Category Archives: NaBloPoMo 2011

#NaBloPoMo – Workout review including a short video clip of me

Today marks the end of this year’s NaBloPoMo. Posting every day has been really good for me, so I’ve decided to do it through December as well. It was nice to sign up for NaBloPoMo this year, though I’m not exactly sure what the point was. I didn’t win any of the possible prizes. 😉

I was hoping to have a video today of me doing the TRX training I’ve mentioned here and there. However since my trainer is certified in this, something he signed might have caused legal issues had we video taped it. He said it could be something like, if I did the exercise wrong, it could be a poor reflection etc. I had planned on giving a disclaimer that it wasn’t a training video or anything, just me showing off, but we weren’t comfortable with it. Too bad!!

I did get a quick video of me acting all goofy after my workout though. I think I was energized from the TRX and perhaps that explains the clapping. Why was I clapping? The ending is funny because my trainer couldn’t get the camera to stop. He said he didn’t mind if I didn’t edit that, which is good because I don’t know how anyway.

I thought I’d wrap up this month of posting by looking back on my fitness levels. When I started working out at the blind center in September of 2009, it was partly to increase my stamina for guide dog school and also to try and lose some weight and get some strength. I never thought I would have accomplished what I have. To some it might seem like it took a very long time. It’s been just over two years now, though there have been times when I lapsed due to health reasons or circumstance. December is a tough month since so many take time off for the holidays, so it’s not like I have diligently worked out twice a week for two years.

The good thing about how long it’s taken me to get so close to my goal is that it doesn’t come back. I’ve lost twenty-three pounds and it doesn’t come back. It doesn’t matter if I take a month off from exercise, the weight just doesn’t come back. I’m six pounds away from my target weight of one-fifty! Six pounds!! Exercise has also done wonders for the MS. Wonders I tell you. I still get fatigued, but I don’t stumble like I used to.

Looking back I can say that losing the weight was the easy part. Making a few dietary changes and ramping up the cardio made taking the weight off fairly painless. It’s the toning that has been hard.

Toning was coming along nicely but very very slowly just doing weight training and decline sit ups with a ten pound weight. I was getting stronger and stronger and shaping my body nicely, but I just wasn’t getting as tight as I wanted.

This TRX is amazing. I’ve been doing it only about a month and I can’t believe the difference it’s making in my problem areas of triceps and abs. The great thing about TRX is it engages your entire body even when you’re focusing on one muscle group. Add this insane ab circuit that I do between cardio and TRX and the toning is finally happening the way I want. I find that my strength surprises me. I need to be careful moving something because I’ll put too much muscle into it haha! It’s fabulous!

That’s why I’m really disappointed I couldn’t get video. I’m seriously contemplating buying a TRX for home, though. There is a door unit you can use if you don’t have an anchor in your wall or ceiling. If I do decide to purchase this for the home, I’ll enlist Carol to come get video.

I did grab a quick video though, after my workout. I think the energy is the reason I was clapping my hands. The end is funny too, because my trainer can’t get the video camera to stop. He gave me permission to leave that part in.

Blinks, it’s just a shot of me in the gym wearing my gym clothes. I think my tank top is dark grey, one of those gym type tops. If I remember right the running pants are a lighter gray. I can’t remember.

Direct youtube link

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Filed under accomplishment, NaBloPoMo 2011, silly girl, spoons, video, workouts, youtube

#NaBloPoMo – First Sestina Poem (Cheese warning!)

Today I’ve been simmering with increasing annoyance over something completely out of my control. Long story short, I let myself get annoyed because I didn’t want to start a project and get interrupted by an inspection that never happened. I could have just done my stuff anyway but no, I sat and seethed. I desperately needed out of that awful mood and I had to write a post for today. I know it’s bad when I don’t even feel like writing.

I was recently reading through Jordi Scrubbing’s blog and ran across his first Sestina poem. He had linked to another who linked to a page explaining how to write one and I bookmarked it even though it didn’t make much sense to me. Today I decided I’d figure it out or cry trying.

I found this page on how to write it, which finally made the concept click. It recommends writing six words on paper but obviously I can’t do that so I instead wrote them in a text document. I just wrote words based on what I was doing and the mood I was in and went from there. The resulting poem is cheesy but I was just getting a sense of how it worked. And you know what? It got me out of my bad mood as the end of the poem shows.

It looks like we might be starting a chain of writers writing Sestinas, so if you write your first, throw me a link so we keep it going. I challenge you to try it! Ok, here’s the unrefined result:

Banishing Annoyance

I sit and wait as Bolero plays
Different things I have done to fend off growing boredom
Time waisted sharpens annoyance
At least today I did not combine it with hunger
The world would be more peaceful if everyone used consideration
I just want to get to my chores

The only thing in life that will wait for you are chores
Lamenting lost time as an eighties band plays
I give doing dishes thoughtful consideration
Perhaps a party with suds will divert the boredom
Sleepiness set in after curing hunger
Attempting this poem is distracting from annoyance

I dislike the feeling of annoyance
After all they are just chores
I’m sure my dog is feeling hunger
I check the time as Metallica plays
No longer am I plagued by boredom
However I still wish they had shown consideration

Would you give the thought of eating squid consideration?
Does waiting for hours cause you annoyance?
Do you find difficult poems a fun cure for boredom?
How loud is your music when you do your chores?
Asking questions as Guns n’ Roses plays.
A song induces past feelings of hunger.

As time ticks by I feel pangs of hunger
as I give dinner some consideration
I must keep writing as the song plays
No knock on the door deepens annoyance
Think positively, at least I got out of chores
and there is no longer a hint of boredom

Baseball is so great to battle boredom
Now I feel a deep hunger
for my favorite sport and not the chores
I’ve forgotten the lack of consideration
and find I’m losing the feeling of annoyance
thinking about the game Longoria plays

McBride plays and I’ve lost my boredom
Annoyance has fled and I just feel hunger
Who cares they lack consideration and kept me from chores

I plan to write more of these and actually add some substance. This first one restarted my day so I’m glad for that!

I just thought about this after I posted and realized I need to increase the verbosity settings in Voiceover so I can hear punctuation in Jordi’s sestina. Hello, learning curve. 😉

Another last minute thought, why does his sound different? On mine, Voiceover doesn’t read each stanza through, it separates each line. Anyone have any ideas about why that is?

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Filed under evan longoria, music, NaBloPoMo 2011, plugs, Voiceover, writing

#NaBloPoMo – Nothing Turned Rant

I had another post planned for today, something I’ve saved for a few weeks in a bookmark, but I just don’t feel like writing about it. It’s one of those things that gets my blood boiling a bit and I don’t think I have the mental energy. So what will I write? I have absolutely no idea. I think I read somewhere once that you should never begin a writing project with, I have no idea what to write, but why not? It’s my blog and people tend to like my Nothing posts.

Oh speaking of people’s opinions on how you should write, I should have saved this link. Let me dig it up. Ok there it is. This blog basically promotes not editing your writing for typos. Can someone play that record screeching sound?

I ranted about it a bit on Twitter but since it’s in my brain again after I decided I didn’t know what I’d write, it must need mentioning. I always, always, no really always, go over what I’ve written before I hit send. Whether it be a tweet or an email or a blog post, I always check before I post. Rarely, I’ll hear a mistake in a tweet and laziness makes me send anyway, but not often. There have been times when I didn’t feel like editing and in that case, I come out and say I don’t feel like editing. Here’s why this is important to me.

My writing is a reflection on me. I take pride in what I write even though it’s not something that will go into a book and be paid for. Just like I’ll cringe if my house is a disaster and I get unexpected company, I expect my writing to be a reflection of my intelligence and my education.

I notice typos so much more now that I use a screen reader. The link above states that if the first and last letters of a word are correct, our brains fill in the rest. That’s true, I read that thing that went around with words spelled wrong in the middle and I did it visually and could read the sentence. However when your computer is converting text to speech, typos are like nails on a chalk board. I think it’s ridiculous that someone calling themselves a writer is basically saying, don’t correct your typos.

I’m not insane about perfection on my blog the way I would be if I were writing something for publication. I know my grammar isn’t perfect and I don’t always follow rules. But if there’s a glaring typo? Oh I can’t stand it! I don’t hear punctuation and things of that nature and if a name isn’t capitalized I won’t know it, but if you write, ” I was watching a baesball game last night and I couldnt believe that ump’s call”, I hear those mistakes. I just had to tell my computer I meant to typo the words baseball and couldn’t. Yet those mistakes still make it in to things I read on a daily basis.

I just think fixing that typo and adding the apostrophe mean you take pride in your work, that’s all. A typo in a word is much easier to know how to fix than a hyphen or whether to use an adverb or not. Just read your work out loud if you need help catching those mistakes.

Wow, I wasn’t expecting to go on a rant. I’m testy right now. We got a note on the door on Saturday informing us that the apartment complex was giving us forty-eight hour notice to enter. I almost swear the flier had today’s date for the insurance inspection, and it was forty-eight hours in advance of today so doesn’t that make sense? I didn’t go to the gym, because while I don’t need to be home for that, I prefer to be. I leave Timmy in a room when I go out so he doesn’t escape when I leave and come home. I also don’t want to walk in the door and hear voices in my apartment. Even if I did logically know it was management, that would still be frightening.

I’ve waited all day and nothing. I called the office and no answer. It’s now 5:08pm and I’m annoyed. If it is tomorrow and I was wrong, why did the notice say forty-eight hours?

Perhaps that is why I’m being a spelling crazy in this post. I’m aggravated and hungry. I never did fix lunch, thinking that as soon as I sat down and got my hands dirty, they’d show up. Hungry and annoyed is not a good combination. Looks like I’ll be waiting for them all day tomorrow, too. Lovely.

It’s really a luxury problem. I really am in a pretty terrific mood; I just feel inconvenienced. I’ll be doing a Hanging with Ro episode featuring Erik and I really want to get that recorded before NaBloPoMo ends.

It’s been rather fun writing every day! Maybe I’ll attempt to keep it up. Ok, lay it on me, how many times did I use punctuation incorrectly? I bet there’s no typos though, unless something wasn’t capitalized. I can’t hear that unless I check the beginning of every sentence.

Yep, B just called and he thinks the date on the notice was actually tomorrow’s date. We both focused on the forty-eight hours bit. Right there, there’s another reason to check your work! It should have been seventy-two hours! Ok I’m done, really.

No I’m not. I meant to include that typos can be fun sometimes, especially in chat. My friend typoed a word (yes I meant typoed as an adverb) and I couldn’t tell what he meant to type. We ended up using the typo to describe a kind of moment in a baseball game. In that case, typos are fun.

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Filed under NaBloPoMo 2011, random stuff, rant, screen reader, The Nothing, twitter me this, writing

#NaBloPoMo – Il Canto (Music survey thingy)

This morning I reached out to Twitter needing help with what to write today. After some discussion, Steve came to the rescue with a music post idea that morphed into one of those survey deals you answer with the songs on shuffle in your music playlist. Steve, being the wonderfully amazing man he is, went and found such surveys over at The Vomit Comet. Let me tell you about Steve. If you need a Canadian man who will always be a fantastic friend, That’s Steve. Having a bad day and need a pick me up? That’s Steve. Have you ever wondered if a man speaks to the beer bottles in his fridge, giving them a pep talk? That’s Steve. Do you enjoy listening to a sudden outburst on subjects such as the word “tweeps”? That’s Steve. I could go on and on about this incredible man, but we’ve got a music survey to get to.

Carin found Steve’s music survey and since he originally said I should write a post about how wonderful he is, I’m modeling mine on his. You probably know the drill. Shuffle your music playlist and answer each question with the song that plays. Hit next but never, ever skip. I’m switching it up a bit and including the artist, since I never know the artists on these things when people do them. I’m also going to add some more current events/pop culture type questions to make it a little longer, because I can. I think I’ll also throw in little comments after iTunes answers the questions for me, if they’re funny. I wrote all the questions down before going to Gamma’s. Man I can’t wait to turn on the iTunes later!

Ok, home and finally done coming up with the last bit of questions. Gonna turn on my “just music” playlist so we don’t get audio books and described movies. Here we go! iTunes, please make this good…

Here are the original questions.

1. If someone says, “you’re hot”, you say?

Concrete Angel (Martina McBride)

*My muscles are hard as concrete?

2. How would you describe your life?

One Blue Sky (Sugarland)

*I love this! So positive!

3. What is your life long goal?

Nessun Dorma (Paul Potts)

*I had to look this up. Apparently it means, “nobody shall sleep”. This means my goal is to never be boring.

4. What do your friends think of you?

Get Out of This Town (Carrie Underwood)

*I’ll just be in the corner crying.

5. What do your parents think of you?

The Past is the Past (Tantric)

*Wow. A little misty here, I must admit. That’s perfect.

6. What do you often think about?

The Unforgiven (Metallica)

*Uh oh, does that mean I’m holding a grudge? Hmmm.

7. What do you think of the person who likes you?

The Valkyrie: Ride of the Valkyries (St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra & Stanislav Gorkovenko)

*Hahahahaha! This cracked me up when it started playing. Interesting.

8. What does your best friend always say to you?

Waste (Seether)

*She does? Alrighty then.

9. What do you want to be when you grow up?

Freak on a Leash (Korn)

*Kinky!

10. What is your favorite saying?

Plush (Stone Temple Pilots)

*I might just have to incorporate this…

11. What will you dance to at your wedding?

Million Faces (Paolo Nutini)

*It’s actually a decent first dance tempo for a wedding that will never happen.

12. What will be played at your funeral?

Bark at the Moon (Ozzy Osbourne)

*This is fitting since I’m a Freak on a Leash.

13. What is your biggest fear?

Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46: IV. In the Hall of the Mountain Kin (Tbilisi Symphony Orchestra & Jansug Kakhidze)

*Wow ok so I looked it up. Peer Gynt was a play and one of the descriptions was: “has also been described as the story of a life based on procrastination and avoidance.” I’d say that’s a pretty relevant fear. iTunes knows me well.

14. What is your biggest secret?

Castle On a Cloud (Les Misérables Original London Cast)

*It’s my happy place.

15. What do you think of your house?

Black Sabbath (Ozzy Osbourne)

*I got nothing. iTunes missed this one I think.

16. What will you name this post?

Il Canto (Paul Potts)

*I think I’ll change the title of the post. That won’t hook anyone.

That concludes the original survey. Hmm, what should I add? Ok some of these sound like Magic 8-ball questions.

17. Do you prefer Apple over Microsoft?

Sugarland (Sugarland)

*That’s pretty perfect because Apple is more of a happy kind of Sugarlandish type company to me than Microsoft.

18. Is Twitter better than Facebook?

Jupiter (Jewel)

*Yeah I think Jupiter is a cool planet.

19. Is he/she just not that into you?

Intro/Escape (Journey)

*Hmmm. I don’t know how to take that.

20. What do you think about ‘Twilight’?

Lithium (Nirvana)

*Yeah I think I might need that if I read/watched ‘Twilight’. Maybe that explains the sparkles…

21. Was Casey Anthony guilty?

Fall Down or Fly (Lindi Ortega)

*Uh huh, she flew into hiding.

22. How do you feel about politics?

Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 16 in A Minor: Allegro Molto Moderato (Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, Marian Lapsansky & Bystrik Rezucha)

*I think the minor chords say it all.

23. How do you react when someone refers to your sports team incorrectly?

Overture to Egmont, Op. 84 (London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) & Alberto Lizzio)

*iTunes would pick now to throw out all the classical pieces, wouldn’t it?

24. How do you feel about Four Square?

The Point of No Return (Phantom of the Opera)

*Hahahaha that’s kinda funny.

25. Will that big problem ever get resolved?

Wishing (Tantric)

*And Tantric makes me misty again. Really? Just wishing? Ugh.

26. What will play when you cash in your freebie card? (It’s laminated!)

Sex Type Thing (Stone Temple Pilots)

*Hahahahaha!!! And notice the band before this question was Tantric? Hey, a girl can dream.

27. What do your Twitter friends think of you?

Hey Now (Tantric)

*Hey now what? Am I boring? And hmm, the freebie card question is sandwiched between two Tantric songs…

28. How do you feel about the holidays?

Un Giorno Per Moi (A Time For Us) (Paul Potts)

*Nice. This track translated for me. Pretty fitting. It should be a time for us, not commercialism.

29. Will the Cubs ever win a World Series?

Nova Heart (Spoons)

*Hahaha! A nova is a star that gets really bright and then fades again. So maybe Cubs fans’ hearts will always swell without that happy ending? Hope iTunes is wrong. I’m glad a Spoons song came on since Steve and Carin got me that album.

30. What are your thoughts on Justin Bieber?

*Heart Failure (Sixx: A.M.)

*Hahahahahah!!!! Trust me, not the swoony kind of heart failure.

Well that was fun, and hard work. Why’d iTunes have to play all those classical songs? Hope you enjoyed it.

PS – iChat shows my iTunes tracks, so Erik is my proof that I didn’t skip. )

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Filed under apple Inc, fellowship, Gamma, iTunes, misty eyes, music, NaBloPoMo 2011, plugs, silly girl, survey says, twitter me this

#NaBloPoMo – In Love with Steve Jobs

Being in love is about passion. passionate love does not have to be romantic but there can still be a romance to it. I am passionate about a lot of things, baseball of course as regular readers know, but I’m also intensely passionate about Apple. My post, It all started with an iPod, explains why.

I’m currently reading the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and I am captivated and rather sad that I didn’t learn about this man before his death. All I knew about Jobs before beginning this book was that he was the co-founder of the company I have come to love with increasing passion. When he died I felt an immense sadness even knowing nothing about him. His company brought technology back to me and for that I will forever be grateful.

I’m finding it difficult to write this. Perhaps that is why I didn’t attempt to write about him immediately after his death. Sometimes it’s difficult to grasp the different emotions that go flying about my brain when i feel deeply about a particular person or event that touches me and ignites a passionate sense of gratitude. Maybe not knowing what I know now about him was also the reason I didn’t attempt to try and write about my feelings around his death. I couldn’t put my finger on how I felt before, just knowing I felt a loss, but it’s so much stronger now.

I’ll just describe the emotional reaction I had to one part of the book. Isaacson writes about the unveiling of Macintosh in 1984. He describes what Jobs was doing on stage, the way the crowd cheered, the images on the screen. What brought me to tears was the description of Jobs choking up after the computer speaks and the crowd goes wild. I was laying in bed, iPhone cradled in my left hand listening to the audio book, weeping. I’m getting choked up again as I write this.

The day after Jobs’ death, links were going up on Twitter like an assembly line putting out freshly built Macs. One of the links I clicked on was a video of the very day Isaacson wrote about in the biography. As I listened to the audio book and remembered the sounds of the unveiling, I put images to what I had heard.

I got emotional the first time I heard it, hearing Jobs’ voice and that computer way back then converting text to speech, but I couldn’t picture the setting and I certainly didn’t know Jobs had gotten choked up just as I had. When I heard that, the damn broke and tears soaked my pillow.

The next morning I pulled up the video. I had bookmarked it the day it had been posted on Twitter. I sobbed the entire time it played, imagining what I had read the night before.

I just now sat here with my hands on my keyboard, at an intense loss for words. There really isn’t anything I can add to describe my feelings about Steve Jobs and the loss of that brilliant mind. Read the book. Just read it.

Here is more audio of Jobs accepting an award. I’m not sure when this was, but I love listening to him talk. I wish there was more to say. I feel like his intense stare is pushing me into silence the way it did to so many during his lifetime.

I began this post yesterday and now I have more to write. I’ve reached a part in the audio book where Isaacson spoke with Jobs near the end of his life. They went through his iPad playlist and discussed some of the music. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know what I’m referring to, but I don’t want to give it away for those who haven’t. The sadness inside me swelled even more and once again I was overcome with emotion at what a visionary we had the pleasure of witnessing during our lifetime. As I lay in bed trying to quiet my mind to sleep, I felt him. Have you ever had that feeling that though someone’s physical body is dead, part of them remains? I feel that with my mom sometimes, like she’s near when I’m struggling or intensely joyful. I felt that last night about Steve Jobs and it reminded me of this old eighties movie I loved as a kid.

It’s called Solarbabies, and it’s a futuristic tale about an evil organization that is holding the world’s water captive. A group of teenagers escape on their roller skates after discovering a magical orb the young boy names Bodi. I’m not sure of the spelling but it’s pronounced Bo-dye. Anyway, at the end of the movie, Bodi sort of explodes and surrounds the kids with energy after they’ve freed the water. Bands of energy connect the group and they notice they can still feel Bodi, that he’s everywhere now.

That’s how I felt about Steve Jobs last night. He was larger than life and to me, his energy just can’t be contained. I have a feeling he can’t rest if he’s not still in control somehow. I also don’t think he would be offended by that statement. The feeling that his energy is still here is “insanely great”.

– Written on my Macbook

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Filed under apple Inc, faith, gratitude, iPhone, misty eyes, mom, NaBloPoMo 2011, twitter me this

#NaBloPoMo – What’s in a crush?

When I was just a youngin, I crushed on boys a lot. I can still remember the little purple diary with white hearts and the proclamations of, “I have a boyfriend. His name is Joseph”. I was in first grade. Like much of the crushes I had later in life, Joseph never knew I existed. At least then, I had the fact that he probably wasn’t in to girls yet going for me.

For some reason this morning I was reflecting on the word “crush” as it relates to an almost three-three year old woman in a committed relationship. Do I have crushes now?

This train of thought led me to another consideration. I’ve been in my relationship since before I went blind. I’ve experienced being attracted to men based on attributes besides their looks. Just because you are married or committed doesn’t mean you don’t still window shop. It’s human nature. For me, only if there is intent behind an attraction, is is dangerous.

Evan Longoria is a good sample to showcase my uncanny ability to pick out attractive men even when I can’t see them. Evan could be a cheat though, a cheat for me I mean, since he’s an athlete. I’m not saying all athletes are attractive. Cough CC Sabathia cough. However something about Evan attracted me before I ever heard him speak or received a description of him. Here is where I think for me, the word crush is, in most cases, admiration. Longoria was the rookie of the year in 2008 when I fell in love with him and consequently the Tampa Bay Rays. His and the Rays story hooked me emotionally. The young athlete who wasn’t even thought of as the big thing until he was, the struggling baseball team who changed their name and went to the World Series. It was emotion and a desire to clutch on to something great in my time of literal darkness that galvanized the feelings of attraction for Evan. It just so happened that he was also gorgeous. I got lucky.

However I’ve lost track of times I’ve been out with the girls, hear a man speak and whisper, “he’s cute, isn’t he?” I’ve never been wrong. At least the girls have never said otherwise and I don’t think they’d lie.

Those instances were purely based on voice after an “excuse me” at the store or a quick conversation at the register. I call that talent, but that is more the superficial attraction I notice now as a woman without sight.

The question about crush versus admiration came out today based on “getting to know” someone based on their online persona. Twitter and blogs and youtube channels are a great way to peer into a person’s soul, if they’re the type to share their personality online. Of course you will never get the entire picture of someone until you’ve been with them in person and often times not even then, but you get a pretty darn good sample.

Several women, myself included, talk about their Twitter crush. Is this a phenomenon? Do men do it too? I liken it to that crush in high school. Will I see him in the hall today after fourth period? Will he tweet in the next hour? The butterflies are similar. Only it’s not the first comes love variety for me. Which is why I think it’s more of an admiration. Admiration crush?

I had a professional crush on the doctor I worked for before I went blind. There was never any intent behind it, I was never tempted to go outside my relationship and come on to him in his office, but there was definitely a crush type feeling at times. I remember marveling on it then, how when we discussed a patient’s mystery ailment and the doctor figured it out, I found myself aroused, but not in a let’s get a hotel room way. I love medicine, I love medical mysteries and there I was, side by side with a man with MD behind his name as the light went on in his head after I showed him some lab results. I grinned as he thumped the patient’s chart with his thumb and made the aha sound. It was an amazing experience for me. I dubbed it the professional crush.

So perhaps the Twitter crush for a woman my age is simply an admiration crush. The ones who give me butterflies are ones who share similar interests like baseball or writing or forensics. I had the thought though, I’ve never had an admiration crush on a woman on Twitter so perhaps it is based on sexual orientation, which would make it a step above admiration? I suppose you also have to factor in life circumstances. Maybe it’s just fun to feel fourteen again. I could go on and on, but I won’t. Something to ponder.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, baseball, evan longoria, humor as coping skill, NaBloPoMo 2011, proud geek, random stuff, twitter me this

#NaBloPoMo – Twitter Me This – So Thankful for You

I’ve wanted to write a post about the friends I have on Twitter for some time now. I decided today was a good day for it since I’m so thankful for the fellowship I have there. Anyone who says online people aren’t real friends must not experience the joy I do every single day when I read your words.

I joined Twitter last year during the baseball season because Jason Bartlett got hurt and I wasn’t getting news fast enough. I never thought Twitter would turn into such a rich source of fun people as well as news and breaking current events. I also never expected the fun during games, yelling and groaning with other Rays fans. I miss that…

I figured I’d go to my following list and start writing down names. I started this this morning and am now finishing up after the food festivities. I was about halfway through the Rays group when I got home. It’s fun to go through the list and notice how long I’ve been following some of you. If I’ve left anyone out, I apologize. I’m putting people down who I had or have had nearly daily interaction with. I’m so glad you’re in my life, all of you!

If there were duplicate names, I’ve added a last initial if I know it.

Here are the Rays Family: (I love how we keep in touch even though it’s the off season!)

Suzette, Melanie, Ed, Morgan, Mike, Tony, Steve, TB Rays Addict, Professor Twain, Kimberly, Tim, Dave W., Mario, Manda, Sarah, Mark, Claudia, Sherry, Jordi/Mike, Brenda, Lizz, JB, Cyndi, Joseph, Johnny, Joel, Stephanie, John, Jill, Andrea, Aaron, Jamal, Jim C., Heidi, April, Aviatrixt, Michael, Chris R., Jim D., Dave C., Bradley, ds, Houston, Vicki, and Cork.

Of course there are the baseball players and Joe Maddon and Evan Longoria was the first player I followed. It was fun to scroll all the way down and find the first person in the Rays group I followed. Should Cork Gaines get some kind of prize? Haha!

Here are the people in the category of service dog handler/raisers or assistive technology users and/or Blogger friends, again in the order I started following: (I love how much we learn from each other and how much fun we have!)

Carlos, Nicolai, Shane, Samara, Austin, Dan, Rose, Ceci, Ricardo, Taylor, Ashley, James, Sheri, Brooke, Katrin, Torie, Liam, Barb, Carin, Steve, Shanna, Sadia, Sam, Amanda and L^2.

So what prize does L^2 get? Hehe! I’m such a nut. Especially when I’m food stoned.

There are tons of other people I follow like writers and celebrities and those accounts that just tweet silly stuff. I’m grateful for the interaction I’ve had with writer Justine Larbalestier, because she’s taught me a lot in the few interactions we’ve had.

Twitter is great for following your favorite athlete or writer or celebrity or politician or whatever floats your boat. While I most definitely enjoy reading tweets by those in that category, it’s the interaction with those of you I’ve listed that have enriched my life in ways I’m not sure a social network should haha!

What struck me this morning as I began this post is that I never knew any of you before I lost my sight. If that’s not a silver lining to going blind, I don’t know what is!

PS – Highly food stoned if this post makes not much sense. Haha!

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Filed under baseball, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, holiday, NaBloPoMo 2011, twitter me this

#NaBloPoMo – Audio: Hanging with Ro Episode Two

I decided to do another silly recording for today’s post. The recording explains why haha! Forewarning, there is major computer swearage in this one haha! I explain why I never swear on the blog, but this was spur of the moment. So if you don’t want to hear it, just turn the volume down for a few minutes when I tell you in the audio haha!

Topics include:

*The aforementioned computer swearing

*How I got my Macbook

*Apple vs. Windows accessibility

*Holiday rant

*TRX training at the gym

*I always mention Evan Longoria and probably always will

There’s more than that but that’s a gist. Remember, there’s computer swearing! You’ve been warned!

Direct youtube link

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, Alex, apple Inc, evan longoria, funnies, hanging with ro, holiday, iPhone, Jaws, NaBloPoMo 2011, screen reader, silly girl, twitter me this, Voiceover, workouts, youtube

#NaBloPoMo – Doggy Diaries – Video: Quick walk with Jayden

I took a quick video this morning while doing laundry. I’m glad I took it because I don’t have the mental energy for the Steve Jobs post I had planned to write.

I’m told you can see Jay from the mid back to his head and that my pink Crocs clogs with the holes in them are visible. Blinks, it’s just a quick walk with the camera pointed at Jayden. My sidewalk was described as having pores haha!

If you follow me on Twitter you might have already seen it.

Direct youtube link

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, Jayden, laundry, NaBloPoMo 2011, spoons, twitter me this, video, working dog, youtube

#NaBloPoMo – Experiencing the Game (I miss baseball)

I’ve had this post just sitting in my computer and since I’m really missing baseball, I thought I’d share. I was working on it during the season but it’s just been collecting dust. Here it is, as it was when I left it, I just took my name out. Oh baseball, I miss you…

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Baseball is an experience. Finding your seats in the park, smelling hotdogs and beer and cracking salty peanuts between your teeth. Listening to vendors shout about their goods as you keep track of balls and strikes on the scoreboard and quickly take in your breath as a ball flies across the field. The baseball game is nine innings, sometimes more, of excitement and sensory overload.

I have never been to Tropicana Field. I have never even been to Florida. Living in arizona and being a rabid Rays fan comes with its own set of challenges as far as showing my support to the team I love so much. The Rays made me a baseball fan in 2008 and before that, the only sporting events I had been to were some college basketball and football games. I’ve only been to one baseball game since becoming a fan. In 2009, B and I drove to Phoenix for a Diamondbacks/Angels game. The most exciting part of it for me was the fact that B.J. Upton’s brother Justin and Willy Aybar’s brother Erick would be in the same building I was. They were brothers of Rays, the closest I ever thought I’d be to my beloved ball players.

I don’t remember much about the game other than the Angels won it 2-1. I remember we had great seats, behind home plate and up a level or two, and we even had a server. We didn’t have vendors in that era and we never had to leave our seats to get food. These seats were in one of two sections at Chase Field for people with disabilities. Since I am blind, we took advantage of such wonderful seats. The customer service desk had given me a radio so I could tune into the broadcast of the game. I remember pressing the radio to my ear, listening to the broadcasters while trying to take in the noise of the crowd and feel the enormity of the place. I remember the thrill and excitement of just being at a major league game more than I remember any spectacular plays. I think there might have been a home run. When I listened to the All-Star festivities this year I thought, I was there. I imagined the place the way I imagined it being there in person, though I could not see it. My guys were there, Matt Joyce and James Shields and David Price, in the building I was in once. It brought me just a little bit closer to the Rays, in a very odd way.

My dream is to have the in person experience at the Trop some day. I’m hoping to go in April, if the cards fall correctly. It’s hard, being a huge fan of a team that plays so far away. Rays Index correspondent, Jordi Scrubbings, wrote an article about the guilt of not going. I feel that guild, even though I quite literally cannot swing physically being present at the Trop. I experience the game in my own way. While season ticket holders might get to know their seat mates, I have gotten to know my Twitter mates. We tweet about great plays or bad calls and groan and curse together. I have gotten to know a few of my Twitter mates on a more personal level and they have niched my life in ways they’ll never know, much like the Rays team has. It’s online that I experience the game, listening to all the radio broadcasts through my subscription to Gameday Audio at mlb.com. Dave Wills and Andy Freed have become part of my life on a daily basis, their voices filling my home, or traveling through my wireless headphones as I move about the house.

I have my own little rituals, personal mantras I say to myself when the guys come to bat. Some of them are quite personal, so I’m grateful for the solitude when uttering them out loud and when not alone, repeating them over and over in my head. When things get tense during a game I tend to pace around the apartment and I’ll never forget one game in particular. It was the Rays first win of the season this year, on April eight. It was against the White Sox. Dan Johnson was at the plate with the ability to get the Rays closer to the win. It was the ninth inning, I had my wireless headphones on and I was wearing the carpet down pacing so fast. I walked into the kitchen when I heard the call. Johnson hit the ball hard with two men on base. I held my breath and clutched the wall as my heart raced and when that ball left the park I sank on to my haunches, the air released from my lungs in a tight squeal. The Rays had taken the lead. They might finally win a game!

During the game on Sunday August seventh, Dave Wills tweeted a question, “if there was a movie about the Rays…who would play Andy Freed?” I thought about this for a second. Not knowing what Andy Freed looks like, I thought about his voice and the first actor to pop into my mind was George Clooney. I tweeted Dave, explaining that based on voice, I would pick Clooney.

About ten minutes later, Wills told Freed during the broadcast that he had a new best friend, I can’t remember word for word. I had called the post game show a few nights earlier, when Dave and Andy were filling in for Rich Herrera. I knew I had to call and talk to the men I invite into my home every day. Dave Wills somehow knew I was the same woman who had called and had now tweeted him because he said to Andy, “remember {Ro} the girl from Tucson who called a few nights ago?” Andy remembered. Dave went on to explain what I had said in my tweet about George Clooney. Andy said something about telling his wife that, who loves Clooney. They went on to talk about the game and I was left feeling ecstatic!

In that moment, I almost felt a part of. I almost felt like I was there, showing my support for my team and all because my name had been mentioned on air, a discussion taking place between the two broadcasters who for me, are just as important as the athletes themselves. The broadcasters help me “see” the game. Since I hadn’t been a baseball fan in my sighted days, I can’t picture the parks. The only players I can envision are Randy Johnson and Derek Jeter. Why I have images of them in my head, I’ll never know. Through descriptions during the game I have my own images of what the Trop looks like, the catwalks and the Rays tank. Discussions with women on Twitter have given me ideas of what the guys look like. Those are fun discussions, thanks ladies!

Because of the hundreds of games I’ve listened to, I quickly call to mind what a double play would look like, the way the dirt appears after a hard slide, the ball rolling just foul along the line. I have an image of the Green Monster at Fendway and the ivy at Wrigley. I’ve come to know certain sounds at certain parks like the annoying whistle that plays at New Yankee Stadium when a guy is out or the soothing sounds of the train in Seattle. All the auditory experiences during a broadcast are what I’ve come to love instead of peanut venders and the beer guy. It wasn’t until this season that I realized a sound I heard at the Trop was the repetitive “beer, beer, beeper” call and not a fan making a strange bird sound.

I even find myself speaking along with the commercials I hear so regularly, or shouting along with the featured calls of Wills and Freed during station representation announcements at the top of the hour. Game time is quite sacred for me. I hate when I have to miss a game which luckily is a rare occurrence. When I do, the best way to catch up seems to be by reading all the tweets and getting minute-by-minute updates with feelings attached.

During the bottom of the ninth on August 31, 2011 Kyle Farnsworth was on to save the game against the Rangers. Dave Wills helped me experience what a pitcher feels when he uses a split finger grip. Farnsworth was struggling and had thrown over twenty pitches. Wills talked about Farnsworth’s recent elbow tenderness and said they had been concerned about that particular grip. Wills explained the grip, spread your index and middle finger as far as they will go. Try it and you will feel it in your elbow. I did this with my right hand and instantly felt a pulling in my elbow as well as an ache in my forearm. I did it three or four times and five minutes later, my hand was still stiff from it. It was incredible to experience that since I find it difficult to imagine the pitchers’ grips.
For me the words “baseball” and “Rays” mean more than a game or a team. They are emotions I find very difficult to express. Jordi Scrubbings recently wrote Fields of Solace, a piece I deeply related to. While I don’t get the escape at Tropicana Field, I experience the escape of the game at home and for those three hours, all is good and right in the world.

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Just a few more months to go before the world is right again.

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Filed under baseball, matt joyce, NaBloPoMo 2011, plugs, twitter me this