The Paralympics always take place a week after the Olympics in the same town. The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the eleventh of its kind, just saw their closing ceremony Sunday. Forty-five countries participated in 72 medal events in five sports: alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, and wheelchair curling. 2014 also marked the debut of my favorite winter sport, snowboarding. The USA sent 74 Paralympic athletes, and it was the first Paralympic Winter Games for Brazil, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.
Last week, I discussed some of the things I’ve been doing to get in better shape and my dislike for blind running. The AFB offers some good tips on how to guide a blind runner, and to follow up on the matter, I found the YouTube video above about Paralympics track and field.
But guiding someone who is visually impaired extends way beyond the jogging trail. It’s part of the daily routines of my family, my friends, and mine. When my eyesight decreased to the level it’s at now, the boyfriend-turned-hubster had to learn how to guide me when walking around. He was never one to make me feel handicapped, so he was not super attentive when guiding me–”tough love,” he calls it. My friends have also since learned how to guide me, and most of them are very good. Some are more attentive than others, often holding both of my hands and walking backwards through a crowd, while others are easygoing and merely mention a change in terrain when they deem it absolutely necessary. I myself prefer a middle ground.
It’s nearing the end of February, and judging by the crowd I encounter on the evenings I hit the gym, people are still keeping up with their 2014 new year’s resolution to get into shape. I’m not one to make resolutions, as I believe goals should be made when a person finds the desire and is ready to do so. I don’t believe in waiting until January 1st to stop smoking, start eating healthier, start exercising, etc. If you know you should stop drinking two liters of Coke a day, and you’re ready to take that plunge on December 8th, then do it on December 8th.
Ever since I turned thirty and grew a muffin-top, I knew that I would soon have to undergo some lifestyle changes. No longer were the days when I could eat fried chicken, pizza, eggrolls, and pan-fried noodles to my heart’s content without worrying about my waistline, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. But I wasn’t ready to take that next step to getting fit. I wasn’t ready to drink kale juice and enroll in bootcamp classes.
Until the summer after I turned 34 last year.
Telling time has been the bane of my vision-less life. When I was still in grad school, I was wearing a talking digital watch. It had a button on the face, and when you press the button, it announced the time in a muffled, mechanical voice. It never failed: every class period, I’d accidentally knock my wrist against the table or chair, and the voice would say aloud, “You’ve still got another painful 98 minutes of class.”
Okay, just kidding. It would read the time, but it was embarrassing nonetheless, and I felt like a dunce. My ears would burn, and I’d apologize, even though nobody seemed to care. I just didn’t (and still don’t) like a lot of attention on myself (which is why it’s all the more surprising that I chose to do a televised competition).
Late last year, it was announced that I would be co-hosting a new culinary show in Canada with the winner of “Top Chef” Canada season 2, Carl Heinrich. Now, the show, called “Four Senses,” is about to make its debut on the small screen one week from tomorrow!
Ever on top of the tech news, the hubster sent me a link to this article about the 3D printer from Yahoo! Japan that helps the blind navigate the web. I’ve only recently learned of the 3D printer concept (thanks to the geeky hubs), and because I can’t see to watch a video demo of it online, I’m still unclear on the concept of a 3D printer. For some reason, I keep picturing paper scrolling out of a regular-looking printer but then suddenly popping into 3D shapes much like a pop-up book—you know, the kind that we used to read when we were little with the cardboard pop-ups on each page?
Regardless, it’s news like this that makes me happy to know the world is advancing in ways that help level the playing field for the visually impaired. What do you think of this concept? In what ways can you imagine this helping not just the blind world, but the world in general? The imagination is endless. I love it.
Whew. Talk about a long-winded headline. But lately, I’ve had lots of energy. Not only did Pop-up Episode 1 at MKT BAR go off without a hitch (more on that soon—I’ll have a surprise for you in that regard), I’ve been [sort of] relaxing lately with some down time before the culinary adventures begin again.
I’ve been sleeping better than I have in years, trying to eat a little healthier, and working out a little more than usual (which, sadly enough, isn’t much). But I’m feeling good. I have a few weeks to shed the apron for the pen; with a personal essay and short story on my revision desk, not to mention that pesky memoir I haven’t touched since my thesis defense, I’m welcoming a change of pace in my daily routine. But what I’m looking forward to the most is being able to wear pajamas, no make-up, and bed-head every day.
I came across this article about a blind awareness campaign in Serbia that involved blacking out many popular websites to give the sighted websurfer a taste of what it’s like to be blind. Interesting concept, I thought. The organization behind the campaign is White Cane, and they help provide guide dogs for the blind.
I recently returned from a cruise on the Adriatic, and I met two Serbians who were part of the crew, and their jovial personalities completely disarmed me. Those Serbians are cool people. I know it’s a random stretch, but I hadn’t thought of or met any Serbians for the past 5 years, and suddenly, they’re popping here and there into my life. Maybe that’s next on my destination list.
We’re deep in the season of baseball. Who said blindness has to stop you from playing America’s most beloved sport? Check out this video clip about the Long Island Bombers, a baseball team for the blind. And I thought I was brave, being on ”MasterChef” and snowboarding. But I would still be scared out of my mind to hear balls flying at my face.
Nope, this IAmA doesn’t belong to me, though I did one recently. (You can still check out my IAmA on reddit.) This is a fellow blind cook’s IAmA that preceded mine. By the sound of her recipes, she’s spectacular and adept in her own home kitchen. Kudos to her for sharing the stage with me and showing the world that blind people can do just about everything a sighted person can—only differently. Read this blind cook’s IAmA and catch another glimpse into our culinary world.