Book Review: For The Benefit of Those Who See

It was a bleak Seattle winter morning several years ago, and I shivered as I climbed into the yellow taxi cab.  I was dreading my appointment at the WA Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) for many reasons, but I had finally decided to see what kind of services might be helpful to me.  They had sent me a voucher for the taxi ride, so that transportation to DSB would be direct and free.

I handed the voucher to the cab driver, and noticed him eyeing me suspiciously in the rear view mirror.  I glanced down at the time on my phone to make sure I would be to my appointment on time.  When I looked back up, I saw that he was once again glancing at me in the rear view mirror.

I instructed myself to stop being paranoid, and focused on checking Facebook updates on my phone for the remainder of the ride.  As the driver pulled into the DSB parking lot, he asked in a thick Indian accent, “So, are you blind?”

I wasn’t expecting his question, so I paused briefly before saying, “Um…yes, I have a rare eye disease that is causing me to lose my sight.”

He did not say anything back to me, but shook his head from side to side, and made a “tisk, tisk tisk” sound, like he was tapping his tongue on the roof of his mouth.  I instantly felt my face flush with embarrassment.  I wasn’t sure if he was pitying me or shaming me.  I was relieved to step out of the taxi and out of the driver’s seemingly judgmental presence.  I didn’t give the incident further thought until recently when I read For the Benefit of Those Who See: Dispatches from the World of the Blind. Continue reading

5 Signs the Guide Dog Lifestyle is Taking Over Your Life

1. You hear yourself telling your 5-year-old to “Hopp up!” when she is lagging behind.

2. While doing sighted guide with your spouse you find yourself patting him on the arm at every corner, saying “Good boy!” 

3. You open your wallet and, instead of cash, find kibble.

4. When you pick up your cane you instinctively give it a “forward” command.

5. You tell your friends you are going to “do your business” as you head to the lavatory.  

Talk Radio

BAM! I enjoyed talking to local radio host Clint Strand about Blindness Awareness Month on KOHO Radio today. I was quite nervous about sharing my story with my local community.

After it aired, I received the best text from my friend Rebecca. “You sound great and assertive and approachable and kinda sexy.” The sexy part was likely due to a scratchy throat, but it made me laugh and I appreciated the encouragement!

If you missed the interview on the radio today, here it is! LISTEN TO JENELLE’S INTERVIEW

How I Told My Workplace About My Low Vision (A Guest Post by Jen Walker)

If you read Jen’s guest post yesterday, “Should I Tell My Workplace I’m Losing My Eyesight?,”  then you are probably curious HOW she did it.  Here’s her story!  

Here is a play by play of how my ‘coming out’ went. At my current school, with my current boss, I started missing handshakes, people handing me things, I couldn’t keep up with looking at kid’s data in small print….and I couldn’t come up with any more excuses as to why my dad was driving me to work at age 30! Continue reading


I just finished reading To Kill A Mockingbird.  Of course this was not my first time reading this modern classic, and it likely won’t be the last time I find myself engrossed in Harper Lee’s masterpiece.  The story has not changed in the 18 years since I last read it.  Yet, it somehow feels new to me.  While Scout, Jim, and Dill feel like long-lost friends, they also seem different from how I remember them.  While I recall feeling infuriated by the prejudice and injustices in the story, my understanding and analysis of these events has more depth than it did as a teenager.  My own life experiences over the last two decades influence how I interpret this powerful novel. (Side note – feeling so damn old as I write this) Continue reading

What Does It Mean to Be Present?

My Aunt Debbie came over the other day and gave my girls the best present, a picture book entitled, What Does it Mean to Be Present?. It’s a beautiful book in a whimsical font on a topic that I haven’t seen many children’s books tackle. Lots of books on friendship and sharing and learning. But not many on “being”.


My daughters love this book, although I’m the one who can’t stop flipping through it, hoping it will rub off on me. My mind being the hamster wheel that it is, I really struggle with being fully present. Continue reading