Category Archives: braille

I hope the animal rights people don’t come after me

Ok Natalie this is for you.

Yesterday I did my cliffhanger thing and ended a post saying something really cool was in the works for today, and Natalie wasn’t too happy with me 😉

So when I went blind, I had this cute little 93 Honda Civic, white, moon roof, 5-speed, stereo with detachable face plate. I loved that car. Grandma had bought it for me when I was about 6 months sober, replacing my old 68 Chevy Impala, not the cool kind, the 4 door huge clunker kind.

My little Honda and I went everywhere together and I named her Serenity. I drove that car to Prescott and Phoenix and all over town. So when I went blind, one of the hardest things was not driving that car.

After I accepted that the blindness was permanent, I knew I needed to sell the car. The task was so daunting, as I didn’t want to run an add and have strangers showing up. Georgie looked up the blue book about this time last year, entering in that it would need tires and probably hoeses and such, since it was sitting. Blue book said it was worth $2,300. Grandma had bought it for $4000 in excellent condition.

So the maintenence guy told me he was interested in the car, and he wanted to give me $500 for it. Ha! Yeah, no. So I didn’t sell it to him.

B had driven it when his alternator died, and it was fine, then the battery died, but it was working for him until he got his alternator fixed.

Fast forward to now. I’ve decided to study braille at home now that I know grade 1, because I don’t like having someone else’s schedule be reliant upon mine when I’m having a bad day. So I was talking to Carin in email about how I want to buy a braille writer, and she did her investigatory thing, and found a guy selling his hardly used Perkins braille writer.

Then, B found a note on my car, someone saying she’s interested in the car if I’m selling it, she’ll buy it as is. So I call her and we make plans to meet today.

So that was the cliffhanger deal yesterday. I’m like, whoa! I had been emailing with the brailler guy and told him I wouldn’t be able to buy it until after Christmas, then it was looking like I might just sell the car today. I told her it had been sitting for awhile, she said she’s been saving up money to buy a car for her sister who just got out of a bad marriage, their aunt will help them put work into the car, and she has $700 cash. I’m like, cool. Easy peazy. I can buy that writer, a nice girl gets a car that needs some work, I’m done with the whole thing.

So she comes today with her sister and her mechanic neighbor guy. We’re all standing around, the guy opens the hood, the girls start screaming and running, the guys go OH MY GOD!! and I’m like what! What!! What is it!!??

Pack rat. Huge packrat. They said he looked up, eyes got huge and then he scurried off, leaving his mansion behind in my car.

Everyone is in shock, kinda nervously giggling. B is exclaiming that he’s never seen anything like it. The guy is going, man, thats a house!

He gets a stick and starts poking around and I could hear stuff falling. Falling falling, out of my car. He gets a majority of the crud away and takes a closer look.

Oh man, holy crap, oh geez, come on, oh no not the computer, oh man the clutch lines oooh not that part, damn rat you just had to eat the important stuff, oh where’s that rat I want to shoot him!

The girls are exclaiming, B is laughing, I’m laughing and I say, well, its definitely not worth blue book…

So basically the car is toast. He gets on the phone with another mechanic friend and the mechanic friend tells him to run away. He says donated cars with pack rat damage get ignored and left to rot. Mechanics won’t touch them. Dude here says yeah man, but she really needs this car.

He gets off the phone and tells us what we already knew. Car is toast. Not worth a penny. They still want it though. He says it’ll take a lot of money and a lot of time, but he can make it run again, whereas if I donate it, it’ll sit and rot.

My Serenity wasn’t meant to rot. So I gave them the car.

I was worried about what Grandma would say, so I agonized in calling her. I told her packrats ate the whole car, but they took it anyway. She says, you didn’t get anything for it? I say no. She says, yeah I didn’t think so. Phew. She wasn’t mad.

So, the braille writer will wait until Christmas, and I demolished the poor pack rat’s home. Well, I didn’t demolish it, dude did.

I feel totally fine with it. I thought I’d be sad, seeing it go, because it was kinda the last thing from the old sighted life. But I didn’t feel sad at all. I’m sad the rat killed it, but dude swore he can make it work someday. So hopefully she’ll ride again, and I’m trading her in for 4 legs and a tail 😉


Filed under Adjustment to blindness, braille, desert life, Gamma, guide dogs, humor as coping skill, NaBloPoMo 2009, plugs, spoons

Timmy thinks I should practice

I had the alarm set for 8am so I’d have time to sit around and stuff before getting ready for the day. I fell asleep rather quickly last night and then B came in and didn’t know I was alseep and woke me up, then Fi was scratching at the door to get out, and then I slept again.

This morning Timmy decided to walk on my head. He never does that. Sometimes he’ll cuddle up with me and his purring will make me wake up a little but he’s cozy so I’ll cuddle up with him and pass back out. This morning he decided to literally walk on my head, and then plop down on the pillow, laying right on my hair. I grabbed him and moved him and he crawled right back on the pillow and purred. I didn’t know what time it was, because sometimes I can tell if its light out, but not all the time. The nature called so I stumbled to the bathroom and fell back into bed, but couldn’t fall asleep again. I lay there thinking he’s getting me ready for when I have a guide dog haha. Finally I checked the time and it was 6:30 so I said screw it and got up. I was really hoping for more sleep today.

Carol and I are going to the meeting place to hang out; they have meetings all day and a room full of food, so she’s gonna eat and I’m gonna drink coffee. Saving room for the buffet at 4 haha. I’m excited to wear my brown dress. Haven’t been able to wear it since April of last year. Hope it’ll be warm enough in the sun, since I’m wearing sandals lol. Gotta love the desert.

I’m kinda glad I was up early cuz I got to catch up with Carin and we were talking about exchanging braille letters, and she was telling me about getting a Perkins braille writer. They are expensive, but so much better than a slate and stylus, and well worth the cost. I can get it re-conditioned, so hopefully I’ll find one I can afford with Christmas money. That’ll be so cool, to exhange braille letters.

K, just fired this off quickly to get in my post for the day. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Oh, wanted to say congrats to Douglas for getting his person yesterday!!! WTG Emily!


Filed under braille, cats, coffeeholic, desert life, fellowship, Fi, guide dogs, holiday, NaBloPoMo 2009, Timmy

Random randomness and maybe a rant

Oh I’ll be relieved when November is over. I mean, I know I didn’t actually officially commit to writing a post every day for national blog month or whatever it was, but I told myself I’d do it, and I hate letting me down.

but man, I’ll all of the sudden get this panic like, oh crap I haven’t written today. I think yesterday I just copied and pasted an email lol. But today I guess I’ve got some random stuff to write.

I think I’ve officially forgotten to write about Silicon Sassy and the vacuum. I’ve just lost the urge.

this week has been busy. Well, really most of last week, the weekend, and this week have been busy.

I think I wrote about hanging out with Kevin and Georgie on Saturday. And then it was the normal Gamma on Sunday, and then it got interesting Monday.

I had braille scheduled for 10am. I hadn’t been for 2 weeks since I had been sick. And that guy had rearranged his schedule, since I had to be paired up with an over 55 for funding reasons. We hadn’t had our first lesson together yet, so Monday was supposed to be it.

I scheduled my transit, told them I had to be to Saavi by 10am so they scheduled me an 8:50 to 9:20 window. Ick.

After being sick, getting up and being ready to go for braille and a workout by 8:50 pretty much zapped my spoons. I get to Saavi at like 9:15 and have 45 minutes to kill. I decide to get on the couch and rest and try to get some spoons back.

Well, there’s this guy who takes a lady to Saavi and then hangs out. I don’t know why he hangs out there all day, but he does. And he’s taken to wanting to talk to me. Every time. How’s your MS? How does it affect you? I used to be a caregiver blah blah I delt with MS blah blah I knew so and so with MS and all of the sudden they were in a chair blah blah.

I’m slumped on the couch, eyes closed, nodding and grunting. Finally I say, I don’t listen to other stories about MS. MS is so different with every patient, that I don’t dwell on what could happen to me. My doctor told me from the get go not to go online. Don’t get over educated on MS. I took his advice. I know enough, I know how it effects me, I don’t want to hear about a thirty year old woman who couldn’t walk one day.

I was nice about it. I wasn’t like, shut up!! Just shut up!! But he got the hint and said, I’ll let you rest now.

So finally I can just rest my eyes. Now, I hadn’t looked at my braille. I’m realizing that I can’t do braille on command. Sometimes at 7am I feel like looking at braille. Sometimes at 5 pm. But I can’t be guaranteed to be able to do it at 10am on a Monday. So its about 9:45 and I remember that last time, we met in the back module, which I need help getting to. I haven’t mastered the route on my own yet. So I go up to the desk and ask if I’m meeting back in the back module. She’s like oh I don’t know, let me call. She calls my teacher and is not getting her on the phone. She’s like, maybe they took you off the schedule since you weren’t here. I’m like, no, she knows I’m gonna be here. I sit back down. Then she’s like, I’ve got her on the phone! So I pick up the phone and my teacher’s like, I totally spaced that I had a lesson today, I’m so sorry, I’m helping with the planning for the parade of lights. But L is there right? I want you to sit with him and go over punctuation.

At this point I’m thinking, I’m exausted. I could have caught my ride at 10 and avoided the last 45 minutes of falling asleep on the couch. I say, no. I’m here, but I’m not here mentally. I think I’ll just head back to the gym. She says oh, ok. And gets on the phone with L to let him know she spaced the lesson and I went back to the gym.

I pretty much decided right then and there that I’m gonna do self–taught grade 2 braille. I talked to another teacher and she was like, yeah once you have grade 1 down, you could do grade 2 yourself no problem. So that problem solved. I don’t like having someone else’s life being contingent on my spoons like L was, and I don’t want to feel guilty when I have a bad couple of weeks. So I’ll get the book and learn at my own pace.

The workout kicked my arse, but it felt good, and I was able to do everything I’d been doing, just a tad slower.

Yesterday I went to a meeting at noon, then was looking at some stuff for the job, then Carol and I had an impromptu diner meal before choir. Went to choir, came home exausted and passed out.

Go to Saavi today just for the workout and I like that, because I can head straight to the gym and bypass the guy that hangs out in the lobby. I worked out and i twas great! Weighed in, and lost 5 pounds! Even though I had been sick, I still lost 5 pounds, yippee!!

Go out to wait for my ride and MR. How’s the MS is there, but he doesn’t say anything. So the other how’s the MS guy asked how the MS is today. I’m like, oh I’m fine, just sore from working out. Oh, how does MS affect the workouts for your legs? I’m like, not really any differently knock on wood. I only have fatigue and blindness, knock on wood, and I”m knocking on the coffee table there. I like this guy though, and I was able to steer the conversation to computers. He’s really struggling because he used to program and really misses computers since going blind, and he feels like Saavi is taking too long to teach him. I told him he should say something and he has. He was told everyone in the class gets started off slow. Man, did I dodge a bullet there by teaching myself the Apple. I’d hate it if I was held back. I asked if he has Jaws at home, and I told him practice, try and find online help, you’ll get it, you’ll be amazed, its tedious, but you’ll get it. He thanked me for my positive attitude. I want to help this guy, man. I can’t imagine feeling all stunted with the computer. When I made the decision to learn the Mac, I dove right in. I didn’t have to wait on anyone.

So thats it. I really wanted to title this something like I’m not MS. I’m not dammit. And I never feel that way any place but Saavi. Its like, come on, we’re all blind, can we focus on that? Guess I need to just get used to it. Some days it bothers me more than others.

Oh yeah, there’s only one more official choir rehearsal before the concert. Yikes! Hope we can pull it together.

Oh, and I’m going to B’s fancy company party on the 19th, so my girlie girl part of me is getting excited about getting a new dress hehe.

Going to a nice buffet with the family tomorrow for Thanksgiving, where I plan on putting on those 5 pounds I lost. Yummmm turkey and prime rib and lamb and stuffing and desserts oh my!

Oh yeah, B just called and I got sidetracked. I forgot I was writing a blog. I decided to try on the brown dress that I tried on a month and a half ago that fit, but was too tight. Guess what? It fits perfect! So I can wear it for Thanksgiving yay!!

Oh yeah, I caught my microwave on fire today. That takes talent 😉


Filed under accomplishment, assistive technologies, braille, Choir, Gamma, NaBloPoMo 2009, proud geek, random stuff, rant, silly girl, spoons, workouts

I’m not gonna write you a love song

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was a long paragraph.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

The Nothing

Remember The Nothing, in the movie ‘The Neverending Story’? As teens, some of us would hang out at the University, and there was this area under a footbridge that wasn’t quite tall enough to stand in. There were windows at ground level that looked into the basement floor of the library. We would hang out down there, and we called it “The Nothing”.

So this blog falls into that category, yet again, of nothing. I have to write a blog because I’m doing that 30 blogs in 30 days for November, even though I couldn’t get registered for it. This is actually one of those days where I might not have posted. There’s just nothing to report.

There aren’t any more details on the job, so I can’t talk about it. I haven’t heard from the lady who offered it. I’ve been calling her “UK Lady”. I hope that wouldn’t offend her.

I thought about writing some more of my story, because I haven’t written on it in awhile, but I don’t feel like thinking about the past.

Hmmm, no wood cracking sounds. Just the gentle hum of distant traffic. A cat was eating a minute ago, but they have apparently had their fill.

I ate ginger cookies which weren’t ginger cookies for lunch. I think they were actually Snickerdoodles. I suppose its easy to get the wrong thing when you’re blind and ordering cookies off a cart for a fundraiser at a blind center when the ones pushing the cart are blind. They were good anyway. Not as good as the eclair and chocolate chip cookies I ate while riding the stationary bike at my workout yesterday. But anyway I had the non ginger cookies and a KitKat for lunch with my afternoon coffee. Grandma called and asked if I had lunch and I told her I was eating cookies. She said she thought I was watching what I ate. I told her I’m having a weak week. I couldn’t think of a good blind joke. I suppose I could have said, “well I can’t really watch what I eat”. But that seemed like a lame joke.

The Yankees won the World Series last night. Pffft. I had to watch the end because it was the World Series, and I like hearing celebrating. Why do they call it the World Series? Its US teams. If the Jays are lucky, they might represent Canada. But they are an American League team. So the world series consists of the American League and the National League. And Canada could be a part of the American League. What?

I figured out that I should save $100 to take to school with me just for coffee. I asked my email list if there is coffee because I crash in the afternoons and need coffee. There will be Starbucks and other coffee shops on the routes, and if we go to the Lounge there will be coffee, but I can’t guarantee free coffee so I need to take at least $100 for coffee. Unless I just buy the cheapest coffee at the coffee shops. (How many times did I just say coffee? Repeated words just sound funny on the screen reader. I wonder if blogs sound funny to me just because Alex reads them to me?)

I could really be a coffee commercial, or so a crazy guy once told me after I shared a meeting about not having water because of a water main break, so I used the half of a Gatorade bottle full of water that I had on hand to squeeze out one cup of coffee that didn’t taste right because how do you measure the right amount of coffee for one cup? Then, I still didn’t learn my lesson and get a jug of water to have on hand, and the next time the water was off, I begged my friend to drop some water off for me on her way to work so I could have my afternoon coffee. Now there is a reserve jug of water in the fridge. What do you want to bet the water never gets shut off now?

My friend Carol called today and she and I are incapable of having a short conversation. Thanks again Bluetooth. I actually got some cleaning and straightening up done while I was on the phone with her. I was also neurotically checking email when it dinged in case it was UK Lady.

Then the home phone rang and I hung up with Carol hoping to hear a British accent on the home phone, but it was my braille teacher telling me its a go for Mondays with the over 55 guy I have to study with now so the government will let me study. I’m half tempted just to do braille through Hadley. We’ll see how it goes on Monday.

Oh the techie conference on Friday next is called Vrate. I was correct in a previous comment. I have no idea what to expect for that, but it whould be hella fun. Hella? Noooo. I hate it when that word slips out.

Well I just got an email confirming coffee in the lounge and dorms at school, so maybe I won’t need $100.

Ok this is why I write long blogs. When I have the time to read blogs, I enjoy reading the long ones. On the Mac, there are two keys I hold down with my left hand, the control and option keys. Then, using the arrow keys, I navigate. I can lock the control option keys, aka Voiceover keys, aka VO keys and just use my right hand to use the arrow keys. So I will sit back and lock my VO keys to enjoy a nice long blog, and my left hand is free to drink coffee. I’m getting good at anticipating long blogs, which comes in handy, because if I lock my VO keys and the blog is short, I have to unlock the keys to close the window. Seriously, no big deal, I know. So I write long blogs. How does that translate? I don’t know. Also, especially when writing a nothing blog, I think maybe I’ll remember something, so I keep writing.

Crap. Now I’m going to want to re-label all my random stuff posts with The Nothing.

This is why I really hope I get that part-time job. I have too much time on my hands. I could be cleaning. But all the cleaning I have is big jobs, like the bathroom and the floors. I really need to start those jobs in the mornings or at least before noon, before the afternoon crash. And this morning I didn’t want to get involved in case UK Lady called. So I didn’t start cleaning. And she didn’t call. Better luck tomorrow maybe.

Well, the only things I have left to write about are rants about things annoying me, and I don’t feel like ranting.

Ooooh, I was wondering why my arms were hurting. I had pulled the couch out slightly while I was cleaning while on the phone with Carol and it scooted my laptop cart away a bit so it wasn’t in the right spot. Duh.

Ok, so sorry if I’ve waisted your time. Oh one more thing! There are 2 dogs on the phase report with the coolest names, Nasa and Tenfour, I love it! And there’s a dog that hasn’t been on there even though he went to school like 3 weeks ago. I hope he’s ok.

Ugh, in adding labels I realized that “blogging, rambles and random stuff” could all just be, The Nothing. I wonder if I’m gonna tackle the re-labeling.


Filed under baseball, braille, coffeeholic, Gamma, guide dogs, NaBloPoMo 2009, random stuff, screen reader, The Nothing, Voiceover

Doggy Diaries – Woes

Edit: I just heard from my therapist. Her fax machine was down. So she’s calling GDB right now to have them re-send. One down, one to go.


I was in a bad mood in the post right before this one. I’m in limbo. I don’t like limbo. I’m in that place in the application process that is nerve wracking. I did everything on my end promptly. I ran to the doc to get my tests. She was prompt in filling out the questionaire. So was Dave. I hadn’t heard anything from the school. I didn’t know if the eye docs had sent in their stuff. I emailed the school and didn’t hear anything. The folks on the email ist said to call. So I just called. All the medical info is in. The eye docs were prompt. I’m sorry eye docs. I had no faith in you. Your medical records people must be good. I’m sorry I thought it was you.

apparently its my rehab teacher from Saavi and my therapist who haven’t sent in the questionaire. The school said the info was sent to them on October 5th. So I called and left voicemails for both. Maybe they didn’t get the info? Maybe the paperwork is sitting on their desk? I’m trying not to get annoyed.

this is like, when the husband is late and the wife says “he better be laying in a ditch somewhere!” I just really hope they didn’t get the paperwork. Because I like them both very much. And if this whole process is being held up because the paperwork is sitting…well. I’m sorry eye docs, again, really. It wasn’t your fault.

I think I’m getting all crazy about this because its all I think about. I read guide dog blogs. I talk to guide dog owners and puppy raisers. Its pretty much all I do online. And then at night when I’m laying in bed I think, “Am I doing the right thing? Can I handle this responsibility? Its like having a child. Do I want to get up at 6am and pick up poop? Am I doing the right thing? What if I’m not? I don’t know what to do. Should I just use my cane? I don’t want to use my cane. I want the freedom. I want the companionship. I want to care for a pooch. Yes. I want this. I am doing the right thing. But what if I’m not? What if I’m all cozy in bed watching House and 9 o’clock rolls around and I don’t want to do the final relieving? What if I fail my dog? My trainers? The raisers? What if, what if what if…”

I know this is all normal. I read emails from others. I read blogs. I know this. I know I want the dog. I can’t wait for the dog. When I think about the dog my apartment feels empty, because she’s not here. So I get frustrated when I find out that there’s a hitch in the works. But I know its going to work out the way its supposed to. But I want to go in Jan. of Feb. I will have to wait until next fall if I can’t go in the first part of the year. Or is that a misconception? I think I can’t get home with my dog in summer because it’ll be too hot to train. Maybe this deadline is something I’ve made up in my head? Or if I have to wait, then I’m supposed to wait. Right?

I got to see Arquette today. My braille teacher’s dog. She is so sweet! I was allowed to say hi after the lesson was over. She got so excited and I got to love on her for like 5 seconds and then the magic “back to work” words were said and she was all business. Apparently its going wonderful for the two of them and I’m just so happy for my teacher.

I totally didn’t mention my braille lesson in my previous post, and it was really cool. I got to write out the alphabet, my name and phone number, and practice punctuation on the braille writer today. And my teacher told me its the same writer she’s used since she was in third grade! How cool is that??

Braille doesn’t belong in a doggy diaries post, but oh well. Its my blog and I’ll write if I want to.

The moral of all of this is always follow up. If you’re applying for a guide dog, or anything, always follow up. Thank you Sarah for teaching me about footwork. I don’t even think you read this. But thank you. You taught me all about footwork and how important it is. Its all about having the courage to change the things I can. I know now that by doing the footwork, if something doesn’t work out, I did everything I could on my end.

Follow up follow up follow up. Humans are fallible.


Filed under advocacy, braille, Doggy Diaries, guide dogs, NaBloPoMo 2009, pooch preparation, rambles

Jing woof dot ouch ding

My braille teacher called this morning and told me she was sick and wouldn’t be in today. I had braille scheduled at ten and then my workout at eleven, and I couldn’t get my ride rescheduled, so I just went in and hung out.

I was going to sit and review the braille, but I just couldn’t concentrate with all the talking going on nearby, so I packed up and sat in the lobby for a bit, chit chatting with whomever was near.

At about 10:20 I decided to head back to the gym early as I have on Mondays, since SunVan usually gets me there early. Normally I hop on the treadmill, but they were both occupied, so I got on the bike to wait until one opened up. I did about ten minutes on the bike and then got on the treadmill. I hadn’t stretched enough though, so when I got up to speed, my left hamstring was hurting. So I stopped and stretched it out and then got back up to speed. I think I did like 4 or 5 minutes before I stopped to stretch.

So I usually only do one mile on Mondays, but ended up doing ten minutes on the bike, 4 minutes on the treadmill, stop, do a whole mile. I beat my time again, and did the mile in 16 minutes and change.

I got on the stretching mat and stretched, feeling fine. But man when I got on the leg lifts, I was sure she had added weight. Nope. Same weight. I struggled through. Then same with the low row. Then the decline sit ups killed me. Then the tricep pull killed. The lat pull wasn’t so bad. Torso twist went ok. Hamstring curls killed. I didn’t even add any weight! Lisa said it was probably the extra cardio, and also the scrub the floor work out last week. Just call me Daniel Son.

I sat in the lobby after waiting for my van and I was so tired. This guy kept wanting to talk to me. Kept saying things like, “you can do anything you put your mind to, you don’t know what you can do” all this stuff, and I’m thinking, dude, if only you read my blog…ok, I shouldn’t have gotten on a high horse, but he was preaching to the choir, and I just wanted to rest. I get pissy when I have a fatigue day, and thats what this day turned in to.

My driver was right on time and I came home and collapsed. Ate some lunch, then turned on the computer. Ding! Lots of emails. Wow. I went through them pretty quickly, and then decided to look at the hated Sleighbells…

My beloved friend and choir mate Lori, typed up just the second soprano words so that I could have them in a linear fashion, without all the repeats. So I set to work. Its making a little more sense, but I still get lost.

A few weeks ago, the director was working on 3 troublesome notes, and she said to assign them nonsense words, and it worked like a charm.

So I put the Sleighbells music on and sang “this song is a pain in the ass this song is a pain in the ass” over and over. It helped!

Then I reviewed the other songs and the email kept dinging, winging, teaming, oh wait, thats the Sleighbells song. The email ding fits right in with the song, as we go along we go along…jing jing jing…


Got caught up with my reading list. Karen, you blog more than I do sometimes!

Sent an email to my new GDB list about some doggy questions.

Sent an email to GDB asking about my medical info, because I want to know if there’s any footwork to be done on my end. If those eye docs screw this up…

I’m in a good mood, I swear. I’m just incredibly tired. I overdid it today in the gym, and my MS is pissed.

*To my future guide dog – Don’t think I’m complaining. This is all for you, dear. I’m conditioning so I can take you on long walks and busy routes. Because of you, I’m getting in the best shape of my life. I purposely didn’t put the Doggy Diaries subject or label on this post, because all those posts are totally happy and joyous. I just want my future eyes to know that this is all so incredibly worth it! Love you, future pooch! Are you at school now, training like I am?*


Filed under advocacy, braille, Choir, guide dogs, humor as coping skill, pooch preparation, quirky words, rambles, silly girl, spoons, workouts

Nothing, nothing, tra la la

I don’t even know why I’m blogging. I think I’ve been so busy on the computer today that now that everything is caught up, I don’t know what to do with myself.

I joined a new email list last night, and when I woke up today, I had quite a few emails on there, and quite a few new blog posts to comment on. Then I went to Grandma’s for 3 hours, came home, and had 65 new messages! Oh and there’s the email ding again!

wow. When it was all caught up I decided to blog. But what about? B is flipping between football, which I care nothing about, and baseball, which I care immensley about, but I get really worked up in this series when I watch too closely. So when he puts the game back on, I’ll keep an ear open.

I had fun at Grandma’s today. I took my big ginormous scrap yarn blanket over to wash. Back before I went blind, I found this thing called “scrumping”, where you take all your scrap yarn and tie it all together randomly and leave half inch ends, ball it up, and make a blanket. So months ago I organized my crochet cabinet and there was a ton of scrap yarn in there. I started tieing together random lengths of random yarns, some textured, balled it all up, and started a ginormous granny ripple. I finished it about a month ago and have been told it looks just like a patchwork quilt. Its great too, because its very textured, so I can feel where things change. It covers a queen sized bed, its that big. So I took it to Grandma’s to show her and to wash it. Oh, email ding. I wonder how many will pile up while I’m blogging about nothing?

Hmm, I could crochet a pretty dog bed cover. There’s an idea. I have some baby yarn that I can scrump with, I need to dig that out. I’ve also got the last bit of charity yarn I bought. Its all bright pinks and blues and stuff, hot pink as was described to me, that I’ll offset with bright white. I’m also going to make the ripples slant. I think it’ll be great for a teenaged girl. If I ever get back to crochet.

We’re still on football…I haven’t gotten any text alerts on my phone…I get text alerts for all the Angel’s games.

Ok wow. I’m really at a loss for words. Why did i start a blog?

Oh I just realized I was supposed to review braille. I have class on Mondays now instead of Wednesdays, and I’ve been paired up with an older gentleman. Braille used to be one on one, but the government said that blind people under 55 aren’t as important.

Oh no. I feel a rant coming on.

Yep. Lovely budget constraints. Apparently, those of us under 55 don’t need as many services as people over 55, because we should be in a vocational program. Except that….there is a freeze on vocational services, so we can’t enroll in vocational services.

Saavi wasactually cut billable hours for O & M for people under 55. Its just really bad.

So, Saavi got creative. If they pair us up with people over 55, they can continue to offer us services until we can get into a voc program.

The bad thing is, some of us might not be able to work again. Take me for instance. I’m not just blind, I have multiple sclerosis. When I was first diagnosed, I was pretty sick. Disability denied me twice, and Grandma supported me for almost 2 years. Finally my dad and uncle persuaded me to go back to work, so I got hooked into vocational rehab and went back to work in medicine. 40 hours a week had to be worked so I could have medical benefits. 4 months after I started to work again, the MS flaired up and took my remaining eye.

So am I scared to try to work again? You bet your ass. If I do, it will only be part time. I refuse to do 40 hours. But will part time work affect my medical benefits? Everyone tells me the vocational people who specialize in blind know all these answers even better than the other voc people. But as was stated, there’s a freeze on services.

This rant is pretty much moot, because Saavi freakin rocks, and found a way to keep services going, so I don’t really need to get so worked up.

Except that my 20 year old friend, who is slowly going blind, is being denied some services, because he still has some decent vision. he’s trying to prepare for the inevitable, but can’t right now. Oooooooh ok I need to stop.

Crap. Text messages…Ick. Yankees up 3-1.

Wow, I started to just blog about nothing and ended up with stuff. Strange how that happens. I think I’ll edit and check the emails. Oh man, editing with a screen reader is a pain in the tush. I don’t feel like doing it. Oh well, sorry for typos 😉


Filed under assistive technologies, baseball, braille, crochet, Gamma, politics, random stuff, rant, The Nothing

Grade 1 and braille teacher’s new guide dog

I arrived for braille class today, excited to tell my teacher I read Goldilocks, and also to meet her new guide dog.

When she approached me at the table, I heard her giving direction and then, “good girl”. I sat still, not reaching for the dog, not knowing if my teacher would introduce us yet, since it is such a new pairing. But before I knew it, I had a doggy snout in my hands! I said, “Oh! She’s saying hi!” and my teacher said, “Wait! Not yet. Not yet, Arquette.” Some rustling, and then, “Ok you can say hi, its ok.” And then I got to give Arquette some lovin. A small black lab, she was gorgeous! She just licked my hand and leaned into my legs.

Then my teacher said, “Ok, thats enough, we need to get to work, under, Arquette.” And all sign of the dog was gone. I forgot she was there for the whole lesson! My teacher said its going great with her so far, so I’m so happy for her. Everyone at Saavi is holding back and not giving Arquette lovin since the pairing is brand new, so I feel honored that I got introduced. My teacher got her at the OR campus for GDB.

On to braille, and we finished Grade 1!! So I’m switching days now, and pairing up with another student. Due to budget constraints, they can no longer do one-on-one braille. People under 55 who are not in the Vocational program, like me, because there’s a freeze on the vocational program, must now be paired up with older people. This was Saavi’s way of being creative, otherwise the government would have it that those of us under 55 who are not in a vocational rehab program would be S.O.L. The state vocational program has a freeze though. Ugh. Thats another post.

At least Saavi found a loophole. So, I’ll be working with an older gentleman who originally thought he only wanted grade 1 braille, and soon realized he needed it all. So I’ll be helping him brush up and it’ll be a good review for me before starting grade 2.

It took me 6 months to learn grade 1, so I feel like I’m on a good track.

My teacher brought me 2 pocket sized braille calendars from school, and showed me how to read them. So cool!

I’m not much in the blogging mood, as I’m towards the end of an audio book and my arms ache from my work out, but I wanted to mark the day of graduating from Grade 1 braille and meeting Arquette. 🙂


Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, Audio books, braille, guide dogs, puppy raisers, workouts

Finished my first braille book!

The children’s classic, ‘Goldilocks’. 15 pages, with image descriptions.

My braille teacher could tell I was getting bored and disinterested with the study book written a million years ago, so she decided to braille me a copy of a grade one children’s book to read while she was away at GDB for 2 weeks.

At first it was a little confusing, especially when I encountered the word “picture” where it just didn’t fit in the story. But when I realized there was a hyphen next to the word, I understood. It had cute little descriptions like “Goldilocks examining the broken chair”.

It was fun to find out that I was spelling Goldilocks wrong in my head. I was spelling it Goldie Locks, two words. Instead of one word with just an I and not an I E. I had also forgot how the story ended, so it was nice to read it again after all these years.

I even found some small errors. I don’t know if my teacher put them in on purpose for me to find, or if she just lost the translation a little as she read the braille and typed the story into the computer to be printed on the braille printer.

I think for my type of learning, giving me a fairy tale was perfect. I knew the gist of the story, which gave me more confidence, knowing I was actually feeling the letters that were forming the words I knew would come next. The story also repeats itself a lot, so I got a lot of practice feeling letters and words over and over.
I see her Wednesday for class and when last I saw her, she said, “Next time you see me, I’ll have 4 legs and a tail!”

I get to meet her new guide doggy!! I can’t wait! And I actually got my homework done with 3 days to spare hehe!!

Had to throw on this blog right quick to mark the day that I finished reading my first braille book. 🙂


Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, braille, guide dogs, silly girl