Category Archives: family

Sometimes life is just plain hard. Just keep swimming.

I’m having a really difficult time staying in the center of the roof. Not as far as my sobriety goes, that is the only thing in my life I have complete choice in, so that’s stable, but the rest of life stuff? I’ve been teetering on the edge for awhile now, struggling to cope, taking it all a day at a time, talking to my closest friends, but I still lost my balance and fell today. I suppose it’s good when something pushes you in to a complete emotional breakdown when you’ve been unknowingly keeping it from happening.

I haven’t even wanted to blog about what’s been going on, but today I feel the need. In early February, Gamma took a spill and broke her hip. They had a hard time getting her heart to stabilize for surgery, but they finally accomplished with medication so they could repair the bone. The surgery was successful and they put in a pacemaker to keep her heart stabilized.

She was in the hospital longer than expected because of the heart complications and finally moved to the rehab facility for physical therapy about a month ago.

I was able to talk to her every day and she kept telling me how much she just wanted to go home after rehab, her friend offered to move in and help etc. My dad and uncle were looking at assisted living facilities which upset Gamma. Eventually they agreed to try her at home and see how it went when she was done with physical therapy and everything was looking up. Or so I thought.

Dad called one day to tell me that Gamma started having episodes of dementia at night. I won’t go into details, but they were so severe that the rehab place took her phone. I have not been able to speak with her for nearly two weeks now, except for one time when she agreed to talk to me on Dad’s cell phone.

Next week she will be moving to an assisted living facility equipped to help her with everything. I’ll be relieved when she moves, because she’ll have her own room which she’ll be glad about, but she’s not going to like living in the single room. She has claustrophobia and doesn’t like being confined in one room for long, so I’m not sure how this is going to work. When she found out about her dementia episodes, she said if she had known that would happen, she wouldn’t have gotten the pacemaker. I understand, because now the pacemaker will keep her going even as her brain betrays her.

I haven’t been able to help with any of this. I’ve been struggling with my feelings of uselessness, knowing this isn’t bout me, but also acknowledging that this effects me too. Gamma is my second mom. This has been such a huge change for both of us, not just in her health and living situation but our relationship. I feel like I’ve just been wandering through life since all this happened. I’m starting to worry about my dad since he’s had to handle this assisted living thing on his own while my uncle is out of town for work. I feel so damn useless since I can’t jump in the car and go sit in on these things with him.

There’s so much more, but the rest of it is very personal and not to be written for the public eye. I guess I decided to write this all out so my friends know what’s going on with me. My life is so online these days that I guess this is the way to reach out and explain why I might fly off the handle over things that other people might not see as stressful.

It’s funny the things that let me know I need to do some work to stay sane. One of my red flags is now when I shut Twitter down for the day. When I can’t handle Twitter, that’s when I know it’s time for reflection on my spirituality. Luckily that hasn’t wavered, and while everything is very uncertain, in ways not expressed here, I somehow know I’ll be ok. Twitter has been an incredible support in many ways and I almost didn’t write this because one of my friends lost her own grandma last night. I know she’ll understand if she reads this though and I know we’ll keep swimming together.

Jayden just began dream barking on the couch beside me as I was finishing this post. I’ve said it a million times but I really truly don’t think I could manage to keep a smile on my face if I didn’t have Jayden. Baseball isn’t even helping at the moment. It’s only spring training, something I’m getting so sick of saying, but things aren’t pretty. I’ve got the Rays/Pirates game on in the background as I write and it’s not helping my mood. I know a Pirates fan who will like it though, so that’s a silver lining.

*Edit. James Shields just picked a guy off third base. That made me smile.

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Filed under baseball, faith, family, fellowship, Gamma, gratitude, Jayden, misty eyes, sobriety, twitter me this

Christmas Weekend

Last night we went to my uncle’s for Christmas dinner. Growing up, Gamma used to make pork tenderloins with all the fixins. After my Mom and Grandpa died, Gamma eventually stopped making the tenderloin dinner. My uncle and aunt made it at their house in 2007. The only reason I remember that was it was my last Christmas sighted and I was working at the doctor’s office. I remember being exhausted since we worked a half day that day. B didn’t go at all because he worked a full day that day, so he had never had the tenderloin dinner.

This year my uncle and his new wife decided to make the tenderloin dinner. Gamma and I had been excited ever since we heard about it!

Because my uncle’s house has a very open floor plan, Jayden had to stay on duty by my side the entire time. I don’t know the house well and there’s nothing to navigate with since it’s so open. Jayden did great, even stopping at the area carpets to let me know they were there, and where the concrete met dirt when I took him outside. I think he wondered why all the people he knows were at this strange building and especially why he was on duty the whole time. He’s never on duty at Gamma’s house, since I know it so well.

It was a great night and the food was delicious! It was the ultimate comfort food. Even B, the picky eater, ate everything. Gamma even made her jello mold, another dish she hasn’t made in forever. I ate so much I easily made myself look pregnant by sticking out my full stomach haha!

Today, Gamma and I had our typical Sunday and had leftover tenderloin sandwiches on rye bread along with the jello salad. There was lots of yummy sounds to be heard.

It’s been a very restful weekend, though yesterday I was a bit stoned, having taken my new med in the morning. I took it in the morning on Friday and wasn’t really affected by it, but it’s a cumulative med, duh. So yesterday I was quite sluggish and sleepy.

Today I started feeling like I might be coming down with something. About midway through the afternoon at Gamma’s my throat started getting achey and scratchy. Ooooh noooo!!! I hope I’m not getting sick, because I need to hit my home gym this week and start working off all this food!

I hope you all had a great weekend, whether you celebrate the holiday or not!

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Filed under family, Gamma, holiday, Jayden, mom, num num food, working dog

Here, have a post (Title stolen from the Vomit Comet)

I have a blog post by my Twitter friend Morgan I want to plug but I need to remember to blog earlier in the day. It’s only 7:30 and I’m so ready for bed. I want to give her post my full energy so it will have to wait. It’s so cool! Maybe I’m just being mean and making baseball fans wait.

I recently finished Stephen King’s new book, “11-22-63”. Incredible book, just incredible. I don’t have enough brain power to really write it up but I’ll just say I loved it and had an intense desire to read “IT” again. I first read that book in fourth grade, then again in eighth and I’ve wanted it in audio for awhile now. Unfortunately Stephen King books are very expensive. I wasn’t sure I wanted to use an Audible credit on it since I only get one a month, but B saved the day today, showing up with a $25 gift card for iTunes. I’m currently downloading “IT” and got it for nine bucks. Sweet! He also got me a speaker for my iPhone, which makes books sound so much better. I’ve been just holding my phone and using the built in speaker, but that makes a very tiny sound. B’s co-worker got us a Music Bullet and I’ve enjoyed hearing my books on that at night, so B decided an actual speaker would be nice. I’m really going to appreciate the volume buttons on it, that’s for sure. When you turn up the volume on the audio book on the phone, the screen reader gets louder too, which is rather annoying.

That’s a really long story to explain that I’m very much looking forward to going to bed. I’m almost done with “A Separate Peace”, so I might begin “IT” tonight.

I experimented with taking my new med this morning. My doc recommended that I take it at night since it can make you drowsy. I felt like I was wasting all my pain relief on sleep though and I haven’t gotten very sleepy at night on it. I can’t tell if it made me sleepy today or not, since I’ve had to rest my back today. Laying around on the heating pad and taking a long bath are rather relaxing activities, so I might just be sleepy from that. I also managed to do yoga this morning. My back had definitely tightened up over night so the yoga helped stretch me out again.

The injury is definitely healing. The pain is getting smaller, if that makes any sense. That’s a big relief. I’m still being uber careful though, and poor Jayden is being a champ about being patient with me.

Speaking of Jayden, I got the holiday greetings from GDB today. It was so cool! My eyes definitely misted a few times. I got to hear my field rep and my main class instructor! Yay! There were many others of course, several I talked to while at school. I was hoping to hear from Mr. Bad News since his wife was pregnant while I was in class, but he wasn’t featured. Jayden was curled up with me on the couch when I got the email, so he got lots of loving. Just about every other person said something like, “give your dog a hug from me” so Jay got even more attention than normal.

It made me wish I had recorded some kind of holiday greeting this week while I had time alone in the house. I thought about singing the song I sang solo in while in that choir, but I don’t have the music track anymore. Why did I delete that!?!? I have the CD somewhere, but who knows where. Oh well.

Blogging every day has been great and I’m happy to have a record of the last month and a half but it’s certainly not helping me write fiction. It’s like the fiction writer in me has fled. Although, maybe once I get used to this med and stop being miserable physically, that will help? Who knows.

I do know that as soon as I’m feeling better I have to attack this house. I haven’t cleaned in days. Sitting around and doing nothing for days on end is wearing on me. I’m usually at least somewhat active every day. This too shall pass. This is probably my body’s way of saying hey, let’s chill for awhile, ok? Sound good? Ok, I’ll listen.

Speaking of the body, Applebee’s healthy menu rocks!! I had a stake and shrimp dinner tonight and oh was it heaven, mmm. And from the healthy menu! Yay! Tomorrow won’t be such healthy food hehe! Dinner with my family. Can’t wait!

Ok, tomorrow I will blog about Morgan’s post during the day when I’m not half asleep. Want a hint? It’s another Q&A with baseball players on Twitter. Did you miss her first one? I blogged about it here. And if you follow that link and then the link within that post you’ll go to Morgan’s blog and you can check out her latest post if you don’t want to wait for me to get around to blogging it. 😉

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Filed under Audio books, Choir, family, GDB, gratitude, iPhone, iTunes, Jayden, misty eyes, num num food, random stuff, screen reader, spoons, twitter me this, writing, yoga

Doggy Diaries – Jayden and the Car Wash

B and I decided to brave the mall today so I could grab something to wear to the family’s house for Christmas that isn’t jeans and a tank top. My nicer clothes have long since been donated after all my weight loss and I wanted to have something a little nicer to wear this year.

Before going to Dillards, we stopped at the carwash since B washes it on Saturdays. It’s just one of those drive through car washes and neither of us thought about how it might affect Jayden. He was curled up between my feet until he heard the water begin rushing over the car, and then he lifted his head. It got a little louder and he tried to burry his face under my leg. He does this in the car, but something told me he was a little freaked, so I put on my uber goofy voice and B and I chatted animatedly.

Jayden eventually stood up and gazed out the windows at the things traveling around the car. B said at first he looked panicked, but he eventually just looked curious the sillier I got. If the handler is happy, things must be ok, right?

As we went through the drying process it sounded like we were in a military jet taking off. Mind you, I’ve never been in a military jet taking off, but I’ve been in an airliner and this was way louder. After we drove out, B jumped out of the car to get some quarters for laundry, and Jayden stared after him like, you are coming back, right? That was just freaky.

I didn’t even think to have some kibble with me, which I always have if we’re going to be somewhere long or something might be freaky for him. So, if you’re going to take your dog in a car through one of those, just have something on hand to comfort him and be prepared to be extra goofy. That’s my forte, so we were ok. 😉

Jayden got lots of praise from the sales associates at Dillards. I always give credit to his puppy raiser when I get compliments on his behavior. And as we were leaving, I heard a mom giving her child a lesson in service dogs. Hearing that kind of discussion always warms my heart!

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, family, holiday, Jayden, puppy raisers, silly girl, working dog

#NaBloPoMo – My Story: Right Eye Blind and MS

Yesterday Carol came over to begin helping be go through the storage containers in the spare room and organize the memories stored within. We threw out some more stuff that had no business being kept and she read things I had written before losing my sight. The most valuable things were letters I had written in my drinking days. What a reminder of why I don’t drink! One line read, “I’m soooo hungover. I know a beer would help but I’m scared.” That pretty much summed up the end of my drinking days.

She also looked through a CD full of pictures from my partying days. It was really good to reflect and remember but it also left me rather exhausted and numb. There were also many reminders of Mom and my childhood. We did this for about five hours. This morning I felt the urge to continue writing my story here. I haven’t written anything in the my story label since 2009. Wow.

In case you are interested and want to read the other posts in order, here’s the school days, college, mom and alcoholism, deciding to get sober and first year of sobriety.

So when last I left off, I had been sober a year. Everything was pretty great. I had a host of amazing friends, a good job, a nice car and an apartment I had never drank in and loved. Life was just pretty spectacular. I was very involved with a fellowship of young sober people. I was twenty-seven. Life was great! I loved being sober!

There was a young people’s conference in Prescott, AZ in May of 2006. I was thirteen months sober and hadn’t planned on going. I didn’t want to spend the money since I had just spent a lot going to a conference in California. Then I decided it would be fun to make a day trip out of it and just go up for the Saturday night main speaker meeting.

My friends had already all driven up and I didn’t want to make the drive alone so I called my friend G, my ex-boyfriend who had become a great friend, and asked if he wanted an adventure. He wasn’t in the program, but agreed at once to take the trip with me.

A couple days before that Saturday, I felt like I had an annoying migraine behind my right eye, which was odd, because I had always had migraines behind my left one. Then the vision started getting weird, kinda like looking through TV fuzz. I had had a week long migraine like this once, but in the left eye, so while it was strange I wasn’t concerned.

The morning of the trip, it was as if a curtain were slowly being lowered over my right eye. It started like a black shadow just on the top of my vision, and the migraine-like pain was still there. It ached when my eye moved. I was excited about the trip though, so put it aside, figuring I’d go to the doc on Tuesday if things were still weird.

Things got worse by the time we arrived in Prescott. I could hardly see out of the right eye. The entire top of my vision was obscured. The pain was getting really bad. I made it through the meeting and even managed to dance for awhile afterwards and then on the drive back I could no longer ignore it. Moving my eyes to check my mirrors or glance behind me to change lanes was becoming excruciating. Headlights were like daggers into my brain. We were driving back in the middle of the night.

We stopped at an IHOP and while we ate, we discussed my eye. I thought it must be a detached retina or something. We talked about the ER but I was trying not to go that route. As we stood in the parking lot after eating, I looked at a street light. I closed my left eye and the light vanished. The right eye couldn’t see the light. I decided the ER was indeed absolutely necessary. G drove the car back into town and straight to the hospital. It must have been four or five in the morning on Sunday.

The ER was blissfully empty and I was in good spirits. I was very sleep deprived and goofy and had had a great time with G on our little trip. I didn’t wait long before the triage nurse called me back. G went with and my vitals were checked. I was asked to read the eye chart, which I could do until they asked me to close my left eye. I still was in good spirits. Whatever it was, they’d fix it.

They took us to an exam room and the doc came in. He was completely confused. Nothing looked detached or torn but my pupil was doing something strange. He had G look too. When light was shined into my right eye, the pupil would dilate and then bounce. Literally bounce. He showed me in a mirror. The brown strands of color around the black pupil bounced in and out lazily. The doc brought in other docs to have a look.

Finally they wanted me to see the ophthalmologist on call. I would need to go to his office. They told us where to go and I knew the place. I had taken my Gamma there. It was the same doc.

We met him at his office at six or seven on a Sunday morning. It was strange to be let in by the doc and have no staff or patients around. It was just the doc and G and me. He examined both my eyes and I told him he had done surgery on my Gamma’s eyes. He recognized the name.

Suddenly he backed away and said he wanted me to go back to the hospital and have an MRI. He would call and arrange it as we drove. He wanted it immediately. My stomach began doing cartwheels. This did not sound good.

“I’m worried about MS,” he said. “This looks like optic neuritis, which often presents in multiple sclerosis. I want you to have an MRI immediately.”

I stared at him. I had an eye problem and this man was telling me something was wrong with my brain? I knew what MS was, sorta. I loved this movie called Hillary and Jackie, about a cellist who had MS. It was a true story.

I peppered the doc with questions. Couldn’t it be something else? You’re sure the retina is ok? Anything but MS. Please! He was very matter-of-fact with me. He hadn’t seen optic neuritis in a patient without MS. The condition is usually temporary, with vision being restored, but MS is not temporary.

G drove me back to the hospital. They whisked us back into a room and I was prepped for the MRI. I had never had one before. G and I sat in a daze, sleep deprived and scared. He and I went all the way back to when I was a freshman in high school. I was so grateful he was there. I didn’t call anyone; I didn’t have time. That ophthalmologist must have made it very clear that I was to have an MRI STAT.

All I could think about was my lack of insurance. I had just started a new job in the cytology department of a lab, preparing specimens for testing. My benefits wouldn’t be active for another ten days. Luckily they enrolled me in Arizona’s version of Medicaid. A hospital visit is the easiest way to get that accomplished.

I actually slept in the MRI machine. I was all bundled up in blankets with country music coming through the headphones clamped to my ears. I found that machine comforting. When they pulled me out however, my right eye was completely blind. I thought it wouldn’t open. It was open, just not seeing.

G and I waited what seemed an eternity for the results. The doc assigned to me looked like Detective EAmes from Law and Order: Criminal Intent. She was very nice. I remember laying on the gurney, cotton ball taped to my arm where the MRI IV had been. G was sitting in a chair next to the bed, leaning his head against the wall. We discussed all my strange ailments I had experienced while we had dated in my drinking days. Could MS have been the cause of all that? I had been through heart tests and blood work but nothing had ever shown a thing. After I got sober, my doc and I thought it had all been my alcoholism. It made sense. It could have been.

When Dr. Eames finally came back and delivered the news, brain lesions, definitely MS, need to give you steroids, should admit you, all I could do was cry and scream at her, “what the F*ck did I bother getting sober for!!!!” she placed her hand on my arm and told me staying sober was the best thing I could do for MS.

They hooked me up to another IV and I questioned what they were giving me. No narcotics, I’m sober, no narcotics. Steroids, that’s all. Why steroids? It’s what we do with the onset of MS. Why? Questions. Everything a blur. A gram of Solu-Medrol began pumping into my arm. A gram? Will I get addicted? Will I have super human strength? It’s not the stuff the athletes take. Oh. But you need to have someone with you. You could go a little crazy. I’ll stay with her. G would stay with me. Watch her for any drastic mood changes. I wasn’t being admitted. Another doc wanted me admitted. I’m chairing a meeting on Tuesday, I need to go to meetings, don’t admit me. Ok but come back for the next three days for steroids. Three days? Three days. Outpatient, come back. Call your doctor. You need a neurologist. Steroids dripping through the rubber tubing. I can’t see out of my right eye. It’ll come back, the vision would come back. What else will happen to me? Will I be paralyzed? We don’t know. It’s different in everyone. Multiple Sclerosis. Thirteen months sober. New job. Love my life. MS. Right eye can’t see. Steroids.

I remember calling my sponsor. I remember G driving us back to my apartment. I remember we had stopped and gotten fast food. It was a Sunday. Monday was a holiday. G would need some things from home. I went with him. We told his parents. It is all such a blur. We came back to my apartment and my back hurt. My body hurt. I wanted to sit in the sun. The sun helped. We were so tired but we couldn’t sleep. We had known each other so long. We had been in love. We had lived together until my alcoholism drove him away but he was there, supporting me. Georgie was having a barbecue the next day. I wanted to go. What if I got so sick I could never go again. I had to go.

I went, after my steroid treatment the next day. I crawled into Georgie’s bed and we cried and cried. She had just been through something huge, too. At the barbecue people asked what was wrong. Other sober people. I told them. I cried. I told others and cried. Georgie told others and we cried. I hadn’t told my family. I couldn’t see out of my right eye. My balance was completely crazy. I was hyper from the steroids but depressed and exhausted. I still managed to laugh. I remember still finding my humor, the day after it all happened. I remember laughing through my tears.

G stayed with me while I was still on the high dose steroids. He went to work during the day when I could be around other people. I didn’t go crazy from the steroids. After the IV doses were done, I had to take pills to taper off at home. The heartburn was terrible. I was hyper and didn’t sleep well. I got bloated and I couldn’t cool off. I hated those stupid little white pills.

I shared everything at the meeting I chaired on Tuesday. I was surrounded by love and support. The timing really couldn’t have been any better. Getting the diagnosis at thirteen months sober, when I had my feet under me and a host of friends, the trust in my higher power, it really was perfect timing. Dr. Eames had been right. Staying sober was the best thing I could do.

I left the job, because with the onset of the MS came shaking hands that couldn’t accurately pour. The sudden loss of vision in my right eye killed my depth perception and accuracy was out. I ran into walls because I couldn’t see on the right side. My left leg had gone heavy, almost dragging at times.

My doc found me a neurologist she loved. She almost felt bad she hadn’t diagnosed the MS before, instead blaming my drinking. I assured her it was good, because if I had been diagnosed when I was drinking, who knows what would have happened? I doubted I would have gotten sober. Things would have been very different.

My neurologist told me not to go online. Don’t go read about MS. Don’t do it. He said most of his patients with MS were “a depressed lot”. He said don’t let the depression get me. Don’t read, don’t look into what might happen to you. MS is different in everyone. He assured me the vision would come back in my right eye, though colors would be muted. I wish he had been right, sometimes.

Ok, I’m going to leave off hear. I didn’t expect to write what I just wrote. I suppose that’s what happens when the memory and the fingers team up, huh? It’s quite therapeutic to write about my past. I don’t know why but it is. Hopefully I won’t wait another two years to continue.

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Filed under faith, family, fellowship, Gamma, gratitude, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2011, sobriety, spoons

#NaBloPoMo – Hazy Nothings

I am completely exhausted today so I have no real brain power left for a post. How bout a nothing stream of consciousness post? Yeah why not.

It’s almost time to feed Jayden so this will be fragmented. An Offspring song is playing. Do you ever have a day where you’re in such a daze it almost feels like the day didn’t or isn’t happening? That’s how I feel today. I’m so tired.

I woke up in the middle of the night and was in so much pain I couldn’t get back to sleep. A storm system is moving out and the constant change in the weather lately is killing me. I haven’t been able to afford a massage since I think the beginning of Octoberish so ouch. Add all the cleaning I’ve done, moving furniture and scrubbing and ugh. It’s not pretty.

Thank goodness for the bum cushion. The pain would be world’s worse if I didn’t have that. Bum cushion? Yeah, I don’t feel like finding the link right now. Maybe by the time I go to publish this, I’ll go find it.

I think Silverchair is playing now. Yep, Silverchair.

Anyway, back to the hazy day. The hours seem thin, thinking back on them. The day doesn’t seem to have any substance, like trying to remember a dream. It’s like thinking back on my past and straining to remember what happened in a blackout. Ok it’s not THAT bad; I do remember today for the most part. I’m just so tired.

I had plans to go to Gamma’s today since we skipped Sunday due to weather. Oops, it’s Jay’s feeding time.

Ok so yeah, Gamma’s today. Gamma invited Aunt B too, so she picked me up. This morning I walked around like a zombie getting ready. I remember talking to Georgie on the phone, and discovering a product on Amazon didn’t have free shipping anymore. Sad making. If it doesn’t have free shipping, I don’t buy it. I remember almost falling over in the shower, on the curtain side not the wall side. That would have been bad.

Once we got to Gamma’s I was ok, just felt tired. Then Jayden kept me from running into a wall and he wasn’t even working. I had him on leash after taking him outside. I love it when he leash works.

After we ate and chatted Aunt B and I headed out. It was nice not to have to take paratransit as originally planned. Jayden kept me from falling off the steps of the front porch. Geez, I was so incredibly out of it.

Luckily I had prepared coffee before I left, sensing I’d practically need a coffee IV upon arriving home. I brewed it and then the afternoon gets really hazy. I don’t even really remember what I read online. I know I tested a site for someone on the accessibility list which I shouldn’t have done in such a state. Then ‘American Pie’ started playing and I remembered audio I promised for a Twitter friend. I don’t know how I even managed to do that. I suppose things you do on a regular basis can be done on auto pilot. I’ve literally felt stoned today and I absolutely despise that feeling.

It’s kinda funny if you saw me walk right now, all herby jerky, kinda like buffering audio. Funny when I’m not stuck on the scary. Times like these make me wonder if the MS is waking but I really think it’s just the perfect combo of ever changing weather, not sleeping well last night and built up pain from no massages in awhile. I think the gym will help tomorrow, if I don’t talk myself out of going. Don’t talk yourself out of going, tomorrow Ro.

I hear voices outside and Ozzy Osborne is singing.

Oh it’s two nights now with the veggie medley. So good, so so good. The cubed cheddar really adds just the perfect amount of flavor. It’s yummy. Tomorrow’s a weigh-in day though I really don’t expect two nights of eating veggies to make much of a difference. We shall see. I was 156 at the last weigh-in. Target of 150. So close, so so close.

A jet is flying over. I love that sound. Oh it’s rumbling! I can feel it in my stomach. Love it!

No more tears, sings Ozzy.

It’s 4:46 pm. Can I go to bed yet? Not for a few hours. I’m listening to a collection of short stories by Stephen King. Fun stuff. One of them referred to a thirty two year old woman is being in early middle age. Early middle age? Ouch. I’m thirty-two. Early middle age? Oh well, at least I’ll always picture myself at twenty-nine. I think I will get relevant links for this post. It’s the least I can do. I’m not THAT hazy. I really do feel like I’m trying to recount a dream, thinking about my day today. It’s like trying to hold water in your hands.

Just added the two links. Now the sentences about not finding the links don’t make sense. But they shall stay since it’s my blog and I’ll leave them if I want to. Stone Temple Pilots are singing now. I need to do another audio blog. Got lots of good response to that. I didn’t get any comments on the, oh great we need another link, playing with Jayden audio I did yesterday.

Who’s this singing now, I can’t tell. Siri? Siri where are you? Oh right, I don’t have you. Alex, check iTunes please, who’s this? Aerosmith? Wow, this is very early Aerosmith. Doesn’t sound like them.

I’m gonna go listen for typos and see if anything else comes to mind.

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Filed under Alex, Amazon, apple Inc, coffeeholic, family, Gamma, humor as coping skill, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, music, NaBloPoMo 2011, spoons, The Nothing, twitter me this, weather, working dog, youtube

My Inner Monica

B’s dad was here last weekend so just like any time a guest is coming, I wanted to clean the house. I do maintenance cleaning but come on, who doesn’t do a little more when you’re going to have company? Especially living with so many animals, vacuuming and dusting even more was imperative.

I couldn’t thoroughly clean around Brian’s stuff since there was no way I was going to touch his electronics. Carol came over to go through my audio books for donation and to help me straighten up and I swear we conjured Monica. We really do conjure people. She’ll attest to that. This was our first fictional character, however.

She attacked all the places I haven’t been able to get to. Since B has converted to using iPods, his stereo sat untouched, collecting dust. He agreed to let me donate it, and Carol’s neighbor has fallen love with it. Yay! It took a day to get the living room cleaned up since that’s where B’s desk and my desk live, where we spend the majority of our time, which means so do the animals and their fur. After it was done, it felt so nice in here. I don’t know about you, if you’re blind that is, but for me when a room is freshly and thoroughly cleaned, the room feels lighter and more open. Am I just weird?

It didn’t stop with the living room. Monica stayed with me when Carol left, she just took a long nap while B’s dad was here. I took Monday off and did nothing but talk to Carol all day. Then Monica woke with a vengeance on Tuesday and hasn’t stopped.

You know that deep cleaning that you do, for some it’s called spring cleaning, some may do it twice a year. Or maybe for those who have Monica all the time, it happens constantly. I’m talking the kind of cleaning where every drawer, every cupboard, every nook and cranny gets emptied, scrubbed, stuff sorted into trash and donation, the things being kept goes back into it’s place nice and organized. That sort of cleaning has not happened in this apartment since we moved in.

Something about going blind two months after moving in to a place really kills Monica. At least it did in my case.

I realized just what a shover I am. I want to clean this off. Shove. What do I do with this? Find a drawer and shove. There, it looks neat on the outside, but oh please, don’t open a drawer. The closet? No!!!

Furniture has been in the same place for nearly four years. That means a vacuum has never touched that carpet. *Start the horror music*

The bedroom was the hardest room. That’s the room with most of the drawers, you see. Oh Monica had a field day with that room. I wish I had kept track of how many runs to the trash Jayden and I took. All the working out really paid off when I moved all the furniture. Jayden thought the world was ending when his kennel and bed disappeared.

I have to wonder if the canisters full of hair and dust my vacuum sucked up should have been saved to help with the next oil spill.

Putting everything back in it’s place and taking deep breaths made Monica giddy with the sense of accomplishment. The smells of Lysol and lavender swirled about, dancing on the air as a reward for all the hard work. My cool changing screen with the pockets has a rightful home again, instead of being folded up and propped between a wall and a chair. I put it there when I was sighted, with plans for it that just never took fruition until the task of cleaning finally didn’t seem so daunting with no sight.

Every drawer has an old candle tucked inside so the pretty scent masks that of old wood. I can reach into any of them and find exactly what I want. It’s very, very happy making.

Saturday was meant to be a day off. Perhaps I’d attempt some writing. Maybe I’d do some reading. Monica was still awake though, and she would have none of it. You aren’t too tired to do the hall closet. That won’t be a huge job. Not after the bedroom. You can do it, come on, let’s go…

After that came the kitchen cupboards, where once again my shoving was evident. I even found chocolate! Score! There was now room to put serial in a cupboard rather than on on top of the fridge. My step stool came in quite handy for all these tall places. Gamma had just told me about how to climb a step stool with a sore knee. Up with the good, down with the bad. That little rule came in quite handy.

This time B ran the trash out, which was good since it was rather hot out. Yes, October and it’s hot.

Today will be a day of rest. I’m taking strawberry rhubarb pie to Gamma. Monica is accepting this fact, though bitterly. She still has me stopping and thinking, oh that would work better there. I tell her to shut up. We’ll pick it up tomorrow. The spare room must be tackled. Monica will have loads of fun in there. It’s been the catch all room since we moved in. Oh my.

All this work has had me thinking on more than one occasion that perhaps I could work. I have to play the tape through though, and remind myself that this is temporary. It’s work in my own home at my own pace and is purely physical. Anything mental taxes me much more these days. I’m being very careful, too. At the first sign of fatigue, that’s it. I’m done. I’m taking baths and doing plenty of stretching and I should probably take out stock in Advil. That wouldn’t work since I use the generic.

Why did I write all this? Well, I don’t go to Gamma’s for awhile and Monica was threatening to start me cleaning again. I also need to prepare for next month, which will be a post a day after doing no writing for quite awhile. I think this is perfect. Baseball ends and the deep cleaning begins. This will be the time every year when the furniture gets moved. When Monica finally goes away, maybe the writing will begin again.

PS – Blogger has done its own insane reorganizing, and soon we may all be forced to adapt. As of what I know now, this will mean no accessibility for us blind folks. If I suddenly stop writing next month during NaBloPoMo, that is what happened.

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, desert life, family, fellowship, Gamma, Jayden, spoons, weather

Ode to the bum cushion

I bought a desk chair back in December. Just your run of the mill office chair on wheels. Of course it felt great in the store, sitting on it for five minutes. I was creating a more ergonomic work area since before, I had my laptop cart set up by the couch. It was comfy on the bum, but the twisting I had to do to type was just bad.

So, back to the chair. I thought I wouldn’t be able to have arms on it, so there’s not even arms. It has been the most uncomfortable awful chair! I really think that’s been part of my writing drought. I just have not been comfortable.

There’s this store called, Relax the Back. I’ve heard commercials for it and have always wanted to check it out. B’s dad is in town, so we went and checked it out today. I told the salesman my chair is awful and I spend a lot of time on my computer. Naturally he wanted to make me fall in love with a chair, and he succeeded.

If the chair had asked me to marry it, I would have said yes.

He showed me all the features, the memory foam in the arm rests, the adjustable lumbar memory foam, the rocking feature, the reclining feature, oh my.

Then I asked how much it was.

Let me just say I could have bought a brand new Macbook with the Apple Care for less.

He began running through the less expensive options and none of it was in my price range. Really I couldn’t afford to be spending money at all, but I just get in so much pain whenever I’m on my computer, that I’ve been desperate. I’ve tried pillows, I bought a memory foam back cushion on Amazon which I even tried sitting on. Nothing has helped.

I asked if he had anything that could just go on a chair. of course he did. He put the cushions, bum and back, on a plain old chair and wow, it was almost as comfortable as the desk chair that costs more than a Macbook. I bought the seat cushion.

It has a removable tailbone insert thingy. When I mentioned that my tailbone always hurts, he told me about it. The insert was already removed. I wanted to try it with the insert. Ouch! That’s definitely my problem. This cushion lets your tailbone just kinda “float”.

I absolutely cannot wait to go back and get the back cushion. It has an adjustable lumbar area and works well with the seat cushion. When we got that thing home and put it on my chair, I sighed with happiness. I’ve been sitting in it for hours and I can’t believe the lack of pain in my tailbone. My back even feels better, though I know that cushion will help that even more.

I think I’ll be able to cut down on massages now. The only way I’ve been able to manage the level of pain has been to get a massage every three weeks. I get an incredible price but still! If I can cut those down? Totally worth it. I had some buyer’s remorse after we left because I’m gonna be really hard pressed now to make it through the month, but I think it’s going to be totally worth it.

B’s dad said he expects more blog posts from me now. I told him I’d write an ode to the bum cushion. So, here it is. You went back to the hotel before dinner. It’s Friday. Here’s your post. 🙂

More posting is coming soon anyway, since next month is NaBloPoMo, 30×30 it’s called here at the Roof since I can’t register for the actual blog posting month. Wow, almost no blogging for awhile and soon I’ll be trying to write every day. Wish I could get that back cushion before November.

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Filed under apple Inc, cool product, family, treat for me, writing

Doggy Diaries – Happy birthday to my Mellow Yellow!!

Jayden is three today! I can’t believe it. I found the post I wrote on his birthday last year and I think I said it all last year haha!

At the time, I thought he was in the womb the day I went blind, but he would have been conceived just shortly after. I still believe he was made just for me. We spent the day today playing and relaxing together. That is if you consider attacking my house relaxing haha! I find it rather cathartic to tackle the apartment with all the cleaning power I can muster and I’ve got a blister on my thumb to prove it.

I’ve spoiled Jayden every chance I’ve gotten during breaks from cleaning, with a Kong Wobbler every few hours and some peanut butter this morning. He got so excited this morning when I took a break from cleaning that he went on an epic run around the apartment. I’m sure he doesn’t know it’s his birthday, but he does know that he’s getting even more love, which means he’s getting a ton because he already gets lots of it. 🙂

The other night I discovered something that cracks me up. Jayden and I were having our evening snuggle and he was laying on his side. I started blowing raspberries, kind of. I put my face on his side and blew air through pursed lips. He would lay there all content and I’d do that and he’d jerk his head up as if to say, “what on God’s green earth are you doing woman???” It was like when you make a funny noise for a baby and they can’t stop laughing, so you do it over and over again. Only I was the baby. I couldn’t stop!

I did that again today during one of our snuggle sessions and the reaction was the same, seining me in to peels of laughter. It’s been a good day. He’s currently passed out on the couch, but after I post this, we’re gonna have a game of hide and seek, his favorite.

It’s been an emotional couple of weeks. Today I’m filled with joy about Jayden’s birthday, but this date also holds another significance, one of a life ending a year ago. Laughing one minute and tearful the next, depending on what song came on iTunes, sorrow and gratitude, trying to celebrate the life of a woman I only had the pleasure of knowing for a brief time, the emotional roller coaster has been a bit wild.

I can’t wait for B to get home in a bit so I can just be with him. There are just some days when it’s clear that every hour is a celebration, every touch, every whisper, every smile, is something to cherish.

Ok, now that I’ve made myself all misty, I’m gonna go play that game of hide and seek. 🙂

Oh, and the Rays play Boston tonight. How bout a win for me guys? That’d be great, thanks.

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Filed under birthday, Doggy Diaries, family, gratitude, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, on this date

Hi blog, remember me?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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