Category Archives: accomplishment

Tampa Bay Trip – Day One

I have a big top secret writing project planned but I have so many blog posts hanging over my head that I can’t focus on the big one. It’s silly right? Nothing says I need to post here at all but The Roof was my first writing project so I feel beholden to it somehow. So how does one catch up when so behind? One post at a time. Or one win at a time, in the Rays’ case. So I’m starting with day one of the Florida trip that took place forever ago.

So much preparation went in to this trip and not just on my part. So many people played a part in this once in a lifetime dream come true. There were the donors who made the trip completely financially stress free, there were friends planning transportation, there were groceries bought for my hotel room, every need I could have possibly had was met. So the day I left Tucson, March 29, was full of excitement, not stress. I had complete trust and faith in the people I was turning my life over to for a week. Did I mention I had never met any of these people in person? People were astounded when I told them I was flying by myself to a state I’d never been to and people I’d never met. As more of the story of how these people made the trip possible came out, my joy spread like wildfire. I had one paratransit driver say he couldn’t wait to tell his wife the story. Another driver shared a story about strangers helping her family after a tragic death. Everywhere I went, there were stories of the good in people. I couldn’t wait to get on the plane!

My flight was scheduled to leave Tucson about 11am. We got to the airport around 9:30 and I quickly realized Saturdays are not the day to travel. The Tucson airport is generally pretty quiet, a rather lazy airport. Not the day I left. I was so nervous that when we got to the ticket counter my hands were shaking as I handed the ticket agent my ID. “Why am I so nervous?” I asked B.

“You’re excited,” he said knowingly.

The ticket agent complimented my manicure. I had gotten my first ever shellack manicure in blue for my Rays. My ring fingernails were covered in glitter as an accent. It was so fun getting pampered in the week before the trip!

There was a long line at security. I just wanted to get on the plane so I could finally relax. As we reached the TSA agents a deep voice told us to go to him. I can’t remember what he asked me to do, oh I remember. Not everyone has to remove there shoes these days. He asked me to remove my shoes and I jokingly said, “is it because I’m blind?” He said yes so matter of factly that my mouth dropped open and finally he laughed and assured me I wasn’t being singled out. I like joking TSA agents. People are so boring when they’re serious all the time.

We finally got through security. B was allowed to come with me to the gate. It was so crowded that there wasn’t anywhere to sit so I plopped on the floor by Jayden and checked in on Foursquare.

– Aside –

I used to hate Foursquare so much that I had any mention of it muted in my Twitter client. People constantly shared every single place they ever visited. Why? Why do I need to know you’re getting gas at the Chevron? One day I was reading twitter on my iPhone where I had no mute filters set up and someone checked in at their child’s school! SeriouslY?

– End aside –

I wanted a good record of all the places I visited on the trip and Foursquare came in really handy for that. Not only was it great for my memories, my friends in Florida could track me as I came to them. I shared everything on Twitter and Facebook. It’s so much faster then sending texts to let everyone know you’ve arrived safely.

I felt so bad for Jayden since he couldn’t eat or drink the day we travelled. I gave him a small piece of cookie (dog biscuit) as we waited to board. We didn’t wait long. Soon it was announced that people with small children and disabilities were being pre-boarded so B kissed me goodbye, handed my carry-on suitcase to the helper and I was on my way! Weeeee!

As Jayden followed the helper through the jetway I was told it was a full flight. I hate those words haha. Full flight means they won’t be able to clear the seat next to us so Jayden will have to stay all scrunched up. I always get the bulkhead seat so there’s a little more leg room. We sit on the window so I can keep my leg position such that Jayden can curl up nicely between my leg and the window.

the helper handed me over to a flight attendant and she helped us to our seat. My carry-on was stowed and I got us settled as the plane began to fill up. I had bought a mini messenger bag that I could sling across my body in the hopes that they would let me keep that on me. The last time I flew, I used the hip pack I got from Guide Dogs so I could keep my phone and gum and stuff on me since there’s no under the seat space in bulkhead. Last time I flew however,I had gone to visit Chupa in Colorado and when we stopped for coffee after we left the airport, I was mortified to walk into Starbucks with my hip pack. It was a good laugh haha! I’m not a very vain person but something about a hip pack, you know?

they let me keep my messenger bag so I was all set for the flight with gum, Advil, granola bars and Jayden’s cookies. Let’s goooooo!

The seats next to me were empty for so long I started to feel hopeful but at the last minute a couple sat down next to me. The husband took the aisle seat and the wife wasn’t very vocal. She also had an incredibly smelly sandwich. As the plane taxied and started picking up speed she said, “I love this part!” I agreed and thrilled as the engines got louder and the moment of liftoff was felt as my back was pushed into the seat. Airborne! On my way!

(I’m so glad all the memories are coming back to me so vividly. I did not plan on waiting so long to write about the trip.)

I just got distracted by Mariah Carey singing Vision of Love.

As soon as we were allowed to use our electronics I got my iPad out and settled in to listen to “Code Zero” by Jonathan Maberry. Audio books are so great at passing time. Before I knew it we were making our final approach into Dallas. I thought about my friends Amanda and Taylor. I was so close to them!

When we landed and could come out of airplane mode I checked in on Foursquare and was told the place was swarming. Little did I know just how many flights came in and out of that airport!

We waited until everyone got off the plane and then a guy came to help us off. he got my carry-on and as we emerged from the jetway he asked if I wanted to ride on the cart that was at the gate. Remembering how much walking was involved at the Denver airport, I gratefully said yes. Jayden and I got on the cart and I grinned as the air hit my face. Inside. Air on my face inside. I reached down and touched Jayden’s head and could feel him trying to look at everything. There were so many passing sounds and smells. Snippets of conversation , the rolling of suitcases, food areas, the driver calmly making the cart’s presence known. We drove. And drove. And drove and soon the enormity of the airport dawned on me and my gratitude for the cart was overwhelming. Finally we were nearing the gate and I asked the driver if a restroom was near the gate. He stopped right outside the ladies room and waited for me to take me to the gate. Such service!

I found a seat and then remembered I liked to check in at the gate desk just to make sure Jayden and I were visible. I started heading in the direction of where I heard airport staff and a man asked if he could help us as I tried to drag my carry-on behind me. He was so nice! He helped us to the counter and back to a seat and then we sat and talked while I waited to board. Conversation began with questions about Jayden and where we were heading. I asked if he lived in Tampa since that was where the flight was going and he explained that he was hoping to get a standby flight and had stopped at that terminal to rest. that’s how huge this airport its! I can’t remember where he was traveling from but he was waiting on the last leg of a long journey. I want to say maybe he had been in South Africa doing church work. Wow. Just wow. He was waiting to get home. We talked a bit about the travel and he asked for more details about my trip of a lifetime. I asked if he had Twitter and he said he did, his son made him get an account but he didn’t use it often. I told him about the #RoToTrop hashtag and he said he would look it up. I wonder if he did!

Finally it was time to board again and I felt a bump of excitement. One more flight and I’d be there!

It was yet another full flight but the couple next to me were nice. I finished “Code Zero” and tried to hide my tears at one point. Joe Ledger books aren’t supposed to make me cry, Jonathan Maberry! *Shakes fist*

I decided to listen to some Josh Groban for the last bit of the flight and at one point Jayden moved so I bent to touch him and the music stopped. What? I took the headphones out and had volume. I tried the headphones on my iPhone and they worked. What the heck? Fine, I’ll listen to Josh on my iPhone. Crap. No I won’t. I had taken off all my music so I’d have plenty of room for media on the trip. Hmmm. I checked the audio books I keep on my phone for safe keeping. Old iTunes downloads that I got before I had Audible. Ah, “Silence of the Lambs”. That’s good. Are you about a size fourteen? Oh good good. Precious?

As we made our final approach into Tampa I couldn’t help it, I squealed with delight. “I’m so excited, you guys!” I said to my seat mates. I explained why and the man said, “Ah, I thought that was a Rays shirt you’re wearing.) this puzzled me because while he was correct, I was waring my Stripes for Archer shirt and I didn’t think it said Rays anywhere on it. I later confirmed this so the man had to know about the fan club! I was already among friends!

Ohmigod I’m in Tampa, I thought as the plane landed. I checked in on Foursquare and checked text messages. Manda had left a text saying they would be where the train stops, whatever that meant. Oh boy, another huge airport?

I not so patiently waited for everyone to get off the plane and finally my helper came for me and I was off. Ohmigod! We did indeed have to ride a train. It wasn’t far from the gate and suddenly we were getting off the train and I heard screaming and shouting and a very clear, “there she is!” Jayden had never met these people but he seemed to know they were friends and he was pulling pulling pulling towards them as my helper and I followed with my carry-on and then there were arms around me and laughing and Jayden was beside himself excited and I was meeting Manda, Davis and Tina. With all the commotion and noise we were making you’d have thought a lot more than three people had come to get me haha! Finally we calmed down and made our way towards baggage claim. I was in desperate need of coffee since I limit my fluids when traveling. I’d had a cup of water on each flight and that was it. Manda said she was pretty sure there was a Starbucks in the airport but in the end we decided to hit a drive thru on the way to St. Petersburg. I just wanted to get my suitcase and take care of my boy. Davis ran ahead to look for my suitcase but came back and told us it wasn’t there. Everyone else had come and gone so I felt a nudge of panic. We went to the baggage claim office and my claim ticket was checked and it showed that my suitcase had arrived. Just then some more luggage got to the area and yes! I had all of Jayden’s thinks with me in my carry-on as well as all the Snickerdoodle cookies I had baked the day before so I had the important stuff, but I was happy to have all my clothes haha.

We made our way outside and oh the humidity! I was warm from all the activity and when we hit the humidity I was instantly covered in sweat. We found a place for Jayden to pee, on this raised shrubbery thing that was not ideal. I was laughing at how hot I was, fanning myself with my shirt and they all laughed and said they were wearing sweaters. Are you crazy! It had rained all day and was like sixty degrees. Oh brrr haha! It was so humid because of the rain.

After relieving Jayden we made our way to the #RoToTrop Mobile, otherwise known as Davis’ SUV. He had shoe polished the hash tag on the back window. I got into my cary-on to get into Jayden’s food but I could not find the travel bowl I had brought with me. I’m usually good at remembering where I packed stuff but I could not find it. They all tried to think of what to put the food in and Davis lamented the fact that he’d had the car detailed. No loose trash to the rescue. Then a lightbulb went on over Manda’s head and she ran to her spot in the car. “Frisbee!” she shouted.

“Where did you find a frisbee in there?” Davis wondered.

turns out Manda had gone to a charity bowling event that day held by David Price and frisbees were part of the swag. It was perfect! Jayden happily ate and we both chugged water.

Finally we got settled in the car and set out to find Starbucks. There was a lot of laughing and I dropped an f-bomb and smacked my hands over my mouth. I have a sailor mouth but that rarely comes out on my blog or Twitter. Everyone laughed and started dropping their own f-bombs which made us laugh some more. It was good times! Oh and I got my Starbucks so the caffeine deprivation was over.

We got to the hotel on Treasure Island near where Manda lives and checked in. The room was in a great location. Jayden and I wouldn’t have to go far to get to some sand where he could relieve. I started calling it his litter box haha. They all carried in groceries! Gatorade and Pringles and bananas oh my! They are too sweet! Oh and lots of bottled water. There was a mini kitchen in the room. After a bit Davis and Tina left and Manda and I hung out as I started to settle into my room. There were two double beds which was nice since the second bed held my suitcases. There was a small table with two chairs, a dresser with a TV on it, and the little kitchen. It was cute! The table was perfect for my electronics.

We decided to order pizza and oh man was it delicious! I ate a ton which was good because I couldn’t eat much the rest of the trip. nerves, man!

We sat up and talked forever, took Jayden out and walked down to the ocean. That’s how close my room was to the water! Actually we didn’t get all the way to the water because Jayden did not want to walk anymore. We turned around and made our way back and Jayden left a present haha. No wonder he didn’t want to walk anymore! We picked it up and kept going. Manda freaked me out for a second when she said something like, “now if I can just figure out where the hotel is.” Wha! Turns out it’s really really dark on that beach at night. You aren’t even supposed to be out that far that late. Oops! Did you know there are birds that chirp at night? The sounds were so cool! the distant waves and the night birds. Awesome!

We got back and Manda left. Her house was within walking distance of the hotel. I got ready for bed, spent some time on Twitter, then curled up with Jayden and listened to my audio book. Jayden loved that bed haha! He doesn’t sleep in bed with me at home. He ended up taking up most of the bed himself haha!

So that was day one! My arms are just a tad sore from all the typing.

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Filed under #RoToTrop, accomplishment, apple Inc, Audio books, baseball, coffeeholic, fellowship, gratitude, iPhone, Jayden, jayden quirks, music, num num food, relieving, silly girl, twitter me this, working dog

Baking Blind Part 1 – Measuring

I decided to write some posts on how I bake blind. I asked on Twitter if anyone had any questions and the only response I got was from Davis:

@newspaper_man @Raynaadi yes…are you nuts? lol 🙂 i’ll think of something serious soon.

Davis is sighted and has always expressed interest when I tweet about cooking and such. Honestly, when people are impressed by something I do, it eggs me on and pushes me towards trying progressively harder things. I often think back on when I was first blind and my friend had to microwave my frozen tamales for me because my microwave wasn’t yet tactilly marked. Oh, how far I’ve come.

One of the classes I took at the blind center when I began my “blind education” as I used to refer to it, was basic cooking. We learned how to safely use a knife to cut, how to use hot things without burning ourselves, basically just how to do the things we used to do but this time without sight. We were given the recipes of the things we made in class and a friend of mine came over one day so we could make the stuffed mushrooms. Delicious! I had her put them in the oven though. I still wasn’t comfortable with that.

I think the stuffed mushrooms were probably the most complicated of the recipes. We made this awesome fruit dip, french toast, a microwave egg thing, different meats on the George Foreman grill, all with safety in mind.

When I decided a few months back to tackle baking, I combined what I knew about baking from Mom back in my sighted teenhood and added things I learned from the blind center. Practice began to make perfect and several batches (and another pant size up) later, I’ve come up with a system that works pretty well for me.

I was talking to my friend Chupa on the phone yesterday and we got around to talking about my desire to write baking posts. She laughed and said she almost suggested I write about baking when I asked for blog ideas on Twitter to help during NaBloPoMo. No one seemed to have any ideas in the Twitterverse haha. Anyway, on the phone she asked me how I measure things. So that’s what I’ll answer today.

Before I do anything, I move my coffee maker and paper towels off the largest part of my counters and wipe the entire surface down. Like a painter with a blank slate, I have to begin with a clean surface and tidy kitchen.

I had forgotten a lot of things about baking. I noticed this when I started again. I couldn’t remember if a measure of baking soda was heaping or level. Twitter helped a lot to refresh my memory, thanks bakers! It all came back to me. Baking is pretty precise in the measurements of things like baking soda/powder and flour. Those are the base ingredients that make a cookie a cookie or a cake a cake. Most recipes will call for whisking together all your dry ingredients in a bowl to be added later, which is nice because I like to measure all the dry stuff before my countertop gets wet. Measuring my flour etc first allows me to put the bowl away from the sink and any wet mess that happens.

The blind center gave us a handy tip for measuring small amounts of liquids and I’ve carried this tip over to my small amounts of dry ingredients. I use aluminum measuring spoons bent into miniature soup ladles. Wow, Voiceover can’t pronounce the plural of ladle haha!

We were taught to pour liquids into a dish so we could ladle out the proper amount. Vanilla extract for example. In class, we poured dry ingredients over the ladle, holding it over a bowl, and leveled off with the flat of a knife. We used a funnel to put the ingredient back into the jar.

I adapted this technique to fit my preference though. Instead of putting the dry ingredients back after measuring, I just took them all out of their original packaging.

I am my Gamma’s granddaughter. I save plastic containers. Small margarine container? This might come in handy. Cottage cheese container etc etc. So now my cinnamon and cream of tarter live in butter plastics (as I call all plastic containers). My baking soda is in a cottage cheese plastic. Oh I also keep some salt in a butter plastic. I keep that on top of the baking soda plastic so I don’t mistake it for cream of tarter. Ew! This makes it all super easy to just dip my ladle measure into the powder and level off with the flat of a knife.

To level I just hold the ladle over the container and run the flat side of a butter knife along the handle until I feel the spoon part and then I just run it across and the excess falls back into the plastic. Now I have a perfectly level ladle of the powder the recipe is calling for.

Back to the vanilla, I leave that in its original bottle. I have these little cups that came with my mom’s Corell dishes way back in the seventies haha! All the dishes are white with this green trim of flowers all around the edges. I don’t think I’ll ever use any other dishes. Anyway, one of the little cups has a pour spout on it. So I pour some vanilla into that cup and ladle the called for measurement into another dish. Then I slowly pour the vanilla back into the bottle. I do this over the sink in case I drip.

I jumped ahead a bit since I always do the vanilla and eggs after I’ve measured all my dry stuff, including flour and sugars. For those bigger amounts, I do it the same way I did when Mom taught me all those years ago. I still use her Tupperware measuring cups! They stack into each other nicely so it’s easy to feel the ascending order. I couldn’t remember what was what though so I did Facetime with Carol and she read what was what on the cup, wrote it down on her end, and then I typed the measurements into a text document. Only problem was, I kept having to check the document when a recipe called for something other than a 1/4 cup or 1 cup haha! Just the other day I was like ok I need to memorize these. There’s only six of them. Yes, I should just be able to think of them in terms of fractions and how they grow larger, but my brain doesn’t work that way. So now I just think to myself,4,3,2,3,4,1. That translates to 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4 and 1 cup. That’s just what works for me.

So Mom taught me to put my cup on a plate and then add what I’m measuring to the cup, making it nice and heaping. Then I take the flat of the knife again and level off the cup, the plate catching the excess. I keep my ingredients in containers with openings wide enough to easily pour the excess back in. I use the same plate for all my ingredients, just making sure it stays dry. Flour is done first since I measure the other ingredients it’s usually mixed with first, like baking soda and salt and such. Granulated and brown sugars are usually mixed together so I do my brown sugar last since it’s stickier.

Recipes almost always call for your brown sugar to be packed so there’s an extra step when measuring it. I use a large soup spoon and after every scoop of brown sugar I add to my cup, I use the round side of the spoon to pack it into the cup. I don’t level the brown sugar, just scoop and pack until it’s at the top.

I think that pretty much wraps up the measuring part of baking blind. My rule of thumb is, baking soda/powder and flour should be measured precisely as the recipe says. Ingredients like cinnamon and salt and even the sugars can be tweaked a bit based on taste. Oh chunky ingredients like oats and raisins and chocolate chips and nuts (yummmm) I measure in the specified cup but they’re usually slightly heaping, especially raisins.

Who’s hungry? I am. If you have any questions about measuring, just leave a comment. If you’re curious how I do other parts of the baking process blind, please leave a comment. Also, if you have a different way of doing any of this, I’m curious to know! These are all just ways I’ve learned or adapted to suit me.

Oh last thing. Mom taught me to wash my hands before starting a thing and never to touch my face or hair or clothing with my clean hands. I am a stickler about this especially now that my hands are my eyes and I touch everything. Good hygiene in the kitchen is important to me, so if you ever eat any of my baked goods, rest assured nothing except ingredients will be inside haha! I don’t go so far as to wear a hair net but my hair is always pulled back. Ew, hairy cookies!

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blind tips, Gamma, mom, NaBloPoMo 2013, num num food, twitter me this, Voiceover

M-O-O-N, That Spells I Can’t Think of a Title

This morning I had to moderate a spam comment that slipped through my filters. This made me realize just how neglected my blog has been when I had to log in to WordPress to spam the comment. When I opened my Twitter client I tweeted that thought and wondered if maybe I would write a post today. And look what I’m doing!

It’s not really a surprise to me that I’m writing a post. My baseball season is over. Baseball itself isn’t over but to me it is since my beloved Rays were knocked out in the first round AGAIN. I almost rather it had been to the Texas Rangers again and not the team that must not be named. Anyway, it seems that when baseball is over my mind frees up or something. I should look back at previous Octobers and see if the posting increased haha!

Next month is NaBloPoMo so I’ll begin posting daily then. Perhaps posting now is a way to begin warming up. I have TONS of book posts to write. I mean TONS. Audible started this daily deal thing. An audio book a day at a ridiculously low price. I started keeping a tally, not allowing myself to spend any more than I was on their buy three credits for the price of two deal that I was partaking in every month. I had to set a limit for myself or God only knows how much I’d spend on the daily deals. My tally resets when I get my monthly credits. This credit period I got ten books for the price of two credits. I’d say that’s a pretty awesome deal!

These are good books their offering, too. When they introduced the daily deal they said something like, we hope you’ll take a chance on a book you might not have before. I most certainly have done just that. So yeah, needless to say there are a lot of book posts I have yet to write. I’m reading totally freely now that I have an abundant supply and don’t have to limit myself. I’ll also finally be signing up for books for the blind now that they’ve gotten current and have an iOS app. Though I still like the “normalcy” of buying books and collecting. Call it something I don’t want to give up from my sighted days?

Jayden is fine and we’re both excited that the weather is cooling off. Summer hibernation is leaving! Yay! I had a really really really bad summer. My health took a turn this year with regards to weather and it was not fun. It was getting nearly impossible to control my pain. I managed to push through until monsoons ended but something will have to be done before next summer. I’m just glad I’m on the other side of it and now it’s time to get back to being active again.

I’ve been doing quite a lot of baking. I don’t know what started it but one day I was like, I want home baked cookies. My mom and I always had stuff on hand to bake cookies when we felt like it and I realized I didn’t have any of that anymore. I hit Amazon. My first batch of Ghirardelli chocolate chip cookies didn’t come out all that great haha. Mom and I always made the recipe on the back of a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. B had picked up the milk chocolate. Good, but not right. It was a good thing I made that first batch while B was home because I did the old sighted thing of not actually putting ON the oven mitts, just kind of holding them. My thumb touched the rack and I dropped the mitt. In the oven. Yeah…lesson learned haha!

I’ve since made several different kinds of cookies. Mom and I always loved snicker doodles so I looked up some recipes online. I decided on this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. They are delicious! Even B ate them and he’s the pickiest eater on the planet. Anyway, I’ve since tried Sally’s peanut butter cookies and OMG YUM! I think those are my favorite so far because they satisfy the sweet tooth and I can’t eat many because peanut butter has protein and protein fills you up. I ate the last one yesterday so I might need to bake some more today. *grin*

I had also made some oatmeal raisin cookies since my friend Erik said those are his favorite. The recipe I found wasn’t one of Sally’s though. They were good, but I’m going to try one of Sally’s. She’s my new favorite person.

Oh, shhh don’t tell, but I gave Jayden a tiny piece of peanut butter cookie. That’s the first time I have ever done that but he LOVES peanut butter haha!

My friend Carol says she’s developing a doughnut instead of a muffin top so I’ve started saying I’m developing a cookie. Yeah…really need to incorporate exercise back in if I’m to keep up the baking.

Exercise hit a huge snag over the summer of misery. The zombie runs I love so much had gotten downright painful. Jogging around the house is my only option and it was killing my knees. I want to get a little trampoline to jog in place on. I really think that could do the trick. That’s no excuse for not doing TRX or Pilates but I was already in so much pain I didn’t want to add even the good pain of exercise. Time to ease back in.

Ok, I think this has been a decent update for my one reader who hasn’t left hahah! Kidding kidding. I’m fairly certain the posting will increase big time now that my Rays have begun their off season. *sob*

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, Amazon, Audio books, baseball, blind blunders, Jayden, mom, monsoons, num num food, plugs, spoons, treat for me, twitter me this, weather, workouts

Zombies Are Good For Your Health

As of the first of the year, my awesome gym situation at the blind center ended. It’s a long story, basically the hours changed and it didn’t work for me anymore. I had decided I would join a gym and was going to wait until February for the resolution rush to die down before I picked a gym and signed my life and soul away in a contract. My apartments have a little fitness room but it only works for me this time of year because in the summer, it’s way too hot to walk there and the room isn’t cool enough.

While I waited for February to roll around, I decided I’d do my TRX for strength training and dance for cardio. I get so bored with dance though. I don’t know enough moves haha! I decided to try this app I’d been hearing a lot about on Twitter. It had also been posted about at AppleVis so I knew it was mostly accessible. I remember reading something about the supplies part of the game not being accessible, but I just wanted the exercise part. I wanted to run from zombies.

Um, what? Did I read that right? Zombies?

You read that right. It’s an app called Zombies, run! and I absolutely love it! When I first started hearing about the app I didn’t think I could play it because I can’t go running outside and I have no treadmill but I started seeing other blind people talking about running around in their apartments or even just running in place. The more I heard about the app the more I wanted it and it has quickly become my favorite app aside from Fleksy.

Zombies, run! is basically an audio game. You can select the length of your missions, about thirty minutes or about an hour, you select your music playlists, choose whether you want it to shuffle or not, decide if you want to enable zombie chases, start your mission and begin pumping those legs.

The first story mission, (choose this mode to listen to a developing story you’re a part of with every run) starts with you riding in a helicopter. You are going to be dropped into a settlement where survivors of the zombie apocalypse need your help. Unfortunately your helicopter doesn’t quite make it and you have to run if you’re going to get to the settlement and safety. There is a man talking into your headphones, saying he can see you but he’s not sure you can hear him. I literally waved my arms above my head hahahaa!

EAch mission develops the story from there and you get to know the characters as you run each time. When the mission is over, radio mode is enabled and your music keeps playing along with fun voice clips. I do my long stretching sessions to radio mode. I love it!

Ok, wrote all that yesterday and now I’m writing tonight after doing a zombie run this morning. I jotted down some notes after today’s run so I wouldn’t forget. I finally got the hang of the zombie chases. For whatever reason my first several runs did not include any zombie chases even though I had GPS enabled. Then all of the sudden a few runs ago, I had a zombie chase, but I was caught even though I pumped my legs like crazy. To describe it exactly, I pretty much reenacted the Maniac scene in Flashdance. If you’ve never seen that movie, I’m sorry.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to read tutorials which I did not too long ago. I should have from the start. Oh well haha! I learned that when the zombie chase starts, your pace needs to pick up for up to a minute. Oh! So today I had two zombie chases and I evaded the mobs both times. Go me!

I also tried something new today. If you’re not blind, I’m sorry. If you are blind, chances are you have a white cane. This worked perfectly today to keep me running in one spot. I get the best results by mimicking running as best I can in one place in my apartment. It also happens to be right under an air vent. The problem was, I was drifting and bumping the walls if I didn’t hang on to a wall. But that seemed to constrict my movements. So today I jammed my white cane in the corner where the floor and wall meet and it worked like a charm! I was able to still pump the arm that held the cane but I didn’t drift and bump the walls.

Today I had to wonder if other runners get so into the game. I’ve really gotten in to the character of Runner 5. That’s who you are as a player. I wave at the guys when they say stuff, today I talked to them saying things like, “I’ll get that package!” Then I laugh at myself and think, I’d never have this much fun if I was doing this at the gym or on the streets. Then after the run was done and I was stretching while I took off my knee braces and sneakers, I was imagining the other inhabitants of Able Township walking by and patting my back since I had just returned from a mission with a very important box. I imagined that they all knew by now that I can’t really talk when I get back from a mission because I must cool down and stretch and stuff. Is it the goofy writer in me?

I really enjoyed radio mode today as I stretched. Jack and Sam I believe their names are, and today Janine got some talk time in which was funny. I just love radio mode! I have a playlist I created called Zombies Run that I have selected and Sam and Jack will talk a bit and then say they’ll play a song, so it’s like they’ve selected the songs you’ve selected. Today they said something like, this may or not be a Canadian we play next and I wanted so badly for one of the Canadian artists I have in the playlist to play, but alas, twas Abba.

Ok, That’s all I have for now. I adore this app! Oh, random funny from today, as the computer voice told me which supplies I picked up, “crutches” sounded an awful lot like “crotches”. Hahaha! Just imagine a robot computer voice saying, “collected too pairs of crotches”. Hmmm. Zombie crotches?

Oh wait! I can’t end this yet because I forgot the best part. The developers are working on Zombies, run! 2 and guess what? it’s going to be completely accessible. Do you know how excited I was to find out about this the other day? I’ve been able to manage supplies on the website which I found out after I got a mission that couldn’t be unlocked because I hadn’t supplied the hospital. I asked the @ZombiesRunGame Twitter account if there was some way around this and I got an answer immediately, that it should work on the website and sure enough it did. But in the next version of the game, the developers are making the supplies part of the phone app accessible. Yay! I adore developers who care! Needless to say that with my TRX and this app, I won’t be signing away my first born child to a gym. Yay!

Ok this turned into a monster post. Or rather a zombie post. Ba dum bum, ching!

*Addendum* this just in, click here to read about how Zombies,run! was born.

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Filed under accessibility, accomplishment, blind tips, cool product, funnies, gratitude, iPhone, music, plugs, silly girl, twitter me this, white cane, workouts

Doggy Diaries – Together Three Years

Today is three years since I was matched with Jayden! I just can’t believe it. It feels like last month that I was given the perfect dog to be my guide and companion in this chapter of my life. I love this dog so much! He’s curled up on the couch beside me. I think I wore him out a bit with all the spoiling hehe! He went on a run around the house earlier when I asked if he wanted a banana, making B and me laugh. He has added so much to our life!

Every anniversary I look back on the writing from Dog Day. I’m so glad I have it! I’ll paste the first two here and then link to the third. All of the writing from that day is raw and unedited.

***

Today is dog day! I can’t believe it’s finally here! I got to work with two dogs in training yesterday, just doing some heeling and obedience, and it was the coolest thing.

I’m all over the place in this journal. I just started this one for today even though I haven’t finished the first one I started writing lol. But I just couldn’t finish that one on Dog Day.

Three people got their dogs last nighty. They are retrains who chose the three week retrain class over the two week one. None of them have dogs from GDB, oh wait no one did, I think, yeah. But the other two didn’t. The other two had in home training through another school, and the one has a german shepard who was just getting way too protective. The other person’s dog started getting a soft esophogus. Not sure why the third person had to retire her dog.

Anyway, so at dinner last night, I’m exausted. We had done lots of Juno work and the work with the two dogs and we also did work in downtown San Rafael and it was actually hot. I didn’t prepare because I didn’t realize we’d be doing a long Juno walk, so I got pretty hot. So we got back and actually had an hour and a half free time before dinner, yay! I talked to B and my dad and uncle and was about to get in the shower when Carin called the room phone, awesome! She put up a blog post for me, letting everyone know I ws safe but had no internet. That morning, Barb called. She’s Carin’s best friend in Canada and I’m staying in her old room hehe! So that was great.

AFter phone calls I got in the shower since after dinner was yoga. So I’m sitting there all exausted and one of my table mates says, I’ve got my dog here!

I think he had been bursting to tell me and the other table mate hehehe! Both of us were shocked; we had no idea there was a dog there. So the guy is like yeah! I just got him an hour ago! He told us his name and that he’s a yellow male and we were so happy for him. Then he told us the other two got their dogs. So then I was all excited. I tured to my table mate and was like, that’s us tomorrow! Gary told me we’ll get the dogs before lunch! Gary is a trainer and he’s really cool.

So I eat and we’re talking and then I wanted to check in with the others who got their dogs so I went over to their tables and they told me about their dogs, a black female and another yellow male. Sweet!!

I went back to the room and Called Carol. I didn’t have a lot of time before yoga but I wanted to say hi. So we talked briefly and then I went down for yoga. I wasn’t going to do it because I was sooot tired but I also don’t want shin splints, and my body was hurting. I had packed my work out clothes for yoga, so I might as well, right?

The retrains had to leave their dogs on tie down for class and one of them was like, I don’t know why I’m doing this, I didn’t want to leave my dog already.

Yoga was fab though. Felt great! Then I had to crawl in to my damn hard bed. It’s awful. So now I’m all sre again. And I never sleep to the alarm. I did a little better last night, but still didn’t sleep well at all.

So now it’s 6:23am and breakfast is in a little under an hour. I guess I should get dressed and then wait. After breakfast I think we’re doing more Juno and then we get our dog before lunch. Insert will have a name soon! Holy crap! Ok, I should be able to write while I’m waiting for them to bring me Insert!!

***

We had a lecture on meeting your dog and then the instructors took their sweet time coming to tak to us. they went around the room and gave everyone theier dog’s names. three no four people were ahead of me and there were some funky names, thats for sure. one guy asked if he could change it and then kept talking. they gave another lady her dog’s name and then they got to me.

you will be receiving a yellow labrador male named Jayden. J-a-y-d-e-n.

Wow! Jay jay, jay, jayden. I kept whispering the name. Jayden. Yellow male. Jayden, wow!

Then it was time to go back to our rooms and wait. So Here I am. Waiting. My door is open, I hear a vacuum, people talking, footsteps. I wonder how long I’ll wait? They are taking me to an instructor’s office to meet Jayden. So I just wait. I’m not calling anyone. I thought about texting Carin or calling friends or family or B but I just want this time to myself, to listen, to write. Jayden. I’m not crying yet. I feel a little misty. Will I cry when I meet him? I just heard an instructor say Gary are you eady? I think they’re starting. Who are they taking? I just heard another classmate say his dog’s name.

Oh man. Jayden. Lala. I hear people. Gootsteps. They pssed my room.

I have my leash around my neck and my treat pouch on. Jayden. Jayden. Jayjay. I wonder who won the pool. I get to go look at that soon. I hear them. They are taking the person across from me. Oh my goodness. I think they are going backwardsd which means I might be next. I need Gatorade. Ok that’s better. So glad I have my computer to write down this moment. I’m not recording it. I don’t want to focus on a stupid iPod when I have a Jayden!

La la la. Hmmm. I wonder who his raisers are. Yellow fur will be good in the sun. Good. Oh it’s gonna be Jayden, Spinelli, Timmy and Fi. Hehehe!

Insert is Jayden. I think I got the most normal name hahaha! I love it! It’s pretty quiet out there now. Quiet quiet. Something rolling. Cleaning people maybe. I hear them coming back. I hear her dog, the woman across from me. I might be next. Yep she’s coming back! Oh dear. Am I next? Am I? Am I? He’s walking away. I hear the lady across from me talking to her dog. Oh goodness. I hear an instructor again.

Ok I heard “do you wanna get the next dog ready?” Is that Jayden? Is it? Nerves. Can’t wait! Oh goodness. Where are they. It’s finally hear. Ok now I feel like I might cry. The lady across from me is crying, softly talking to her dog. My hands are trembling. Lump in throat. tears in my eyes. Jayden, yellow lab male, Jayden. Ok crying now. footsteps.

***

And here is the link to the third part. I had been without internet so I was writing and saving documents until I was able to post.

I’ve been thinking about that three weeks at school a lot lately coming up on this anniversary. It is still the hardest and most amazing thing I have ever done in my entire life! Thank you, GDB, for my incredibly awesome yellow mellow guide dog, Jayden!!!! Jaybay, Jayden Bailey, love him so much!

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Filed under accomplishment, anniversary, Doggy Diaries, GDB, gratitude, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, on this date, working dog

Carnival Post – Top Ten

Here is the complete Carnival!

***

It’s the tenth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! Click here to read about what the blog carnival is and click here to read about this round and it’s topic. The ADBC has come full circle in this round, being hosted by the original host, After Gadget.

I have had the ultimate writer’s block but really wanted to submit since I submitted in the first round. I’m just going to write and not try to be organized haha! The topic for this post is “Perfect Ten”. I wracked my brains trying to come up with an idea but my inner creative chick is still sleeping apparently so I’m just going to jump in to some free form and see what comes out. Sometimes writing about Jayden is like trying to express gratitude. I tend to get very flustered when my heart is so full.

Jayden isn’t perfect and nor am I but I always say our match was perfect. Guide Dogs for the Blind was perfect in matching Jayden to me. I can’t imagine anything that is lacking from our partnership. When GDB asked me what I wanted in a dog I had no idea since I grew up with cats. I told them I just needed a chill dog who would be ok when my MS flared up and I needed to rest. I think GDB gave me the most chill dog available haha! He is cool with whatever I need. He loves to relax on the couch with me but when I need him to work he snaps to attention like a soldier. He has gotten so in tune with me that he knows exactly what I need, sometimes before I do. He’ll slow down on walks when he knows I’m tiring. Sometimes I try to speed him up and he disobeys and then I feel my fatigue. He knows before I do; it’s pretty crazy! He really was the perfect match in so many ways. I’m amazed at these schools and how well they do in the matching process.

I never imagined all the added bonuses (non guide work stuff) that would come with a guide dog. Let’s see if I can come up with ten added bonuses:

Good Potassium Numbers

When I was in the hospital when I went blind, my potassium was dangerously low. They gave me a pill and after I saw my doctor upon my release, she ordered a banana a day. That didn’t work out so well because I couldn’t make bananas last long enough; they went bad so quickly. After I got Jayden, I remember his raiser telling me Jay loved bananas. Now my potassium stays in good shape thanks to bananas and orange juice. How could anyone not want to share a banana with a dog who goes crazy when he hears the question, “do you want a banana?” (That link has audio) Oh and orange juice taste even better when it’s a banana chaser!

Tear Soaker Upper

I should have known what a comfort Jayden would be when I’m sad. Heck even my cats have soaked up tears over the years but they don’t hold still like Jayden does. Since Jayden and I have that incredibly strong bond of assistance dog and handler, he knows when I need him to just lay still and let me cry on him. It’s a good thing tears don’t hurt his coat haha!

A Schedule A Dog Makes

One of the hardest parts about going blind and being medically retired was the sudden loss of a schedule. Weekends were no longer anything special since every day was like a weekend. Working folk think this would all be a dream come true but when you’re twenty-nine and suddenly can’t be self supporting, it’s a huge loss of identity. It’s amazing what a schedule will do to add a sense of purpose, at least it did for me. Jayden is on a feeding and relieving schedule very similar to what he had at guide dog school. Working my life around his schedule led me to realize how great schedules can be for adding structure to my otherwise structureless life. I’ve since come up with workout and cleaning schedules that turn my week into a “work week” and allow me to enjoy weekends with B. Amazing how a pee schedule for my guide dog turned my day-to-day life into something more “normal”.

Fitness Lives

When I decided to get a guide dog I knew I’d have to do some work to build up my stamina. I needed to be able to walk a mile since I’m pretty sure that was one of the requirements for acceptance to GDB. Luckily the blind center has a gym and a health and wellness program and my name came up on the waiting list at the same time I decided to apply to GDB. Serendipity? My whole life I’ve wanted to be fit and healthy but it’s hard without guidance and I was never successful. I reached my goal of being prepared for guide dog school but I never stopped with the fitness. It has since become something of an addiction for me and since I no longer can work out at the blind center, I’ve developed a program for myself at home. I’m more fit that I’ve ever been and exercise has been the best form of treatment for the MS. This might be the most important added bonus!

Ex-Smoker

Ok this is easily a tie with the fitness as one of the best added bonuses. Anyone who smokes or used to smoke knows how hard it is to quit. For me it was easier to quit drinking than it was to quit smoking. Jayden became another motivation however, when I thought about what would happen to him if I wasn’t around. I also hated exposing him to that and I’ve now been quit over a year.

Someone To Watch Over

I’ve never wanted children. Ever since I was a teenager I didn’t want children. It’s almost as if something prepared me for my future. It’s not that I can’t have kids now,I’m fully capable, but I wouldn’t have the energy. The MS is definitely my primary disability, not the blindness. However as a woman, it’s in my nature to want to care for something. I worked in therapy about the choice not to have children because even though for years I told myself I didn’t want them, there was still this huge sense of loss when I realized I would never carry a child and rase an adult. Jayden has filled a huge part of that void and that is something I certainly never expected. I knew going into this partnership that Jayden would look to me to fill his needs but I never expected the fulfillment I get out of being that person for him! I take pride when the vet tells me how good his teeth look or when a fellow dog lover tells me how great he looks. Yes, he was raised by another before he came to me, but I’ve continued to mold and shape him and care for him and I think of him as my child. I think most animal owners think of their pets as their kids, I know I always did with my cats, but this goes so much deeper. I never expected my guide dog to fill most of the void left by the child I’ll never have.

Fear Management

The first summer after I went blind we had an insane monsoon season and during one particularly bad storm, I asked B to go into the spare room and get the cat out of there. I can’t remember why I wanted her out. B went to go get her and then I heard shattering glass and the door slam and I started screaming, not sure where B was. The wind had been howling and whistling, sounds I had never heard before. B was ok, he had just come out of the room when the wind blew the window in and caused the door to slam. After that I was terrified of wind. I was afraid I would transfer this fear to my dog so I asked at school what to do about that. I was told to just try and be as cool as possible and make storms fun for my dog. I never imagined how this would cure me of my fear! Now the wind has to be really bad to scare me but I don’t panic like I used to. I just calmly take Jayden with me to a safe spot in the house and “cuddle”. I feel safer and he doesn’t get freaked out. I love this added bonus! That fear of wind was getting debilitating before Jayden came around.

Ultimate Feet Warmer

As I’ve been writing this off and on over the last few hours, Jayden has been in several positions on the couch next to me. While I was writing the last bit, he got off the couch and lay down on my feet. It’s almost like he was saying, “don’t forget to include how much you love it when I lay on your feet!” There is just something so comforting about the weight of him on my feet and nothing is better at warming them! I love it when he does this. The only negative about when your dog is comfortable with some part of him resting on you is that you don’t want to disturb him and therefore don’t move. I’m pretty sure my feet are going to fall asleep haha!

Attitude Adjustment

It’s really hard to stay in a bad mood when you have a goober head constantly cheering you up. I might be feeling depressed and then it’s time for Jayden’s afternoon Kong Wobbler treat. I’ve taken to pronouncing “wobbler” so it sounds very French and you can’t stay in a bad mood when you’re asking your dog if he wants his Wobbler in a high pitched silly French accent. Then when he’s done with it and I ask him to show me and he takes me to where he left it, I get so proud and excited and he gets thrilled to get his reward “cookie”, that I find myself grinning so big my cheeks ache.

Fellowship

When I decided to apply for a guide dog, I told my friend Chupa that I wanted to start a blog to document the process. I jokingly said I could call it Doggy Diaries or something. She said I totally should and my old Blogger blog was born along with the Doggy Diaries category. Before I knew it I was a part of a fellowship of other guide dog handlers and puppy raisers and I felt so apart of the blind community, finally. I felt so alone when I went blind since no one I knew understood what I was going through. There was one woman I spoke with on the phone, a friend of a friend and it was actually her guide dog who was the first guide dog I met. This blog though, led me to the people who helped me feel not so lonely and they came with me on the journey of getting a guide dog. Some of those people are still my closest friends today and I bet some of those people are submitting posts for this very carnival. The fellowship in the guide dog community is certainly one I never in a million years expected when I applied to GDB in September of 2009!

Ok wow, my arms are aching something awful but look, I wrote the post! Haha, and it turned out more organized than I thought it would. I’ll come back and add a link to the complete carnival post when it’s up.

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blog carnival, cats, Doggy Diaries, fellowship, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, monsoons, num num food, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, therapy, weather, working dog, workouts, youtube

Smoke Free One Year

When I was a smoker, I tended to be a bit of a closet smoker. I tried keeping it from my family and you’ll notice if you’re a long time reader here, that I kept it off my blog, too.

I was always ashamed of smoking, especially since my mom died of lung cancer. Smoking is also such an enormous waste of money. I’m happy to say, though still rather embarrassed to admit that I smoked, that I have been smoke free a year today!

I don’t know how many times I tried to quit over the years. I tried the patch, the lozenges, the gum, nothing ever worked. The longest I went was four days. I tried quitting on July 4, 2011 (what better day to get independence from nicotine?) and caved on the seventh over writing stress. I begged B to stop and get me smokes. In my sighted days I tried to quit and one time the urge to drink was so strong I decided to smoke instead.

I knew the last chance for me would be Chantix so I asked my doctor if she thought I could handle the drug. I was afraid of the mental side effects we all hear about and had known someone who wanted to kill herself on the drug. She admitted she already had severe depression before she started Chantix so I figured I’d be ok since I only had depression in spurts. My doctor and I are pretty sure that my murder of the coffee maker about ten months after I quit smoking had a lot to do with the chemical changes in the brain that nicotine causes. It might have been a good idea to go on Lexapro sooner, but hindsight and all that.

So I started Chantix at the end of 2011. My doctor said to pick a quit date and start Chantix a week before that. I didn’t do that though since in the past, quit dates had never worked for me. Not long after starting the medication the urge to smoke became less and less and I would rarely smoke a whole one. Finally I gave my last unopened pack away and finished the ones I had. The next day was the seventh and I haven’t touched a cigarette since!

All my previous attempts at quitting armed me with a lot of knowledge. I knew what my triggers were and I told myself there was no excuse to smoke, none. I made everyone promise to say no to me if I asked them to get me smokes. Being blind in this case was an added bonus since I couldn’t hop in the car though nothing kept me from calling a cab, so I told myself that wasn’t an option.

I armed myself with a new crochet project, made sure I had plenty of audio books, avoided the phone since that was a huge trigger for me, and gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted but for no more than two months.

I told myself I would gain twenty pounds and that was ok. Basically I eliminated every excuse that every smoker has for lighting up. When Gamma fell and broke her hip a month later, the fact that I got through that without picking up a cigarette proved to me that I could get through anything.

I didn’t keep the eating up for two months haha. After I finished the Super Bowl snacks I get every year, I was done with the junk food. I still sucked on hard candy but even those didn’t last long. I developed a taste for flavored coffee creamer though and after I went through a big bottle in five days I realized I had to limit myself on that haha! I rarely have a cup with creamer now.

I did put on that twenty pounds, but the exercising before hand kept my shape pretty much the same. My jeans got too small though. A year later I can fit back into them but they’re still a little snug.

I didn’t stay on Chantix as long as is recommended. It made me incredibly sick to my stomach so after being quit a month I asked my doctor if I could go off it. She said if I thought I could stay off the smokes, to go ahead. I felt pretty confident because I was loving being a non-smoker and loving the money I saved even more.

So that’s my story. I was a smoker and I hated to admit it. Now I’m a non-smoker and I’m damn proud! I just hope I quit in time…I’ll always have that fear now. *Fingers crossed*

PS – The closest post to the day I quit last year was the ninth and I totally lied, saying I had a stomach thing. Um, how bout no? I had started a stop smoking drug that made me sick and I didn’t want to admit it hahahaha!

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Filed under accomplishment, anniversary, coffeeholic, doc, Gamma, gratitude, mental health, mom, on this date, sobriety

My New Home

Less than twenty-four hours ago I made the decision to pack up the Blogger blog and move it over here. Just about everyone else I know has done just that but I had been holding out hope that things would be ok and I could just stay put. That did not happen. At first, I thought the new interface was going to work, since I discovered the switch when I went to publish the post before this one. I always compose in Text Edit and paste, so you can imagine my surprise when I had the new interface.

At first I thought they really had kept accessibility in mind because posting was not a problem. I didn’t look at settings or anything though since a game was on. Last night I decided to check and make sure that CAPTCHA was not enabled on comments. I couldn’t access any settings and that was it, I was done.

So centerroof.com was born! I’m excited and I’ve had a lot of fun doing what I’ve done so far. I’m sure more changes will be made in the near future. Do you have any suggestions?

I would appreciate if you would leave a comment here since I’m not sure how those settings are just yet. I added a subscribe widget and I want to know if it makes you confirm your subscription by email. I also don’t know if it will be set to include part of the post in the emails you get. If so, I will be changing that since I can’t stand that when I subscribe to WordPress blogs. Comment moderation is enabled and there should not be a CAPTCHA but if there is, please let me know. You can also shoot me an email.

I thought I’d feel all sentimental leaving the old place but just like anything else in life, when it’s the right time, it just feels great! Please update your bookmarks and/or blog rolls and such and come with me in this new adventure in blogging!

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Filed under accessibility, accomplishment, CAPTCHA

Fitness Update

I didn’t really know what to write again today and while I had good news at the gym, I didn’t want to brag about the workouts again. However…haha! That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I think a conversation on Twitter inspired the urge to brag.

My target weight since beginning to work out in September of 2009 was 150 because of my height, frame and the muscle weight I would be putting on. At my first weigh in, I was 179.

During my drinking days, my heaviest weight was 225 on my 5’7″ frame. I always carried weight well, but I most definitely showed that weight everywhere. When I sobered up in April of 2005 I dropped down to 180 within a few months. Alcohol is incredibly fattening, especially when you’re a beer drinker like I was and I hated lite beer. The carbs I ingested daily, wow!

I had never been fit. Even when I weighed around 160, I was pudgy and not at all strong, though I looked good at that weight. I was never athletic or in to exercise.

Throughout these last two or so years, I’ve seen moments of weight loss followed my months of holding steady. For the last few months, I’ve held steady at 156.

Today I weighed in at 154!!! I can’t believe I’m now only four pounds away from my target. It’s so exciting! I’ve mentioned countless times here that aside from the weight loss and looking good, I’m amazed at my strength and stamina on good physical days. I’m still plagued by MS fatigue, but exercise has improved my energy levels drastically.

The benefit of taking the weight off as slowly as I have is that I’ve trained my metabolism so even when I go through periods of no exercise, the weight doesn’t come back. I have plenty of muscle for fat burning.

I figured it would be a good idea to blog this milestone so I can keep track, and also maybe to inspire anyone looking to resolve to get fit. My suggestion though? Don’t make it a resolution. I don’t make those. Resolutions are made to be broken. Why not just start today. Set a goal, a target weight and remind yourself that it takes time. Go on, what’s your target weight? Start now. Don’t wait until January first. I started in September two years ago, so December sounds like a good month as well. Make it a Christmas present to yourself. The benefits are far too numerous to list.

I’m so proud of myself I could eat some chocolate. Oh wait, I did that earlier today. I don’t eliminate anything I can have in moderation. I eliminated Cheetos because I found I couldn’t stop eating them hahaha!

Ah, speaking of food, B is making cajun pasta and garlic bread. Yummmmmm!

Oh PS – I must add that I kicked a paralympian’s butt on the TRX. She tried doing the plank/crunch I was doing and it nearly killed her hehehe! And she couldn’t hold the plank as long as I could. Talk about an ego boost!

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Filed under accomplishment, sobriety, twitter me this, workouts

#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