Category Archives: Combat

A Letter to Fourteen Year-Old Me

I follow a Twitter account that is posting daily writing prompts to assist people with NaBloPoMo ideas. Part of me really wants to come up with my own ideas but I think that’s the stubborn part. I found one of the ideas really intriguing so I saved the tweet. For today’s post, I’ll write a letter to my fourteen year-old self. Whoa. I’m imagining it being November 4, 1993. Tomorrow I’ll write a letter to myself in twenty years. I’ve been trying to recall who I was when I was fourteen. This should be interesting!

Dear fourteen year-old Ro,

Did your eyes light up when I referred to you as Ro? I bet they did. I know how much you always wished you could have a cool nickname and how you fantasized that you could be like Ro Laren from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Well guess what? You don’t turn out like Ro, but you’ll be known as Ro in your thirties. How cool is that?

It’s funny that I’m writing this letter to you because just yesterday I played four X-Files episodes so I could convert them to mp3. You have no idea what that means I realize. Oh, the technology that is coming, I won’t even begin to try and explain because I think it might freak you out a little bit. Just…pay attention to a lot of what they use in Star Trek, ok? Because I can tell you from first hand knowledge of the future that some of that is real in my time. Don’t get too excited; they haven’t figured out how to transport things yet. You and your friend Carol will wish for that a lot when you grow up. Transporters and replicators would make life so easy but I guess maybe we won’t see that in our lifetime. Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t want you getting your hopes up. Technology is going to be a huge part of your life in the future. I know right now you’re resistant to it but just trust me, ok? Oh, and try to remember what that little Mac is called when Mom gives it to you.

Congratulations on making it through middle school. I know that was awful and I know you’re still recovering from it and wishing it had never happened. Try and believe me when I say it made you incredibly strong and you have no idea what that hardship prepared you for as you grow up. I won’t go into details but I will tell you that everything you’re going through now is all going to be invaluable as you face challenges in life. There will be challenges. But you overcome them because of your experience. Just keep doing everything you’re doing because I have no regrets. You’re doing it all the right way.

Except, quit being so hard on yourself about Mom and Dad’s marriage, ok? It’s not your fault. No really. It’s not your fault.

On a happier note, you know how much you love cats? Well that doesn’t stop and Combat and Little Kitty are with you for a really long time. You know how you think you’ll never have a dog? Well you’re gonna have the coolest dog ever, take my word for it on that. I’m sitting with him on the couch as I write this and he is the light of my life. You’re probably rolling your eyes at that but it’s the truth!

I want to say I’m very proud of you for waiting with G. Your future self is grateful you didn’t give in to your hormones with him. You really are too young for that and that is totally ok, so just keep waiting. You know that boy C who sits with you in Biology? Can you try to keep closer tabs on him? You’re probably laughing at me right now. I know you don’t think much of him now but you just wait. I lost touch with him and only just recently found him on Facebook but neither of us uses it much so I still don’t know what’s up with him. I’m sure the word Facebook is confusing you. There is so much in the realm of technology you’ll experience! I wish I could watch. Oh and Wesley Crusher? Yeah, I follow him on Twitter. Wil Wheaton that is. Don’t ask what Twitter is, it’s too hard to explain. I’ve talked to him though. Well not really I mean he hasn’t replied to me but his wife has! Oh sorry, yeah he has a wife and it’s not you. Oh that was harsh? Just helping to toughen that skin!

Oh, I know I said I had no regrets from this time in our life but I do want to make one suggestion. Stay in the girls chorus one year longer ok? If you graduate when I did you’ll be really upset the next year when you find out where the tour is. I know you left chorus to focus on getting ready for college but trust me on this and stay in an extra year. The experience of the trip will be so much better than the time wasted preparing for college. Wait, I’m not saying that college isn’t important, but please, for the love of everything Nirvana, stay in an extra year. I wish I had gotten to go on that trip…

Speaking of trips, wasn’t New York amazing? You’ll be telling stories from that trip for the rest of your life. That was such an incredible experience. Please add to it and stay in choir another year. Ok ok, I’ll drop it.

You’re probably getting bored of this letter and I bet there’s an episode of The X-Files getting ready to start or something. Oh hey thanks for recording all those episodes on the VCR. Those tapes really came in handy when I was about twenty-one or so. Just wait until you see how people record TV shows and movies today!

Keep on being the cool kid you are right now. Yes I said cool. You don’t think you’re cool but you are and you helped me be who I am today. Remember about choir and keep hanging on to those morals of yours; they get you through a lot. Mom is going to talk to you about drinking. Pay attention ok? Don’t change what you do with that information, but it becomes very valuable when you’re twenty-six. Thanks. I think that’s about all I have. I wish I could go back in time and give you a hug. Get ready for the crazy ride the next twenty years will take you on. You’ll be amazed when you sit here and write this letter to yourself, amazed at what you’ve been through and survived. Enjoy it, none of your books could have written it any better!


Thirty-three year-old Ro

PS – I still refuse to step foot inside The Gap. Oh, and I love baseball. No seriously. Ok, you’ll believe it in about seventeen years or so.


Filed under apple Inc, baseball, cats, Combat, family, gratitude, Jayden, letters, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, on this date, proud geek, sobriety, twitter me this

Just Yesterday

Do you ever sit back and think, holy crap, where has the time gone? Do you ever have moments where you reflect on your life and think, wow, can one person really do all that changing? I simply can’t believe it’s the last day of 2010. How did that happen? Just yesterday I was throwing Barbie dolls into my trees, hoping they’d get stuck, then throwing Ken up after them, hoping to knock them down.

Just yesterday I was roller skating, on four wheels that weren’t inline, to Debbie Gibson, creating cool choreography to ‘Electric Youth’, or jumping from concrete to gravel like the ‘Solar Babies’.

Just yesterday I discovered Nirvana, after my best friend forced me to watch the video for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, urging me to forget about Mariah Carey and start listening to real music. It worked. Thanks Kurt.

Just yesterday I graduated from ‘Sweet Valley High’ to Stephen King novels and broke my back learning how to try to win the essay medal in Academic Decathlon, constructing the perfect five paragraph essay in one our or less after being given three prompts. I came in fourth overall. No medal, but the highest score in my high school’s history. I wonder if my record stands?

Just yesterday I was pre-med on a full scholarship and got drunk with a boy in a dorm room. Just yesterday I went with mom to chemo treatments. Just yesterday she died.

It seems like just yesterday I had an enormous New Year’s party for the year 2000 and got so drunk my boyfriend and I couldn’t manage to lose our virginities. Just yesterday I was only 21.

Wasn’t it just yesterday I walked into my first meeting after making a mess out of my life, never mourning mom’s death, being a terrible friend, not holding down jobs, going nowhere with my life?

Wasn’t it just yesterday that I finally found the true meaning of happiness, to be happy joyous and free through life’s turmoils, with the help of a power greater than myself, a power that was not alcohol?

Just yesterday, I came out of that MRI machine with one eye blind and began to learn how to live with MS. Just yesterday I started dating B and my old cat, Combat was still alive.

Just yesterday I watched my vision slowly fade as I stared at B, just yesterday Combat died, Just yesterday my aunt died, just yesterday B’s mom was diagnosed with cancer.

Just yesterday I picked up a white cane and discovered audio books. Just yesterday I brought my Mac home and found my online fellowship of people who really and truly get it. Just yesterday that little iPod started it all.

Just yesterday I was on a plane going to meet Insert. Jayden. JayBay. Jay. Gooberhead. Just yesterday a dog became my eyes.

Just yesterday the little girl throwing Barbies into trees could never imagine the life she’d lead at the end of 2010. Just yesterday she turned 32. No really, I really did, just yesterday, turn 32.

It’s pretty crazy, isn’t it? To write your life down like that? To see it written like that, with just a few hundred words, really encompassing all the changes, all the phases, all the strife and all the joy.

Would I change any of it? Not a thing. Would I trade my recent sad times for happy times? Nope. For me, pain has and always will be, the cornerstone of spiritual growth. When I begin to emerge from sad times, I am like a rose opening her face to the sun, cleansed, grateful, joyous.

It seems like just yesterday I thought I’d never feel happy again. And then like that, like a firecracker in the night, the veil lifts and happiness glitters once again.

My old pool league operator once said words to me that I live by today. After I played a really terrible game of 9-ball and thought I’d never break my losing streak he said, “you can never fully appreciate victory until you experience defeat.”

The words were in reference to a game, but they are so true for my life. After I have been cleansed of sadness and melancholy, I can truly open my eyes to gratitude. How’s that for victory?

Happy New Year everyone! Be safe tonight and please, if you have a few drinks, call a cab.

See ya next year!

PS – I’ll be updating to Snow Leopard today, so if I’m not online for awhile, it means I screwed something up. 😉


Filed under Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, birthday, Combat, faith, family, fellowship, gratitude, holiday, Insert, Jayden, mom, new year, pool, proud geek, sobriety, white cane

doggy Countdown – The mall and cats

Yesterday’s shopping experience at the mall made me afraid that I hate people. Do I hate people, or just people at the mall? I told B, I’m so used to talking to people online, that I rarely get annoyed and end up thinking that I love all people. Then I get out there and, freakin idiots, everywhere. Everywhere! In the parking lot, walking down the halls, whatever. At one point we’re walking through Sears and I hear people not speaking English up ahead. I’m not trying to be racist, but that’s what I heard. A huge group. B says “excuse us”. Jabber jabber jabber. They completely ignore him. So I start tapping my cane and finally they get out of the way. Then we’re going to get on the elevator and a ton of people got on, and they’re trying to urge us to get on. No really, we’ll take the next one. Oh but there’s plenty of room. No, thanks, we’ll wait. Seriously people, it’s one floor. B said there would have been this tiny sliver of space for us. Then when we’re done with Sears, we’re walking towards the food court and these people walk really close to me and one of them actually wacks my cane. I said, someone just wacked my cane. B says who? and turns around. I guess someone was looking back, but no apology. Last year we went to a mall in WV. It was crowded. No one bumped into me. One woman did and fell all over herself apologizing and we had a laugh. Everyone was so nice there. Not here. People here drive me nuts. I’m realizing that I’ve been pretty sheltered since going blind. I go to Saavi and meetings and Walgreens and for now that’s about it. Holy cow. Ok, that was my rant, now I’ll get to fun stuff.

When we first arrived at the mall, we walked through the doors and I smelled food. So I figured out we came in the food court. I asked if we came in the door on the right. I can still kind of remember it from my sightie days. I wanted to pay attention, because my dog and I will be going to Cinnabon when I take her there in the summers. So I let my nose guide me to Cinnabon. Success! We will definitely be going in the middle of the week at like 10am. I will never go to the mall on a weekend again. Not gonna rant again, promise.

We go to Lady Footlocker and I tell B I want a salesperson’s help. He’s like, they’re busy. I’m like, ok, look for cross trainers. They’re not labeled like that. Ok, look for waterproof. Um, here’s a pair like your pink ones. My pink ones? Yeah, the pink ones with the laces. I have pink Crocs, not pink tennis shoes. After feeling the shooe he handed me, I know he’s talking about my tan Sketchers. Pink? Haha! So the salesgirl comes up and I ask for water proof shoes. She’s like those are really hard to find. I’m like, ok, got any cross trainers that are mostly leather? I explain that I’m going to San Rafael to get a guide dog and it’ll rain. Oh, I understand. Well I’ve got these Nike’s here, mostly leather. It’s about the closest I have to waterproof. Ok, what color? One black pair, one white pair. K, can I see the black? Sure, want me to measure your foot? That would be fab. She measured my foot. She was great. Such service. Talked to me and not to B. Brought out the shoe. Asked if I wanted insoles. Um, I don’t know. Why don’t I put one in one shoe and you can try them and see. Ok. Slides shoe on. Slides other shoe on. Wow. Comfy. I want the insoles. She says she thinks they’ll help with all the walking. We pay and she says have a good trip and Happy New Year. Keep that receipt, come back every 3 or 4 months and we’ll replace the insoles. Wow. Ok, so I live in Crocs. Know what those are? Those rubber shoes. They got popular among medical staff and then took off. They’ve got those clogs with the holes in them. I wear those in the winter and the Crocs flip flops in summer. These Nike’s are almost as comfortable as my Crocs. I wore them to Gamma’s today. Can’t wait to work out in them tomorrow! They’ll be great for school!

At one point while she was getting the shoes, B handed me the display to feel it and was telling me it was all black. I hear a man say, is there a men’s Footlocker? Then B whispers to me, does it look like I work here? I’m like, well, you were showing me the shoe hahaha!!

We looked at suitcases at Dillards, way overpriced. I looked at black undershirts. 30 a packet of 3. No thanks. We went to Sears and that’s where my rant started. Plus, they had the heat cranked up and it was so freakin hot. The suitcases felt really flimsy. So I don’t think I’ll bother with a new suitcase.

We were leaving and I wanted a Cinnabon so we stopped off and then were headed out. There were some teens behind us and one of them laughed just like Butthead. No joke. So B and I stifled laughter until we were out of the mall.

We came home for a bit and then I put on my red dress and some makeup for the Melting Pot, for my birthday dinner. It was great as always, but we’re pretty sure our server was high. He put wine in the cooking base. Um, the one we ordered had no wine. Oh, ops, let me take that away. He explained the cooking times. Then about the tongs. Then explained the cooking times. Yeah. When we were looking at the menu, B asked what salad I normally get. I said, I think it’s the California blend? He laughed and said, that’s weed. It’s the California salad. So after the server explained the cooking times twice, I said he had a little too much California blend. Later the server was a little more normal and I said he drank the wine.

So the shopping and dinner wrapped up my birthday. Holy crap I wrote a lot and haven’t even gotten to the cats.

I’m really getting nervous about leaving the cats. I know they’ll be fine. We left them last year for 9 days when Spinelli was brand new. I was already nervous about me leaving for 3 weeks and coming back with a dog, and Now B will be gone for 2 of those weeks. He’ll be back for the last week I’m gone. II just always have had a hard time leaving my cats. When B and I first got together, we went to Sedona for a week and I hated leaving Combat. The reunion was so amazing. I had a few friends watch him. When we went to WV last year, my one friend watched the cats. But she’s not a cat person. And this will be for a longer time. And she’s been kinda weird with me lately. So I’m nervous to ask her. I can’t think of anyone else though. I’m sure it will be fine, and she lives in the complex so it’s really ideal. But They’re gonna be so lonely without us. They’re gonna wonder where we are. Last night the usual cat dance didn’t happen. Timmy curled up next to me on the bed, and when Spinelli came in, she curled up next to him. I fell asleep with my arm across timmy and my hand on Spinelli. This morning, I swear Spinelli didn’t want me typing. She was crawling all over me and meowing. What are they gonna think when I’m gone? Oh man. It’ll be fine, I know, but I’m dreading it. I will sob the day I leave. Always do. And then when I get to the airport I’ll be ok. And then midway through the trip I will freak out and need an update on the cats.

The time is just gonna fly. It already is. I can’t believe it! Oh! Today my Gamma says, I have a problem with the dog coming over. Oh? Yeah what if he poops in the yard? I can’t bend over to clean it up. Oh. I have to relieve the dog, no problem, I can pick it up. Haha! She’s so cute.

Ok, wow I wrote a lot. Time to edit and post. Oh, I’m craving Eggo’s. Carin, know why?

44 days!!!


Filed under birthday, cats, Combat, Doggy Countdown, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, GDB, guide dogs, no no sightie, pooch preparation, rant, Spinelli, Timmy, white cane, workouts

Kitty Tales – About Combat

I know I’m writing a lot today. Its Sunday, so there’s football football and more football. I’m a baseball girl. Anyway, I want to talk about Combat. My favorite blog so far is Life with the Dogs and I’ve pretty much read it all. The story about Maggie made my heart hurt, because it reminded me so much of Combat.

I had Combat from the age of 12 until I was 29, just after I went blind. Combat was my baby from the start. Pure black with yellow eyes. I named him Combat on the way home from the Humane Society all those years ago, because in his cage, he had been stalking his food dish, and pouncing on it. The name suited him because of that, but he was the gentl cat. I used to sing, “Combat…the army cat…I’m so glad…you’re not a rat…or a bat or too fat”. Its from the movie ‘Beaches’. I still remember a picture of him when he was still an adolescent cat, wearing a red collar and climbing the cat tree. Another favorite picture was him in front of the tv, reaching up to try and catch Mario as my mom played Super Mario Brothers on the old Nintendo.

After my first cat Kitty ran away, we started keeping cats indoors. Combat only tried to get out twice, and both times he froze when he realized he had no idea where he was. He became my constant.

After mom got sick, after pomeranians died and their puppies sold, Combat was still around. We had acquired another cat, Little Kitty, but thats another blog.

At 21 I moved out and into a house with 3 other girls. My cats came with me, and soon I became worried about how other people treated them. They started pretty much living in my room. After that house, I started bouncing around alot, and at one point, they had to stay in this tiny little room with my friend’s parents. I was hardly ever home, because I had discovered partying. Those poor babies were stuck in that room alone for days at a time. I am not proud of this. Eventually I moved into another friend’s house, with the latest boyfriend, and we lived in a carport converted into a room. We ended up moving into the house, and they had a dog, so again, the cats were kept in a room, but I was home with them alot.

One day, I couldn’t find Combat. For days he was missing and I was devestated. My boyfriend at the time wasn’t watching and Combat slipped out of the room. We found him days later; he had crawled through the window leading into the carport/room. I was so relieved.

When I left that house and the guy, I got a place of my own and it was just me and the cats. Combat had made it through so much, mom dying, all the houses, all the men, all the people, my drunken self. He was always there. When I sobered up it was just me and Combat at that point. Little Kitty had passed. Combat and I moved in to a great apartment where he had a great view out the windows of bunnies and squirrels and quail and doves. He was pretty up there in years at that point, so sometimes I took him out on the patio where I could keep an eye on him, where he could sniff. I knew he wouldn’t run.

When I moved in with my boyfriend, into the place I’m in now, there were Timmy and Fi as well, and Combat hated it. It had been him and me for so long. He was dropping weight, refused to use the litter box because it smelled like the other cats. He wouldn’t eat out of their food bowls. He found the bathroom and felt secure in there, so I put a towel down for him to lay on. He used the bathtub as a litter box, but he was my baby, so I would clean it up.

One amazing thing about Combat in that bathroom though. One day I heart a dribble, so I looked, and there was Combat, perched on the toilet, peeing!! He peed in the toilet from then on, but used the tub for the other stuff.

Sometimes he would sneak out of he bathroom and lay on the bed. He couldn’t control his bowels though, so I found a mess in the bed a few times, and we started closing the door.

After I went blind, it started getting harder. My boyfriend had to check the tub before he left for work so I culd bathe. At that point, I was afraid to stand in teh shower, so I sat in the tub. Eventually I just took a paper towel to feel around first. Combat soiled all the towels we put down for him, so my boyfriend started using his old shirts.

He would bring Combat into bed with me at night so I could cuddle with im with the door closed, so it was just the two of us. He would knead for about a minute or two, and then curl up. Then he would moan and I’d know he needed to relieve himself, so my boyfriend would take him back in the bathroom.

about a month and a half after I went blind, on June 6, 2008, I got out of the shower and Combat wasn’t in the bathroom. He had gone into the bedroom, and had an accident all over the bed. I lost it. I couldn’t clean it up, I couldn’t take the stuff to the laundry, and I knew this was no way for the poor guy to live. I also got very angry and called a friend and went crazy over the phone. I wish he hadn’t heard that. We knew it was time to put him to rest.

My friend came over and sat with me, and my other friend was going to come and take him to the humane society. My boyfriend was upst and told me to wait until he got home from work, but thought better of it, because he knew he’d tell me not to do it. I sat with Combat and held him and cried and told him I loved him and it wasn’t his fault and it would be better this way and he wouldn’t be in pain and he could see mom and Little Kitty.

I was holding him on the couch when my friend came and I didn’t want to let him go. Finally she took him from my arms and put him in a carrier and was gone. I cried and cried and cried and I’m crying now as I write this.

For days it just wasn’t right. I knew he wasn’t in the bathroom, but it was easy to pretend he was there because I couldn’t see that he wasn’t. At night it was awful because I didn’t have my Combat time. I washed his food dishes and put them up. They will never be used for anything else.

Eventually thepain lessoned. I still miss him so very much. He was my boy, my baby, my constant. I used to call him Baby Boy. The other day I slepped and called Timmy Baby Boy and then said out loud that I couldn’t call him that, thats Combat’s name.

I’m glad my boyfriend waited awhile to get Spinelli. She was such a surprise, that I felt guilty. I told combat she wasn’t replacing him, and I felt in my heart, I felt it, that Combat was saying, “Its ok mom, I want you to be happy. I’m not in pain here. I get to chase the lizards.” Oh yeah, a lizard had gotten into my old apartment, and Combat had so much fun playing with it it, which swas a joy, because he hadn’t played in years.

So he’s up there now, chasing lizards, hanging with mom, ignoring Little Kitty. My friend’s cat Hunny Bunny departed recently, the friend that took Combat to the Humane Society, so I told her Combat would welcome him. As I read Maggie’s story, I thought of the two of them meeting up there somewhere, since they both left us at similar times.

I love you, Combat. I hope there are plenty of lizards. =)

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Kitty Tales – From Fi

My name is pronounced like Fee. My proper name is Ophelia, but everyone calls me Fi. I’m From West Virginia, and I’ve been around a very long time. I used to be another lady’s cat, but back in West Virginia, when I met dad, I knew he was mine. So when they went their separate ways in Arizona, I stayed with dad.

We used to live with dad’s friend, and he had a dog. I liked that dog a lot. I like dogs much better than cats. I’m glad I’m a cat and not a human. Humans are too busy. After we moved in here with mom and her old cat Combat, they both left every day. combat didn’t like Timmy and me. I quickly made the spare room my home. I like it in there. Its quiet and there are lots of places to curl up, because its the storage rom. After a couple months, dad and mom were both home for about a week and a half and I knew something was up. I’ve been around long enough to know these things. Timmy was just happy they were home a lot. Then dad went back to leaving every day, and mom stayed home all the time. But she was different. She moved around the house really slowly and sometimes got lost. She cried a lot, and talked on the phone a lot. Strange people came over, and I don’t like strange people, so I never came out. It was like this for months. Mom would lay down a lot and dad would help her find things on tv before she got good at it herself. And she was never on her computer anymore. She gave it to dad. It was all very sad for awhile.

Then she started something called therapy and she started getting better. I would crawl on her shoulder while she listened to books and she’d walk around with me like that. I was always vry calm with her, just sat by her side and leaned into her and let her pet me. I think she liked my being around, so calm.

Then she got busy again. A strange man came and she had this long white stick. I liked to try and play with the ball on the end. But eventually it was clear that it wasn’t a cat toy. Eventually she started leaving almost every day too, but she’s still home more than dad. And she has a computer again, and it talks. It sounds really funny, not like the humans, but pretty close. She likes to type the word meow and make the computer say it.

I like to just relax in my room and I don’t come out much. That Spinelli gets on my nerves, but we’re friendlier than you might think. When no one is home we play and sometimes when mom and dad are home we play, and they laugh, because I never play with Timmy. But Spinelli looks like me, and I like her ok.

About a month ago, mom started talking about getting a dog!! I like dogs. I hope she gets one. And she sounds so happy when she talks about getting a dog. Timmy and Spinelli don’t know what it is. Boy will they be surprised. I can’t wait!

I think mom will probably tell you about Combat, but I just want to say that I kinda miss that old guy. He was even older than me. He came here when we moved in, and he just wasn’t happy. He was very old and sometimes he cried out in pain. He stayed away from us, and mostly stayed in her bathroom. He left one day, and didn’t come back. Thats never good news.

Anyway, I think I’ll go jump in the tub. I like mom’s tub because it drips, and I like to lick the water. The drip on my head is making my fur on my head all flat, but at this point in life, I know there are more important things than looking good all the time, like Spinelli.

I love my mom and dad, and I like Spinelli and Timmy ok, but I sure hope we get a dog!

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