Category Archives: cool product

Getting into my Headspace

I posted a version of this on Facebook today and then decided it would make a good blog post, so boom!

Headspace session quote: Meditation isn’t just about sitting for a limited time. It’s a skill to be applied to the rest of our day.

This quote was after my second session this morning and it inspired a post because I’ve been noticing lately just how much I apply my meditation skills to my every day life.

The headspace app is set up in such a way that one can pick packs which focus on a specific thing. For example, one of the early packs I picked, (Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, couldn’t resist) was the pain management pack. The specific meditation skills I’ve learned with headspace have been absolutely invaluable to me as I live with a progressing physical illness. I forgot to mention in the Absentee Blogger post that I had an MS flair in early April. I’ve had some lasting nerve damage on my right side, but physical therapy is helping me go through most days hardly noticing it, until I get hit with a fatigue.

It’s been a tough fatigue week with the weather going all crazy like. I saw my physical therapist on Tuesday and was explaining to her how I had been doing better and better and then the pressure started bouncing around. I love how she just gets the things I’m going through. She has so much experience with MS patients that none of what I tell her is weird. Like when I told her that on Sunday, I woke up but I never woke up. She just understood it, or was very good at relating things she’s heard from other patients to what I was telling her. I explained that on Sunday I tried to do some of my PT stuff since often times, those gentle exercises will snap me out of fatigue. but after one set I knew I was done. She told me that when I have days where I wake up but don’t wake up, that’s my cue that I’m in a fatigue and need to rest. *sigh* Acceptance is the answer yup yup.

I am so grateful this didn’t happen last week when my aunt and uncle were visiting from Tucson! Thank you, God!

Um, ok Ro but how does meditation factor in to all this?

the meditation practice I’ve been doing since last year with the Headspace app has made my mind an instant retreat. When I’m doing the things I have to do in spite of how fatigued my body is, I can moan and groan and choose to suffer, or I can remember oh, let’s focus on the breath for a ten count and pause…aaaah….ok, I’m ok. this will pass. My experience with the pain management pack helps me go into focus on the breath, center in to the pain, give it a color, and watch it dissolve. Wow. I also take myself into a brief meditation when I’m out at a meeting or on Paratransit or sitting somewhere and begin to feel overstimulated. Meditation has helped me understand the concept of the happy place.

Oooh I just remembered Hannibal Lecter’s mind in the Silence of the Lambs sequel, the book not the movie and that divergence of thought as I’m editing this from the Facebook post is a perfect example of what I would do while sitting in a meditation, focused on the breath. In (one) out (two) in (three) out (four) Hannibal Lecter’s happy place, yeah that’s not a very calm place but everyone meditates in their own way, yeah I’m just glad I can watch my thoughts as if they’re boats on a river instead of going into his memory palace oh wait wow, I’m distracted, note that as thinking…go back to the breath, in (one) out (two)…

All this to say that meditation has helped me through this week, especially when my thoughts lean towards self pity at the things I’m needing to set aside for rest so that I can do what I hope to do tomorrow. As my sponsor says, we do what we have to do so that we can do what we want to do. In my case that means choosing the earlier meeting over the later one and not doing both like I’d prefer to do.

I’m up to thirty minutes of meditation a day now, whoa! Twenty minutes of my current pack–the anxiety pack which focuses on the noting technique, the technique I love–and then a ten minute everyday Headspace with a different theme each day. Today’s was using meditation in daily life and not just when in session, hence this post.

I’m not getting paid to rave about this app. Perhaps I should be….ha!

After I posted the original Facebook post, I reconsidered the not getting paid part. If I turn just one person on to the awesomeness that is meditation, then I’ve gotten paid in the cosmic sense.

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Filed under cool product, family, gratitude, mental health, plugs, spoons, weather

FREEQ and Desert Bus

I almost included this as a random happy in yesterday’s post but then realized it could be its own post for today, saving me some brain freeze trying to think of something to write haha!

I ran across a tweet yesterday about a game company and what they learned while making their game on iOS accessible to the blind. Here’s the post and it’s a fabulous read. Thanks Ricardo, for retweeting that.

The game is called FREEQ and it’s mostly an audio game, but when some blind iOS gamers heard about it, they were disappointed that the interface wasn’t accessible. So they contacted the developers as blind people tend to do and asked if the game could maybe be made accessible.

The developers were like what? Blind people use iOS devices? What? How? The normal questions haha! They did their research and were like you know what? Let’s not leave the blind people in the dark on this. It’ll be hard work but we can do it. How cool is that? Click that link; it’s good stuff!

The post mentions AppleVis, a huge community of blind and low vision Apple users. When I’m considering an app or a kind of app, I google whatever I need and always include AppleVis in the search. I’m also a member there; it’s an excellent community. So I found the AppleVis post on FREEQ after I read about the game and based on that and the desire to support the developers, I downloaded the game this morning. I haven’t spent much time with it but it sounds fun and different.

I just love it when developers *want* to make their stuff accessible, instead of feeling like they *have* to. Yay!

Random Happy

This morning I ran across this article about a boring game raising money for children. How perfect to include in a post about a video game. The stars aligned for me and today’s post haha! Anyway, turns out the game was made by Penn and Teller as a joke and it involves driving a bus on a boring stretch of road from Tucson to Las Vegas. That’s the game. And now it raises money for kids. What? Click the link. It’s awesome!

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Filed under accessibility, apple Inc, cool product, gratitude, in the news, NaBloPoMo 2013, plugs, silly girl, twitter me this

Awesome Teaching Tool for Blind Children

I’m getting closer to writing all the promised posts, promise. Today was a much dryer day here and I felt a lot of relief. Unfortunately there’s still rain in the forecast. Lots of typing just causes some nasty nerve pain in my arms and shoulders right now. I had to share this though.

I read about it this morning. It’s a toy that combines braille with the shapes of words a child reads, like four blocks that make up the shape of a fish and have the braille dots for f, i, s and h on them. How amazing is that???

Go read about it here. I think it sounds pretty amazing!

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Filed under braille, cool blinky stuff, cool product, spoons, weather

Handwriting in iOS 7 – Most Excellent!

The other day when someone retweeted @Ducktail’s demo of handwriting in iOS 7 I played the demo not sure what I’d find. Not long into it my hands were covering my face as I listened, completely amazed and filled with gratitude toward Apple.

In iOS 7, we’ll be able to draw letters on the screen! Not only will this allow us to hand write text, but it can also be used to search the device for apps. Looking for Sound Hound? Draw an “s” on the screen and a list of all your apps beginning with the letter “s” come up. I cannot wait for this feature! I hadn’t thought about how much I miss writing letters!

It seems like this could definitely be difficult for those who never used handwriting, for sure, but for someone like me who wrote the letters of the alphabet until I was twenty-nine, this will bring back something I thought I’d lost forever! The ability to hand write! Oh man. I’m so excited hahahahaha!

Ok, as LeVar Burton likes to say, bydhttmwfi. go have a listen to the demo. It’s an auto play Dropbox. Just go listen. Oh man! So cool! So amazing! Thank you, Apple!

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Filed under accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, demo, gratitude, iPhone, misty eyes, plugs, screen reader, twitter me this, Voiceover, wow

My Week in Five er, Six Songs

A fun sounding writing prompt came up yesterday but I wasn’t sure I’d do it. this morning a song popped in my head and I started thinking of other songs to fit into a five song playlist to describe my week. I picked last Monday to today. Can you guess the song before clicking the link? All the links are you tubes and they open in a new window.

Last Monday I had to go to the doctor and she wants me to have a procedure. It’s just a procedure and not surgery, but I hope the gastroenterologist isn’t like this surgeon.

Tuesday I tried to gather enough energy to get ready for an out of town guest. I tried to find a good song about out of town guests but all I found were songs about weddings. Huh? B’s dad was here for a visit Wednesday and we hung out until Friday afternoon when he and B drove up to Phoenix for Spring Training. He flew out this morning (B just got home and said his dad missed his flight. It was crazy in Phoenix this weekend with the World Baseball Classic and Spring Training and apparently it’s spring break this week too.) and B will be back today. (Yeah, he’s already back. Can YOu tell I started this post awhile ago?) I got to prepare some food for myself that I don’t normally eat much of when I eat with B, so I thought I’d find a song about cooking. It’s fun to sing while you cook. My shrimp was dead.

I was sad the night B and his dad left so after I cooked dinner I treated myself to another season of my favorite comedy. Happy making! The show kept me company for the weekend.

The rest of the time, I listened to my favorite sport. If you don’t know what that is without clicking the link, you don’t know me at all!

Last night I went to bed early so I could get up early this morning to get ready for Jayden’s wellness check vet appointment. (He earned a clean bill of health again!) I told B on the phone last night I felt really old going to bed so early and this morning my hips hurt and my knees were popping as I was getting ready and the song that came to mind let me know I had to follow the writing prompt and write this post. I could not find the original recording of that song on youtube, so I picked that cover out of the several I listened to. It reminded me of my dad sitting around singing country songs and playing his guitar while I was growing up.

Ok, bonus round. Back in my karaoke days my friend L did this song and I’ve tried to find it for years but never knew the artist or enough lyrics. The other day I found myself singing it to Jayden, replacing the word “ladies” with his name. I finally remembered I have the Sound Hound app and after humming the song to it, I finally found it! Don’t worry, the subject matter does not pertain at all to my life. 😉

How many songs did you guess? Leave me a comment and tell me. I won’t know if you lie, but your dog will. Huh?

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Filed under apple Inc, baseball, cool product, doc, family, Jayden, music, num num food, plugs, vet visit, youtube

Zombies Are Good For Your Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Beginner’s Guide to Echolocation for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Learning to See With Your Ears” by Tim Johnson

When I began Orientation and Mobility lessons a few months after going blind, I was amazed to learn that using a white cane involved so much more than just interpreting sensations in the hand holding the cane. My instructor, Dave, taught me to begin paying attention to sounds outside my apartment. Hear that traffic? If you ever get turned around, listen for the traffic and use the sound to point yourself in the direction of your apartment. Years later I would use this skill after arriving home with my guide dog while he was learning the lay of the land.

Dave also taught me how to listen for buildings and hear the difference between a flat building front and an alcove or covered area. I used this a lot while learning my home area since those sounds became landmarks. Instead of the mailbox on the corner letting me know I was close to my destination, the different sound the cane made as I passed by an aluminum overhang became my landmark.

Dave taught me how to tell which lane a car was in as we stood next to a three lane road. He would stand me near a bend in a busy street and have me point to where I thought the intersection was. In buildings and stores he would have me stop and listen for the sounds of a cash register or talking. When I expressed fear of entering a public bathroom alone, he found a blind female coworker who told me to listen for the sounds of the sinks, the hand dryers, the paper towel dispensers, the flushing toilets. Remember those sounds in relation to the door and you’ll be fine.

As I learned all these skills I couldn’t help but remember a television documentary I had watched with B back when I was blind in just one eye. This documentary was about a boy who lost his eyes as a baby. B and I watched in amazement as this boy road his bike, skateboarded, shot basketballs and didn’t miss, all by clicking his tongue. When the program ended I turned to B and said, “I should learn that in case my other eye goes blind.” I clicked my tongue a few times but the thought of losing my other eye never seemed like a reality. Who knew a year later I would begin to learn the basics of echolocation without even knowing it.

When I read “Beginner’s Guide to Echolocation for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Learning to See With Your Ears” by Tim Johnson, I found myself remembering those early days of O & M Lessons with Dave and smiling. While learning to navigate the world without sight was frustrating and terrifying, there were also some really fun times. This book was a refresher for me in many ways but it also introduced new skills and concepts. It can be exhausting moving around the world with your ears. Johnson gives examples of relaxing exercises and techniques to practice to assist with honing your hearing, decipher sounds and open your mind. I think this is invaluable to help with energy conservation. I have found myself focusing on these things in the days since I read this book.

Johnson makes it clear that this book is not a replacement for O & M lessons with a qualified instructor. He also gives information about centers where one can go to specifically learn echolocation. I would love to be able to attend this kind of training! I remember when I was first blind, navigating around my apartment and stopping just before I hit a wall. I remember telling people, “I heard the freaking wall!” I really enjoyed reading this book and finding out in detail just how it worked that day I heard the wall.

Johnson explains sound waves and why certain objects sound the way they do when a click or clap bounces off of them and back to the ears. He explains how the visual cortex in the brains of the blind still function, allowing us to build images in our minds from the things we feel and hear. I ate this information up since I love brain science. When I finished this book I felt brain tired, just like I do when I read books about science. I love it! I also had an aching tongue from all the clicking I did as the book described different techniques. Johnson flawlessly uses descriptions to teach you all the different ways you can click.

I recommend this book for anyone, blind or sighted. Even if you are not interested in learning echolocation, it is still a fascinating read for anyone who enjoys learning something new. “The Beginner’s Guide to Echolocation” is available in print from Amazon with large print available and audio coming soon. You can also download the book in MS Word format to read with your screen reader.

We don’t think about the kinds of echolocation we use every day. Whether using a white cane or a guide dog, if we can hear, we can see our surroundings as we move through the world with our mobility aids. There are even some days I can tell when it’s cloudy, just based on how different the traffic sounds. I don’t know about you, but I am grateful to be able to sharpen all my tools as I continue trudging along on this sightless journey. My thanks to Tim Johnson, for devoting his time and skills to this book!

*Addendum* Exciting news! I heard from Tim Johnson and the audio book is now available for download here, and will soon be available on Amazon, Audible and iTunes!

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, Amazon, blind opinion, cool product, gratitude, guide dogs, NaBloPoMo 2012, Orientation and Mobility, plugs, white cane

Demo: Creating custom audio labels using Digit-Eyes

This is a demo of using Digit-Eyes to create custom audio labels. If you are unfamiliar with Digit-Eyes, you can listen to my first demo and you can visit www.digit-eyes.com/ for more information and to purchase the app and labels. The website also allows you to print your own labels if you have a printer and sheets of blank labels. I don’t have a printer, so I have the pre-printed labels from Digit-Eyes.

This demo is about thirty minutes long. Today was the first I had recorded any custom labels and I did some practicing before recording. As with any new technology there’s a learning curve. Just be patient and before you know it, it clicks.

Digit-Eyes Custom Labels Demo

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Filed under apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, demo, gratitude, iPhone, iTunes, NaBloPoMo 2012, plugs

A Letter to Fifty-Three Year-Old Me

Writing the letter to my fourteen year-old self was fun. The writing prompt I took the idea from said to follow it up the next day with a letter to myself in twenty years. I didn’t give it much thought until it was the next day and the thought of the future was too scary. I think today I am ready to do this since two fictional worlds I’ve dived into recently are more scary (hopefully) than twenty years from now will be.

So, fifty-three year old Ro, I hope you are alive to read this. If you are not fifty- three year-old Ro, meaning you are Ro and not fifty-three yet, don’t read this. You can’t read this until November 11, 1032. Oh wow.

Oh and readers, you should leave a comment. If this blog is still here in twenty years, hopefully it is, your comments will be in a time capsule of sorts haha!

Dear fifty-three year-old Ro,

Wow, so did I make it this long? Mom didn’t make it to fifty-three so if I’m reading this in twenty years I better be grateful. Remember how you thought you’d never see thirty because of how crazy your life was and then you literally didn’t see thirty because you went blind at twenty-nine? Yeah, I still think that’s funny today. Do you still find it funny in twenty years? I hope so, because without humor there’s just no point.

Do you need a refresher of what life was like for you at thirty-three? Well, I’ve been with B for just over five and a half years now. Are we still together in twenty years? If we are, what is he like? Did he ever start eating vegetables? I know, that’s probably a really stupid question. My three best friends are Carol, Chupa and Georgie. How are they? Ok I’m misting up thinking about these people in twenty years. Do you remember being convinced that everyone would die before you and you would be left alone in this scary world? That was only like two months ago, before I started Lexapro. Thinking about the people I love the most and how it will be in twenty years is starting to freak me out. It’s a good thing I’m medicated.

What about Erik? He’s my only friend who’s younger than I am. Only by a few months but still. How is he? I hope you are still in touch with him. We’ve been friends so long and there has always been gaps where we lose touch. Although ever since I went blind and started using my Macbook, we haven’t lost touch, so I hope in twenty years we’re still close.

Ok, so speaking of my Mac, what is technology like? Do people have stuff implanted in them yet? I always imagine little nano chips for phones and stuff. I mean seriously, the technology has to be amazing in twenty years! Or is it scary? Has it gotten out of control? It could go that route too. Right now you have an iPhone 4 running iOS 6.0.1. The latest iPhone is the 5. What is the iPhone in twenty years? Do you have an iPhone? Has any other phone ever rivaled the accessibility of the iPhone? I have a Macbook they don’t even make anymore. I was almost completely out of space on it so I started converting videos to mp3. What do you have in twenty years? Do they even make laptops anymore? Do they use wires at all? I can’t imagine there would be wires anymore. Am I right?

What animals do you have? Right now I have Jayden and Timmy and Spinelli and Fi. I can’t think about the future without them.

Are you still blind? Did they figure out how to give you new optic nerves? If so, did you get them? As of right now, I can’t imagine seeing again. I’m so used to things the way they are, so I don’t know if I would try anything to see again. I remember when I first went blind I wanted more than anything to see again, even just a little bit. I was ready to get on a plane and go to the UK where they were experimenting with a cancer drug that helped MS patients regain lost functions. Now though? I couldn’t imagine testing a drug. It’s a scary thought. So what have you done in twenty years?

I’m afraid to think about what the MS has done to me in twenty years. It’s impossible to think about my future self though without wondering about that. I won’t think about that now. Maybe you’re reading this in twenty years and smiling because nothing horrible has happened. Is that too much to ask for?

There really isn’t much more to write. There isn’t much to say to a future self beyond asking questions. I can say I hope you are as happy as I am today. Though I hope you are happier. I’m happy, but I could be happier. I just hope you aren’t less happy. I hope you’re still sober, though obviously when it comes to that I can’t really think beyond today. If you’re sober and still smoke free and at least as happy as I am now, then you’ve got it good.

Oh hey wait, I have to ask, is there equality? Have people finally quit being so damned uptight about gay marriage? Has racism and bigotry finally really gone away? Do women still have freedom over their own bodies? Has the insanity over birth control gone away? Did people start finally focusing on the real problems? God I hope so. If there isn’t more love an acceptance in twenty years, how are you managing?

I’m reading “The Handmaid’s Tale”, do you remember reading that book? It’s incredibly depressing. It’s what could happen if the crusty old white guys don’t stop wanting to control the female body. It’s terrifying. I hope it’s nothing like this in twenty years because if it’s going to go down that path, I hope the Mayans were right. If they were right, you won’t be reading this in twenty years, no one will.

Ok wow, this turned very doom and gloom. I was afraid this would happen when I thought about writing this letter. Writing to fourteen year-old me was fun because I don’t fear the past and because I knew what happened. This letter is nothing but fear of the unknown and my dwindling hope for a happy future.

I guess my only hope is that there’s just more love in the future. There has to be, or the future is grim grim grim.

I should end this on a happy note. Hmmm, happy. So have the Rays won a World Series or five? Ten? How long did Evan Longoria stay? Please tell me he didn’t end up with Boston or New York. What about David Price? Did I ever meet any of them? How are all my online friends? I don’t want to start naming them all because that’s a lot and I’m sure I’d end up leaving someone out.

One last question, what kind of voice are you listening to on your Mac? I can only assume you still use a screen reader and a Mac. Is it still Alex or have they made new voices that are just as good? Knowing Apple, they probably use human speech in twenty years haha. Ok, I just heard my DM ping. I think that’s my cue to wrap this up.

I hope this letter finds you well , my fifty-three year-old self! Oh, happy early birthday!

Love,

Thirty-three year-old Ro

PS – Do they have replicators and/or transporters yet? Did you ever publish anything?

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Filed under accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, Alex, apple Inc, assistive technologies, baseball, cool product, evan longoria, fellowship, Fi, humor as coping skill, I might be a writer, in the news, iPhone, Jayden, letters, mental health, misty eyes, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, on this date, politics, proud geek, screen reader, silly girl, sobriety, Spinelli, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this

Max Factor and the Middle Class

Carol and I had our daily phone conversation today which started off as a discussion of yesterday’s election. We are on the same page politically so there was no debate, just sharing our relief at how things turned out. Carol had been on a media blackout all day, getting the news from her friend late last night. The phone call had been prearranged. I think that was mighty smart of her haha! I kept a loose eye on Twitter while I converted episodes of friends to mp3 to save disk space. There’s not much better escapism than episodes of Friends.

After we got done discussing our hope for the next four years and how disgusted I was over things I read on Twitter this morning, we got into more fun topics about whatever it is we can discuss for hours and hours. I’m not sure how we talked about how there’s no longer a clearly defined middle class, but it came up during our jumping from topic to topic. We always talk about something serious and then one of us steers the conversation on to something a little more light hearted. Both of us have had not so easy lives and we often talk about that’s why we tend to lean to the left. Oh let’s face it, I lean to the left, she dove right into it haha!

Anyway, we had gotten on to talking about her favorite make-up, the Max Factor pan stick, and how it had been getting harder and harder to find in stores. She had tried other products but nothing had worked as well as this Max Factor and finally early this year, she discovered it on a website and ordered one. Today she was telling me that she went back to the website and they no longer carry it. Disappointed, she did some further investigation and discovered that the only place she can order it from now is the UK, because there’s just no market here for it anymore. Basically it’s not high-end enough for stores like Nordstrom’s and not low-end enough for stores like Walgreens.

Suddenly she exclaimed, “It’s a middle class make-up!”

I burst out laughing since that completely summed up our earlier conversation about how there’s no longer a clearly defined American middle class. Max Factor had to stop supplying its pan stick to American stores because it’s a middle class make-up and we have no middle-class here to buy it. This strikes me funny too since Carol is definitely not middle class since she lives on disability just like I do but even when you live below poverty level, a girl still likes to splurge on make-up that works! That pan stick also lasts her like a year so it’s really just too bad there’s no longer a market for it in America. I wonder what she’ll have to pay on shipping to get that from across the pond.

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