Category Archives: NaBloPoMo 2009

Some more of my story

Last night I got to hear Kevin’s story all in one meeting, instead of the bits and pieces I’ve gotten over the years, and it was incredible. So it inspired me to continue with mine.

When last I left off, I talked about my first day sober, and about getting my 24 hour chip. I said I was still friends with the man who gave it to me, and that man is the Kevin I’ve been talking about. We’ve been realizing how there’s so few of us left from our “class of 2005”. Its sad and scary to think about how many decided they couldn’t be sober. Some we’ve lost track of, some have probably died, some we get snatches of info about and they’re using.

Those first few months sober are quite a blur. At first it was all about learning how to get through each day without taking a drink. The man I came in with stuck around, but only because he wanted to be with me. He wasn’t serious about recovery. I got a sponsor after about a week, another woman who had worked the steps, who was going to guide me through the process. He got a sponsor to say he had one, but he never called him or worked the steps.

I met my sponsor once a week and we did a step a week. Life was all about going to work, going to a meeting, going out to eat and then going to bed and doing it all over. Looking back, it was awesome! My first friend in sobriety was Georgie. She’s still my best friend today. She got the nickname because Kevin could never remember her real name, so she told him to call her George. We had exchanged numbers one night after a group of us went to eat after a meeting. I was at work one day and checked my voicemail, and she had called and I was sooo excited haha! I called her back that night, and she was in Blockbuster. She walked around the store talking to me for 45 minutes. She had gotten sober about a month before me, Kevin about a month before her.

One night Georgie and I were out to eat with some people after a meeting, and we had gone to this place that was a sports bar kind of place and where I was sitting I was facing row upon row of beer taps. I didn’t have enough money to eat, so I was just nibbling from people’s plates. I couldn’t handle it. I went outside to smoke, and Georgie came out, and she was having a hard time too and we plopped down on the concrete. She noticed we were sitting in a large square on the concrete, and we called it our “square of despair”. My how times have changed.

The man I came in with stuck around until we got our thirty days, and then he called me one night saying he accidentally picked up a 6 pack of beer. Right. Accidentally. And alcoholics rarely buy 6 packs. Whats the point? I told him to call his sponsor and hung up. I remember it so well because I had stopped at the CBS and was looking at make-up after a meeting. He never made it back. I look at him like the wave that carried me to shore and then went back out to sea. I still keep track of him, and he’s drinking worse than ever.

Life went on in this way, working, meetings, fellowshipping. I was doing a step a week and starting to feel so much better. I had accepted that there was a power greater than myself, though I didn’t understand it. I trusted it. It worked for all those other people, it worked for my sponsor.

There were bbq’s, pool parties, picnics and potlucks, all sober people having parties, we spent the 4th of July in the pool and then downtown to watch the fireworks. Me and Georgie were inseperable. We would sit at Denny’s until well past midnight telling stories.

One day I was having a crisis of some sort and needed to vent to my sponsor. She took me to McDonald’s and bought me a salad but she didn’t want to hear my whining. She tried telling me about this group of sober young people who were putting on a conference, and how I should get involved. I wanted no part in it. I was doing my 4th step, the searching and fearless moral inventory, and I was swamped. I didn’t want to hear solution. She got out a piece of paper, wrote a list of things for me to do, gave me the paper, and walked out. She left me crying over my salad at McDonald’s. Best thing she could have done for me. I ran to my other sober friend’s apartment and whined and moaned and she co-signed my bs being a newcomer too. She’s now back in Chicago smoking crack. Man.

One day, a new guy was in the meeting. A new interesting guy, who moved here from California. He was hot. He sounded like Jesse James from Monster Garage. I liked him. He said he hoped we had a good young people’s group here. He ended up joining that committee my sponsor wanted me to join, and when he told me I should join it, I did hehe. We put on this crazy young people’s conference and I was on the host committee. It was then that I started to fall in love with the program. It was then that I saw I could still have fun. I sang karaoke for the first time sober at that conference, and I remember Lish running up to me after. Lish had been about 6 months ahead of me in sobriety, and we’re still great friends today.

We ended up forming a standing service committee of young people, and I was elected secretary. It was awesome to feel like such an important part of something. We did a road trip to northern California for a young people’s conference, and that was so amazing. I stayed up for 44 hours straight at one point, because there were just too many people to meet, too many guys to flirt with. The conference was at a really nice hotel, and there were just people everywhere all the time. It was incredible. One of the guys who went with us was a guy I had hated. He ended up becoming my co-secretary after he was trying to get a position and not getting one. Out of nowhere I nominated him to be my co, and then wondered what the hell I had gotten myself into. We ended up making amends to each other, and he was the one who kept me sane on that road trip. He’s still sober today, I only hear tidbits about him since he moved away.

I still ran into Kevin at meetings, but we didn’t really hang out anymore. He was a bit older than me, and didn’t do all the crazy stuff I was doing. I had had such a crush on him when I was new, and I remember my sponsor telling me that men were like drinks on legs for me at that time. She advised I not date for the first year. Man. I remember hanging out with hot sober guys at the coffee shop years before my drinking took off, and now I understood why none of them could date lol.

I stayed single that first year, not by my choice. I was such a flirt. But nothing ever happened, and for that I ‘m grateful.

I moved into a much nicer apartment, one I thought I’d never be able to afford, right by work. I loved the complex and checked it out on a whim. I got approved and moved into a one bedroom. I think I was like, oh, 8 or9 months sober. It was so nice, being in a new place I had never drank in. I fed birds, it was so quiet and safe. I spent my first Christmas sober in that apartment, I had gotten to decorate it, and I stayed in all day just by myself, and happy with my own company, truly happy, for the first time in years.

That sponsor had moved away and I had gotten another, and we continued on the steps with vigor and I started making amends, repairing relationships with friends and family. My Grandma insisted on buying me a better car, so I upgraded from the beater Impala to a cute little used Honda. I had a nice apartment, a nice car, still had my job, had a host of friends, a faith in something bigger than me, all was so incredible in that first year.

I was kinda having a fling with a guy at 11 months sober. It wasn’t sexual but we confessed our undying love for one another haha!! Yeah, not. My ex-boyfriend, I’ll call him G, from the old drinking days and I were still really good friends, having known each other since I was a freshman in high school, and having dated off and on through the years. He came to the meeting where I picked up my one year chip, to support me. A bunch of us went out to eat after. A whole year sober. Wow!

I’m going to leave off here, because it starts getting really interesting after this point. Life really started happening, and it was either pick up the tools, turn to God, or turn to the bottle, which I almost did.

10 Comments

Filed under accomplishment, faith, fellowship, Gamma, gratitude, My story, NaBloPoMo 2009, sobriety

I’m not gonna write you a love song

Ok that title has nothing to do with this post lol. I decided to write, and am not sure what direction I might go, so when thinking of a title, that song popped in my head. I guess it fits, because I’m not gonna write you a love song here lol!

B was paying the cable bill a bit ago, and when he was entering in the card number I thought, hmmm. It might be fun to compose a song with the melody the numbers make when entering a string of numbers. I’d never do my card number, because leave it to some techno geek to figure out the tones. But wouldn’t that be fun, if you have lyrics and can’t think of a melody?

I’m importing the Frank McCourt books that Cabana’s Puppy Raiser so graciously sent me, which I have been forgetting to import. Man, audio books take forever. Are they more complex than music cds? The second one just got done importing and I started an hour ago. I think the second cd went quicker than the first one. Maybe my cd drive was tired since it hasn’t worked in awhile? It was sure making some strange noises doing that first cd.

I was going to do some cleaning today, along with laundry and weekend chores, but I just don’t feel like it. I’m definitely doing a lot better with the recent sick jag, but I’m still feeling a little weak, and I don’t feel like eating anything I have in the house. Cleaning on an empty stomach isn’t good. I’m feeling some turmoil lately, and that sort of thing always seems to affect my eating and sleeping. Might be time to go see my therapist for a check-up.

I’ve been getting to meetings all week and its been great. to actually get out and see people is such a good thing, and it really made me realize how uch I’ve put everything else ahead of my recovery, which is not a good thing. If I place things in front of my reocovery, I risk drinking again, and losing all the things I put ahead of recovery, so I need to keep an eye on that.

It’s been so nice hanging out with Kevin this week. I’m going to be so adsad What the heck, I can’t edit…can’t delete, oh hell. I’ll just post. when he leaves again for work, right after Thanksgiving. Tonight he was asked to share at a meeting by Georgie’s boyfriend, and I wanted to go since I’ve never heard his story all in one share before. Georgie invited us over for bbq before the meeting, so I’m so looking forward to that! Kevin has found a new love for golf, so he’s golfing today and his t time was at noon. Georgie wants us at her house by 6, and Kevin is anticipating about a 4 hour game. Georgie and I are afraid that goal is a little “out there”, being a late t time on a weekend. If there are people ahead of him, his game might take forever. So I’m planning on being ready by 5 just in case. I can’t wait! I keep hoping the day will fly by, but it’s dragging.

That was a long paragraph.

I didn’t sleep all that well last night. B always goes to bed really late on weekends and he has this iPod alarm clock, that will play the iPod in sleep mode for a bit. I wear an ear plug in my left ear and I had forgotten to put it in, so the music woke me up and then I couldn’t tune it out. Then I had a coughing fit and decided to move to the couch, a place I never ever sleep. Spinelli must have thought this was some new middle of the night adventure, so she got on my and started digging in the blankets. Darned cat. I was hoping to sleep late today to kill some time, but no. My internal clock is officially set to wake up before eight, no matter if its a weekend or a week day.

So I got up and got right on the Facebook problem. I’m really hoping they write back. They have in the past. But it seems like most sites don’t bother when it comes to accessibility.

I’m really freaking out about my cd burner right now. Its been making some really funky noises. And now its silent, but its not done importing. Ick. I just was able to eject the disk but I don’t think the whole thing imported. Ut oh. Good thing the Macbook is under warranty, but what will I do if I have to send it in for repair? Oh no, I can’t even think about that…

..

Almost time for afternoon coffee! Man, I’ve had to stop with the energy drinks. For some reason when Kevin’s in town, we get them, but they were tearing my stomach up. I can’t let them mess up my stomach so much that I can’t drink coffee lol!

Ok, I’m frustrated right now. Sometimes I get really annoyed trying to be in the same room with B when I’m working on my computer, which is all tht time, since he’s always on his computer or watching sports. So today he put in some DVD about bon Jovi. All of the sudden its freakin loud. I turned up my volume a little bit, but I’m really careful with my ears. So some music started and it was loud so I took my headphones off and got up and he’s like, sorry, the volume keeps changing on the dvd. Yeah, I get that. i really considered moving my computer into the bedroom. I don’t want the volume on my headphones loud. I don’t understand why he doesn’t seem to get how important my ears are. I don’t like being around really loud things. I think I’m getting to a point where so many little things are annoying me, that one more little thing just gets blown up in my mind. This is just a scary place to be in. I start wondering, why am I getting annoyed so easily? Why am I missing my old apartment, where I lived alone? Should I be thinking these things? What does it mean that I’m thinking these things? Ick. I don’t know. I tend to over analyze a lot. Maybe I’m just in a pissy mood. Maybe I’m just sick of sports and heavy metal music. Maybe I wish every now and then, my music could be on in the house. But no, oh no, don’t make him listen to country. Ok, didn’t mean for a rant to pop ut. I obviously need coffee. Better go make it.

Got coffee. I was just thinking what my therapist would say if I told her what I just wrote. She would say, how old are you right now? Yeah. Like 6. Throwing a tantrum. An inward tantrum, or a tantrum on the blog, but a tantrum nonetheless.

I can’t seem to think of anything fun to write and manage to launch into a rant. I hate that. My laundry is done. I’ll take a break and think about whether I want to write anymore. If the post ends abruptly, you’ll know I gave up lol.

Cats must love warm laundry. I just dumped an entire basket of laundry right on Fi and she just laid there. When we first got Spinelli, she would race into the bedroom and attack the laundry as I was putting it away. I used to pick her up and put her in the basket and throw the stuf to be folded in on top of her. She would nestle in and fall asleep haha. She’s not so into that anymore, but she still comes in to lay on the laundry. I suppose it would feel really good, to be surrounded by fresh clean warm laundry. Wish I had enough clothes to dump a bunch of clean laundry on the bed and roll around in it lol.

Its almost 2 now. A few more hours to go. Doing more of that killing time thing before the fun starts. Seems like life is all about waiting. Waiting. Waiting for the next thing. Waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for that email ding. Waiting for the coffee pot. Waiting for the bill that’s due. Waiting for blog posts new. How did I just turn this into a poem. LOL! Seriously though. Lately I just feel like I’m constantly waiting. Waiting for word about the guide dog. Waiting for my ries to show up. I like being on time, especially if someone is picking me up, I think its rude to keep them waiting, so I’m always ready ahead of time, and find myself standing around waiting for them. Hurry up and wait. Waiting.

I don’t necessarily think its a bad thing. I’m not saying waiting is bad. For me, when I find that I’m waiting, I’m usually excited about something. I find that at night, I can’t wait to fall asleep, because I can’t wait to wake up. I love it in the mornings, hearing the rumble of the coffee pot, hearing the drip drip, smelling the brew. Hearing the birds coming alive. Hearing cars start up. Hearing B’s alarm go off. Anticipating the day. I never used to be like that. Back in my drinking days, I’d wake up and almost be sad that I woke up. Or rather, came to. I’d have the jitters, a headache, an upset stomach. Yuck. I much much prefer my life today, even though I’m feeling in a lot of limbo right now. Its not the fear of the unknown anymore. Its the wondering what comes next. What adventure lays ahead? Even turmoil is almost fun right now, the more I think of it.

Oh more cat stuff. Spinelli has figure out how to get this dangling toy off the scratching post. B would find it missing, locate it, put it back on, and she always does it when we’re not around. Well, she just did it and B watched her do it. He put it back, and she got it off again. I wonder if the toy was designed that way? A challenge for the cat. Kinda like putting kibble in a cong lol.

My arm had gotten all messed up again. My computer cart is most comfortable at the couch when its at kind of an angle. But that was messing up my arm, so I put it in front of the couch so that I’d lit at it straight, but I have to prop myself up on pillows to be close enough to it. I really need a laptop cart with skinny feet that will slide under the couch. So my arm had gotten better, so I put it back where it was more comfy, and my arm got all screwed up again, so now I have it all stright again. It doesn’t help that I mostly sleep on my right side, so that arm is just getting totally beat up. I’m hoping getting back in the gym on Monday is gonna help. I know it will. Working out was helping so much, that not doing it for 2 weeks is taking its toll. I cannot wait to get back in the gym!

I’m not looking forward to braille though. I haven’t studied my punctuation. I have to be pared up with another guy, and I just don’t see how thats gonna work. I really want to just do grade 2 through Hadley. I feel bad, because they rearranged that guy’s schedule to accomodate me for funding purposes. But I just don’t see how doing braille with more than one student is going to work. I talked to Dave about it, and he said its totally up to me. That I shouldn’t feel obligated to Saavi for braille. So we’ll see.

I kinda want to get in the bath just to kill some time. Hmmm. Maybe. Do I feel like it? Its amazing how much bathing can kill my spoons. Sometimes a shower will totally rejuvinate me, and other times, it totally knocks me out. And baths usually take a lot out of me. I’m technically not supposed to sit in hot water. Heat can make my nerves inflame and can make the MS flair up, so all neurologists say to stay away from heat. But it feels so good, especially when I’m having nerve and/or muscle pain. So its a difficult situation. Hot showers tend to be fine because its fairly brief, where a bath is usually longer. Auto immune sucks.

Wow. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a really fun post. I think I definitely need to see my therapist. I think I better put this post out of its misery now.

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Filed under Audio books, braille, cats, coffeeholic, fellowship, Fi, NaBloPoMo 2009, plugs, random stuff, rant, sobriety, Spinelli, spoons

Adding “alt text” to images

Alrighty, I think I’ve got some good stuff.

First, I would like to say thank you again to everyone who is interested in doing this. Its been fun for me to learn more about this too. In fact, I just learned that by adding alt text to images, it helps with search optimization. So, if your blog contains a picture of a dog on a flexi, and someone searches the blogs for “flexi”, your image description can actualy help your blog come up in search results.

I just read this on the first link I’m going to provide, which is actually a blogger post explaining how and why to add alt text in Blogger. Click here to read more.

The following links are linds to other articles about adding the alt text, and some of it is pretty technical, but interesting nonetheless. I think the blog post will be most helpful though, and thats why I put it first.

Here’s another, and another, and yet another.

So those are all links about the actual code it takes to add alt text. But now, what if you’re linking to an image in say Photobucket or Flickr? Here, I don’t know if Blogger’s html editor will help. You might actually need to find in Photobucket or Flickr or wherever you’re uploading from, how to add the alt text there.

Now that you know how to add the alt text, you could actually go to your photo hosting site, and see about adding alt tags there, too. Now, I don’t know if when you upload the photo, it will do this, or not. Its not something I asked, just something that was pointed out by Steve.

So, hopefully this will help. I might should have gone and searched about the photo hosting issue, but I’ve been kinda working all morning, not the actual job, but doing the whole advocacy thing when it comes to Facebook. I narrowed down the problem to one link I was trying to post, which I’ve posted before, so I don’t know why I’m getting another security check. So thats my excuse for not searching about the photohosting and alt text.

If there are still more problems, like if you upload a photo from a web hosting site and can’t add an alt text, let me know and I’ll look into it.

Thanks again to the guys and gals at Webaim for sending me this info.

Happy programming!

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Filed under accessibility, advocacy, gratitude, NaBloPoMo 2009, plugs, proud geek, techie tips

Attack of the CAPTCHA

This is an email I actually sent to accessibility+nnscjnr@facebook.com

***

Dear Facebook,

When I signed up for my account, I needed sighted assistance, as I am blind and use a screen reader. During sign up, I was told that if I replied to a text message and proved I was human, I would never ever get a CAPTCHA again. My friend helped me reply to the text message and I never received another CAPTCHA.

Until now.

I tried to update my status, and it is telling me to do a security check and solve the CAPTCHA. I tried logging off and back on. Same problem. I use m.facebook.com, because your full site is not accessible to me, or I should say, incredibly difficult.

I promptly sent an email to my email list of other blind folks who Facebook, and they are experiencing the same problem. One of the members has some vision, but after 7 attempts, could not solve the CAPTCHA. She was however able to update her status on the main site. She is luckier than I.

This is not acceptable. Many blind and visually impaired folks use your mobile site to connect with friends and family. This problem needs to be resolved. An audio CAPTCHA isn’t even available, but still would not be a solution, as many of us can’t solve them anyway, and some of us are deaf as well as blind.

I hope I did not come across too rude. I made myself calm down before emailing you.

***

I am so angry right now.

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Filed under accessibility, advocacy, CAPTCHA, letters, NaBloPoMo 2009, rant, screen reader

Coming soon – Image description help

I’ve asked the folks at webaim for some good resources on adding alt tags and image descriptions. As soon as I get some good stuff, I’ll compile it into a blog post.

This stuff is all very interesting to me too, and when I have a guide dog, I’m going to be doing photos myself, so it’ll just be a good resource. I think spreading the word about accessibility to everyone possible, is a good idea too. I’ve got sighted friends all over the place now paying attention to accessibility stuff, so I think its great that the word is getting out there, even among novice programmers. Who knows who might have a site some day, where this stuff will be really important.

So, I should have a pretty informative post in the next few days, if not later this afternoon!

Thanks again to everyone learning this stuff. I know some of it is frustrating, but together we can all figure it out 🙂

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Filed under accessibility, NaBloPoMo 2009, plugs, proud geek, techie tips

This killin time

is killin me.

I might be hanging out with Kevin today, but he called around 11 and said he was golfing and it would be like 4 hours. So I don’t know if that means we’re hanging out 4 hours from 11 or what. I hate it when I’m all anxious and stuff. I get annoyed at days where my own company isn’t enough lol! Makes me feel needy for people, even though I know being with people and socializing is a good thing. Kevin is only in town for short amounts of time, so I like seeing him as much as possible. Saturday night he’s speaking at a meeting so I’m going, and my best friend Georgie (Kevin’s nickname for her hehe) and her boyfriend are doing a bbq before hand, so hopefully we’ll get to do that too. Yay! Its nice to have someone around with some time to chill. All my other friends are in school so they just never have time, and Carol has a worse time with her spoon drawer than I do.

I called my blindy friend earlier, my first ever blindy friend. I had lost her number and just got it again, so I was so hoping to catch up, but she wasn’t home. She was the first one to tell me about GDB, where she got her dog, the first dog I met of the guiding variety. So I’m excited to tell her I’ll be going at some point.

I’ve got no updates on school. Havne’t heard a word. Might have to follow up yet again and see if the paperwork was all sent in or what. As soon as I have an update, the subject line will have doggy diaries in it.

So I’m just killing time until I might be with a human. UPS dropped off B’s jacket today and the driver annoyed me. He knocked on the door, I open it and he’s walking away. I’m like, hello? He’s like, thank you! I’m like, what is it? He’s like, its right there! And drove away. Urgh. Yesterday another UPS driver came to deliver what I know now to be my street pack from GDB but he bang bang banged on the door so loud and so foreceful in my quiet morning that my heart stopped and my stomach dropped from being so starteled, so I didn’t answer the door. I assume its at the office. I thought about walking down the the office. I know how to get there. I just haven’t done it alone, and I don’t know how big the box will be that I have to carry while navigating with my cane. Man I can’t wait for my dog.

So, just listening to music and not really doing anything. I should be looking at braille but I don’t feel like it.

I don’t think this post has killed enough time.

The weather is really nice. Its actually a tad chilled in here right now. I’ve got my door open for some fresh air and its the first day it hasn’t been too warm to do this. I think winter is finally thinking about making an appearance. I wonder if I’ll get to wear any crochet scarves this year.

Well, I don’t have it in me to write a post about nothing, so I’ll sign off.

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Filed under fellowship, GDB, guide dogs, NaBloPoMo 2009, random stuff, weather, white cane

Youtube and Google captioning for the deaf

This is cool.

Maybe descriptive audio will be next somehow, though after reading about the technology Youtube and Google will be using, it wouldn’t work for descriptive audio.

I just love any kind of assistive tech and accessibility news. Can’t wait to tell my friend who’s highly involved in the deaf community.

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Filed under accessibility, assistive technologies, NaBloPoMo 2009, youtube

I’ve gone Ro and managed to unfollow

It was decided. JayNoi left a comment and called me ro and I just liked the sound of it. So its official unless I change my mind again. Women’s Sorry for typos, lazy.perogative, right?

I tried the unfollowing thing again with no success, over and over. Alex just went clunk clunk on the link, well he didn’t go clunk his sound effects did. I was venting to Erik on yahoo and was about ready to give him the holy grail password into blogger to take her out when he left the keyboard for a minute, and I thought I’d try one more thing. I visited the blog, used the navigation and search bar at the top of the blog and clicked “follow” again, and it said “you already follow this blog, click to unsubscribe” yeeeee haaaaaw it worked!!! I was seriously ready to ask a sighty for help because I just couldn’t take it anymore, and didn’t have the will power not to read it.

Blinks, if I *ever* make us sound like useless wimps, give me a cyber slap. So there are 2 ocassions now that will earn me a cyber slap, sounding wimpy or not leaving the house.

Ok, I feel better. Oh I heard another blind term that I love, on L^2’s bog, sorry not in the modd to link. “Blindy” lol!

gonna go do a happy dance now. I’ll prolly blog again cuz I’m bored.

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Filed under Alex, NaBloPoMo 2009, proud geek, random stuff, silly girl

I loves my link chooser menu

Remember when I was complaining about the Dashboard not having headers I can use to skip past the list of blogs I follow to my reading list? Duh. Why didn’t I think of my link chooser. A good ol VO plus U and there are all my links. I start typing vomit and it takes me to the last blog on the list and if I only click it once, I get right to my new blogs. Wow. Technology is great, when the user gets smart enough to use it.

Oh, and I really really really need to un follow that one blog. I can’t not read it. Its like a bad car wreck, or a really horrible song you listen to to see if it gets any better, or a really horrible movie you’ve already wasted an hour of your life on so you waste another hour so the first hour wasn’t a waste and then you’ve just wasted two hours and get a resentment for another two hours. I need to unfollow. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d really appreciate it. Like I said before, I go to the list of blogs I follow and find this one and click settings and there’s text that says unsubscribe or whatever, but it does nothing. Help!

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Filed under assistive technologies, NaBloPoMo 2009, proud geek, random stuff, rant, silly girl

Who got the solo?

Man, my post yesterday sure was pissy. I was in a mood, thats for sure. Anyway, things improved, I talked to a friend online and then another on the phone, and emotionally felt better. I was still a little phlegmy from being sick, but nothing too bad, and the sneezing has stayed away.

I got ready for choir and L picked me up at 7 and we went to rehearsal. Its getting down to the wire, only 2 real rehearsals left, as the last one before the concert will be at the actual venue, and we’ll be doing staging and placement. So we got set to working really hard pretty quickly. We warmed up and the director told us we’d run through the songs and work on problem areas, and then get up on the steps and do some placement, and run through the whole show.

We might be cutting Snowfall, which is too bad because its really pretty and I think its pretty easy. But Uncle John and Sleighbells are 2 somewhat difficult songs, and we keep spending a lot of time on them.

Sleighbells is still the bane of my existance, but its getting better. The final phrase is sung really fast and we just weren’t getting it, and I was getting so frustrated trying to figure out the beat and the words. So we actually spoke it out, breaking id down, and slowly sped it up until we could speak it. Its “jing a ling a ling a ring, jing jing. Hey! I could not get it. I kept whispering it under my breath and then L said, “Think of it like this, you need 2 lings to get a ring” and it clicked. Phew. But that song takes a lot outta me, even just sitting down. If we pull it off, it’ll be a miracle. But the director is incredible, and she works wonders. I just hope we don’t cut Snowfall.

I think we finally cleared up the trouble spot in Uncle John. The song was written for SATB, or Soprano alto tenor base. So there was one spot where the altos were supposed to sing a pretty high note, and it wasn’t gonna fly. So the director kinda rearranged it and it cleared up the problem spots pretty well. Now we’ve just gotta work on singing the words really crisp and clear, or the point of the song will be lost. All this in 2 weeks, yikes!

While we were still sitting, she said, ok, Christmas Song. This is one of the songs I auditioned for, the one where if sung as written goes all high Beyonce style, so I had modified to stay low. She announced the soloist and under study and I was neither. Ok. Thats not the one I really wanted anyway. We didn’t sing through it because no one said they had problems.

Eventually we got up on the steps, and she hadn’t mentioned the other 2 solos, Santa Baby, which I didn’t try for, and Merry Christmas Darling, the one I really wanted. We got placed and I’m on the very top row, which is nice because I’m on a big flat spot. After sleighbells, I stepped back and my butt hit something and I said, oh something’s behind me. L said, yeah, the alter. I was like, God will forgive me if I lean on it. I was dizzy. Still recovering from being sick, and a lot of work on the songs.

We went through A Christmas song and the soloist sang. Then we got to Merry Christmas Darling. She still hadn’t said who was singing the solo, and the solo is right at the beginning of the song.

So as an afterthought, she’s like, oh the solo!

I’m holding my breath. I had wanted to shout out, what about Merry Christmas Darling! earlier in the night, but didn’t want to sound too eager.

Time froze, who was gonna sing it? The other girl who I thought did really well on all 3 songs hadn’t gotten A Christmas Song or Santa Baby and I just knew I had lost Merry Christmas Darling to her.

My knees went weak. I waited with bated breath, heart racing, thinking I had done well, but so had she.

I told myself not to lock my knees. This all happened in the span of like 5 seconds mind you.

So she announced the soloist for Merry Christmas Darling…

Hmmm, do you want to know?

Sighted people can just glance down, but sorry screen reader users lol!

Gotta go line by line now. You know me and my suspenseful self…

Really want to know?

By now you should have guessed…

Would I be this silly if I hadn’t gotten it?

Yep! I got it! Wow! The song I wanted! And the main soloist, not the understudy!

So I find out like 20 seconds before I have to sing it. The piano intro is played and its time for me to sing. It came out well, except for one note that cracked, and after I was done I went like “bleajghick” and giggled lol.

After that we spread out to sing our last song, the new one we got last week. Its super easy. L and I will remain up there because of where we stand, so we’ll be like front and center for that song, with all the other women spread out in the aisles. We went through that song and afterwards the director came up to me, told me I’m amazing and gave me a hug. I said thank you for giving me the solo, and she said, “I didn’t give it to you, you earned it.” And laughing she said, “I didn’t just give the blind girl the solo” hahaha. The director’s best friend, and the nurse who went on all our tours said, “You must have had a pretty good voice teacher growing up.” I said, “Yeah, I was in this little choir with a pretty good director.” Of course I was joking about the choir I grew up in, with the same director.

I owe so much to that woman. I joined her choir when I was in fourth grade. I moved through the beginning choir and into the intermediate choir in fifth grade, and didn’t audition for the advanced choir, because I was too scared to go on tour while I would only be in sixth grade.

After the spring concert in 5th grade in the intermediate choir, we got tapes of the concert, and mine ended up blank. So over the summer, Mom and I went to the director’s house to pick up a tape, and she told me she wanted me to audition right then and there for the advanced choir. This was highly unusual. She asked why I hadn’t auditioned before, and I told her I was scared to go on tour. She assured me and Mom that the next tour would be to southern California and we would be going on a tour bus, so there wouldn’t even be any flying.

So I auditioned that day in her house, and made advanced choir, and went to California the next April, while I was in sixth grade. We sold candy to raise the money, and then I got on that bus, leaving my family behind, for ten days.

We slept in a church hall and sang in a festival and went to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. It was so awesome!

She gave me the courage as a sixth grader to leave my family and go on an adventure, and I went on 4 more adventures with her in the advanced choir, before I graduated choir in my sophomore year to focus on my junior and senior year of high school.

I remember on one of the tours, I broke away from the group to call home at a non-designated time. The director got really mad and took the phone from me and told my mom to “cut the apron strings”. I don’t remember how old I was, but I know it was one of the later tours. My Mom and I were so angry at the time, but looking back, I totally understand it. I needed to experience being “out there” on my own, in this safe group of people.

This director taught me poise and stage presence at a very early age, she taught us how to be respectful young women when we sang in the churches that put us up. We always stayed in non-denominational churches, because there were so many faiths of girls, or no faith at all. She, being the devout Mormon had only one request of us. “Oh my” and “God” were never to be in a sentance together. That was her only request. I still use that rule. She never pushed religion on us. We sang at the Sunday service as payment for staying in the church, and that was it.

She taught me about confidence, she trained my voice. That choir saved me, helped me feel a part of, helped me have a purpose, and I know it had a lot to do with the reason my drinking didn’t start any earlier than it did.

She kept in contact with me over the years, and actually thought I was dead at one point, when she had lost touch with me. When I showed up at a concert unexpectedly, She cried and threw her arms around me, so happy to see me.

She always told me she would be here for me, whatever I needed.

I sang in her retirement concert when I was just under thirty days sober. It was such an honor to sing for her, at her 20 retirement. One of the songs was called “Motherless Child” and I remember her giving me a knowing look at the concert, when we sang that song.

When she found out I had MS back in 06, she called me to see if I was ok. I assured her I was, told her I was over a year sober, and she asked if I had God in my life. I told her I had found a power greater than myself, that I didn’t go to church, but I had faith in something, not knowing what it was, and it was getting me through this diagnosis. She accepted that with no qualms, and was so happy for me.

Then, 3 years later, she offered me a place in her new choir, blind, not knowing how we’d figure it out. She assured me that it wasn’t a strict choir, that some women need to sit for the concert, that it would be fine, we’d figure it out.

So thanks to L, I joined the choir. And the director thought I’m good enough to grant me the solo.

All the techniques she taught me all those years ago came right back. I sit up ttall in my seat to allow for diaphragm work. When she’s working on parts with another voice, I slouch back, but as soon as I hear ok everyone, I snap up at attention ready to sing. L said last night when the director said ok seconds, I snapped into position and the director saw me and said I meant sopranos, and I relaxed again lol!

I didn’t even mean to go into writing about this magnificent woman in this post, but my feelings overwhelmed me after writing about the solo, and it just kinda happened.

When I think about the past, and all my contempt towards religion, I think about her faith. Her undaunted faith, a faith she never ever pushed. And now that I’ve found my own undefined faith in something bigger than me, I think about those few persons of faith from all those years ago, who planted a seed in me,a see that would one day save my life, when I needed to rely on something other than myself, to pull me out of the gutter and go on living. And this woman gets a lot of credit for that.

She not only helped me find my voice, she helped develop me into the woman I would some day become, a woman I love, a woman I am proud of, a woman who can confidently audition for a solo, not the timid voiced little girl I used to be.

Haha I was just thinking she deserves her own label, and what would that be? I have to make it something to do with Mickey Mouse, because in choir we knew, if she was wearing the Mickey Mouse shirt, she meant business, and we best be on our best behavior. Hmmm, I’ll need to think about this label 🙂

I love you Miss K, and oh here come the water works. I made it through this whole post without crying until now 🙂

Ok, I really don’t know what to label her as. We never called her Miss K, but you know how I am about trying not to use names. I’m thinking about either Miss K or Miss Mickey hehe. Hmmm. I want to tell her all these things, but would I find the words in person or on the phone? Maybe I’ll send her a link to this post. Yeah. I think I’ll do that. After the concert when she’s got time to relax.

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Filed under accomplishment, Choir, faith, gratitude, Miss K, misty eyes, mom, NaBloPoMo 2009, quirky words, silly girl, sobriety