Category Archives: NaBloPoMo 2011

#NaBloPoMo – It’s fun to read an entire blog

It’s been awhile since I’ve had the desire to read every post of a blog I find. I recently did just that, creating temporary bookmarks as I went so I wouldn’t lose my place. I’ve had the blog on my roll for quite awhile now but just hadn’t sat down to write about it.

The blog is called, “Culture Shock” and it’s written by an American who now lives in Croatia with his Croatian wife and their three children. He writes about the differences between Croatia and the states in such a way as to make you want to visit, at least it’s made me want to apply for a passport.

He describes what it is like to learn another language and even the culture shock he experiences when visiting his home land of America. How quickly the pace picks up, how everyone has a cell phone out no matter where they are, how America has baseball, his favorite sport. He’s even bringing baseball to Croatia! The differences are vast and quite interesting. I enjoyed stories of pay bathrooms, crazy parking, tight roadways, ice free beverages and how dare you have a “dirty” car?

One of the aspects I like about “Culture Shock” as well are the posts about Christianity. Since I am quite a spiritual person, I tend to drink up the things I like about the different faiths, and Jeremy’s posts give me a sense of enlightened comfort without making me run screaming from religious talk. I truly appreciate that.

I was already admiring Jeremy and his family so you can imagine my surprise when I finally reached the beginning of the blog and read his introduction to find out he had been named the Time Person of the Year! How refreshing, I thought, that the award went to a man doing selfless missionary work in Croatia. If you read nothing else on his blog, please go read that post. I assure you, you will enjoy visiting the link he provides about his award. I know I did.

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Filed under faith, NaBloPoMo 2011, plugs

#NaBloPoMo – My Story: Right Eye Blind and MS

Yesterday Carol came over to begin helping be go through the storage containers in the spare room and organize the memories stored within. We threw out some more stuff that had no business being kept and she read things I had written before losing my sight. The most valuable things were letters I had written in my drinking days. What a reminder of why I don’t drink! One line read, “I’m soooo hungover. I know a beer would help but I’m scared.” That pretty much summed up the end of my drinking days.

She also looked through a CD full of pictures from my partying days. It was really good to reflect and remember but it also left me rather exhausted and numb. There were also many reminders of Mom and my childhood. We did this for about five hours. This morning I felt the urge to continue writing my story here. I haven’t written anything in the my story label since 2009. Wow.

In case you are interested and want to read the other posts in order, here’s the school days, college, mom and alcoholism, deciding to get sober and first year of sobriety.

So when last I left off, I had been sober a year. Everything was pretty great. I had a host of amazing friends, a good job, a nice car and an apartment I had never drank in and loved. Life was just pretty spectacular. I was very involved with a fellowship of young sober people. I was twenty-seven. Life was great! I loved being sober!

There was a young people’s conference in Prescott, AZ in May of 2006. I was thirteen months sober and hadn’t planned on going. I didn’t want to spend the money since I had just spent a lot going to a conference in California. Then I decided it would be fun to make a day trip out of it and just go up for the Saturday night main speaker meeting.

My friends had already all driven up and I didn’t want to make the drive alone so I called my friend G, my ex-boyfriend who had become a great friend, and asked if he wanted an adventure. He wasn’t in the program, but agreed at once to take the trip with me.

A couple days before that Saturday, I felt like I had an annoying migraine behind my right eye, which was odd, because I had always had migraines behind my left one. Then the vision started getting weird, kinda like looking through TV fuzz. I had had a week long migraine like this once, but in the left eye, so while it was strange I wasn’t concerned.

The morning of the trip, it was as if a curtain were slowly being lowered over my right eye. It started like a black shadow just on the top of my vision, and the migraine-like pain was still there. It ached when my eye moved. I was excited about the trip though, so put it aside, figuring I’d go to the doc on Tuesday if things were still weird.

Things got worse by the time we arrived in Prescott. I could hardly see out of the right eye. The entire top of my vision was obscured. The pain was getting really bad. I made it through the meeting and even managed to dance for awhile afterwards and then on the drive back I could no longer ignore it. Moving my eyes to check my mirrors or glance behind me to change lanes was becoming excruciating. Headlights were like daggers into my brain. We were driving back in the middle of the night.

We stopped at an IHOP and while we ate, we discussed my eye. I thought it must be a detached retina or something. We talked about the ER but I was trying not to go that route. As we stood in the parking lot after eating, I looked at a street light. I closed my left eye and the light vanished. The right eye couldn’t see the light. I decided the ER was indeed absolutely necessary. G drove the car back into town and straight to the hospital. It must have been four or five in the morning on Sunday.

The ER was blissfully empty and I was in good spirits. I was very sleep deprived and goofy and had had a great time with G on our little trip. I didn’t wait long before the triage nurse called me back. G went with and my vitals were checked. I was asked to read the eye chart, which I could do until they asked me to close my left eye. I still was in good spirits. Whatever it was, they’d fix it.

They took us to an exam room and the doc came in. He was completely confused. Nothing looked detached or torn but my pupil was doing something strange. He had G look too. When light was shined into my right eye, the pupil would dilate and then bounce. Literally bounce. He showed me in a mirror. The brown strands of color around the black pupil bounced in and out lazily. The doc brought in other docs to have a look.

Finally they wanted me to see the ophthalmologist on call. I would need to go to his office. They told us where to go and I knew the place. I had taken my Gamma there. It was the same doc.

We met him at his office at six or seven on a Sunday morning. It was strange to be let in by the doc and have no staff or patients around. It was just the doc and G and me. He examined both my eyes and I told him he had done surgery on my Gamma’s eyes. He recognized the name.

Suddenly he backed away and said he wanted me to go back to the hospital and have an MRI. He would call and arrange it as we drove. He wanted it immediately. My stomach began doing cartwheels. This did not sound good.

“I’m worried about MS,” he said. “This looks like optic neuritis, which often presents in multiple sclerosis. I want you to have an MRI immediately.”

I stared at him. I had an eye problem and this man was telling me something was wrong with my brain? I knew what MS was, sorta. I loved this movie called Hillary and Jackie, about a cellist who had MS. It was a true story.

I peppered the doc with questions. Couldn’t it be something else? You’re sure the retina is ok? Anything but MS. Please! He was very matter-of-fact with me. He hadn’t seen optic neuritis in a patient without MS. The condition is usually temporary, with vision being restored, but MS is not temporary.

G drove me back to the hospital. They whisked us back into a room and I was prepped for the MRI. I had never had one before. G and I sat in a daze, sleep deprived and scared. He and I went all the way back to when I was a freshman in high school. I was so grateful he was there. I didn’t call anyone; I didn’t have time. That ophthalmologist must have made it very clear that I was to have an MRI STAT.

All I could think about was my lack of insurance. I had just started a new job in the cytology department of a lab, preparing specimens for testing. My benefits wouldn’t be active for another ten days. Luckily they enrolled me in Arizona’s version of Medicaid. A hospital visit is the easiest way to get that accomplished.

I actually slept in the MRI machine. I was all bundled up in blankets with country music coming through the headphones clamped to my ears. I found that machine comforting. When they pulled me out however, my right eye was completely blind. I thought it wouldn’t open. It was open, just not seeing.

G and I waited what seemed an eternity for the results. The doc assigned to me looked like Detective EAmes from Law and Order: Criminal Intent. She was very nice. I remember laying on the gurney, cotton ball taped to my arm where the MRI IV had been. G was sitting in a chair next to the bed, leaning his head against the wall. We discussed all my strange ailments I had experienced while we had dated in my drinking days. Could MS have been the cause of all that? I had been through heart tests and blood work but nothing had ever shown a thing. After I got sober, my doc and I thought it had all been my alcoholism. It made sense. It could have been.

When Dr. Eames finally came back and delivered the news, brain lesions, definitely MS, need to give you steroids, should admit you, all I could do was cry and scream at her, “what the F*ck did I bother getting sober for!!!!” she placed her hand on my arm and told me staying sober was the best thing I could do for MS.

They hooked me up to another IV and I questioned what they were giving me. No narcotics, I’m sober, no narcotics. Steroids, that’s all. Why steroids? It’s what we do with the onset of MS. Why? Questions. Everything a blur. A gram of Solu-Medrol began pumping into my arm. A gram? Will I get addicted? Will I have super human strength? It’s not the stuff the athletes take. Oh. But you need to have someone with you. You could go a little crazy. I’ll stay with her. G would stay with me. Watch her for any drastic mood changes. I wasn’t being admitted. Another doc wanted me admitted. I’m chairing a meeting on Tuesday, I need to go to meetings, don’t admit me. Ok but come back for the next three days for steroids. Three days? Three days. Outpatient, come back. Call your doctor. You need a neurologist. Steroids dripping through the rubber tubing. I can’t see out of my right eye. It’ll come back, the vision would come back. What else will happen to me? Will I be paralyzed? We don’t know. It’s different in everyone. Multiple Sclerosis. Thirteen months sober. New job. Love my life. MS. Right eye can’t see. Steroids.

I remember calling my sponsor. I remember G driving us back to my apartment. I remember we had stopped and gotten fast food. It was a Sunday. Monday was a holiday. G would need some things from home. I went with him. We told his parents. It is all such a blur. We came back to my apartment and my back hurt. My body hurt. I wanted to sit in the sun. The sun helped. We were so tired but we couldn’t sleep. We had known each other so long. We had been in love. We had lived together until my alcoholism drove him away but he was there, supporting me. Georgie was having a barbecue the next day. I wanted to go. What if I got so sick I could never go again. I had to go.

I went, after my steroid treatment the next day. I crawled into Georgie’s bed and we cried and cried. She had just been through something huge, too. At the barbecue people asked what was wrong. Other sober people. I told them. I cried. I told others and cried. Georgie told others and we cried. I hadn’t told my family. I couldn’t see out of my right eye. My balance was completely crazy. I was hyper from the steroids but depressed and exhausted. I still managed to laugh. I remember still finding my humor, the day after it all happened. I remember laughing through my tears.

G stayed with me while I was still on the high dose steroids. He went to work during the day when I could be around other people. I didn’t go crazy from the steroids. After the IV doses were done, I had to take pills to taper off at home. The heartburn was terrible. I was hyper and didn’t sleep well. I got bloated and I couldn’t cool off. I hated those stupid little white pills.

I shared everything at the meeting I chaired on Tuesday. I was surrounded by love and support. The timing really couldn’t have been any better. Getting the diagnosis at thirteen months sober, when I had my feet under me and a host of friends, the trust in my higher power, it really was perfect timing. Dr. Eames had been right. Staying sober was the best thing I could do.

I left the job, because with the onset of the MS came shaking hands that couldn’t accurately pour. The sudden loss of vision in my right eye killed my depth perception and accuracy was out. I ran into walls because I couldn’t see on the right side. My left leg had gone heavy, almost dragging at times.

My doc found me a neurologist she loved. She almost felt bad she hadn’t diagnosed the MS before, instead blaming my drinking. I assured her it was good, because if I had been diagnosed when I was drinking, who knows what would have happened? I doubted I would have gotten sober. Things would have been very different.

My neurologist told me not to go online. Don’t go read about MS. Don’t do it. He said most of his patients with MS were “a depressed lot”. He said don’t let the depression get me. Don’t read, don’t look into what might happen to you. MS is different in everyone. He assured me the vision would come back in my right eye, though colors would be muted. I wish he had been right, sometimes.

Ok, I’m going to leave off hear. I didn’t expect to write what I just wrote. I suppose that’s what happens when the memory and the fingers team up, huh? It’s quite therapeutic to write about my past. I don’t know why but it is. Hopefully I won’t wait another two years to continue.


Filed under faith, family, fellowship, Gamma, gratitude, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2011, sobriety, spoons

#NaBloPoMo – Free Audio Books

Today has been really busy, so I’m throwing up the quick post I was determined not to do for NaBloPoMo. Just don’t have time for anything with more substance.

This is cool though. Audio books are free when they’re old classics and the copyright is expired. They are read by volunteer narrators. You can’t get Stephen King books or anything like that, but there is a lot of good stuff and it’s fairly accessible. I downloaded “Phantom of the Opera” last night and it’s nice to have a free book.

To check it out, click here.

Thanks Ceci!


Filed under Audio books, NaBloPoMo 2011, plugs

#NaBloPoMo – Doggy Diaries – 21 Things at 21 Months Together

Today is twenty-one months since I was matched with Jayden at GDB, so I thought I’d write twenty-one things, in no particular order, I adore about my JayBay. 🙂

1. The sound of him drinking water, and the wet snoot he almost always puts in my palm afterwards.

2. Touching him on the couch to find him on his back all sprawled out and happy.

3. The contented grunt he makes when I scratch his ears or touch him unexpectedly.

4. Hearing him begin to bark or growl in his sleep.

5. Dream wagging.

6. How proudly he trots when I ask him to find his empty Wobbler.

7. His reaction to the word, banana.

8. How he gets completely still when I ask if he wants a cookie after he finds the empty Wobbler.

9. How he hops backwards into a heel position when I’ve got a treat and tap my left leg.

10. When he comes running and stares at the magic ice machine at Gamma’s.

11. How happy he makes Gamma, how he watches out for her, too.

12. When it’s close to feeding time and he watches my every move, then when I put my face close to his he goes still waiting for me to ask, “are you hungry?” then bounds off the couch and bounces in to the kitchen.

13. Hearing his contented sighs, reminding me I’m never alone.

14. The way he puts his chin on my knee, sitting in front of me, when he wants something.

15. He insists on being on the floor with me while I’m doing yoga and he will get bored and begin furiously chewing a bone, making me smile.

16. He makes laundry fun. Laundry was a chore I hated until he began making it an adventure.

17. His doggy bow every time I get the harness out. It’s like he’s asking, “how may I be of service?”

18. The way he freaks out when I blow raspberries on his tummy.

19. How he nibbles at my hands and fingers when we’re cuddling and he’s being really affectionate.

20. The way he wraps his paws around my arm. It’s like our version of holding hands.

21. The fact that he’s always with me, even when I’m vacuuming and he can’t help, he’s never far away. In fact when I vacuum, it’s almost like he’s afraid the loud thing will get me.

I just realized I didn’t really include Jayden’s guide work. Having a guide dog, it’s just a given that their work will be incredible and naturally I love the independence he gives me, but really that’s just a bonus. The best part about having Jayden is Jayden, pure and simple. How did I live without him? He has completed my life!

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Filed under anniversary, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, GDB, gratitude, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2011, working dog

#NaBloPoMo – My favorite pain reliever is Yoga

Yesterday I told myself not to talk myself out of going to the gym. I did just that this morning, but out of necessity. There was no way, with the amount of pain I was in, that I could get myself and Jayden ready, wait for paratransit, add more pain even though it would have been good pain. I knew exercise would be good, but it was Yoga I craved, not cardio and lifting weights.

I’ve only taken three Yoga classes in my life. Two at GDB on Tuesday nights and one here at Saavi. The classes at GDB were wonderful. Deep stretches with controlled breathing in silence with a few other people in the room. The one at Saavi was intense muscle toning Yoga with music and moving from one pose to the other with no regard for breath and it smelled like feet. Taking paratransit home afterwards killed any relaxing the stretches might have invoked.

I bought a CD of the Yoga class from the instructor at GDB and this is perfect for pain relief at home. It’s quiet in the house and Jayden insists on laying on the floor with me, which makes me smile.

I knew I needed this today. The level of my pain had reached a point last night that had me wishing I had a script for pot. I never enjoyed recreational pot back in my drinking days, but I sured loved it for migraines or cramps. So when my pain reaches critical mass, I start wishing for it.

Luckily, Yoga has the same effect. When I’m through with my hour long session, my pain is all but gone and my mind is relaxed. I feel so much better right now; it’s like night and day!

I had a neurologist tell me once there’s no pain with MS. Really? Do you have it? Yeah didn’t think so. I can’t even fully describe it, I don’t think. There’s muscle pain that just comes from being tense but there’s also nerve pain. Everywhere. Like when ice touches a nerve on a tooth, everywhere. Even touching a cat will hurt. It’s gotta be like fibromyalgia. I think the muscle pain is intensified because I’m blind now, being on high alert constantly, aware of my surroundings, moving about slowly especially when the pain is bad. There’s also of course just normal life stress that adds to that. My bones even hurt. I’m going to talk to my doc next month about the possibility of arthritis. Cold weather is better for the MS since it helps the nerves from inflaming, but cold adds to my physical pain since it tenses the muscles, so there’s really no win win, except that I’m in much less danger of a bad flair during cold weather.

When I first begin the Yoga, sitting on the chair hurts. I’m only on the chair briefly and as soon as the stretching and breathing begins, the pain begins to ebb. It’s rather miraculous, to be in that much pain and feel it start to dwindle away. Oh thank you Yoga, thank you!

I don’t rule out medical pot for my future, if it gets to the point where Yoga and massage don’t cut it anymore. I hope it never has to come to that, with my addictive nature. However I’d rather get hooked on medical pot than narcotics, so I’ll turn to the weed before the pill if it ever comes to that. For now though, Yoga is incredible and I need to do more of it, instead of just waiting until the pain gets this bad. It’s also free, doing it in my house, and there’s no travel afterwards, which is fantastic.

You know what else? After a massage or Yoga, I have a slight improvement in my vision. It’s not like I can see anything, but shadows are more apparent, the slats on my closet door become sharp. It’s like contrasts become more prevalent when I’m that relaxed. Weird, huh?

I highly recommend Yoga for chronic pain. I’m grateful I had two classes though, because I still remember things she told me about my form which is really good to know.

I’m so relaxed and pain free right now, so happy making.

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Filed under GDB, gratitude, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2011, sobriety, spoons, weather, yoga

#NaBloPoMo – Hazy Nothings

I am completely exhausted today so I have no real brain power left for a post. How bout a nothing stream of consciousness post? Yeah why not.

It’s almost time to feed Jayden so this will be fragmented. An Offspring song is playing. Do you ever have a day where you’re in such a daze it almost feels like the day didn’t or isn’t happening? That’s how I feel today. I’m so tired.

I woke up in the middle of the night and was in so much pain I couldn’t get back to sleep. A storm system is moving out and the constant change in the weather lately is killing me. I haven’t been able to afford a massage since I think the beginning of Octoberish so ouch. Add all the cleaning I’ve done, moving furniture and scrubbing and ugh. It’s not pretty.

Thank goodness for the bum cushion. The pain would be world’s worse if I didn’t have that. Bum cushion? Yeah, I don’t feel like finding the link right now. Maybe by the time I go to publish this, I’ll go find it.

I think Silverchair is playing now. Yep, Silverchair.

Anyway, back to the hazy day. The hours seem thin, thinking back on them. The day doesn’t seem to have any substance, like trying to remember a dream. It’s like thinking back on my past and straining to remember what happened in a blackout. Ok it’s not THAT bad; I do remember today for the most part. I’m just so tired.

I had plans to go to Gamma’s today since we skipped Sunday due to weather. Oops, it’s Jay’s feeding time.

Ok so yeah, Gamma’s today. Gamma invited Aunt B too, so she picked me up. This morning I walked around like a zombie getting ready. I remember talking to Georgie on the phone, and discovering a product on Amazon didn’t have free shipping anymore. Sad making. If it doesn’t have free shipping, I don’t buy it. I remember almost falling over in the shower, on the curtain side not the wall side. That would have been bad.

Once we got to Gamma’s I was ok, just felt tired. Then Jayden kept me from running into a wall and he wasn’t even working. I had him on leash after taking him outside. I love it when he leash works.

After we ate and chatted Aunt B and I headed out. It was nice not to have to take paratransit as originally planned. Jayden kept me from falling off the steps of the front porch. Geez, I was so incredibly out of it.

Luckily I had prepared coffee before I left, sensing I’d practically need a coffee IV upon arriving home. I brewed it and then the afternoon gets really hazy. I don’t even really remember what I read online. I know I tested a site for someone on the accessibility list which I shouldn’t have done in such a state. Then ‘American Pie’ started playing and I remembered audio I promised for a Twitter friend. I don’t know how I even managed to do that. I suppose things you do on a regular basis can be done on auto pilot. I’ve literally felt stoned today and I absolutely despise that feeling.

It’s kinda funny if you saw me walk right now, all herby jerky, kinda like buffering audio. Funny when I’m not stuck on the scary. Times like these make me wonder if the MS is waking but I really think it’s just the perfect combo of ever changing weather, not sleeping well last night and built up pain from no massages in awhile. I think the gym will help tomorrow, if I don’t talk myself out of going. Don’t talk yourself out of going, tomorrow Ro.

I hear voices outside and Ozzy Osborne is singing.

Oh it’s two nights now with the veggie medley. So good, so so good. The cubed cheddar really adds just the perfect amount of flavor. It’s yummy. Tomorrow’s a weigh-in day though I really don’t expect two nights of eating veggies to make much of a difference. We shall see. I was 156 at the last weigh-in. Target of 150. So close, so so close.

A jet is flying over. I love that sound. Oh it’s rumbling! I can feel it in my stomach. Love it!

No more tears, sings Ozzy.

It’s 4:46 pm. Can I go to bed yet? Not for a few hours. I’m listening to a collection of short stories by Stephen King. Fun stuff. One of them referred to a thirty two year old woman is being in early middle age. Early middle age? Ouch. I’m thirty-two. Early middle age? Oh well, at least I’ll always picture myself at twenty-nine. I think I will get relevant links for this post. It’s the least I can do. I’m not THAT hazy. I really do feel like I’m trying to recount a dream, thinking about my day today. It’s like trying to hold water in your hands.

Just added the two links. Now the sentences about not finding the links don’t make sense. But they shall stay since it’s my blog and I’ll leave them if I want to. Stone Temple Pilots are singing now. I need to do another audio blog. Got lots of good response to that. I didn’t get any comments on the, oh great we need another link, playing with Jayden audio I did yesterday.

Who’s this singing now, I can’t tell. Siri? Siri where are you? Oh right, I don’t have you. Alex, check iTunes please, who’s this? Aerosmith? Wow, this is very early Aerosmith. Doesn’t sound like them.

I’m gonna go listen for typos and see if anything else comes to mind.

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Filed under Alex, Amazon, apple Inc, coffeeholic, family, Gamma, humor as coping skill, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, music, NaBloPoMo 2011, spoons, The Nothing, twitter me this, weather, working dog, youtube

#NaBloPoMo – Doggy Diaries – Audio: Jayden playing with, and losing, a milk jug

Jayden loves to play with empty milk jugs. This afternoon I organized another cabinet and found an empty one I had rinsed and saved for him. We began playing and he ran with it and lost it. He went in the bedroom and stood by the dresser but I didn’t find it. Then he got on the couch and gloomily lay down. I was a woman obsessed trying to find the thing for him!

I searched under every piece of furniture in the living room since it had sounded like that was the last place he’d had it, but the fact that he had stood in the bedroom made me feel around under the bed. I have no idea how he managed to get the thing under there, but there it was.

When he discovered I had it again, he jumped off the couch and was happy again. I had just given it to him when I thought to grab some audio. Someone had suggested Jayden audio after the Hanging with Ro bit. Jay seemed disappointed when I took the jug again, but they get destroyed so quickly I didn’t want him to kill it before I grabbed the iPod.

We got some great audio! Eventually he went running again and lost the jug once more. The end of the audio gets a little boring as I look for the jug again, but by that time I was so worn out I gave up and stopped the audio.

As of this moment, I haven’t found the jug again, but I haven’t searched very hard. 😉


Direct link to youtube audio

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2011, youtube

#NaBloPoMo – Replacing Cheetos

I go through phases where I’m totally addicted to Cheetos. I end up eating them at night while listening to an audio book and it becomes total habit. I don’t go through a whole bag so that’s a good thing, but still. After I’d have my fill of Cheetos, I’d go looking for something else. It had gotten a little out of hand.

I didn’t gain weight, which is good, but I’ve stopped loosing as well. I’m only six pounds away from my target, so something has to change to try and reach that goal. The last two nights I didn’t have any Cheetos. The first night I finished the Red Vines I had and then raided the peanut M&M’s I had found while cleaning out cupboards. Apparently it’s not Cheetos at all, but nighttime hunger and the desire to snack. Last night I felt the hunger but ignored it and instead thought of healthy snacks for the evenings.

When we go to the Melting Pot, my favorite dipper for the cheese is the raw cauliflower. When there’s a small piece I won’t even dip it in the cheese. It has such a yummy nutty flavor almost. I also love raw broccoli. The other night when I was thinking about stopping the Cheetos I thought about those little baby carrots. Last night I thought about making a nice big mix of veggies on Sundays for the week ahead.

Carol and I had talked about this very thing and she had mentioned cheese and crackers. Her dad enjoys that at night. It’s actually been studied and they say eating before sleep keeps your brain functioning. Who knows how accurate that is. Are eggs bad for us right now? Is coffee going to kill us? Who knows when “they” say. Anyway I was contemplating cheese and crackers, too. Chedder cheese on a wheat cracker, with maybe some spicy mustard. That would take work every night though, I thought.

My mind wandered back to the cheese and cauliflower and I thought, what if I chop up cauliflower, and broccoli, add the baby carrots and cube some cheddar cheese? That would make a delicious snack mix, if you ask me. I don’t have ranch dressing in the house, so that’s even safer.

Cheese is good for you in moderation, but I did have the thought that adding cheese to my veggie medley would be a bad thing. Why though? It’s not like I’d cube an entire brick of the stuff, and it wouldn’t be that horrid cheese sauce.

So, I think I’m going to get that stuff today. I wonder if one head each of broccoli and cauliflower will be enough for a week? The last time I cut up a head of broccoli, there wasn’t very much of it. Maybe I’ll get two of each, a bag of baby carrots, and a small brick of cheddar cheese. Yes, that sounds like a good plan.

I’m blogging this to hold myself accountable for this switch. I won’t completely deny myself Cheetos, but I can’t stay in the habit of eating them when I get a bag. It needs to stop at one bag every so often. I’m such an addict! One is two many and a thousand isn’t enough. Maybe the veggie medley at night will kill the Cheetos craving.

Do you have any tips for night time snacking? I read once to brush your teeth before bed. Duh, I always do. The article said if you brush your teeth, you won’t want to eat. Huh? Ok, that doesn’t work for me haha! I’ll just brush them again.

I’m getting hungry now, thinking about my veggie medley! Oooh, mushrooms. I could even add sliced raw mushrooms…


Filed under NaBloPoMo 2011, num num food

#NaBloPoMo – The Empty Bottle

This morning when I beeped Timmy so I could put him in the spare room and go outside, it sounded like he was inside the white couch. I couldn’t figure it out; there was no room for him to be inside the couch and he’s never been under it before. I thought maybe the receiver had come off and fallen between the cushions so I started feeling around.

I’ve vacuumed out that couch I don’t know how many times. I use the hose extension even. How I had never vacuumed the right side of the couch by the arm before, I have no idea.

My fingers felt the grime there and an old milk ring Spinelli used to play with. I could feel that I hadn’t ever vacuumed that side before. I was cursing my past self when I felt something hard. Upon further investigation, I discovered it was a bottle. Hmmm. I left it there for B to look at.

When I told him about Timmy beeping from the couch, oh yeah, he had been under it, B looked where I told him I had felt a bottle. He jokes with me a lot so when he exclaimed that it was an empty bottle of Jim Beam, I didn’t believe him. He was laughing and I reached out for it.

I unscrewed the cap and sniffed and my stomach curdled oh gross oh gross it smells like whiskey oh ick oh ick oh no ewwwwwwww!

I was shrieking all this as I capped and held the bottle in front of me like a dead rat and dumped it in the trash. It was one of those smaller bottles, a pint maybe? It’s been over six and a half years since a liquor bottle has been in a place I call home. I think my reaction was the funniest part of it. It might as well have been a severed head, with how I freaked out. Hahaha!

Jayden thought this was funny too and began running all over the house as B and I laughed at him and the discovery of the bottle.

It must have been there since before the previous owner gave it to me. Heck, the couch had been someone else’s before it was hers, so who knows how long it’s been there? I just can’t believe I had never vacuumed that spot before.

If anyone is thinking maybe it was B’s, no way. He’s over fourteen years sober and if any alcohol had been drunk here, I would have smelled it. I can smell it on a person if they pass me in the store, that’s how sensitive I am to it these days. So no, you bet your bum it wasn’t him.

Nothing like an empty bottle of whiskey in your couch to keep it green. I actually like the reaction I had to it. I literally recoiled as if from a hot flame, or a severed head.


Filed under gratitude, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2011, sobriety, Spinelli, Timmy

#NaBloPoMo – Doggy Diaries – Trash and laundry, robo and canine

There was a discussion on Twitter recently about robotic guide dogs. There was a link, but I didn’t click it. A robotic guide dog? No thanks. The discussion was interesting though, what if it rains, what if the battery dies. I couldn’t help but think about Scott Westerfeld’s “Leviathan” series. Which is better, machine or beastie? It’s a brilliant series of books. You should read them if you like alternate histories and fantastical creations.

Anyway, back to the robo dog. There’s no way a robo dog could intuit when you want the trash vs. the laundry. You would have to give it a command all the time. Sure, you might have to give a dog the command too, left or right etc, but I’m pretty sure most of them begin to read your mind. Ask any guide dog handler and they’ll tell you it’s true.

What amazes me about Jayden and has for awhile now, is that when I’m dragging the laundry cart behind me, he needs no cues. He knows right where to go. As soon as the cart comes out in fact, he gets excited. He takes the “dry” out of laundry, that’s for sure. His excitement makes it less of a chore and more of an outing, until it’s time to put the clothes away that is.

We had stopped taking the trash out, leaving it to the man of the house, after Jayden took me to the neighbor’s house one day after I tossed the bag. I was stuck with my handled trash can. I never just carry a bag in case I have to set it down in a hurry. I felt terrible because the neighbor lady wanted to chat and I had laundry I had to get back to. This must have been months ago now. I don’t think I blogged about it so I can’t remember.

Anyway, doing all the cleaning required trips to the trash so I finally decided to let Jayden take me again. I did some patterning after we tossed each load, using the trash can as a kind of cane, feeling the curb and pointing us in the right direction. Eventually he took me straight home and rekindled my confidence in the route.

Here’s where my amazement really kicked in. One day I had several loads of junk and didn’t fancy taking them one by one with the trash can. So I got the laundry cart out and loaded it with two bags. Hey, at least it cut the trips in half. As usual, Jay got excited when the cart came out and I expected him to try and go to the laundry which is the opposite direction of the trash.

He knew I had trash bags!

With no verbal or physical cue from me he went right to the trash even though I was dragging the laundry cart. This might seem small, but for the proud guide dog handler, this was exhilarating. I love to see his mind working. It’s almost like you witness new paths forming in their brain. I could almost hear him thinking, “she didn’t sort all those clothes first.”

When I did laundry next, I wondered if he’d want to go to the last destination the cart had travelled to. Why did I even doubt? The boy took me right to the laundry. There were more trips to the trash, but never both on the same day. See what I’m leading up to?

Tell me, would a robo dog take you to the laundry with your cart full of clothes and sheets and then an hour later, take you right to the trash with the cart loaded with two trash bags and a box? I think not.

That’s exactly what Jayden did today. After the laundry was put away I decided to haul the last bit of trash from the cleaning adventures. Without missing a beat my boy turned in the direction of the trash with no cues from me. What a smart dog!

We spent lots of time outside today since it was beautiful out. We decided to take a walk after the clothes were put in the dryer which worked out well since the electric bill needed dropping off. We can no longer use the outgoing mail slot since people break into it. Thanks, idiot people. Then again, outgoing mail, the one thing we mail a month, is a great excuse for a trip to the office so maybe I should thank the idiot people. Until summer that is, and then the man of the house can take it down in the heat. 😉

My boy is curled up on the couch after his great work today. If I knelt in front of him, he’d give me a kiss. Robo dog? Fah!

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, gratitude, guide dogs, Jayden, laundry, NaBloPoMo 2011, twitter me this, weather, working dog, wow