even read the text as well. That was then and this is now and with precious little vision left to me since 2004, I now have to depend on others to read and describe cards to me.

There are the Christmas cards and the birthday cards. The special cards and the Easter cards. The thank you cards and all kinds of other types of cards. Mom is usually my chief card describer with other friends and family frequently pitching in.

I can still put my imagination to work whenever a picture is described to me but now I pay much more attention to the words. I am a bit pickier now whenever I go card shopping and I often get my mom or whoever is with me to go slowly whenever they are describing a card to me. I still enjoy going card shopping because it gives me an opportunity to use my imagination.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and encouraging you to go out there and share my blogs with others.
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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Those airplane bathrooms

As a frequent air traveler, I am constantly having to get used to navigating a bathroom on board the aircraft. Yes, this is very true and although the general layout is almost the same, there is one thing that differs from bathroom to bathroom. You guessed it! It's the button to flush when finished.

Believe it or not, it is always a matter of me either trying to find it on my own or to ask the air hostess to show me. These precious buttons differ from aircraft to aircraft. If I am adventurous, I would spend the time to locate it by feeling along the wall behind the toilet bowl, but if I feel that either the hostess is busy or that there are others lined up behind me to use the bathroom, then I ask the air hostess to show me.

All in a day's work and just another challenge for me to deal with.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan, your friendly accessibility advocate, wishing you a terrific day and urging you to go out there and tell others about my blogs. Stop by and visit me anytime at