Category Archives: anniversary

Something Special for a Decade?

I was asked earlier in the week if I was doing anything special for my anniversary on Friday. Oh that’s right, it is Friday, isn’t it. My favorite number next to 3 is 424. My sobriety anniversary is the most important anniversary in my life since there’s no way I’d have the life I have today without my sobriety. No way.

Unfortunately the universe decided to make things easy for me and help me remember the date I went blind by letting that happen on my three year sobriety anniversary. I swear, I have bad luck with double anniversaries.

Of course I knew my ten year sobriety date was this month. Of course I know today is special. It just snuck up on me, what can I say? It’s been a great book month, with two books out by two of my favorite authors, the baseball season began, Josh Groban has a new album out next week along with another book by an author I just discovered, my friends got two new snakes, B and I celebrated eight years together, see how easy it was for today to sneak up on me?

I thought about my friend asking if I was doing anything special so to days ago I went looking on Amazon at sobriety medallions since I no longer attend meetings and I’m not gonna be one of “those people” who show up just for the free medallion and cheers and claps on the back and hugs. Do I miss those things? Sure. do I feel the guilt I felt when I first stopped going to meetings and showing the newcomer sobriety is possible? Nope. Ha!

That’s called growth my friends. There are plenty of people able to be constantly available to show the newcomer sobriety is possible. It’s not up to just me to save the world and I can’t be one. And that’s ok. It’s been proven to me time and time again that my life has meaning, my story has meaning, and my friends prove that to me, so much so they made me cry this morning. Ya’ll know who you are, *cough* Twitter people. Twitter people who have become my friends and constant support, who make me laugh harder than anything else ever does, who understand that going blind is not the same as breaking one’s foot.

Oh but back to Amazon. I did buy myself a trinket for today that unfortunately won’t get here until next week since today snuck up on me. It’s a dog tag necklace with, 10 Years and, One Day at a Time on it. Simple, twelve bucks, and I can’t wait to get it. Dog tag necklaces are cool!

A few hours ago I was debating writing a post today since all I’ve done over the last several months is write about my life in that memoir. Would I do anything special today? My washer just beeped. It’s never beeped before. Odd.

So no, I’m not doing anything special today. I’m washing sheets. Josh Groban is singing from the bedroom. I listened to audio this morning of my friends feeding their snakes. I laughed and smiled, and then I cried after feeling a sudden bout of melancholy, thinking over the last ten years. Maybe writing would help, as a friend pointed out. I’ll write a post and title it, A Decade in Review. I’ll write about funny memories, touching memories, I’ll cry and laugh and hope you laugh and cry too. I had a good sob when the feelings of gratitude over my friends overwhelmed me, listened to my book while I ate my cereal and the urge to write a decade in review post fled. That story is in the memoir, not yet complete, not yet close to complete, but it will be there all the same.

Instead, today is a day of reflection and memory and grateful tears, all of which are personal to me on this day of double anniversary.

I’ll do my usual Friday thing, chores and reading and Twittering and I’ll think about the past absolutely insane decade of my life at times, but then I’ll stare into space and listen to the birds and be in today and just feel.

Oh and anxiously await the male and see what my friend sent. I guess I am doing something special. *Happy giggle*

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Filed under anniversary, Audio books, baseball, fellowship, gratitude, laundry, misty eyes, music, sobriety, treat for me, twitter me this

Happy Anniversary to Me!

There is so very much I have to write about, tons of back logged book reviews and of course my incredible trip to St. Petersburg, FL but I’m not beginning any of that today. I am however hoping that writing something today will kickstart (my heart) all the writing I want to get done at some point in the near future.

I just looked back at the archives to see what I wrote last year and I’m disappointed in you, past Ro. Nothing from last year! What? Well this year I forgot my anniversary with Jayden so I guess I can understand why last year I forgot to write about my sobriety and blind anniversaries. I did look back at 2012 though and there’s this post: Sobriety and Blind anniversaries, Changed Plans and Silver Linings

I did notice something today that I wanted to make note of. When I posted on Twitter and Facebook about today being nine years sober, it took me a bit to remember that today is also my blind anniversary. Six years blind now! What stuck out to me about that is that all of the sudden, the blind part of today was no where in focus. All I’ve been thinking about this week was my sobriety. It was literally an afterthought that I went blind six years ago today as well. I find that very cool and definitely a big part of my growth.

Last night I had to do the math to make sure it was indeed going to be nine years. It really blows my mind!

Today has been nice except for the Rays game which was not happy making. Aside from that, I relaxed, chatted with a Facebook friend about sobriety, hung out on Twitter and listened to a panel of local journalists. B came home early after doing some charity type work and needing a shower haha. Long story.

I’ve requested some 5 Guys Burgers and Fries for dinner tonight and I can’t wait. Yummm fries!

Perhaps I should commit to at least a post a day until I’m caught up? that sounds like a plan. Nice! I totally called it that Carly Rae Jepsum or however she spells it was going to make the top ten worst first pitches list haha! Go me!

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, anniversary, baseball, gratitude, Jayden, num num food, on this date, sobriety, twitter me this

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

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

Happy Game 162 Anniversary

Today is the one year anniversary of the “wonderfully improbable” game 162. If you’re a Rays fan, that needs no explanation. I don’t think there’s a single one of us who doesn’t smile at the mention of game 162 and today kinda feels like a holiday. I started feeling it last night when the Rays were on the verge of their eighth straight win to put them two games out of the final wild card spot. It’s all so reminiscent of last year and it’s impossible not to have hope that it could happen again. When Dan Johnson, now a White Sox, came to the plate in the ninth inning last night I held my breath out of fear and respect for what that man can do in a clutch situation. Luckily he just made an out, but a scary out at that. If Matt Joyce hadn’t caught it…

This morning I ran across this highlight montage of this date last year. I had forgotten that it wasn’t just the Rays with the magical night. It was magical around the entire league! As I listened to the highlights, I started feeling emotions well up inside me at the memory and when I heard ‘Safety Dance’ begin to play the tears began to fall as I knew what moment that would be. Dan Johnson would hit a home run to tie the game, and last night I had cringed while Dan Jo, the Great Pumpkin, was at the plate against us. The clips continued and when I heard the electric violins a happy sob escaped my throat as I listened. I remembered last year, listening to the game in the bedroom since it had gone to extras, chatting with my fellow Rays fan friend JB in Boston and tweeting with all my friends in Florida. All the memories came rushing back this morning as I listened to that montage, and then I remembered I have a recording of the radio broadcast of “those six minutes”…
In those six minutes, the Red Sox lost to the Orioles, the Trop finds out and goes nuts, the Rays are tied with the Yankees, at worst the Rays would have a play-in game with the Red Sox but if they won…

And then Dave Wills says, “I’m ready to party lets go…”

Here is what Evan Longoria said about the anniversary when asked about it yesterday before the White Sox game. The way he remembers it is the way I remember it, so many feelings, a jumble of memories really. For me the memory is completely untainted. It is pure bliss. It is unlike anything I remember ever feeling and probably like nothing I will ever feel again.

Until they do it again…

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Filed under anniversary, baseball, evan longoria, fellowship, holiday, matt joyce, misty eyes, on this date, twitter me this, video

Sobriety and Blind anniversaries, Changed Plans and Silver Linings

For me, life is all about the silver linings. If I can’t find a silver lining to most things, I’ll go crazy.

It’s kinda funny how plans change, whether it be life plans or just plans for the day. While I journaled this morning, I remembered how I felt on this date seven years ago, hungover, trembling, terrified, stinky. I wrote about how I felt a little hungover this morning too, though of course not alcohol induced just sleep induced. I often feel dehydrated in the mornings with a touch of a too much sleep headache, but the feeling passes within a half hour of waking, unlike the hold hangovers.

I used to make myself wait until noon to drink a beer, the only thing that would make me feel better, because noon seemed like an acceptable time to drink. Granted, the wait was never that long since I never used to be an early riser anyway.

I love having the ability to wake up these days, rather than simply coming to. I love being able to eat breakfast and drink coffee without risking it all just coming right back up. I’m so grateful I’m not a slave to the alcohol anymore. I hope I can keep remembering how different the feelings are, because as the years pass, those old drinking days get hazier and hazier and I never want to forget why I don’t pick up the bottle. I’ve been sober longer than I drank now and that fact boggles my mind, especially since I never thought I’d make it to age thirty and now I’m thirty-three. I had certainly never planned on having to give up alcohol completely and sometimes I wish I could just have one or two, though I still say, what’s the point in one or two?

The silver lining in not being able to drink even socially? The amazing friends I have now since I got sober. My three closes girls, Carol, Chupa and Georgie, and my “brother” Kevin. I’d never in a million years trade them for the ability to sip champagne on New Year’s Eve. Hahahaha sip champagne? Really? I never sipped anything alcohol in my life!

I also obviously never planned on losing my eyesight on the day that I celebrated three years sober. Talk about crazy. I had taken the day off of work with the intention of relaxing at home and then going to a meeting. Instead, I went to the ER around noon as my vision slowly left over the space of the day. I saw the three year medallion that was brought to me in the hospital just before my eyesight left completely, and I had gazed at B, memorizing his face.

Hey, at least it’s easy to remember the day I went blind since it fell on my favorite date ever, the date I was liberated from the bondage of booze. Silver lining!

You want to know the two biggest silver linings of going blind? If you know me at all, they shouldn’t be hard to guess. My guide dog Jayden and the Tampa Bay Rays.

If I was sighted, I wouldn’t have those things. I definitely wouldn’t have Jayden. I suppose there’s an off chance Evan Longoria could have made me fall in love with the Rays even if I hadn’t gone blind, but I bet I would have just looked at him as B told me the Rays’ story, said, “pretty!” and gone back to doing whatever I used to do sighted.

Because of the Rays, I have an incredible host of friends on Twitter, one of whom just sent me a box with a Rays spring training shirt, the much coveted Game 162 shirt and a Rays cowbell, which was a surprise. The shirts I expected, but not the cowbell. I can’t wait to ring it later during the game!

This morning I had planned on doing laundry and at some point writing this post before the game. Even those plans changed, when Chupa called this morning to wish me happy anniversary. I was not about to cut the conversation short with her just to get the laundry done before it got hot. I know what my priorities are today and those are people, not possessions.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go edit this post and play with my dog a bit before publishing. I have to fight the new Blogger interface, so I need to have some fun first. 😉

Jaaaaaaaaaayden! Need to go outside? Yeah? Want your Wobbler? Ok! (Best silver lining ever. Would I give him up for sight? No way!)

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, anniversary, baseball, coffeeholic, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, sobriety, twitter me this

Doggy Diaries – We’ve Been Together Two Years!

This whole week I’ve kept reminding myself that the seventeenth was the two year anniversary of dog day, and then I forgot for the first part of today haha! It’s been a really crazy month and Jay and I have been stuck in the house because of everything going on with Gamma, not wanting to miss phone calls, stress making me sick, just crazy stuff. So today I was hell bent on getting a walk in since it was time to turn in our new lease so it was a perfect excuse to finally get the courage to not be able to answer the phone in case of updates.

I checked the weather and rain was in the forecast but there was no way to guarantee when. I put my raincoat on that I had gotten for doggy school and we set out. It was chilly and rather brisk, but dry.

Both of us had a spring in our step as we walked briskly. I love flying down the sidewalk with him. It’s so funny on our way back, he slows down. Like nooooo let’s not go hooooooome. So I asked if he wanted a banana, and he picked up his pace.

We came in and I got him all excited asking if he wanted his banana and after we shared it, I realized it was the seventeenth. We took our anniversary walk and I hadn’t even realized it! I wonder what we did last year for our year together. I’ll have to grab the post I wrote. First though, I dug up the dog day posts from school.

I didn’t have internet right away, so I wrote three posts on dog day and saved them as text documents. When I pasted them into the blog, I pasted as is, typos and all, to capture the emotions of it all.

The first post mostly goes into the day before dog day.

I think second post might be my favorite. I sat there in my dorm room typing in a text document, just waiting for them to come get me. I knew Jayden’s name and that he was a yellow lab but that was it. I’m so glad I wrote these memories! Jayden, my Jay Bay, two years already?? Wow.

Haha the third post begins to show how nuts doggy school was. In it I write that he’s eighteen inches tall, but he’s twenty-two inches tall. I also write that he was in the womb when I went blind which is wrong, but he was conceived shortly after I went blind.

Reading that post, I have to wonder if they still have the brand new teams get on the bus and keep their brand new dogs from “melting” and then do a stressful walk in San Rafael. If they do, they should stop haha. I didn’t have that awesome “first walk” with Jayden like so many handlers have talked about. I think all the first timers were drained from dog day on after that. I wonder if they’ve changed that.

Ok now to see what I wrote last year. Haha ok, it’s a pretty similar post. I had also gotten his weight wrong, that’s right. I said the second dog day post was my favorite and mentioned the first walk haha. Last year though, he got to see his friends in the office. This year, they weren’t there. Last year, insurance people came over, today no one came over. So it’s been different days, but he got spoiled just the same hehe! Today he’s had his usual treats, plus an extra biscuit and some peanut butter. Since I finally had some energy and stuff, I’ve been rather hyper and silly with him and when I was working out using my TRX, he thought it was play time which made me laugh a lot. It’s been a good day.

I can’t believe we’ve been together two years now. Where does time go? I can’t wait to go visit Gamma where she’s rehabbing her hip, since he brings her tons of joy, too.

Happy anniversary my Mellow Yellow Jayden Bailey boy!! I love you sooooooo much!

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Filed under anniversary, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, gratitude, Jayden, num num food, on this date, spoons, weather, working dog, workouts, wow

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Dream wagging.

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

7. His reaction to the word, banana.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi blog, remember me?

I finally decided to blog and Blogger is temporarily unavailable. So I’ll blog anyway and save it and hopefully I’ll remember to post it someday. I blame Twitter because I tend to forget I can actually write more than 140 characters. In fact I think I might have forgotten how. I’ve completely neglected any and all writing, which my future self will not be happy about. Do you ever thank your past self for doing something handy? I did that yesterday when my favorite cereal bowl was clean. Thanks, past self. So since I haven’t been documenting my life, my future self is going to be unhappy with me. It’s Twitter’s fault. I’m sticking to that. In fact Twitter just distracted me since I heard Syrinx’s little flute noise. Ah, tweets…

Where do I even start? I wonder if I can access my blog to see where I left off. Ok, I last wrote on the twenty-fourth, my six years sober, three years blind anniversary, and the day Erik arrived. I’ll start there. This post could definitely be quite long, so grab a beer or some coffee and some broccoli.

Erik and I met online thirteen years ago when I sent his roommate a message on ICQ. Remember ICQ? Uh oh! Anyway, Erik responded, since he was on his roommate’s computer for some reason, and we’ve been friends ever since. We would lose touch here and there but we always found each other again. He’s always been on the east coast and I’ve always been in Arizona. He finally made his way out west though, to go work in San Francisco. An old friend of his was getting married in southern California and Erik knew he’d be making his way here to finally hang out with me in person.

We don’t like to say things like, friends in real life, because we are friends in real life even if it was never face-to-face. We’ve been with each other through all the difficult times in our lives, even if it was just over the airwaves.

We were lucky enough that he could stay in a model apartment at my complex. I’m not sure how the visit would have gone if he’d stayed in a hotel with no transportation. The day he arrived, he texted me when he had gotten a cab from the bus station and soon after, Jayden and I set off to meet him.

I wasn’t sure exactly where the model apartment was but I knew it was near the office on the other side of the complex, so Jayden and I walked there and just hung out. It wasn’t too hot. Erik was supposed to arrive at ten that morning, but things were delayed until nearly one. Jayden and I stood there and I listened for cars. Is that one? Yeah but it’s not the cab. Oh is that a car? It went the other way. Finally a car pulled up somewhere to my right and I heard the engine idle and faint voices. “Erik?” I called.

“Hey!” he replied. He thanked the cab driver and came up to me and we were laughing as he gave me a hug. We both just kept saying things like, this is crazy! Holy sh*t! Haha!

After about five minutes of that, it was like we had been face-to-face friends forever. There was no lack of communication, in fact we chattered non stop for the next week.

It was awesome, having a friend right here in the complex. Jayden was loving all the work and his pace was so fast it was like he was a different dog. Erik and I didn’t have much cash to spend so we just cooked food in the apartment, going back to college days with the ramen noodles haha! Erik knew ahead of time that baseball games would continue and he was actually looking forward to experiencing that live, since he’s always getting chat commentary from me during games.

We used to wonder if we’d end up on our computers if we ever hung out in person and sure enough, we did a lot of that. We played favorite youtube videos for each other and he finally got to see Alex at work, typing things in his chat program that I’ve laughed about in the past, so he could hear it too.

It was an epic week, a couple days spent at the pool, though it was pretty windy while he was here which doesn’t make for great pool weather. We went to Saavi so he could see the place I talk about so much, and we went for real Mexican food, which he loved.

Unfortunately I had quite a bit of fatigue while he was here. My body is very used to the routine I have with Jayden, long mornings to wake up and loosen up and the sudden change through me a bit. Erik was totally understanding, since he knew about the fatigues. I just wish it hadn’t happened while he was here, but what can you do?

Ding! Haha, perfect timing Erik. He just signed in to chat. We had several laughs about that noise while he was here.

After he left the following Saturday night, I completely crashed. I made it through Gamma’s on Sunday and just counted down until recovery days. That whole next week is a blur. Actually the whole week he was here and the following week are blurs. Fighting fatigue takes a lot of brain power and I was pretty much in a constant fog.

Jayden took the down time well as always but by the end of the week, I was beginning to get a little stir crazy and couldn’t wait to get back to the gym and routine.

The Saturday a week after the visit, GDB had a luncheon here at Saavi. I was looking forward to it even though I knew it would be interesting with all those other dogs at Saavi. I thought about putting the Gentle Leader on before we got there, but decided to give Jayden the benefit of the doubt. That’s foreshadowing, in case you’re wondering.

Paratransit dropped us off about eleven and the luncheon was starting at eleven-thirty. I’d forgotten there was stuff going on before hand though, for people interested in getting a guide dog. It was a really cool event. I forget what they’re calling it, but they were here doing work with local O & M instructors before the luncheon on Saturday, and Saturday morning they did Juno walks with interested people and even had some puppies in training with them so people could do live dog walks. Very, very cool.

We walked in and immediately I had to control Jayden. He listened at first as we were greeted at the door and Dave was there. But soon another dog was near and Jayden forgot he’s a service dog. I managed to get him into the restroom where we could have a time out. I felt like a mom taking her screaming child away from the public. I put on the Gentle Leader and rand through obedience, hoping to get his focus back. I made it clear I wasn’t happy. He did ok after that, as someone helped us to a seat at a table. Jayden settled down immediately at my side under the table and I was able to relax a little. I started chatting with people around me and then the luncheon started.

We all went around the room introducing ourselves and our dogs. I’m thinking there were about twelve to fifteen teams and then lots of people interested in getting a guide. The people next to me had a six month old baby and I was getting a kick out of listening to his baby talk. So cute! The mom was blind and her husband was sighted and I was intrigued listening to them talking about going out with the baby and the guide dog haha! She was saying that now that the baby is old enough to ride on her back, she can work her dog with the baby. A little later, the dad let me hold the baby and he was just bouncing bouncing bouncing and giggling as I held him. Got my baby fix; he was a dream!

GDB talked about changes and happenings at school and then opened up the floor for questions. It was a very loose and chill event and they gave us all boxed lunches of sandwiches. Even away from campus they fed us well haha!

They gave away some stuff and I got one of the little miniature stuffed guide dogs since I had a dog under three years old. Gamma was the recipient of that, since I’d wanted to get her one at school but never made it to the gift shop.

The event wrapped up forty-five minutes before the email had said it would so I called B to pick me up rather than wait on paratransit for an hour, and then as I tried to call paratransit to cancel the return ride, my phone turned itself off. It’s been doing that lately and I refuse to replace it with anything but an iPhone. That adventure will be a whole other blog post.

I turned the phone back on and it takes awhile to turn on so I was going to make my way to the restroom while it booted. Jayden lost all composure as we tried to walk through the crowd. I was trying to correct him when my field rep popped out of nowhere, just like instructors at school did.

I felt like I was back at school as a brand new team. When I get flustered and tired my first inclination is to cry. Ugh. I felt a little humiliated that I couldn’t control my dog and it brought back all those feelings from school. My field rep was awesome, giving me pointers on how to get Jayden’s focus back, tricks that didn’t even involve corrections or scolding. I wish I had been in a better frame of mind to remember what we did, but it worked like a charm and we made our way into a quiet hallway. I explained that I needed to cancel my ride, that sometimes people don’t and I think it’s inconsiderate, I babbled about my stupid phone dying and that my boyfriend was coming and then my field rep was asking someone in the hall if he knew the number for paratransit so I could use his phone but then my phone was working and I canceled the ride and then B was there and I said buy to the field rep and left. Whew.

I was so exhausted when we got home. It takes so much energy to wrangle a dog who is misbehaving. I was going out to eat with Gamma and my uncle later that night and I didn’t know how I’d manage it. I was near tears all after noon, so exhausted I just couldn’t function.

I somehow managed to get ready and be present for my family and it went great. Jayden was in full redemption mode, knowing he had let me down earlier. I hadn’t been angry at him, just disappointed and embarrassed that it had to happen that way at a GDB event. It was the first time he had ever misbehaved so badly but I can’t blame him. He’s still a young dog and he never gets to socialize with other dogs. Of course he would lose his head. Wouldn’t you? 😉

I went to Gamma’s the next day and then it was back to the gym Monday. This week has been much more like a normal week and I’m finally getting my energy and strength back.

Ever use WD-40 on something and even though you know it’s gonna be awesome, it’s so awesome you wish you had something else squeaky or sticky?

I got a little high using my nose to find the WD-40. I sprayed an aerosol can on a paper towel and sniffed. Nope, that’s Raid. Sprayed another paper towel, yep, that’s WD-40. Note to self: it’s the smaller can.

That was just some randomness as I’m waiting for laundry to dry before continuing this post, which is turning in to something epic. Blogger is still down, and Twitter keeps going over capacity. Coincidence? Ah! Can’t blog! Must type! Twenty tweets later, the thought is out there for the world to see. And yawn.

It’s now Saturday morning. I started this yesterday but got distracted by shiny things. I’m not sure there’s anything left to post in this one anyway. I’ve been playing around on youtube again and yesterday I recorded a demo about how I tweet since I’m blind. Roll the clip. Right at the beginning, I say, “ok” and you can hear Jayden’s tags jingle. He tends to think that word means food when I say it like that haha!

I’m in the processing of uploading two more youtube audio clips of me being a complete dork. I’ll post that later today.

I hope to not neglect the blog for this long again. There’s lots of baseball stuff I want to get down too, but decided to separate that from life updates for people who find my baseball talk boring haha! I check my stat counter and you guys are still coming, looking for new posts, so I’m sorry it’s been so long. Like I said, distracted by shiny things. Carol will know what that’s about.

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Filed under anniversary, baseball, family, fellowship, Gamma, GDB, guide dogs, Jayden, proud geek, random stuff, screen reader, silly girl, spoons, twitter me this, weather, working dog, youtube

6 years sober, 3 years blind, 13 year online friendship becomes face-to-face

Today is six years sober and three years blind, wow! I don’t have time to write but wanted to get this down for the anniversary’s sake. Erik will be here in about two hours. We’ve been online friends for thirteen years and will finally meet face to face today. Awesome!

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Filed under anniversary, fellowship, sobriety