Category Archives: Choir

Who got the solo?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So she announced the soloist for Merry Christmas Darling…

Hmmm, do you want to know?

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

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

Really want to know?

By now you should have guessed…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Writing cuz I have to

I couldn’t even officially sign up for that blog awareness month or knob lo pomo thing I know I didn’t spell it right but oh well, but I decided to do thirty posts in thirty days so I have to write something. I messed up my arm for those 5 days were all I did was sit on the computer, so it hurts if I do too much online. Its like nerve pain all along my bicep. I’ve moved my computer cart so its a little better position wise, but I need like 4 pillows to prop me up enough on the couch. I need something with really skinny feet that will slide under my couch. I went to a meeting with Kevin and then we sat on my front porch chatting and listening to music, and he actually wanted to listen to me sing, which was nice, because B just isn’t into that. I got to show off my iTunes skill and find a song Kevin likes, and he hasn’t seen me work on the computer so he was way impressed. Then he got a phone call from a friend and had to go, and I was left feeling really lonely. I freakin hate that. Just like last week on Tuesday, I had been stuck at home for days and then finally got out and it was so nice, so its the same today. Hopefully I’m done being sick, and can go out tomorrow too. Got rehearsal tonight, and we’ll find out about solos. So I’ll let you all know how that went tomorrow. Nothing else to say, in kind of a soppy mood right now.

2 Comments

Filed under Choir, fellowship, iTunes, music, NaBloPoMo 2009, proud geek, quirky words, sicky sick, sobriety

Boredom leading to blogging

***Warning: This post is incredibly long and holds no real value except for entertainment for myself, so don’t feel obligated to read***

This is gonna be more nothing, because I’m still totally brain dead, but now I’m bored and starting to get stir crazy. I’ve been able to sit up most of the day, so thats a good sign. B went and got me Lipton Noodle Soup because I was really craving it. He was going to get it yesterday when he ran to the store, but he forgot it, so I asked him if he could get it today, and he obliged. I really think it helped. After sitting over the hot bowl, I had a ginormous coughing fit, and now my lungs don’t feel so tight. The sneezing has slowed down. Oh please, please let this be the home stretch. I hate that I couldn’t make it to Gamma’s again today; this makes two Sundays in a row. I’m also skipping Saavi tomorrow, which bumms me out, but I’m playing it safe. I have to make it to choir on Tuesday. We’ll be finding out about solos, and she might have narrowed it down to a few who will run through the solo when we rehearse the songs, so if I made the cut, I really hope I can sing come Tuesday. I sound a bit like a frog though, so hopefully I don’t pull a Carlotta on Tuesday.

Its a seriously slow internet day. Hardly any new blog posts or emails. I’m too brain foggy to find any new blogs. I did find one blog written by a guy caring for his wife with MS, and it sounds like she’s legally blind from it too. I couldn’t tell if her blindness was caused by something else, though.

Oh, football Sundays. Oh oh, football Sundays. B watches Red Zone or something, where they recap every game going on. They cut to whatever game looks like might have a score. B is severely ADHD, so its heaven for him. I was eating my soup and I told him that channel is a non-football fan ADHD nightmare. It sounds so frantic. I don’t envy the guys that have to run that channel.

The weather is absolutely gorgeous today. 67 degrees and sunny. It rained yesterday, and I had no clue it was nice out. Our electric bill has already dropped dramatically. I had to put the heater on to get the chill out today. Gamma asked if I got that rain smell, which unfortunately I didn’t because I can’t really smell right now. There is no smell like rain on the desert floor. None like it. The smell coming up from the creosote getting moist is a smell I can’t even describe. Earthy, yet almost sweet. That doesn’t even begin to do it justice. I hope I get to smell it next time.

Timmy lkes to get under the blanket I have covering the couch. Its his favorite place to sleep. Spinelli likes to attack him when she notices he’s there, and they had a romp fest on the couch a bit ago and B said it was WWE. The other day, B sat right down on Timmy under the blanket. I said I’m the blind one, thats my job. Though I’m pretty good at the hand sweep to check for cats. I didn’t do it the other day on the bed, and sat on Timmy. He gets the brunt of the butts around here. The other cats seem to know where to sit where its safe. Poor Timmy!

Man, this blog is feeling so dull to me. this is why I’ve avoided writing while not feeling well, but I honestly didn’t know what else to do right now. I can’t even manage to try anything new with the computer or iTunes because I’m so brain foggy I just get frustrated. I need to import those Frank Mccourt books, but every time I think of it, my brain moans. Its not hard. But it takes attention that I just don’t have right now.

Well, this is just silly. I’ve got nothing to say and I can’t even manage to be silly. I’ve got no quick stories. I haven’t left the house since Tuesday. So no fun adventure stories. Just sick stories. Oh speaking of sick, my kitchen, holy God is it a mess. Thats the worst part of being sick, not keeping up on house work. That kitchen is going to be hell to clean. And I bought a Swiffer Wet Jet a few weeks ago, and its still sitting in the box in a corner. I keep forgetting to have B put it together. I bet I can figure it out. I put together a portable DVD player last year, I bet I can handle the Wet Jet. Dunno though, there might be lots of little pieces.

I’m inflicting my boredom on others. I’m so mean. though, you did choose to read this. Carin, where are you? I talked to Steve today. But you’ve been MIA. Did he eat you? Are you really the same person, pretending to be 2 people? Is Steve really your alter ego?

Third and a yard. Thats what the TV just said. Oh he said it again. First and goal. Yay. I don’t like football. I miss baseball.

Ding ding ding goes the email. I keep wanting to eat chocolate. All day I want chocolate. And unfortunately we have chocolate. So I eat it. It tastes so good with coffee. Give me a break give me a break break me off a piece of that Kit Kat bar. Yum.

We got Red Lobster last night. I need to remember that I only need 2 items when I do that create your own deal. 3 items is too much. It was pretty good. How can anyone not like seafood? I can’t imagine being allergic to it. Did you know if you’re allergic to shell fish, you should never allow anyone to clean you with iodine?

Kitty eating. Spinelli cracks me up at night. Actually all the cats do at night, but especially spinelli. I usually go in and lay down with the telli at about 8 and I shut the door, because B starts his nightly ritual of playing baseball on the Playstation and listening to music. If I don’t shut the door, I hear the music. Some of it is ok, like Nirvana and other grunge bands, but not when I’m watching tv and especially not when a death metal song comes on. I hate death metal. It makes my heart race. The cats know when I’m heading into the room, and Fi is usually already on the bed. Timmy meows and follows me in there and cuddles, and then Spinelli realizes I’m not in the living room and scratches at the door. As soon as she’s in, the other 2 want out. Fi scratches at the door and meows and Timmy gets on the dresser and bumps the handle so it rattles. I get up and let them out, sometimes I’m lucky and B hears it and lets them out. Its just Spinelli and me and she meows and walks all over me for awhile and then she has to bathe. At 9 on the dot, B comes in to take his Flonase and Spinelli jumps like a gun went off and follows him into the bathroom. She knows its food time. B leaves the door open for a bit so Spinelli can eat and come back in. Then he closes the door and starts the music again, and she curls up and goes to sleep. We are definitely a family of routines. The cats will be so incredibly confused when I start taking a dog outside at 9 or 10 ha!

Spinelli is now on my lap bathing herself. She fits in well with her neurosis.

B just said John Lachey is the big free agent this year, and it doesn’t look like he’s coming back to the Angels. Man, ok I hate the Yankees, but at least some of their players are seriously loyal. Though, I bet they’re only loyal to the Yankees because of money and fame, so forget I said that.

B’s fantasy football team is doing well. Its his first year doing it, so it took awhile to get the hang of it. He was in last place for awhile and now he’s tied for fourth. I’m thinking of doing fantasy baseball next year, but I’m not sure. I’d hate to have to root against my teams.

Sniff sniff goes the nose. I hate the word nose. Its ugly. But only nose on the face, not knows like she knows. Why do I hate the word nose? I think I don’t like noses. Kevin wanted me to feel his teeth last week because he got them cleaned. He was like, feel my teeth I got them cleaned! I’m like no I’m not touching your teeth. I don’t like touching noses or teeth. I’m totally fine with feet, just not noses or teeth.

Ding. Probably more emails on the email list. I enjoy the list, but sometimes its just topics I don’t really care about. this one guy got snarky yesterday. Out of the blue. Snark. wow. Same with the accessibility list. It got kinda snarky there too, when I asked some questions about Jaws and Window Eyes for my boss. It got snarky, a blink saying something about developers don’t know anything about websites or something, and they should hire blind people. I had to defend my boss, and then she had to come defend herself and I felt like a tool. She told me not to worry, that thats why she just reads the list, but doesn’t post anymore.

Snarky. I like that word. Snarky snark. Meep meep.

Crap. I shouldn’t have said earlier that I think I’m in the home stretch. The coughing and sneezing is starting again. crap crap crap, shut up about it quit jinxing.

Oh, saying jinx makes me think of X, the letter, and I”m wondering something. Flexi. Ah! Thats it! Ok, I’ve heard people referring to “putting the dog on the flexi” but Alex says flexi like flessi, and I’ve never interacted to spell it out, so I thought they were saying flexi but maybe it was really flessi and it was a brand or something. I’m assuming flexi is that leash that comes out so the dog can run around while still being tethered. Flexi. Ha!

Think I’ve killed enough time. Maybe now there are some fun emails or blog posts.

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Filed under baseball, cats, Choir, coffeeholic, desert life, dogs, Fi, Gamma, music, NaBloPoMo 2009, quirky words, sicky sick, silly girl, Spinelli, sports, The Nothing, Timmy, weather

Auditions Part Deux, and other musings

First, I’m feeling ill again. I thought the feeling ill before was in part due to B’s being sick, so thinking I would be sick, and my sudden drop from activities, with scheduling snafus. But this morning, I can’t tell again. My nose is kinda burning, my throat feels funny, and I keep sneezing. My throat could just feel funny from all the singing, I don’t know. So, keeping my fingers crossed that I still get to go to that conference on Friday.

Hopefully I’ll be talking to UK Lady today about the job. She said she would call me today, but is going on 5pm UK time, so I don’t know. I sent her the info about the Windows readers and holy cow are they expensive. Yikes!

So to auditions. We got to rehearsal last night, and the director handed out music for a brand new song. A new song. One I don’t know. One I don’t have a cd for. Um, huh? Yeah. apparently its their signature song that they close the concert with. We’ll be singing with 3 other choirs, and at the end of the concert, all the singers spread out in the church and sing this song. Luckily its all in unison, so no worrying about parts.

But the director said we would warm up with that piece. I can’t sing it, I don’t know it! I’m not getting a warm up before auditions??? They all run through the song and I listen. I guess I looked depressed, because the director said, “R I apologize, I’ll email you the words”. Thanks. So then they run through the song again. Its a pretty song.

Then the director wants to make sure where we’re sitting is about where we’ll end up for the show. I sit in the back with Lori, so I asked the director about the church where we’ll be singing, because I didn’t want to be on the top row if there was any chance of falling straight back. She explained that the top row is on a big platform, straight, no drop off or anything. Cool. I won’t even have to worry about a step being behind me. Lori told me as we were leaving that when I asked the question, a soprano looked back at me and said, “Oh its just like that…” and pointed to the steps in the church we rehearse in, realized what she had done, put her finger on her forehead and put her head down. Don’t feel bad miss sightie, really, that kind of stuff cracks me up, and everyone does it.

Luckily the director said we’d rehearse and then do auditions in the last 20 minutes of rehearsal, so I’d get a warm up, phew!

We worked on the dreaded Sleighbells thank God. She thought the second sopranos were fine and all of us shoutted nooo noo noo at the spot I’ve been getting hung up at, so we went through it a few times. I still can’t make sense of it on the recording, because the tempo is so slow, and it makes more sense faster. So that might be the one spot where I fade out and mouth words and let the others take over 😉 We shall see. Although, another second soprano looked back at one point and said, “I’m so glad you’re behind me” ut I don’t know if she was referring to all 3 of us seconds in the back row. I’ve got Lori on my left, and another strong second on my right. Lori said after rehearsal that I’m a what did she call me, a parts monster, or something like that lol, she meant I know the parts really well.

So now it was time for auditions. First up, Santa Baby. I don’t even like that solo, it just doesn’t match the song. Lori was gonna try for it and realized she didn’t like it either. All the women trying for it lined up on the steps and sang it one by one.

The next 2 songs were the ones I was gonna try for, and Lori was only gonna do one, but decided to do both. So she helped me go up the steps and holy Apple computer was I nervous!! Man! I haven’t auditioned for that director in over eleven years. I thought it wouldn’t be as nerve wracking, since I wouldn’t be able to see anyone, but oh no. I knew they were there. Where Lori and I ended up, we were last to try out. The first song was Merry Christmas Darling, which at the very beginning of the session back in October, the director told us to look up a singer and now I can’t remember who, but she wants it done really breathy. Its a romantic song about a woman who’s lover isn’t with her on Christmas. Its got a very bittersweet feeling, so thats how I rehearsed it, breathy, straightforward, and slightly bittersweet.

While all the other women tried out before me, I started feeling dizzy. My heart was pounding. I kept telling myself “don’t lock your knees, don’t lock your knees” because thats how performers pass out. Finally it was my turn and I sang it. I don’t know how I sounded, I don’t remember any remarks, I know there was clapping and I couldn’t wait to get off the stage, but my legs were so rubbery, I wasn’t sure I could do it. Lori and I haven’t done steps so we kinda clumsily make our way down and sat down waiting for the next song.

It was immediately time to get back up there for A Christmas Song. I wasn’t going to try for it, because the way its written, the solo goes all high Beyonce style and I think it sounds incredibly silly. But the director told us we could play with it, so I was gonna sing it more like it was originally done, staying low on the same note and kinda swooping the phrases. I was still nervous, but not quite as nervous as with Merry Christmas Darling, because thats the one I really want. Its such a pretty song.

After auditions, the director told us to spread out around the church so we could practice the new song all spread out. Its a totally different sound, and a little harder to follow. There will be about 5 feet between each singer at the concert. So Lori positioned me by a wall and I gratefully leaned on it, not having a chance to sit after auditions and my legs were still a bit wobbly.

We ran through the song, and I was able to sing most of it, having heard it twice.

When we were done, the director’s best friend and my old nurse in choir gave me a hug and said she was so proud of me for getting up there. Then lori was laughing, because she had positioned me right below a gigantic cross, a huge wooden one with tiles, and she realized I might just have knocked it off the wall! Ut oh…

So, the solo goes to….

Drum roll…

Wait for it….

Tune in next week! We don’t know yet. She’ll probably narrow it down to the few best and have them sing it during rehearsals. So, more will be revealed.

I’m glad I tried out. Really it wasn’t an option. I always tried out for solos before, why shouldn’t I now, just because I’m blind?

It was good too, because Lori and I realized we need some work on steps, and I really want to see the venue before the show, and talk to the director about how we’ll be entering and exiting, so there’s no craziness the night of. I’ve decided to take my cane with me going up the steps, and since I’m on the top row, I can just lay it down beside me and behind us.

Only a month until show time!!

Awesome!!

Oh and after we were done, we were talking and the director said they were gonna be recording that last new song, so could we be quiet. Why are they recording it? I want a copy.

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, assistive technologies, Choir, Jaws, NaBloPoMo 2009, screen reader, spoons, white cane

Auditions

totally forgot that tonight are solo auditions for choir. Lori called to remind me. Thanks Lori!

Its bad mojo in show biz to say “good luck” so break a legs will be welcomed, though I probably won’t get any comments until I’m gone anyway 😉

Auditioning for 2 songs, We’ll see what happens!

And Lori, break a leg. Out there, we’re friends, but in the audition room, we’re competition. Good thing we’re both trying out for songs the other one isn’t so hopefully we’ll both be winners. Though I think Merry Christmas Darling is the one I really want, and you’re trying out for that one too. But if I get Chestunuts, I’ll be happy too 😉

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Filed under Choir, NaBloPoMo 2009

The internet is not enough

I haven’t left the house since Wednesday. My Friday O & M lesson was rescheduled for last Wednesday, and I didn’t go to Gamma’s on Sunday as usual, because B had been sick and I’ve been under the weather, but couldn’t tell if it was sick or spoons.

I felt like a mack truck hit me (the motorized kind, not the Apple kind, weak attempt at a joke there, but it didn’t work) this morning, and wanted to take the computer into bed, B stayed home, and was still sleeping.

then he got up and remembered that we needed to look at the renewal notice for my medical benefits.

I’m on Arizona’sversion of Medicaid. They send out renewal notices like every 6 months, to try and catch people abusing the system. I think this is rediculous to do for those of us on disability, who are only using this insurance while we wait for Medicare. My income hasn’t changed. There are no cost of living increases in the works, so why do they need proof of income? If I were making under the table money, which I’m not, I could just as easily lie about it, even with the 6 month renewal, which I wouldn’t do because I’m too damned honest. This came off as a rant, and I am completely getting off my first point of this post, but this whole thing leads to that.

Anyway.

B looked at it and said I need proof of income. Social Security sends out a letter once a year. I don’t have a current letter, because I had to use it to do my taxes. I never thought to get the paper back. Note to future self, keep that paper and guard it with your life.

I called my friend who did my taxes to see if she still had it, because I couldn’t remember if I had had it for my last renewal. Anyway, I had snapped at B and called my friend and before I even asked how she was doing I went in to asking about the form.

I was in full panic mode. Tears were threatening. I have till Friday to get the info in, and B and I had forgotten the stupid thing because he was sick as a dog all weekend, and most everything out of sight out of mind for me. I absolutely have to develop some kind of system. In my sighted days, I would put this stuff in a certain place so I would see it. I need to do something. Blinks, any suggestions?

So I’m talking to my friend, oh hell I’ve said her name here before and its a common name so enough innuendo. I’m talking to Carol and she’s been through all this herself, so she tells me to calm down, , we can take care of it all this week at the local offices. Ok. deep breath. Calming down. Its so nice to hear Carol’s voice. A human voice. Not Alex, no matter how human he sounds.

We had just started chatting about a photo in a magazine of a woman with really hairy legs when my Grandma called. And then she called again. Oh no. She’s calling twice in a row. what happened. I answer. She called about this restaurant she had called about Thanksgiving dinner. I told her I was worried because she called twice in a row. She said I didn’t answer and my voicemail didn’t come on. So we talked about Thanksgiving and I told her about the stupid paperwork and then B came in and gave me a hug and was gonna go check the mail and I said I was calling Carol back.

Long explanation just to get to the point of calling Carol. But I felt like I needed to explain why I called, because if it hadn’t been for the stupid paperwork, I wouldn’t have called her, or anyone.

My friend Nancy warned me, way back before I had my computer, to make sure once I got my computer, to not dissolve into it. she said she’d seen that. Blinks getting computers and then never leaving the house, because really, you kinda don’t have to, and the last 5 days have proven that to me.

I didn’t stay home and isolate on purpose, like I sometimes do when the spoons are low, or I’m feeling blue. It just happened.

In fact I had gotten so busy, that I welcomed the break, but I’ve changed in the last month and a half. I used to love not leaving the house for a week. But then I made the decision to get a guide dog, and I started changing my lifestyle accordingly.

I’ve been doing Saavi 3 days a week, and then catching up on spoons and chores on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So when the schedule got messed up and I was suddenly home, I think it shocked my system.

I’ve learned that I have less bad MS days the more active I am, as long as I’m only active for a few hours here and there, and not every day. And when I sit on the computer for 5 days straight, and only talk to people through a synthesized voice, I forget how nice it is to laugh and hear another laugh.

Don’t get me wrong. The fellowship I am building on blogger is one of the best things to happen to me since going blind. I will never ever quit this. But if I don’t leave the house every other day or so, and if I retreat into the computer like this on a repeated basis, I’m going to slip right back in to the depression I was in when I first went blind.

Thats one of things I like about eventually having a guide dog. Having a reason to get up and out and get fresh air and sunshine. I must be lacking Vitamin D something awful, and that is the cheery vitamin, after all.

So if you notice I’m not blogging about anything outside the house, please give me a cyber slap across the forehead.

Back to life tomorrow. Hoping I’m not sick, so I can go to choir. And maybe to get the paperwork done. And maybe a meeting. My friend Kevin is in town and we had tentative plans to hit a meeting tomorrow. We’ll see what happens.

I need to commit to more phone time, and more face time, with friends, female friends and not just B, even though he’s a great guy, I need my girls.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, assistive technologies, Choir, fellowship, guide dogs, NaBloPoMo 2009, politics, pooch preparation, rambles, rant, screen reader, spoons

Holy lots of stuff batman

All I know for sure about this post is that its going to be long lol.

I’m going to start at last night when just some fun stuff happened. You know when you think, this is great blog material, that either it is, or else you just think its great but no one else will. But I opened up a blank email just to quickly record the stuff so I wouldn’t forget.

First of all, Silicone Sally got her revenge. I tried tricking her with an accent when I paid my T-Mobile bill. At about 5pm B sent me a text that said, “your phone isn’t working”. I replied, “its not?” and tried calling him but I instantly got a busy signal, one of those fast ones. I tried calling from my home phone, which is also T-Mobile, with the same result. Then I tried calling 611 and Silicone Sammy said, “We’re sorry, all circuits are busy now, please try your call again later.” That brat Sally called Sammy too. I tried calling my Grandma, and it worked just fine. Huh? Why can I call Grandma but not B? He’s on T-Mobile too, must be the connection. But my friend was talking to me online and I couldn’t text her and she couldn’t text me and she’s on Sprint. Very odd indeed. Eventually B was able to get through. Be careful when making fun of Silicone Sally and her cohorts.

B brought food home and we were eating. ESPN was on of course, and they were interviewing the umpire who called the game in the 1985 World Series between Kansas City and St. Louis. Game 6, extra innings, Kansas City scores a home run on a terrible safe call by the umpire, and go on to win game 7. So they were talking to that umpire, and he admits looking at it now that it was a bad call, but it was just one of those times where it happened. It just so happened to cause the loss of the WS for St. Louis. 20 years later, the old manager of the Cardinals had a party and invited the umpire. The umpire went, and he was asked to speak. So he spoke and after the applause, the old manager gave him a present. The umpire tried to walk off the stage, but the old manager told him to open the present. It was a very nice looking watch. Upon closer examination, the umpire realized it was a braille watch. Nice. Nuff said.

After we had a laugh at that, Lori called me telling me she was stopping at Starbucks on the way to pick me up for choir. She asked if I wanted anything. Now, I absolutely love the iced mochas from Starbucks. As an aside, McDonald’s mochas are just as good. Anyway, it killed me to pass it up, but I said, “man I wish, but I’d just have to pee”. This was met with laughter after which Lori called me an old lady, and in her old lady voice said, “I can’t have any coffee or else I’ll have to pee” and then more laughter. I har hard and said, “well when you go blind and can’t easily get to the restroom, you’ll watch your fluid intake too”. She laughed at this and we hung up.

I then realized that I’m just like a guide dog before a flight or a long trip. Don’t feed or water the pooch. Well, I watch my fluid intake before I go somewhere where the restroom issue would be a problem, like going to choir. We rehearse in church pews. I have no clue where the bathroom is. If I have to pee after doing all the jing a lings which take a lot of diaphragm work and could quite easily irritate my bladder, I’ll have to ask Lori to help me and make all the women move since I’m a second soprano and right smack dabb in the middle of the choir. So I don’t drink much for about 2 hours before a rehearsal. Don’t water R before a long journey.

While I was waiting for Lori, B called to order the NBA package on the cable. He said the salesguy was such an idiot, because B said, “I’d like to order NBA league pass.” Comcast: “Do you have a home phone?” B: “Yes, I’m calling you on it.” Comcast: “oh hows it working for you?” B: “Fine I just want NBA league pass.” Finally the call was done and B’s like, “where’s my game?” I’m like, “It takes time for the signal to go through.” B: “Yeah but, ok fine. I’m gonna walk the rent down, hopefully a game will be on when I get back.” As soon as the door shut, the game came on. I thought about trying to get it on a blank channel just to mess with him. But I was nice. I should have messed with him 😉

Lori shows up early and I’m trying to rush and I ran into the garbage can knocking it over. Luckily nothing spilled. I know I shouldn’t rush. Rushing causes me to run into things. Thats not fun.

We went to choir and were early so we sat in the parking lot in her red mini mom van. Scrolling through the iPod. She likes R&B and rap, I like country. So she put on some Michael Jackson and then was scrolling through all this rap and I’m doing that thing where you put your hand in the air and kinda bump it up and down, I don’t even know how to describe that, the rap move, you know what I mean. She’s talking about rollin down the road in her sexy red mini mom van bumpin it to rap and I just find it so funny because we’re both pale white chicks, so I’m imagining her rolling down the road like that, ooooh too funny.

When we were practicing Uncle John, the director said the funniest thing. Its a comical song, and we’re all singing different words, la, wah sa, chic, ho ho ho. So we’re practicing parts and she says, “ok las and wah sas” meaning soprano and second soprano. When it came time for the altos she said, “ok chics and ho’s”. Ooooooh man. Priceless. Our director is really fun, but she’s also very much a good Mormon, so for her to say “ok chics and ho’s”. Too damn funny. Also, after one of the songs she stops the choir and says, “I hope I don’t embarrass her, but R is blind and she knows this music.” Nice. Not embarrassed at all. Quite proud, thanks!

So I get home and we’re still having some problems with our phones. That Sally holds a grudge.

I get up this morning and Dave is coming at 9am and then I have my workout at Saavi. I’ve got like 50 emails. I’m going through them, got some comments on my blog, some posts from a few email lists, and a job offer. What?? Yeah. A job offer. Its so incredibly brand new and I don’t know a lot of details yet, so I’m not going to post about it just yet. Sorry, you’ll just have to keep coming back. 😉

Dave and I went down to the store and did some route travel in the parking lot and up to the store and inside and I said hi to one of the clerks. Then we went to the major huge ginormous and crazy intersection that will be my intersection to show GDB. I’m talking crazy huge long right turn curve, medians in the middle of the road going all directions, slanting shorelines, not a perfect square, more like a blob. No chirps and beeps. Crazy. We just listened to it and talked about it for a bit. We won’t be attempting it any time soon; gonna do smaller intersections first.

On the way to Saavi Dave told me about a tech conference in Mesa next Friday, and I get to go!! 4 vans full of Saavi staff and clients all going to an accessibility tech conference to check out gadgets!! Yay! So excited!

I came home and had to check out the job offer, making sure its all legit and stuff. Very interesting. I sent an email confirming that I’m interested. More will be revealed.

I went through all my emails, replied to blog posts, talked to Grandma and Lish and then finally was able to sit down and write out this monster.

Oh yeah, there was a bake sale at Saavi, so there we were, sitting on the bikes peddling away, eating cookies. How better to not feel guilt about eating cookies?

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Filed under accomplishment, baseball, Choir, coffeeholic, faith, guide dogs, NaBloPoMo 2009, Orientation and Mobility, pooch preparation, proud geek, random stuff, Silicone Sally, silly girl, workouts

What the…didn’t she already post today?

Yes, yes I did. But I’m posting again. Because well, I feel like it.

I’m labeling everything with 30×30 just to see how many posts I do this month, even though I can just look at the archive. Kinda silly. Oh well.

I wanted to mention my freak out yesterday about guide dog school. I can’t begin to say how much it helped, due to all the comments I got. I’m now totally relaxing about the whole thing, instead of getting frantic about people not getting paperwork in, or O & M lessons being cancelled. I remember my friend Sarah broke her foot, and it was the best thing that happened to her, because it made her slow down.

I’m slowing down on all this. I’ve been pushing so hard that I felt my spoons start dwindling big time. Spoons? Yes, spoons. Click here to read about the Spoon Theory when it comes to explaining chronic illness.

Today I found myself doing nothing. I’m still not even out of my night clothes. I finally made my bed when I was on the phone with Carol, thank you blue tooth for letting my hands be free. I’m not going to say I wasn’t productive. I always say that when I have a lazy day. Oh I wasn’t productive. I didn’t do this, I didn’t do that. When in all actuality, I was productive because I was replenishing spoons. Its when I have days in a row like this that I worry. But I can tell it was the right thing today, to just live on blogger, because I don’t feel guilty in the slightest.

Soon I’ll need to get ready for choir. I haven’t practiced all week. Why bother? I know it all too well, so well in fact that I’m bored at rehearsal. Everyone gets stuck at certain places and we work it over and over. I killed myself practicing with the cds and all I did was learn it too fast, when I could have just gone to rehearsal every week and practiced the same line 10 times.

I’m not complaining. I’m actually bragging. Its one thing I’m not too humble about, singing. Especially learning music blind for the first time and having it work almost too well. Thank you Maegan.

I’m even looking forward to the dreaded Sleighbells. This song is where I think I’ll actually be glad if women have questions so hopefully I can get past the one little spot thats screwing me up. It’ll also be nice to figure out exactly where all the jing a ling a lings fit.

I think Lish just signed on for our Tuesday chat. She has the coolest job. She’s a job coach, so she sits in the student union with her laptop and watches the employee being coached, but she’s paid to chat and watch The Office on hulu.

Oh I forgot to mention when I was talking about guide dogs, that I heard from the other lady who hadn’t sent in the paperwork. She said she never got it, and was calling the school. I’m not all paniced about it today though. It’ll happen when it happens. I’m even starting to think I’m not quite ready to go in Jan. or Feb.

I did get a rescheduled O & M lesson for tomorrow, which is nice, because Dave can take me to Saavi afterwards for my workout, and I’ll just need to take SunVan home, which is better than taking it both ways.

So, I chilled, spent an entire day talking to my favorite Canadians, ate peach pie for lunch, and everything worked out.

Nice how that happens, eh?

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, advocacy, Choir, faith, fellowship, gratitude, guide dogs, NaBloPoMo 2009, pooch preparation, silly girl, spoons

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…

Anyway.

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?*

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

And it would have been fine if it weren’t for those meddling sleighbells

“Do you want to put the book in the freezer?” asked Rachel of Joey when he’s reading Little Women. Joey put ‘The Shining’ in the freezer when it got really scary.

I used to throw books. And then I’d be pissed cuz I lost my place. But back to the freezer.

Can I put my laptop in the freezer? My music is on my laptop. My words are on my laptop. I don’t remember if I ever threw my music back in the day when I could see, but man did I want to throw the damn music today.

‘sleighbells is the bane of my blind singing career.

(I put a link to it as my subject line, did it work?)

Right before this post, there is a post with the Sleighbells words. You might wonder why I did this.

I have the music in iTunes, a piano playing just the second soprano part, and then a track of all parts combined. For all the other songs, I’ve been able to match the words forwarded to me by toggling between iTunes to Text Edit and listening to the words while the piano is playing.

Oh no. Not with Sleighbells. No ma’am.

So I thought, I’m gonna copy and paste just the second soprano words into a Text Edit document so I have just my part to toggle between.

Simple enough, right?

My computer hates me. Its telling me, “you’ve done great teaching yourself how to use me, until now. Now you are throwing all these jings and jingalings at me and you’re not doing it right.”

The computer would have you believe its user error, but I think its the computer.

For some reason, it jumps all over the place when I’m trying to copy and paste and won’t just copy what I highlight. Fine. Eff you too. I’ll go paste the whole damn song on my blog so Alex will just read what I want him to.

Hence, the words in my blog.

Hmm, I am thinking there is a copyright thing or something on Blogger? I highlight. I press cmd plus C. Alex doesn’t say copy. I do this over and over. It won’t copy. Fine, eff you.

I email myself the damn song. I view the email on the web based. I copy. I paste. Its working! Then it does it again. It won’t copy. Or maybe it didn’t paste just the phrase I wanted. I can’t remember.

Oh well, the whole rest of the song is jings anyway. Screw it.

I put the song on iTunes. I toggle. It makes sense! Wait, do I repeat that? What? I look at the original. No repeat. Oh and there the director wrote “now SS joins Sop at bold words”. Hmmm ok. Use text attribute. But I don’t know where to look. Oh screw this!!!

Email director and ask what the bold words are. Oh you just repeat. Ok. Thanks.

I listen. I toggle. It still makes no sense.

This is where I want to put the computer in the freezer. Or throw it. But I threw a cell phone once,, and it died.

I call my choir mate.

“Hello?”

“Hi.”

“How are you?”

“I hate effing sleighbells!!!”

Laughter. Yeah, you laugh.

She calmed me down though.

Hopefully tonight will help make the stupid song make sense, like all the other songs do. Stupid effing song.

Oh bullocks! I just thought of something. If I couldn’t copy and paste, that might mean that my laziness at learning cool links means that people can’t check out the stupid youtube videos I posted.

I hate technology!

No, I love it. Really. Seriously! I do!

Ok, that was cathartic. Now that I know what it means, did I use cathartic correctly?

(This is how I get when I’m on my second pot of coffee without eating and its after 1pm)

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, assistive technologies, Choir, coffeeholic, humor as coping skill, iTunes, quirky words, rant, screen reader, silly girl, Voiceover