Thursday, December 27, 2007

Six Inches

Earlier this year, in the summer, my boss scheduled a woman to come to the office and offer our staff some sensitivity and blindness awareness training. Honestly, I could have done the training myself. I think that my over 20 years of legal blindness affords me the expertise that's needed to hip others to what it is like to be blind. But I guess it was probably a good idea to bring an outsider in. You know how it is... People have a tendency to believe and respect an outsider much faster than one of their own.

Well, the lady pretty much said everything I would have said. But the one thing she said, that I can confirm as truth, but I had never really thought about, was that something can be six inches away from a blind person and be totally lost. When I tell you that sister ain't never lied about that!

I can't number the times that I have been on a major hunt for something, only to find it right under my dag on nose. So many times, I have gone to get someone in my family to help me search for something that I've lost and been looking for a long time, only for them to find it in less than one minute. It's a trip!

What's the solution for this problem? To be organized... To have a good memory...

Well, I'm not going to say that I'm challenged in both my organizational and memory skills. But I will say that I, especially that I'm getting older, am not so good at putting things down and remembering where in the hell I put them. I'm guessing that it is a down hill slide from here. As I get older, more stuff will get lost.

Well, I'm not going to speak that negativity on my life. Instead, I will say that I will learn and put into practice to be more mindful of where I place things, so that I can remember where they are when I need them.

There it is. Positivity in the atmosphere. I'm looking for my return.

Y'all have a good day. I know I will.

Much love, peace, and satisfaction,

Miss Braden

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Did It!

It never seemed like it was going to ever happen, but it finally did. I actually completed my masters. Yay!!!

I graduated from Texas Southern University's Tavis Smiley School of Communication with a Masters of Arts degree in Communications on December 15, 2007.


I didn't go to my graduation because my baby sister graduated the same day, at the same hour, from a university in East Texas. So, since this was her first degree achieved, I decided to join my family in Nacogdoches, Texas to celebrate Kimberly's achievement.

As I was sitting in Kim's graduation, I was sitting there, thinking about how proud I was that ten years after graduating from undergrad, I had achieved another academic honor. What a blessing!

I'm not a person that gets caught up in the "look at what I did" song and dance. But I have to admit, when I sit down and think about the accomplishments that I have been able to achieve despite being totally blind, I realize that I have something to be glad about. So, right now, I am sitting here in my office, thinking about how blessed I am to be me.

Usually, my life gets on my nerves... But today, I am thankful for the life that I do have.

Thank you God for the life you have given me. Thank you for the tools, insight, and gifts that you have placed inside of me. You're so awesome!

To all of those that have been rooting for me for the last three years, thanks so much. Guess what... I need some more rooting. I'm going to start working on a second masters in January. This time, I'm going to get a masters in counseling. So, get behind me and push real hard. I need all the support I can get.

With love and peace,


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Stars and Stripes, Revisited for the Third Time

Earlier this year, I
wrote about how I often injure myself in my daily life. Not major injuries... But I still hit and knock myself up pretty good from time to time.

Most of my injuries are the cause of moving too fast and not being more careful. I guess I still have not learned my lesson.

The other day, I was bending over to pick up the laundry detergent off the floor. I bent over to pick up the box, and bashed my mouth into the edge of the counter. I burst my lip on the inside and out. And even though I iced my lip to minimize the swelling, my lip puffed up and turned purple.

All this week, I've been walking around looking like Tina Turner, when she was called Annie Mae by her boxing husband. Definitely not a cute look...

Well, this time, I learned a lesson. I will try to slow my role before I end up hurting myself beyond repair.

Monday, December 10, 2007

To be Young, Beautiful, and Blind

Anybody that knows me should know that I am a major Donny Hathaway fan. I hate to admit this, but I'm in love with a dead man. Creepy ain't it? LOL Well, I'm in love with the brother's voice. He may be dead, but his beautiful, golden, matchless voice lives forever.

Well, one of my favorite Hathaway songs is "To Be Young, Gifted, and Black". (Is that the real name of the song? **shrug** Is that really one of my favorite Hathaway songs? Ummmm, no. But because of love him so much, all of his songs fall in the catagory of favorite.)

That song popped in my head when I was trying to figure out what to title my post. "To Be Young, Beautiful, and Blind"

It seems there are so many people in our society that have ahard time thinking that I can be both beautiful and blind. I've written about this several times already. But I was prompted, because of an interaction I had in LA, to write about it yet again.

One of the nights I was in LA, my friends decided to go downstairs to have a couple of drinks. (Yes, blind people drink too. LOL) Well, as we were going into the bar area, one of the brothers noticed that I was blind. I heard him tell the brother he was with that I was blind. Well, the brother he was informing about me and my disability stated, and I quote. "But she's so pretty though."


What does that "though" mean. I'll tell you. She's so pretty to be blind.

Now, is there some kind of manual out there that says that you can't be pretty and blind? If so, hip me to it. Then, maybe, and I mean maybe, I will understand.

Well, I guess I will not let people's fascination of my beauty be such a hardship. I guess it could be worse. I guess I could actually fit into whatever this weird stereo type is that people have ignorantly created for the blind.

So, I will settle for being young, beautiful, and blind.

**Can I still call myself young after turning 30?**

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


I can't believe that it's actually been two weeks since I've posted on my blog. I've visited the blog a few times, wishing to post, but never really having anything that I felt like actually saying out loud.

My stress level has been real high. And unlike others that I know, when I get stressed, my ability to write and be creative is impacted negatively. When I'm upset and tired of pain, I close up, rather than opening up myself to be expressive. I haven't always been this way. But since I turned 30, that's how it's been.

So, to anyone that cares, here's an update on all that I've been doing since I last posted.

* My family and I moved into an apartment the day before Thanksgiving. I'm quite thankful to have shelter. But I am so unthankful about the conditions of the apartment. Let's just say that there are other living things in the apartment with us. So, you know I am pi$$ed off. I'm trying to be cool until we move out. But I don't do roaches. Never have, never will... So, I know something has got to give.
* I bought a beautiful bedroom group. I love it so much. In the time of trouble, retail therapy always helps a girl feel better.
* I've been going to work every single day. I wish I could say more about that. But because I have this little promise between me and myself to not talk about work on my blog, I'll just say nothing.
* I went to California last week. I had a fabulous time! But that trip has to have it's own post. I have so much to write about regarding my experiences in LA.
* I was involved in a car accident Sunday. Nope, I wasn't driving. LOL Am I okay? Yep... I'm fine. It was just a fender bender.

Well, as new developments roll in, I'll update. But I probably won't mention anything about the fire until we actually have moved back into the house. Talking about anything other than moving back into the house is utterly annoying and completely frustrating.

I need another vacation. Anybody want to sponsor a flight to either the left or the right coast?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Clearly Amazing

I'm under so much stress. So much stress that I feel like a boulder is sitting on top of my chest... But what is amazing to me is that I'm still breathing despite the fact that the stress feels like it's strangling the very life out of me. I'm amazed that God has allowed me to continue to feel his cool breath of life in my lungs during this trying time.

When I come across people that know me and know about all the things that I have gone through in my life, they always tell me how strong they think I am. Well, I don't feel strong at all. And the truth is that I am not strong.

I'm an empty, weak, hollow shell, that has no problem admitting that I need the Lord in my life. Without Him, I am insignificant, unaccomplished, scared, weak, and broken.

But with Him, I am more than a conquerer. With Him, I can do all things. With Him, I am able to resist the evil in the world. With Him, I am able to rise above all the pain.

So, I don't take any credit for this so called strength that I demonstrate in my daily walk through this thing we call life. I give all the credit to the Living God, who strengthens me to do every single thing I do.

I can't recall the exact wording and location of the scripture that's coming to mind, but I am encouraged by the scripture: "He'll give you beauty for your ashes." (Asa or Heber, help me out. Y'all are the theologeons. **smile**)

I pray that is indeed the truth as I sit and look at all the ashes around me. I hope and pray, as I am without a place to actually call home, that God will renew me, will restore me, will refresh me, will reinvent me.

**I know that this post was a little all over the place. But that's how I'm feeling. I'm just trying to sort through it all, while keeping things in the right perspective.

Continue to keep me and mine in prayer. We need it.

Oh yea... I graduate December 15th if everything goes as planned. I'm so excited! Angela Braden with a masters degree. Yet one more thing that I will have accomplished with the help of God. I'll post on that whole graduation as it gets closer and more definite that I will indeed be eligible for my degree.

Until we meet up in this place again or yours, I wish you the best.

Love and hugs,


Monday, November 12, 2007

Burned Out

Last week, after a hard day of mind aching, heart breaking work, I was ever so happy to pull up in my driveway, unfortunately, only to find my house, the place where I live, sleep, eat, bathe, use the computer, relax, and store my clothes, screaming with a high pitch yelp and belching black smoke. Oh yes... That's right... On Wednesday evening of last week, a fire started in the laundry room which is located on the second level of my house, and caused severe damage to the structure and contents of my home.

In short, the fire caused the main water line in the house to burst, releasing water to shower down to the bottom level of the house. So, the house not only has fire and smoke damage, but water damage as well. What fun!

I'm without a place to live at least for the next two to three months. I only have three changes of clothes. The only time I have computer access is when I'm at work.

I have to admit that there are moments that I look at what has happened as being extremely depressing. But there are other times, especially when I force myself to, I see the good in all of this. Good? Yep, there is some good.

I would tell you now, but someone is waiting for me. I'll update my blog later, when I get a chance.

In the meantime, pray for me. Pray for my family. Pray that we make it through this awfully challenging time. Pray that we find somewhere to live while we wait for the house to get rebuilt to liveable standards. Just pray...



Sunday, November 04, 2007

Reflections of my Trip to Austin (Part II.)

I sat in the lobby of the rehab center for about 30 or 40 minutes before the lady I was supposed to be meeting with came and got me. I'm usually bored when I have to wait places that long. It's not like I can pick up a magazine and flip through the pages, check out other people's outfits, or text message on my cell phone as I wait. So, waiting is something that I don't get a thrill out of at all.

But waiting for my meeting that morning was not so bad. I was completely enthralled by the number of blind people who were walking, carrying on with life, laughing, working, and learning with such confidence. I was proud to be apart of a group of people that decided to not let the darkness stop them from seeing the light of life.

I sat there and thought about how these people were walking around, some with a quick pace, tapping their canes, doing what they needed to do to be alright. You talking about some survivors!

I hated that even I was not used to seeing this many blind people on point, taking care of business, and handling up on life. I was pleasantly shocked of all the major confidence and solid adjustment that I witnessed in a couple of the people I observed. It was great. It was inspiring.

I sat there and wished that I could be in that environment more often. I wished that the people I love could see these blind people on the move, fighting to have independence, fighting to be alive and happy. I wished that the readers of my blog could see these people as they were carrying out their day. I wished that everyone that's anyone could have seen what I was getting a chance to witness. It was great.

***I'll have a couple more entries regarding my trip to Austin before I leave this series along. Stay tuned and stay inspired.****

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Blogging for Justice: Crying Out Against the Obvious Crime Inflicted on Megan Williams and More

"But I still cannot relate to Megan Williams as a person. I think it's because I'm an intellectual elitist and I don't think that Megan Williams is very smart. When I look into her eyes, I see Gomer Pyle.”
Francis L. Holland

When I first received an e-mail from AAPP to Blog for Justice, especially at such a short notice, I quickly dismissed it and said to myself that I just didn’t have the time to write my thoughts and reactions regarding the two heinous crimes that were committed against these two women by November 1st. Plus, although I often post comments on other blogger’s boards about political and social issues, I try to stick to a general theme on my blog, disability issues, especially disability issues as it pertains to me as a blind woman.

But after seeing the call to write over at the
Afrospear page, as well as a recent article related to the heinous
crime that took place at Dumbar Village, which was more horrifying than any Halloween tale I've ever heard, I decided to make it my business to write an entry,, so that I could be apart of the group that would shake the ground to let the world know that we would not sit back and passively wait to see if justice would be served in these particular cases.

However, to be quite honest, if I may, when I decided to write something regarding these terrible incidents, I actually was going to write a quick post about these issues, just to say that I actually engaged in solidarity with the Afrosphear. I was still being selfish, thinking about what all I had to do tonight and tomorrow, which was going to get in the way of me writing a thoughtful post.

But after seeing the above confession over at Francis L. Holland’s blog, I knew for sure that I must write. And guess what… I can stay within my theme of disability issues. So sad that Francis set the stage for me… So that you can continue to flow with me, let me post his quote here again for you to read.

"But I still cannot relate to Megan Williams as a person. I think it's because I'm an intellectual elitist and I don't think that Megan Williams is very smart. When I look into her eyes, I see Gomer Pyle.” Francis L. Holland

Now, forgive me if my writing gets a little emotional. Let me warn you. I’m feeling pretty emotional about what Francis so ignorantly remarked on his blog.

The reason why his comment shakes me up so much is because people with differences and/or disabilities often get declassified, boxed, institutionalized, neglected, forgotten, thrown away, segmented, hidden, ignored, abused, misunderstood, pushed away, and disrespected, simply because they are not like the masses-like Francis said, they can’t be related to as a person.

Is Megan Williams not a person? Why can’t she be related to as a person? Because when you look in her eyes she seems dumb? Really?

People often tell me, “I’ve never met a blind person before. I don’t know how I should treat you.” Well, I would tell these people, who I think meant well, but were clouded with ignorance, “Treat me like you want to be treated. Treat me like I’m a person with real feelings, real issues, and real concerns.” Yes, I may be blind. But I am first a person. I am not Blind Angie. I am Angie that is blind. See the difference...

You wouldn’t believe the people that I come in contact with that treat me less than I should be treated just because I am different, because when they look in my eyes, I appear to be… Um, I don’t know… Take your pick. So many people treat me like I have mental retardation or I’m a slow learner, just because I’m blind. Many people I come in contact with often try to deny me the right to speak for myself, make decisions for myself, or stand up for myself. Basic ignorance, I tell you…

Here are the facts… Ms. Williams does have a learning disability, she is a person, and she was treated worst than a stray, mangy, rabies infested dog. Something there doesn’t add up. But what doesn’t also add up for me is how an educated person of color, a lawyer, could even hint that they couldn’t relate to this woman as a person because she appeared to be unintelligent/intellectually challenged/slow/dumb.

That’s the kind of bullcrap I put up with on a daily basis. It’s not my race and my gender that causes me to be discriminated against, treated badly, and prejudged the most. It’s my disability. And the time is now for that to stop. It is time for intelligent, educated persons to stop prejudging, discriminating against, and minimizing the humanity of a person with challenges.

I shutter at the thought of what happened to Megan Williams, simply because I know it really could have been me. Maybe not the same setting and series of events… But I too could have been a victim of some person’s physical and mental torture. And God forbid, unless we put a stop to this type of violence, I still can become this kind of victim.

What also shakes me to the core is that people, even educated people could have the capacity of looking in my blind eyes and minimizing what would have happened to me, simply because they could not relate to me as a person.

For the record: Francis L. Holland, who is like one of the most influential bloggers in the Afrospear/Afrosphere, and a blogger I truly respect, has issued an apology for his statement. He also stated that he did not know that Megan was learning disabled when he made his remark. His apology is below.

“I didn't know that Megan Williams was recognized as having learning disabilities. It helps me to comprehend her situation and what happened to her much
better. And I apologize to those who have had all of the facts. Because Megan's learning disabilities are an important part of what makes this crime so heinous, we should be highlighting the fact that Megan Williams
has learning disabilities because, for me at least, it makes the crimes against her even more grave. She was not able to defend herself.” Francis

But even with the apology in place, I still wanted to highlight the type of ignorance that causes people with disabilities/differences/challenges, whether they are physical or mental, to be fragmented, to be pushed away, to be compartmentalized, to be lost in the system, to be hidden from society, to be unemployed, to be homeless, to be abused, to be ignored, to be forgotten, simply because they cannot be related to as a person.

So what if Megan Williams looked intellectually challenged. Maybe she does... I can't comment on that. But I put money on it that what Megan looks like more than anything is a person. And that's what Francis should have seen first, her humanity.

As we are thinking about Megan Williams, and thinking about violence against women and how it needs to come to an end, let’s also think about the social violence that many inflict upon people with physical and mental disabilities/challenges/differences, even when the difference/challenge/disability is not easily identified and understood. Now, that’s justice.!

Disclaimer: This entry was not a personal attack on Francis L. Holland. It was an attack on the attitudes and perceptions that people have regarding people with differences/disabilities, and how those people should be related to, treated, and interacted with.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Reflections from my Trip to Austin (Part I.)

First of all, for some reason, I found myself feeling so unsleepy last night. And again, I have no idea why. I fell asleep downstairs on the couch. But when I woke up to go and get in the bed, I just couldn't sleep.

I ended up calling my friend, E, back, another night owl. Well, we talked until it was time for me to put my clothes on-4:00 in the A.M. So, I started a brand new day without one drop of sleep. That kind of stuff was fine when I was 25. But now that I'm a 30's girl... Well, a night of no sleep takes a different toll on you.

Well, the travel to the airport was just fine. And I have no major experiences to report about my flight. But after I landed, things got interesting.

First of all, my taxi driver started putting the moves on me. But I'm used to that. For some reason, the taxi drivers, well mainly the African ones, that pick me up always try to pick me up in another way. If you know what I mean...

But I actually enjoyed the conversation of this particular taxi driver. He was quite interesting. Plus, his stories about the world, Africa, America, Africans in America, European colonization of Africa, and North African culture/customs/religion/food were exciting.

Did I give him my number? Nope... Why? Um, I'm not sure... It's probably because I don't make a habit of giving men that I just randomly meet a way to contact me via telephone. Plus, he seemed a little too old for your girl.

This brotha, who was bornin North Africa, told me that he thinks that I'm a very beautiful woman. He went on to say that I would be considered very beautiful in his native country, Morocco.
I usually don't blush when the taxi drivers put their mack down on me. But this brotha just had a little flair that was undeniably charming.

But moving on... Because the above was certainly not the point of this blog entry.

Well, after I arrived to the place where I was going, which was a rehab center for blind and visually impaired adults, I was suddenly overtaken with a weird feeling of familiarity. All around me was the sound of tapping canes, blind people enjoying the company and conversation of other blind people, and blind folks on the move to a life of independence. For some reason, I felt like I was in a land that was so close to me, but yet so far away. The sounds, the people, the energy was all too familiar. But I was a stranger to it all.

Why did I feel like a stranger? Why did I feel so disconnected?

Interestingly, the answer is simple. I felt so disconnected, so much like a stranger because I separated myself from the culture, the community, the connectivity of the blind community. Why, you might ask? Plain old self-hatred...

It reminds me of Blacks, who grew up in black culture, in the hood, around other lack folks. But when they got their first chance, they ran like hell from the community that they were raised in, simply because they wanted to distance themselves so much from the painful or negative aspects of that community or culture of people. So sad...

To be continued... I'll finish this up later this week. Maybe tomorrow...


Monday, October 29, 2007

Going back, But Not Quite

Tomorrow morning, I will board a plane to Austin, Texas, a place that I haven't been in nearly 15 years. A place that I swore to never return for all the days of my life. But tomorrow, I'm going back.

Do I feel the same way I felt when I swore to never set foot on the soil of Austin? Um, nope... What can I say... I was a fractured, imature, heart-broken 17-year-old. When you're 17-years-old, the little stuff seems so big; and the big stuff seems so little. Boy, ain't I'm glad that I turned 30 already. I sware when you're 29 and younger... Let's just say that you're not as smart as you think you are. But I digress...

After I land in Austin in the morning, I'll be catching a taxi to a building that's actually right across the street from the place that I was forced to call home for 4 long, seemingly abusive, heart breaking years. What place is this? Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired

When I write about TSBVI, I don't know why it feels like I'm writing about the deadly, frightful concentration camps in Germany, or the plantations where so many of my people were physically tortured and psychologically abused for 300 years. Because honestly, it wasn't that bad. In fact, it wasn't half as bad as I for so many years pegged it to be.

I guess TSBVI represents so much more to me than just the place I went to school and lived.
It's the place that I lost my eye sight.
It's the place that I had to live instead of living with my parents.
It's the place that I grew apart and started feeling segmented from my sisters.
It's the place that I had to learn how to deal with covert and overt racism.
It's the place that I had to learn how to deal with sexual harassment.
It's the place that I had paranormal experiences all the time. (Oh, yes... And it wasn't my imagination either.)
It's the place that I felt so lonely.
It's the place that I started feeling like I was losing so much control.
It's the place that I was scorn, rather than rewarded for being so smart.
It's the place that I rathered die than live.

So, even though I can still feel the pain from those years, I don't blame it on TSBVI. They didn't do it. In fact, they helped me to keep my head above a disability that was sure to drown me if I had not gotten the right kind of education, training, coping skills, and strategies for daily living. Now, after all these years, I realize that TSBVI was my blessing.

Tomorrow, I won't actually get a chance to go to TSBVI's campus to see the building that I walked up and down the halls to go to class, the dorm that I shared a room with my now deceased roommate, Ladama, or the sidewalks that I learned to master to go visit other friends that lived in different dorms.

But my heart is going to be able to be right across the street from the place that I experienced so much pain, and my heart won't be broken up filled with pain. Instead my heart is whole and full of thanks.

I will go to Austin again the week of November 12th. I'm going to make it my business to set aside some time to travel to TSBVI. I think actually going there, seeing some of the teachers that impacted my life, and being in the atmosphere of the whole system will do my heart good. I think that going back to the campus is a necessary intersection that I must travel to advance my healing.

I'll keep all of you that bother to read my blog updated about both of these Austin trips. It should be interesting.

Check you later.


Friday, October 26, 2007

After the Tears Dried

The other day, I broke down in tears at my desk, which is a big no no in my book. And then I followed up with the tears by posting a blog entry, confessing to the whole wide world that I had a crybaby moment. That's also another big no no in my book.

Well, I made up my mind that as soon as I got access to my computer again, I was going to snatch the post down. I said that I couldn't risk people seeing that I was that upset. I was also thinking that it is not good for potential clients to see that the "motivational speaker" was not feeling so motivated.

Well, after thinking about this thing long and hard, I've decided to keep the post up on my blog. I am learning that fear, pain, disappointment, sorrow are all real emotions, and often essential emotions to help us remember that we are human. Sometimes when you are so used to having on your Wonder Woman or Super Man gear, you forget that there is a real person, with needs, fractures, and the ability to tire. I guess I needed that reminder.

Another reason why I left the post up is because I wanted everyone that could have ever wondered to know that life ain't by no means easy. It is a fact of life that trials and hardship will certainly come to visit you. Will it get you down? Probably... But here's what you can't do... Let it keep you down.

The other day, I was feeling rather low. And guess what... That was cool for that moment and that moment alone.

After I had my low moment, I had to get it together, shake the dust off my head, and stand up to the so called giant that was standing in front of me. I had to tell myself that I am strong enough to battle anything that comes at me.

How do I know I'm strong enough to tackle my giants? Because I have in the past.

I've survived:
The loss of all of my sight
17 surgeries
Growing up in a divorced family
Suicide of my treating physician
Death of my grandparents
A suicide attempt when I was 12-years-old
Suicidal ideation until I was 24-years-old
Being torn away from my family to live in another city when I was a teen
Overt and covert racism
Past obesity
A broken heart
Being broke as a bad joke
3 house fires in 6 months
My mother's 2 massive strokes
The disabling effects of my mother's massive strokes
The removal of my left eye (A major confession that I have chosen not to talk about on my blog. But I've decided that I will. in the next month.)
Seeing someone I love get caught up in the criminal justice system
Internal bleeding
Losing the house we loved
Losing my job
Sexual harassment
5 long, crazy years at University of North Texas, earning my BA
3 inconvenient years at Texas Southern, earning my MA
A couple of years of not believing that God existed

And when I tell you that is only mentioning a few of the giants I had to pop in the forehead over the years.

So, when I say I'm a survivor, I truly am. There is no reason at all why I should think that I can't make it past this stuff I'm going through. The proof that I got the goods to make it is the fact that I'm still here. I've been a survivor in the past. And I sho' ain't stopping that trend now. If anything, I'm getting ready to overcome more stuff than I ever have before.

To anyone that runs across this blog entry and you are wondering in the back of your head if you can make it, take it from me, you can. Tap into the strength that comes from God. He put it in you to use. So, use it. Use that strength to survive.

Much love,

Angela Braden
The Survivor

Locked Out

For the last couple of days, I've been locked out of my Blogger account from the PC I use at my house. I don't know what was up. It's so darn frustrating. But I was able to get back in. But not through my own site.

Thanks to the fact that I am so dog on persistent and I was insisting on making a comment over at The Thinking Black Man, I was able to log in. I hurried over here to my spot to see if I could manipulate my page. And so far so good.

Technology makes the lives of blind people so much more fun to live. But darn it, when the technology is on the blink, it's incredibly frustrating. I hate feeling so dependent on a dag on machine. Oh well...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crying because I was Crying

This afternoon, I started feeling so much anxiety and stress. And before I knew it, tears, something I don't often feel on my face, started rolling down my cheeks. I couldn't believe it. I was actually crying. As soon as I realized what was happening to me, I sat at my desk and started holding my breath, hoping that a lack of oxygen would cause me to dry up and cease the tears from falling. But I continued to cry. In silence, and without breathing, I cried.

After about three minutes, I pulled myself together. Crying in my office was not the answer. It's certainly not a good idea to be in public, even behind closed doors, with that much emotion on display. And no matter how cute I think I am, tears popping out of my face is not a good look for me. So, I quickly got it together.

Then suddenly, I started feeling ridiculous for even allowing the issue that caused the tears to flow to have that kind of effect on me. Guess what... I started crying again. But this time, I was crying because I had cried. I couldn't believe that I had allowed myself to get that torn up.

What was/is wrong with me? My period's not on my coattail. So what is it? Why am I allowing myself to feel so much stress? Why am I feeling so darn emotional this afternoon?

Well, at 4:27 P.M., I realize that I feel better now. Not because I stumbled into feeling better... But because I forced myself to feel better. I have come to a conclusion that being positive/feeling better/feeling stronger is a matter of just making a decision. Well, that's if you don't have some kind of chemical imbalance that you can't manage. But since I don't, I just have to snap my fingers and pop out of whatever's got me down.

Why am I writing this? To get it off my chest... To confirm to all those that were wondering, including myself, that Angela Braden, the strong, independent, always taking care of someone else, educated, smiling, black woman, can feel pain like anyone else. And for a moment this afternoon, I allowed myself to feel some pain. \After all, I am human.



Monday, October 22, 2007

Recommended Blog: GhettoManga

Okay... This recommended blog of the week thing or every two weeks thing is really not working out for me. I'm way too busy (code word for undisciplined) to commit to a schedule like that. It's amazing in itself that I've kept this blogging thing up. So, with that being said, please be patient with me and just expect a recommended blog on whatever Monday I actually think to do it.

This Monday, I wanted to recommend a blog that I don't necessarily read, but I think it is interesting. It's my brotha, Samax's little joint on Blogger. (FYI... Samax is the brotha's wedding that I went to this weekend in Dallas. He married one of my inner cabinet friends. BTW: I went to college with both Samax and Charlene.)

This brotha uses this particular blog to discuss comics (That mostly.), hip hop, and culture. I check him out from time to time, not because I'm just a big time fan of comics, because I'm absolutely not... I check him out because I'm a fan of him. I'm not so impressed with his content. But I got mad respect for how the brotha lays it all out on paper. Y'all, Samax can write!

So check out his blog. If you like comic books and hip hop, you will be pleased. Also support his work. Show a brotha some love that's taking steps to tear down the white walls in the comic book industry so that black super heros can be on the cover page.

To no avail, I introduce .GhettoManga, a blog that is excellently written, diverse in thought and content, and a product of the good fruit of the Hip Hop Generation.

BTW: This brotha's blog is one of the blogs that inspired me to actually stay on the course when it comes to maintaining a blog. He also, through his writing, taught me to be comfortable in my skin as a writer. What I mean is that I learned to write about what you want to say. Don't write what you think others want you to say. If you do that, you're not a writer, you're a puppet.

Peace out,



I'm not as much of a social butterfly as my girl, Miko, is. But I really do love hanging out with my friends. And the people I call friends are not just people that I happen to kind of like. The people I call friends are people that have proven their friendship. They're people that have stood by me through the rain, the fire, and the tears. They are some ride or die friends. And I appreciate them so much. That's why when the opportunity arises for me to kick it with them, I try to jump on it every time I can.

This past weekend, two people that I consider to be a friend, especially the bride, got married. There was never any doubt in my mind if I should go to the wedding. I just didn't really want to. I wanted to see them, but not at the wedding.

Before you start wondering if I'm a hater, let me hurry up and point out why I didn't want to go to the wedding. First of all, and really my only point... Weddings are so darn visual. From the bride's dress, to the bride maid's dresses, to the flower girl, to the flowers, to the decorations, to the cake, and to the rings... All of it is a show for the eyeballs.

So, pretty much, when I go to a wedding, I just sit there and smile. And then I stand when whoever I'm with gives me the cue to stand for the bride.

Don't get me wrong, weddings are not at all totally unenjoyable for me. I enjoy the music, if it is good enough to enjoy, listen to the vows, only if the bride and groom are speaking in the mike, and patiently wait for the reception so I can eat. ?And since I'm not a fan of party puches and cakes with a load of sweet icing, the receptions are really not too much my favorite either.

The one thing I was looking forward to at this wedding was seeing some people that I haven't had a chance to see in a long time. I wanted to see some of the people that I call friend, as well as those who were real close to being on Angie's "true friend" list. And I did. That part of the wedding was fantastic.

So, after the visual part of the wedding ended, I lit up like a Christmas tree. I put my social butterfly hat on, started skinning and grinning like only my daddy and Miko can do so well, and greeted all of those that I was so happy to see. It was great!

To Charlene and Samax:
I know you don't read my blog... Well, I shouldn't be presumptuous... But anyway...
I wanted to wish you two the best that marriage, intimacy, and friendship can bring a couple. I pray that peace, happiness, unconditional love, financial freedom, safety, security, and excitement wrap around you for the life of your marriage, which I hope is for the rest of you all's lives.
I know as well as you know that tribulation and turbulance will visit you. However, I pray that you are able to ride on top of the wave of heartache, rather than falling underneath the tides that often come to drown those who swore they would live and love each other for life. I pray that your home is blessed and full of God's favor. I pray that both of you experience God's love and acceptance through the loving companionship of one another.
God bless both of you and those children that will be brought here so fast. LOL

With love on my mind,

Angie Braden

Will it ever come to an end?

Although I am completely aware that I don't look my best when I'm being negative, I often find myself with my negative baseball cap on without even knowing when or where I slipped it on my head. But
as soon as I notice that I'm being negative, complaining, having a pity party, I take the hat and sling it far away, as far as I can toss it.

There was a time that having a pity party was okay. I justified it. Hell, I onc thought that I was going through enough crap to have all the pity parties I wanted to have. But thankfully, I got to place in my life that I didn't want to be a party girl anymore. I popped the baloons, vacuumed the confetti, blew out the 666 candles, and garbage disposed the flavorless cake. Pity partying just ain't my style no more. I'm much better when I'm smiling, laughing, and beaming. Don't you think?

Well, that brings me to this post. Something happened to me this weekend that in the past would have caused me to be angry as hell or sent me to my closet to pull out all of my pity party decorations.

This weekend, I had to go to Dallas for a wedding. Well, I waited too late to purchase my airline ticket; so the flights were way to high. I will never pay $250 to fly to Dallas if I can help it. And this weekend I could help it. I got on Priceline and rented a car, reserved me a room, and commissioned my sister, Frances, to drive me to Dallas early Saturday morning.

Well, when we arrived at the rental car place, I explained to the lady that I was renting the car, but I happened to be blind. I explained to her that my sister would be driving the vehicle. My sister said that the lady looked at her and then proceeded to do the hand signals that used to annoy me so much. She said the lady pointed at me, then covered her eyes, pointed back at me, and then mouthed, "She's blind."

Now, why was all that necessary? In fact, why is it ever necessary?

First of all, I already told the woman I couldn't see. Did she not believe me? She must did, she started talking in sign language to my sister as if she didn't expect me to see it. So, what was the point in taking those silly steps to confirm the info?

And for all the other people that often signal to my folks and ask them am I blind... Why do you do that? If you want to know, just open your mouth and ask. It's even more offensive when I hear you whispering to my people as if I'm can't hear. It's even more offensive when you think that I'm some kind of nothing, a nothing person that doesn't deserve you respecting me by not "talking about me behind my back." Because that's how it feels. It's in my face. But not really.

When Frances told me what the woman did, I started to get all mad and thangs. But this time, I decided to cut off the anger and shake my head at the idea of this woman doing that. There is no point in me wasting my good emotions on someone and something that doesn't deserve the energy. Plus, I would much rather keep my negativity hat off my hed these days. I'm much cuter when I have the positive hat on.

Friday, October 19, 2007

What We Consider, Some are Forced to Live

Earlier this week, I asked my readers a question that I knew would prompt them to have to think about the horrifying possibility of being severely disabled. The reason why I asked the question was because I wanted my readers to actually consider what it’s like to live a life that many are locked into living every single second of their life. Yes, we can take a few minutes to imagine being disabled. But our daydreams don’t stand a chance against the person that is actually walking, or should I say “not walking” it out.

Since I started working at a vocational rehab agency as a counselor, I’ve learned to put my excessive complaining in check. Yeah, I might be blind. And trust me, that’s pretty bad. But my issues are nothing compared to some of the people that come and sit down in my office.

I have to visit with individuals that were born or either later in their lives became severely disabled. Mental Retardation, traumatic brain injury, Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, Spinabifida, and so on and so on. So many of the individuals that come into my office have learning disabilities, major depressive disorders, can only ambulate in a wheelchair, and need assistance with bathing, toileting, and dressing. It’s so sad…

I sit down and thank God that even though I’m blind, I can think, and think pretty brilliantly too. LOL Just kidding… Well, not really…

What I’m doing right now, writing, blogging, creating, conversing—Many of my clients cannot do that. So, I really learn to shut my trap and my mind down and stop all my dog on complaining about not being able to see. At least, and I mean the very least, I can walk, talk, think, smile, love, run, climb stairs, have sex, hear, smell, pick up my nephew and hold him in my arms, wipe my own behind, bathe myself, wash dishes, cook a meal, operate a computer, earn money, speak, make others laugh, and so on and so on. You get the point.

So, if you are reading this post, make a commitment to minimize your complaining. Yes, I know it's pretty easy to always complain. But it just ain't cool. Life really could be much, much worse. I wouldn't lie to you.

Disclaimer: In case anyone from my job is reading this post, I am not discussing client cases. I’m merely pointing out the obvious. I hope this post is not deemed as a breech in client confidentiality.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


**I posted this entry over a year ago when I first started this blog. It's one of my favorite entries of all times. I wanted to repost it because it really translates a message that I think most of us can benefit from when it comes to the value of life and love. And since it is Disability Awareness Month, I thought that this post would be a nice entry to add to my series of posts regarding disabilities different from my own. Enjoy and be enlightened.**

While working as a consultant for a small school district, I was asked to place a visit to one of the students that was severely disabled. I was asked to stimulate him through friendly interactions and play. I arrived to the classroom with my box of instructional toys, and was introduced to a small, eight-year-old boy strapped in a wheelchair. I greeted him, but he did not respond. I grabbed his hand, but his fingers were limp. His little head was slumped over. The child had not even looked up at me. I took my hand and placed it under his chin and lifted his darling head up. “Hello.”, I said. No salutation, moan, laugh, or wiggle came from the child. “How can I play with this child?” I thought. “His body is here, but he’s not.” I wanted to put all of my toys back in the box and leave. I felt saddened and upset for the child. How could anyone want to live that way? But I couldn’t leave. I had to do my job.

I tried to get a response out of him with my toys. I pulled out my rattle and put it in his hand. But his fingers did not grip the handle. I cuffed my hand over his hand so that he would hold the rattle. I shook it. But the boy did not respond. I pulled out my talking, school bus that sings the alphabet. But he was not interested in the bus or the happy melody that poured from the bus.

His teacher suggested that I try a toy that she described as his favorite. I placed his small, bony hands on the colorful toy and pushed a button, the toy started to vibrate and ring silly sounds. I couldn’t believe my ears. The child hummed a high pitched sound that sounding like he was expressing joy. “What? A sound from the boy?” I thought. Then I heard light tones coming from his mouth. His teacher said that he was laughing. I pressed another button, the toy buzzed and rattled. The happy sound came from the boy again. I was so delighted to see this lifeless child be filled with happiness and joy.

Last year, when the highly controversial case of Terri Schiavo, a severely brain damaged woman, who was in the middle of a highly inflammatory legal dispute between her parents and her husband on whether or not to keep her alive, was introduced to the world by the American press, I thought about my small, severely disabled student. I’m ashamed to admit that I initially thought this darling boy’s life was not worth living. But inside of his little body was a little boy that enjoyed what I thought of as simple and unimportant. He was enjoying life in his own way. I’m sure that the child’s mother would have been devastated if her little one was completely taken from her. Instead of being bitter about what she did not have in a son, she cherished every part of her little boy.

I learned from that experience that all life is valuable and that we should cherish every morsel of life. I also discovered that no matter how fractured or impaired a person’s abilities are, joy, love, peace, and happiness can be and should be experienced by every living person.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

What disability do you think would be the worst to live with?

This month is Disability Awareness Month. Yes, everybody got a month... LOL

Well, even though I pretty much only write about disability related issues as it pertains to me and my blindness, I wanted to spend a little time addressing other disability groups. And I can start the discussion with this post.

A few months ago, I attended a disability awareness training at my job. The first question the trainer asked our group was, "What disability would you hate to have to live your life with?"

"Good question.", I thought.

And since I'm living with a disability that was sure to be on somebody in my group's list, I felt a little strange, or cursed, if you will. But that's an entirely different post. I'll revisit that train of thought another time.

Well, I want to pose the question to my readers. And be honest...
What would be the top 3 disabilities you would hate to live with? And why?
Think about it and post your answer. I'm eager to get your response.

FYI... Since I'm already blind, I told the trainer I would hate to be deaf and blind at the same time, paraplegic, and mentally retarded.
A. I would hate to be deaf/blind because that would be completely and utterly terrible. To not be able to hear and see... The very thought makes me shutter on the inside. I can imagine that communicating, relating to others, enjoying life, building relationships, and learning would be darn near impossile.
B. Walking, running, bending, stopping, climbing stairs, and getting on and off the floor is apart of my everyday life. I can't imagine being so dog on restricted by that kind of disability. I might not can see, but I'm free to move, to run, to get in the tub, to use the toilet without assistance, to slide my underwear on, to basically do anything I can figure out how to do without sight. And that's a lot more than what I could do if I was restricted to a wheelchair.
C. Because my mind is like my greatest asset, I can't imagine being cognatively impaired. I can't imagine not being able to use my mind to create, to be free, to strategize, to analyze, to imagine, to daydream, to write, to speak, to clarify, to judge... You get my point.

So, what about you? Be honest. And if blind is one of your answers, don't think my feelings gon' be hurt. I hate the idea of living life with blindness too. **smile**

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Some of the Reasons I Hate Being Blind

1. I hate having limited options. Being blind restricts my mobility too much. Which leads me to no. 2.
2. I hate not being able to drive.
3. I hate not being able to look up into the sky and see the ornaments that God has decorated the sky with. I miss so badly seeing the stars, moon, and even the hot Texas sun.
4. I hate not being able to look in the mirror and see myself. It really bugs the daylights out of me that I don't know what 30-year-old Angela looks like. It seems that I just can't push pass that restriction. I'm completely annoyed by it.
5. I hate I can't see the new additions of my family. It's like this... I can imagine how my sisters, parents, cousins, and certain friends look like, mainly because I still have the picture of them in my head from when I could see. But I have no earthly idea what my nieces and my nephew look like. I pretty sure they're cute. But I don't really have a clear cut idea what exactly they look like. I have an image that I created. And although I'm pretty good at knowing how people that I've never seen look like, sometimes the description that I have is off from the truth.
6. Again, I hate limited options. Let me revisit that, but with specificity. I hate that I cannot really pick and choose the kind of career I want and where I want to work. That gets under my skin. It's actually depressing.
7. I hate not being able to shop by myself.
8. I hate that I can't see nature. I used to love looking at grass, flowers, trees, birds, insects, and any and everything that was apart of the natural environment. I really miss that.
9. I hate I can't do some home improvement things myself. I come from a line of women that have a "do it yourself" mentality. I know if I could see, I would paint, put up my own blinds and curtains, clean the carpet, and so on.
10. I hate that I can't be my own woman all the time. I hate that I have to go sighted guide with people. I hate that people have to drive me. I hate that I have to have someone with me to go to certain events. I just wish I could roll all by myself sometimes, without having to be bothered with anyone.

Yes, I know that this post was a little more negative than my typical posts. But I just needed to vent. I've been feeling real ticked off about a couple of the things on the above list in the last week. So, I just needed to get it out of my head. And. It's way too crowded in there for me to hold on to those thoughts.

Well, have a good day. I'll try to do the same.

Angie Braden

Monday, October 01, 2007

Recommended Blog of the Week: Faith in Action On Line

Okay, I know I said that I was going to recommend one of the blogs I find fascinating and/or interesting every Monday. Well, I haven't exactly adhered to my own little schedule. So, I'm going to revise this thing. I'm going to do this every other Monday. That sounds more like a schedule I'll comply with.

This week, I wanted to showcase my brother in Baltimore, Rev. Heber Brown. This brother is the reason why your girl ever decided to register an account with Blogger. I was thrilled by his content and commitment to various issues. Even though most of his blog is specifically relative to Baltimore concerns, I still enjoyed reading and commenting.

Actually, Faith in Action was the first blog I actually started making comments on. And for the longest (over a year), I didn't start visiting other blogs. But now, thanks to Heber's little inspiration, I enjoy blogging. It's a necessary diversion from the everyday grind.

To no avail, I now introduce you to Faith in Action.

Have a fabulous week!


Sunday, September 30, 2007

Going Back to Cali (Part I.)

I've been meaning to blog about my California trip for a couple of weeks. But work and family has me so busy that I can hardly ever sit down and just write my own stuff. But that's going to have to change. For one, I want to blog more. And secondly, I need to start doing some serious writing, writing that will turn into dollars. And I mean a lot of dollars... So, I'm going to have to find some kind of way to not let work and family dominate my life. (I believe in miracles.)

Well, a couple of weekends ago, I decided at the last minute that I wanted to hop on a plane and go see my WCBF (west coast best friend). When she was living in NYC, I would go and visit her at least once a year. Well, she moved out to LA in January and my ECBF turned in to my WCBF. (All you east coast folks should know that I currently have an opening for a best friend in the east. Any applications?)

I digress...

Well, the first interesting thing that happened as I was planning for my trip to Los Angeles is that my five-year-old nephew, Joseph, asked me, "Ann, who's going to fly on the plane with you?" I quickly stated, "Nobody."

Joseph obviously didn't expect that answer. I could hear the wheels of his little mind grinding. He looked up at me and said, "But you're blind. You can't fly by yourself on a plane."

Interestingly, Joseph's opinion is pretty popular. Probably 99% of the folks that I know that know that I travel alone don't like it. And trust me, these folks don't mind telling my 30-something self (Early 30’s… LOL) that they think I shouldn't travel alone, but never volunteering their sighted eyes to travel with me.

Here's the thing, I really don't like to travel alone. But I refuse to sit up and wait on somebody else to go where I want to go. If I was waiting on the sighted folks that have an opinion regarding my traveling practices to go on a trip with me, I would have never been most of the places I've been and intend to go for the rest of my life.

Let me clear up something for all the people that worry about me on a plane... I'm not really in any more of a disadvantage than all the sighted passengers on the plane. If the plane goes down, 20/20 ain't gon’ help nobody. Plus, if the plane was about to crash, trust me, a heart attack would take me out long before the impact.

Secondly, when I arrive at the airport, there are staff there that can guide me to the plane. And when the aircraft lands, there are people there that guide me to the baggage claim or the passenger pick up.

And for all of you folks that are wondering... Most of the time, I am going to visit someone. So, whoever I'm going to visit usually picks me up from the airport. There are only a couple of trips that I hop on a plane, catch a taxi when I get to my destination, and go somewhere completely by myself. But don't ever think that I won't do that if I got to be somewhere.

In fact, I plan to travel by myself more in the real near future. Once my speaking career flies off, I'll be flying too.

Well, this particular entry went into a different direction from what I intended. I still haven't talked about the actual trip. Well, I'll hit that in my next post.

Much love and high in the sky traveling,

Miss Braden

Friday, September 28, 2007

Update Regarding the Cheesecake Factory Debacle

Last Week, I posted a letter that I sent to the Cheesecake Factory
that basically blasted them for a awful, yet pricey experience that I had there over the weekend.

Well, I'm not feeling completely satisfied, but I am glad to report that someone from the Cheesecake Factory's guest relations contacted me to discuss what I detailed in the letter. Well, the young woman was quite apologetic. And I have to admit that she sounded quite sincere. Her employer should be quite proud of her. This young lady spoke to me in the most sincere, humble, gracious voice a person can use. AndI'm not going to say it worked, but I certainly felt compelled to decrease my angst for the restaurant.

Plus, she said she was going to send me some gift cards. And you know that certainly helps the heart, pocketbook, and the tummy feel more gracious and inclined to forgive.

She said I should be receiving a letter and gift cards in the mail. Let's see how they try to fix this one up. I'll be sure to keep you guys updated, especially you, Renea.

Peace out,


New Update: I got my $100 giftcard in the mail. Maybe the Cheesecake Factory ain't so bad after all. LOL

BTW: I mentioned within the comment section on another post about the flying cockroach that visited us when I was eating lunch at the Red Lobster. Well, the Red Lobster guest relations sent me a $15 gift card to cover the lunch that I didn't get a chance to eat because of my lost appetite, thanks to the humongous roach.

I've learned from being apart of the Afrosphere that writing a nice little letter really does produce results from time to time.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Blind For Real

Last week, I was standing in front of the entrance of the mall, waiting for my sister, who had walked away to give someone directions to the nearest hospital. As I was waiting, this clueless woman walked up to me and asked me if I could please help her read a telephone number off a sheet of paper she had in her hand. She said, and I quote. “Ma’am, can you please read this number for me. I can’t see if this is a 5 or what. I might as well be blind.”

Well, I knew that my response to the lady was going to embarrass her. But I had to go ahead and break the truth off to her,but in a polite manner, of course.

I tilted my head to the side, smiled, and said, “I’m sorry; I can’t read that for you. I’m blind for real.”

The lady nearly fainted. She was all embarrassed and everything. The next thing you know she started apologizing over and over. “I am so sorry. I’m so sorry.”

While she was apologizing over and over, I was laughing over and over.

I don’t know why I was laughing at the woman in her face. I already knew she was going to be embarrassed once I informed her that she was asking a blind woman to see something for her sighted behind. But I couldn’t help it. It was just funny to me. So, I laughed.

Thankfully, my sister walked up and saved the woman from her failing eyes and my shameless giggling.

My life is so not boring. The unique experiences never stop coming.

A Letter I sent to the Cheesecake Factory

This afternoon, I thought it would be a good idea to take my mother, who has been recovering from a stroke to dinner and to visit with family, who she hasn’t seen since her disabling stroke. We decided to go to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory, which is about 25 miles from my home. She has never gone. But it's one of my favorite restaurants. I was confident that my mother would enjoy the food, the service, and the atmosphere of your fine establishment, the same as I have for many years. Sadly, shortly after arriving at the Cheesecake, not only were my mother's expectations shattered, I, along with my father and sister, were highly disappointed as well.

For starters, we were seated by a very nice, yet interesting young man. After he sat us, he offered each of us menus. Being that I am totally blind, and I frequent your restaurant often, I asked the host to bring me a Braille menu, a service that I know you guys have available for your blind customers. Well, he said, "A Braille menu?" I replied, "Yes, a Braille menu?" Strangely enough, he repeated his initial question about two more times. He said, “What is Braille?”

Finally, my dad informed him that Braille is for the blind. My dad further explained that Braille is what the blind read instead of print. Boom, the host got it. His response to the lesson he had got from my father was an apology and an admission of his ignorance. And I mean that literally. The host actually smiled and chuckled and said, "I'm sorry... I'm quite ignorant." I’m glad that he understood that his lack of knowledge is indeed ignorance in its finest display.

Well, the young man brought the Braille menu out. And I decided to look over the fact that we had to spend a couple of minutes educating the host regarding blind people and Braille. Plus, I wanted to get to the food. I figured I would let that entire interaction slide for the moment. However, I was making a mental note to contact your corporate office and suggest that you offer diversity and disability awareness to your staff. (Contract me… I’ll be glad to do it.)

The second thing that happened in your fine establishment was what sent me over the edge. The waiter came out and asked our drink orders. Then this young man, that you guys have hired to do a competent job, brought the drinks back to the table, but failed to place them on the table. He dropped a glass of tea on my mother's shoulder, causing the heavy glass to strike her and then the tea wasted all over her shoulder, chest, stomach and lap. That accident was out of line. My mother's outfit was ruined and also her experience.

However, I can deal with accidents. Although we don't expect waiters to do such a thing as he did, I understand that we, humans, are not perfect. But what drove me to utter anger was his response. He tried to play it down and act like it was nothing. He kept saying, "Oh, the drink wasted. It's okay... I'll get another one." It's okay? You'll get another one? I would think that he would be profusely apologizing for the fact that my mother was sitting in a nice restaurant soaked by a glass of tea, long before her food order was even taken.

Then what put the whip cream on the cheesecake, this waiter that was hired by you to do a professional wait job, said and I quote. "Do you feel refreshed now?"

I was outraged. Here was my mother, a newly disabled woman due to a massive stroke, being taunted by a waiter that had wasted a glass of tea on her. Did she feel refreshed? What?! Refreshed?! I found that so called joke to be rude, insensitive, and utterly disrespectful.

I immediately asked for the manager. Well, the manager came out; I explained what had just transpired. Well, the manager only apologized to us for the waiter’s “little booboo. After the manager seemed to offer us nothing other than an apology, I told the manager that my mother’s dinner should be on the house. I explained that she doesn’t get out often due to illness and extensive disability, and that she was soaked in sticky tea, which was making her cold. Well, the manager agreed to discount our ticket by not charging us for my mother’s meal.

Well, it took forever for the waiter to come back and take our dinner orders. And then after he finally took the order, it took even longer for the entrees to come to the table.

My mother was freezing at this point. And I was fuming for a few reasons.
A. I was mad that it was taking so long for the food to come.
B. I was mad that my mother was cold and wet while she was waiting for the food.
C. I was mad that we had to either go back home for her to change clothes, or I had to go inside the mall to buy her an outfit in order to continue with our plans to go and see my mother’s sister after dinner.
D. I was mad that I was mad. FYI, my experience at the Cheesecake Factory is expected to be pleasant and enjoyable. I didn’t plan to spend my evening angry. I left my house, planning to spend money, not unhappy emotions.
E. I was mad that my father and sister, who were also first time customers in your restaurant, were annoyed by the level of service. I had hoped that they would also enjoy the dinner and experience.

Finally, our dinners were brought to the table. As I expected, the food was great. I’m so glad that I was not disappointed with the food. Likewise, my family also enjoyed the food. My mother continued to complain about being cold. But she also mentioned a few times how great her dinner tasted.
After finishing our meals, we hoped to enjoy a slice of cheesecake at the table. But because my mother was still wet and cold, she wanted to go and sit outside in the warm air to try to dry and increase her body temperature. So, we had to further alter our dinner experience by ordering our cheesecake to go.

My mother and father went outside, and my sister and I stayed behind to order the slices of cheesecake.
I clearly told the waiter to please hold the whip cream on my cheesecake. What did he do? He brought out my cheesecake with whip cream all over it. When I pointed out his little mistake, he stated and I quote. “Oh, it automatically comes with whip cream. I can take it back and have them to scrape it off. But otherwise, that’s how it comes.” Well, I’ve been coming to the Cheesecake Factory long enough to know that the whip cream is added on the cheesecake before they bring it out. But I didn’t bother to tell him that. I just agreed to allow them to take the whip cream off for me.

The waiter took a long time to bring the scraped cheesecake with the whip cream residue on it back out to the table. And he took even longer to bring out the check. Once he brought out the check, I saw that my mother’s ice tea that was wasted on her was still on the ticket, as well as my mother’s cheesecake. I was fuming. I felt that the waiter should have made sure that the ticket was correct before bringing it to us.

Well, I had to ask for the manager again, who agreed to make the adjustments. At this point, I felt that all of our dinners or at least our desserts should be free. All of us were completely inconvenienced by this experience. All of us were going to have to either go back home or go to the mall or get my mother something to wear. And yes, I told the manager that. But he just said that he would go ahead and take off my mother’s tea and cheesecake.

I gave him my credit card with the ticket, so that he can take care of the purchase. When he brought back the receipt, my mother’s wasted tea was still on the receipt. Because I was fed up, I frowned, signed the receipt, grabbed our to go bags, got up from the table, and nearly fell as I was taking a step from the table. I almost slipped on some of the tea that I suppose didn’t all waste on my mother. I was livid at this point.

After the valet brought us our car, each of us decided to just go home. Our evening was ruined. We were minus $100. But we had a bad experience at the Cheesecake Factory added to our psyche.

The reason why I’m writing is because I am gravely disappointed in your management and staff at the Cheesecake Factory in The Woodlands, Texas.
Disappointed to the degree that I would actually sit down and write a letter… Something that I never do…

When a family decides to dine at the Cheesecake Factory, they are fully aware that they are getting ready to spend some money. But you decide that the experience, the food, and the service is worth the money that you’re going to spend. When you know that each person’s dinner, drinks, and dessert will be no less than $25 to
$40, you expect a great time. Well, at least I do, and I’m sure you too.

Honestly, I don’t feel like my $100 bought me a good time. It bought me good food. But my experience and service sucked. And what I do know is that the prices on the menu at the Cheesecake Factory not only includes the cost of the food, but also the cost of the service at the Cheesecake Factory, which I found to be appalling.
I think that the manager should have at least offered each of us desserts on the house. Each of us was inconvenienced by what the waiter did. Obviously, your management and staff felt like our satisfaction was not important. I presume that they don’t care if we never patronize your restaurant again. So sad…

FYI, I do expect to get a response from this letter. If I don’t, trust me, I’ll never eat at the Cheesecake Factory again. Plus, I will inform all of my friends, who come to the Cheesecake Factory and liberally spend their hard earned money, to not come to your restaurant. It will be clear to me if I don’t hear from someone in your guest relations how you truly feel about your customers, especially your disabled ones.

I thank you in advance for dealing with this matter in a reasonable fashion. I also thank you for considering diversity/disability awareness/sensitivity training for your staff. Trust me, they need it. I hope to hear from you soon.


Angela L. Braden

Monday, September 10, 2007

Recommended Blog of the Week: The Thinking Black Man

This week, I would like to encourage all those who stop by my spot to check out a blog that I find to be both refreshing and insightful.

I was first attracted to this blog by the very title of the blog. "The Thinking Black Man" What a thought! There's nothing I find more attractive than a thinking black man.

So, I was so inclined to take a look at the brother's blog. And what I found is that the brother really is a thinker. And he does a darn good job at articulating his thoughts. And better than that, he provokes us to think. All the criteria for a great blog...

So, check out . I don't think you'll be disappointed.


Friday, September 07, 2007

What Goes Around Comes Around

When I was a young girl, around eight-years-old, I did some pretty ridiculous things. I’ll never forget going to my grandmother’s house everyday after school. My mama and I had to go pick up my little sister, Paula, before heading home. My mama would hop out the car and head to the front door of the house. She couldn’t wait to see her beautiful baby girl. But I, on the other hand, could wait. I had more pressing business than to see my little sister. I would jump out the dingy, gray, 1978 Thunderbird and run up the side of the Easter egg yellow, wood framed house until I found the sea of grass that extended behind the house. I could always find some kind of interesting insect to observe and then kill. I don’t know why I got a kick of watching them in their habitat, and then positioning my small, eight year old foot, that I’m sure was like the size of King Kong’s foot to the tiny insect, right over their frail bodies. Without any hesitation my foot came crashing down like the twin towers, taking the insect as my helpless victim.

In particular, Ant beds always intrigued me. When I was looking for an insect to experiment with, I would scan my grandmother’s huge, grassy backyard. I was always amazed when a mountain of dirt was methodically erected overnight by a colony of diligent ants. What would I do? Well, I hate to admit it. I would find the biggest stick that had torn away from one of the three towering, pecan trees, and then I would walk over to the hill of dirt, study the insects’ architectural perfection, and bury my stick right in the epicenter of the ant’s well-crafted high-rise. Then I would start stirring the molded dirt until it would loosen and fall apart. I would look down and see more red than I would brown. Millions of ants would come pouring out of the terrorized community. Those terrified, yet angry citizens of the now destroyed bed would start charging with their red uniforms on, ready to save their families and ready to annihilate whatever has disrupted their utopia. As soon as the ants had covered the lower half of the stick, I would drop the stick and run back up the side of the house until I made it to the front yard. I don’t know why I would run so fast and so far away. I guess I couldn’t watch the agony continue.

Every summer my father would load us into a rented Lincoln Towncar and make the journey from Texas to Louisiana. I couldn’t wait to get to my aunt’s house. She resided in a nice home in rural Louisiana. You could find all kinds of insects to bother in her yard. As soon as we pulled up to my aunt’s house, I popped open the door and jumped out of the blue, luxury car. Then suddenly, I realized that I didn’t leap into grass. I looked down and both of my feet were buried in the widest, tallest ant bed that I had ever seen. My toasted brown skin was being quickly painted with red, red ants that is. The ants were charging up my legs and approaching my knees. Then suddenly, my brain was alerted of the many bites I was receiving. Pain ripped through my small body. I screamed so loud, not only did my family jump out the car to see what was wrong, everyone in my aunt’s house ran out to see who was responsible for the high pitched, horror film screams.

My father swept me up under my arms and ran me over to the side of the house where the water hose was. He started spraying water on me to make the ants get off of me. My aunt ran out of the house with a towel. She started knocking the angry ants off of my body. By this time, ants were exploring and biting my entire body. The ants were biting my stomach, back, neck, ears, lips, and even my scalp. My mother and my aunt rushed me in the house and stripped the infested clothes off of me. My aunt ordered my cousin to fill the bathtub with water and a dash of alcohol. Once the tub was full of the water, my mother and aunt baptized me in the lukewarm water. The remainder of the ants that had been successfully holding on to my body were now floating and drowning in the tub of water. My aunt got a cup and started scooping them up and pouring them into the toilet.

The ants’ war against me had stopped, but the pain continued. My body felt like someone had poured gasoline on me and threw a match my way. I now understood why they called those little red ants, fire ants. My mother and aunt nursed me back to my normal self. They rubbed alcohol on my bumpy body four times a day for a few days.

After a few days, I was better. Evidence of the ants' victory was going away, but my respect for the ants and nature had expanded greatly. I thought about those ants that I tortured so often in my grandma’s backyard back in Texas. Amazingly enough, their distant relatives in Louisiana taught me a lesson about life, respect, and cohabitation.

I learned to respect everyone and everything that resided in our world’s community. I made a vow that I would never exert my power over anyone or anything that I thought was less powerful than me. I learned to never disrupt anyone or anything’s happiness. I also learned that what goes around comes around. The memory of the million of ants that were covering my body helped me remember those invaluable life lessons.

Note to my readers: This blog entry was not about my blindness inparticular. However, it is a snapshot of one of the lessons I was able to learn when I could see. (Boy, am I thankful that I got a chance to see when I was a kid.) Another reason why I wanted to post it is plain and simple... I like the above essay. And I wanted to share.

Well, you good people have a beautiful day. I hope and pray that you find satisfaction and peace in this troubling world.

Love and peace,

Angie Braden,
Former Ant Bully

Monday, August 27, 2007

Blog of the Week: New Feature for Nuvision for a Nuday

I've decided that every Monday, I will recommend to others blogs that I love to read and/or have interesting content available on them. While I might not agree with everything on these blogs, I find these blogs to be wonderful because they incite me to think, to explore, to discover new ideas.

A few months ago, this woman that I work with, asked me what was my greatest asset since I've lost my sight. Well, because I didn't feel like the truth to that answer was any of her business, I gave her the mechanical/expected answer to that particular question. I told her that my hearing is my greatest asset.

But that's not the truth. Yes, hearing is great. But I feel that my greatest asset is my ability to think, to choose, to analyze.

This is why I've always loved to read. Reading forces me to use that greatest asset. In the past (when I was able to see), I've always loved to read books. But now that I'm blind, books are not always available in a format that I can access. But most blogs are in an accessible format. And that's great for me. I'm able to hop all over the blogosphere and read up on some of any and everything until I just can't take no more.

Although I've been a regular reader at a number of blogs in the last year or so, this week, I'm going to recommend a blog that i just discovered in the last 48 hours. I think that this blog should be first in line, simply because the content of the blog is so incredibly needed and critical in its importance to all Americans. Plus, it is something that I've felt passionate about every since the Natalee Hollaway case.

The blog that I'm referring to and recommending to all those who hit up my spot is .

Take a few minutes of your time every day or every week to look over the content and images on this blog. You never know, you might have seen one of these missing persons.

Remember, when the news conveniently does not report about certain people missing, and when even we forget about people that have actually come up missing that we've heard about, the families never forget. So, let's try to transform the forgotton to the unforgotten

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Gift of Strength

During the entire month of August 2003, my little sister, Frances, was temporarily residing in the labor and delivery unit of one of our city’s finest hospitals. She had been in labor for nearly three weeks. The doctor’s were doing all they could to slow the contractions down, so that my niece could stay nestled in her mommy’s stomach as long as she could. Frances was only six months pregnant. The doctors urgently tried to reduce all possibilities of her tiny daughter arriving too soon.

I was worried about her, so I had a friend to drop me off at the hospital after a night of painting the town red. My foxy red suit helped me accomplish that task with great success. When I arrived to Frances room, I wished that I had something to change into, something a little less colorful and looser. But my sister’s discomfort helped me forget how I wished I was in a pair of sweats and tennis shoes, instead of a red pants suit and strappy, high-heel, black sandals. I tried to help the moaning mother to be relax. She was in so much pain.

The hours rolled by and the contractions stomped the wall of Frances’ abdomen. I decided to stay the night with her. The next morning, I was still in my red suit, feeling more uncomfortable than I did the night before. But again, Frances’ discomfort and pain caused me to experience temporary amnesia regarding my discomfort.

I tried to calm her down by helping her pick a name for the wiggling little girl that had been residing in her body. We decided to name the princess, Gabrielle. We had no idea that the name Gabrielle would come in use sooner than we thought.

The baby’s heart rate began to slow its rhythm. The nurses rushed in, checking on the mother and trying to check on the baby that hid behind the veil of Frances’ flesh. Next thing I know, the doctor rushed in and said that they were going to have to deliver the baby. They were scared that something was wrong with the little princess. Her heart rate continued to slow its pace.

As the nurses prepared the frightened mother-to-be for emergency surgery, one of the nurses comforted her by informing Frances that the baby was probably going to be alright. She told Frances that African American baby girls have a greater chance of surviving premature birth than any other race or gender baby. Frances was still afraid, but she was more at ease.

My eyes bucked when I heard the nurse convey that bit of information to my sister. I thought to myself, “God makes us strong soon as we get here.” I begin to think about all the strong black women that surrounded me, all the black women that I grazed by in this journey of life, and all the black women that I would meet. Our strength was so evident in most things that African American women do. Apparently, this strength that helped us endure the seemingly disastrous trails of life was present with us at birth. I thought to myself, “What a gift!”

I wasn’t worried about Frances and Gabrielle anymore. I knew that gift from God, strength to survive the most critical crises of life, would kick in and give them the resilience and fortitude to survive this traumatic birthing experience. And that’s exactly what happened. Frances was okay, and her 1 pound: 12 ounces of love was also okay. Although Gabrielle was extremely tiny, fragile, and very ill, I was certain that the strength that God had packaged deep on the inside of her would help her not only survive but thrive.

I wrote this essay back in 2004. I thought it was appropriate to post it here today, in honor of my darling, Gabby. Today is the little darling's birthday. She turned four-years-old today. I'm so blessed to have this little sistah in my life. She's a bad, bad chick.

Today, I attended Gabby's birthday party. Maybe tomorrow, I will blog about how her birthday party turned out. Yeah, I think that's what I'll do.

Until then, I pray the best for your life.

Much love,

Miss Angie

Friday, August 24, 2007

Living on a Roller Coaster

When I was a kid, roller coasters were my thing. I loved the sudden jerks and turns. Wooh! I loved the speed. So fast, so high, so low, so shaky… It didn’t even matter how fast or high. The faster, the better… The more wild, the better... The most suspenseful, the best...

I really loved the roller coasters that twisted, turned, flipped, and dipped until you were finally suspended in the mid-air, upside down. I can feel it now, blood rushing straight to my brain.
What an exhilarating feeling.

But that was when I was a kid.

I hate roller coasters now,

Especially the ones that ride on the rails of my emotions.

I hate it when my emotions decide to go for a ride. Lately, it seems like I am always on an emotional roller coaster. Up and down. Climbing, climbing, climbing… I finally reached the climax of the incline. What a feeling! Boy, that feels great!

And then suddenly…

Dang it! I’m falling again!

Fast, swift, dangerously…
I can’t stop. I’m falling.

I get so tired of that damned ride.

I grew up hating the kiddy rides. Now I wish I can stand in line to get on an emotional ride that is easy, safe, friendly, unassuming, and protective. How I long to just ride, without protective straps-without worrying if the safety bar is securely locked. I just want to ride and be free. Is that too much to ask?

Mr. Roller Coaster Conductor, You think I’m too big for the kiddy ride? Will you please let me get on?

(Don’t worry… I don’t have Bipolar Disorder. LOL And I got that on good authority. The docs said that I’m just stressed.)

**Oh BTW: I wrote this a couple of years ago. But it closely describes how I feel today. Not exactly this severe… But close enough…**

Monday, August 20, 2007

Questions & Reflections

How is it possible to crave something you've never had?
How is it possible to miss something you've really never experienced?
How is it possible to know something you've never been taught?
How do you love someone you've never met?
How do you trust someone that has given you no reason to trust them?
Is it possible to unlearn all that you've learned?
Should feelings ever be considered facts?
Is fear always our enemy?
Do we live to live or to love?
Do each of us really have a purpose?
What's the meaning of life?
What's the meaning of my life?
Why is faith so easy to acquire, but so hard to hold on to?
Is a missed opportunity truly a missed opportunity?
If something is meant to be, then will it get a chance to one day be?
Are there no accidents in life?
Is there really a difference in reality and fantasy?
What does God really think of me?
What do I really think of God?
If we can waste time, can we gain time?
Do all good things really come to those who wait?
Am I on or off course?
How can I be certain that I'm on course?
If there are lessons in all mistakes, are mistakes a necessary aspect of life?
Do I love myself as much as I say I do?
Do I love God as much as I say I do?
Do I believe that God loves me as much as I say He does?
Is fulfillment possible in this present world?
Is there a quota set on how much pain one can feel in one lifetime?
Does everyone have access to happiness and peace?
Will I get a chance to be truly happy, at peace, and fulfilled before I fly away from this life.

Will I ever find the answers to these questions? Maybe, maybe not... But I'll never stop reflecting on these questions and what I think the answers are.

Lord, help me find my way in this maze that you have designed to be my life. Help me understand how I can maximize my time here in this present world. Help me to understand you better. Help me to understand myself better. Help me to understand life and how I fit in it better. Lord, just help me. I really do need you.

Humbly submitted,

Angela L. Braden

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

My Darling Visitors

It is so interesting to me that my family and friends very seldom visit my blog. I'm not sure why they don't. Maybe it's because some of the content here is old news for them. Well, actually that's only true for a small fraction of my friends and family. But most of the other folks that know me, need to be on this blog learning about me and my blindness. But anyway... I guess if they were interested in learning about me and what it's like to walk in my shoes, they would have sat down and asked me by now. Oh well...

I think it is quite amazing that the people who take the time to stop by here, read, and comment are individuals that have never met me, looked upon my face, heard my voice, or touched my skin. These people that don't know me have agreed to try a little of what I'm offering over here. And for that, I'm an appreciative host. So far, no one has thrown my offerings back at me. So, I think I'm doing pretty good.

Note to my darling readers: Thank you for taking time from your sighted lives to learn about what it is like to live life without sight. Thanks for learning, for growing, and for becoming more sensitive. Thank you for taking this journey to find love, acceptance, and peace along with me. I enjoy the company so much.

With love and appreciation,

Angela Braden

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I'm so sorry that you're blind.

Sunday evening, I went to dinner with my family. I usually ask whoever I’m with to read the menu at whatever restaurant we’re at. But because I had already eaten at this restaurant and liked what I had, I decided to just have that again.

Well, the waitress came to take our order. When she got to me, I looked up at her (turned to face her) and placed my order. She asked me what side I would like with that. I hadn’t considered what side I wanted for my dinner. I asked her what sides they had. Well, she picked the menu up off the table, opened it up, and said, “Here’s a list of our sides.” I thought she was going to read them off. But I quickly realized that she wanted me to review the list and give her an answer. So, I said to the lady, “Oh, I’m blind. Can you please tell me what sides you have?”

Well, the lady acted like she had seen a ghost. I startled her with my news. She started stuttering, and then she started apologizing to me. She apologized over and over. I smiled and told her it was okay. She read the list. I told her which one I wanted, and I thought it was over.

Well, she apologized again. But this time, I could tell that she was not apologizing for not realizing I was blind. She was apologizing for me being blind. She had that sound of pity and compassion in her voice. I could tell that she felt like my pitiful excuse for an existence was so sad.

“You poor little blind lady… How do you live without sight? Life has to be terrible for you. That’s so nice for your family to take time out with you. I bet you like getting out of the house, don’t you? You have such a positive attitude to have such a sucky life.”

I’m so used to that kind of response. I wish that I could simply go out into the community and have a nice outing, without stares, comments, and assessments made by folks that lives our more wacked out than mine.

But I guess that’s just the way it is. No matter what I do, I can’t change what people think about me. But the one thing I can change is what I think about them and their assessment of me. It’s taking me a long time to get to this point. But I’m finally starting to shed off the sensitive skin that I’ve had so long. I’m starting to not give a care about what others think.
I have this little motto that I started living by. If your assessment of me does not translate into the gain or loss of money and influence, then your opinion of me is completely and utterly invalid.

I hate to sum it up to money and power. But it is what it is. Too often we give people that can’t change our lives in any way too much power. And trust me, it is power that they certainly don’t deserve.

Well, you folks have a terrific week. I’ll check back in here in a few days.

Peace and love,


I love this!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens
us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing
small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won't feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Written By: Marianne Williamson

**A friend read this to me the other night. Of course, I was already familiar with it. But no matter how many times I hear or read these words, I am blessed and motivated. My friend said that I need to hold on to the beauty and power of this quote and hold on tight. I think that's a good idea. Why don't all of us do that.

Have a blessed week. My heart and prayers are with you.

Sweet love,


Monday, July 30, 2007

LESSON: Sometimes it just ain't about you.

This weekend, my mother demanded that we take her to the Aquarium. At first, I was annoyed by the way she demanded that we take her. She was acting like I lock her up in the house and never let her come out to see the rays of the sun. And that ain’t the truth. But since Mama really doesn’t get a chance to get out and about like she did before the stroke, I understand where her frustration lies. I guess it’s just easier for her to blame me instead of the stroke. Why? I don’t know. Anyway… Moving on to the point of this entry...

Well, I told everybody to get dressed and let’s get ready to go. The whole house was shocked by my spontaneity. Well, I meant what I said. Get dressed and let’s get ready to roll.

In the most recent five years, I wouldn’t have been able to just jump up and take seven folks to the Aquarium. But I got a little change in my pocket. So, money in the bank gives a girl a little more freedom to move and move with the wind. And the world needs to know that Angie loves that!

Well, we made a couple of stops to pick up more family before we get downtown. We pay for parking. (Yes, you had to pay for parking at the Aquarium.) And then we get to the counter. I paid $120 for everyone to get in. At first I was annoyed by how much it cost to get in. But I took a deep breath and decided not to focus on the money. I decided to focus on love and family instead.

We walk into the Aquarium and start our little tour of the exhibit. And then all of the sudden I remembered something. I can’t see. No matter how much I squint my eyes, concentrate, think positive, pray, and eat carrots, the fact is that I cannot see. And here I was walking through a place that was designed for the seeing.

I almost got sad. But I slapped myself on the inside and told my self to snap out of it. This trip was not about me anyway. This was for my mother and the less fortunate family members I had with me. This was my chance to stick my feelings in my pocket and let others experience some joy. So, I shifted and decided to ignore the fact that I couldn’t see. Again, the trip to the Aquarium wasn’t about me. It was about love. It was about exposing those that I love to something other than the four walls of their house.

After my folks got through looking at all the aquariums and sticking there hands in different tanks to feel the swimming creatures, we stepped outside to go on a few of the rides that they have at the Aquarium. We took a train ride through the area and did a tour through a glass cave that houses sharks. Yet another thing I couldn’t see. But I didn’t even go there. I just listened to the narration that was spilling from the speakers of the train. I couldn’t see the trapped sharks, but I learned a few things about them while sitting on the train. Strangely enough, I have a greater respect of sharks. Not that I didn’t respect them from the jump… Well, I guess I feared them rather than respected them. There is a difference.

Then we stood in line to ride the ferris wheel. We stood in line so long, I felt like I was at Six Flags. It was kind of nice. I took a trip down memory lane, thinking of all the times I went to the amusement park as a sighted little girl. I used to have a blast. But moving on…

As I was climbing in the ferris wheel, I imagined that everyone that was standing in line was staring at me, the blind woman, trying to figure out why in the heck was this blind lady getting on the ferris wheel. But I closed the door on that thought and climbed in. But then the thought revisited me as I was climbing out of the car of the ride. I told my cousin that every one was probably looking at me, wondering why did blindy get on the ferris wheel. My cousin, with her very colorful language, told me to not give a **** about what other’s thought of me. I laughed at her for her bluntness. But I also got the message.

(Don’t worry. This entry is coming to a close.)

After riding the ferris wheel, we went on the inside of the Aquarium to have dinner. I had heard mixed opinions about the taste of the food. But one thing that was agreed upon by everyone that gave me testamonials was that it was expensive. So, I braced myself for the cost and the taste. One I knew what to expect, and the other I didn’t. But I knew that both experiences could rub me the wrong way.

Well, the prices weren’t as bad as they could have been. It was like the prices of any nice restaurant. And the food wasn’t as bad as folks said it was. It was okay. Not wonderful. But not bad.

And the price wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The ticket was $90 for all of us. Yeah, I told everyone to be economical when they were ordering. But it really could have been more costly. Thank God for appetizers. LOL

At the end of that little trip, I was in the hole by $260. I almost started getting ticked. But then I remembered that it wasn’t about me. It was about giving a little joy and happiness to the woman that I love so much, even if it was for only a few hours. And she certainly was happy. She was like a kid that had been trapped in a toy store for the weekend. And I was also glad to have done something nice for my family members. Each of them is less fortunate than me. So, I got a chance to give to those who under normal circumstances would have never gotten a chance to do something that nice.

(Well, I’m finally finished with this long entry. Thanks for hanging in there with me. **grin**)

Here's a link to the
Downtown Aquarium, in case you want to take your family or anyone you love.

Peace and happiness,

Miss Braden