Category Archives: Gamma

She went walkin on the mountain

Today B and I went up to Mt. Lemmon. We knew it would just be a quick trip since I’ve been feeling so awful but man I would have liked to have stayed all day. There is something about higher elevation and cold that makes me feel so much better. I took a Dramamine before hitting the road at about 1pm. Going up wasn’t so bad but coming down? Nausea anyone?

When we got out of the car in Summer Haven it was cold! We had slipped on a small patch of ice as we neared the summit. As soon as I stepped out of the car I heard water running as snow melted. B kept exclaiming at all the snow. I wanted to make it there today knowing there’d be snow after all the rain we had down here. I almost chickened out this morning. I just don’t feel well. I’m glad we went.

I’m probably all over the place in this post. I’m tired. I hadn’t been to the mountain since it burned in 2003 and it seemed like most of what I remembered was different. We found a visitor center thing with a restroom and I swear this ladies room had a maze of swinging doors inside.

We took Jayden to the snow and he marked it (don’t eat yellow snow) and then sniffed and sniffed and sniffed. Here’s a Twitpic of Jayden in the snow.

I practically had to drag him out of the white stuff so we could get back in the car. The humans were cold, especially B.

On the way up I broke the guide dog in a car rule and let Jayden rest his upper body on my legs so he could look out. On the way down he curled up and passed out. When we got home I stretched out on the bed. Night and day how I felt up there and down here. Shuffling around taking Jayden out, I told B about how when I was first diagnosed with MS, Gamma walked faster than I did at the mall. It passed back then so hopefully it passes this time. But I can’t get over how much more graceful I moved up on the mountain.

Oh yeah, and the snow in that picture? That’s only an hour from where I live.

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Filed under Gamma, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2013, spoons, twitter me this, weather

Baking Blind Part 1 – Measuring

I decided to write some posts on how I bake blind. I asked on Twitter if anyone had any questions and the only response I got was from Davis:

@newspaper_man @Raynaadi yes…are you nuts? lol 🙂 i’ll think of something serious soon.

Davis is sighted and has always expressed interest when I tweet about cooking and such. Honestly, when people are impressed by something I do, it eggs me on and pushes me towards trying progressively harder things. I often think back on when I was first blind and my friend had to microwave my frozen tamales for me because my microwave wasn’t yet tactilly marked. Oh, how far I’ve come.

One of the classes I took at the blind center when I began my “blind education” as I used to refer to it, was basic cooking. We learned how to safely use a knife to cut, how to use hot things without burning ourselves, basically just how to do the things we used to do but this time without sight. We were given the recipes of the things we made in class and a friend of mine came over one day so we could make the stuffed mushrooms. Delicious! I had her put them in the oven though. I still wasn’t comfortable with that.

I think the stuffed mushrooms were probably the most complicated of the recipes. We made this awesome fruit dip, french toast, a microwave egg thing, different meats on the George Foreman grill, all with safety in mind.

When I decided a few months back to tackle baking, I combined what I knew about baking from Mom back in my sighted teenhood and added things I learned from the blind center. Practice began to make perfect and several batches (and another pant size up) later, I’ve come up with a system that works pretty well for me.

I was talking to my friend Chupa on the phone yesterday and we got around to talking about my desire to write baking posts. She laughed and said she almost suggested I write about baking when I asked for blog ideas on Twitter to help during NaBloPoMo. No one seemed to have any ideas in the Twitterverse haha. Anyway, on the phone she asked me how I measure things. So that’s what I’ll answer today.

Before I do anything, I move my coffee maker and paper towels off the largest part of my counters and wipe the entire surface down. Like a painter with a blank slate, I have to begin with a clean surface and tidy kitchen.

I had forgotten a lot of things about baking. I noticed this when I started again. I couldn’t remember if a measure of baking soda was heaping or level. Twitter helped a lot to refresh my memory, thanks bakers! It all came back to me. Baking is pretty precise in the measurements of things like baking soda/powder and flour. Those are the base ingredients that make a cookie a cookie or a cake a cake. Most recipes will call for whisking together all your dry ingredients in a bowl to be added later, which is nice because I like to measure all the dry stuff before my countertop gets wet. Measuring my flour etc first allows me to put the bowl away from the sink and any wet mess that happens.

The blind center gave us a handy tip for measuring small amounts of liquids and I’ve carried this tip over to my small amounts of dry ingredients. I use aluminum measuring spoons bent into miniature soup ladles. Wow, Voiceover can’t pronounce the plural of ladle haha!

We were taught to pour liquids into a dish so we could ladle out the proper amount. Vanilla extract for example. In class, we poured dry ingredients over the ladle, holding it over a bowl, and leveled off with the flat of a knife. We used a funnel to put the ingredient back into the jar.

I adapted this technique to fit my preference though. Instead of putting the dry ingredients back after measuring, I just took them all out of their original packaging.

I am my Gamma’s granddaughter. I save plastic containers. Small margarine container? This might come in handy. Cottage cheese container etc etc. So now my cinnamon and cream of tarter live in butter plastics (as I call all plastic containers). My baking soda is in a cottage cheese plastic. Oh I also keep some salt in a butter plastic. I keep that on top of the baking soda plastic so I don’t mistake it for cream of tarter. Ew! This makes it all super easy to just dip my ladle measure into the powder and level off with the flat of a knife.

To level I just hold the ladle over the container and run the flat side of a butter knife along the handle until I feel the spoon part and then I just run it across and the excess falls back into the plastic. Now I have a perfectly level ladle of the powder the recipe is calling for.

Back to the vanilla, I leave that in its original bottle. I have these little cups that came with my mom’s Corell dishes way back in the seventies haha! All the dishes are white with this green trim of flowers all around the edges. I don’t think I’ll ever use any other dishes. Anyway, one of the little cups has a pour spout on it. So I pour some vanilla into that cup and ladle the called for measurement into another dish. Then I slowly pour the vanilla back into the bottle. I do this over the sink in case I drip.

I jumped ahead a bit since I always do the vanilla and eggs after I’ve measured all my dry stuff, including flour and sugars. For those bigger amounts, I do it the same way I did when Mom taught me all those years ago. I still use her Tupperware measuring cups! They stack into each other nicely so it’s easy to feel the ascending order. I couldn’t remember what was what though so I did Facetime with Carol and she read what was what on the cup, wrote it down on her end, and then I typed the measurements into a text document. Only problem was, I kept having to check the document when a recipe called for something other than a 1/4 cup or 1 cup haha! Just the other day I was like ok I need to memorize these. There’s only six of them. Yes, I should just be able to think of them in terms of fractions and how they grow larger, but my brain doesn’t work that way. So now I just think to myself,4,3,2,3,4,1. That translates to 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 3/4 and 1 cup. That’s just what works for me.

So Mom taught me to put my cup on a plate and then add what I’m measuring to the cup, making it nice and heaping. Then I take the flat of the knife again and level off the cup, the plate catching the excess. I keep my ingredients in containers with openings wide enough to easily pour the excess back in. I use the same plate for all my ingredients, just making sure it stays dry. Flour is done first since I measure the other ingredients it’s usually mixed with first, like baking soda and salt and such. Granulated and brown sugars are usually mixed together so I do my brown sugar last since it’s stickier.

Recipes almost always call for your brown sugar to be packed so there’s an extra step when measuring it. I use a large soup spoon and after every scoop of brown sugar I add to my cup, I use the round side of the spoon to pack it into the cup. I don’t level the brown sugar, just scoop and pack until it’s at the top.

I think that pretty much wraps up the measuring part of baking blind. My rule of thumb is, baking soda/powder and flour should be measured precisely as the recipe says. Ingredients like cinnamon and salt and even the sugars can be tweaked a bit based on taste. Oh chunky ingredients like oats and raisins and chocolate chips and nuts (yummmm) I measure in the specified cup but they’re usually slightly heaping, especially raisins.

Who’s hungry? I am. If you have any questions about measuring, just leave a comment. If you’re curious how I do other parts of the baking process blind, please leave a comment. Also, if you have a different way of doing any of this, I’m curious to know! These are all just ways I’ve learned or adapted to suit me.

Oh last thing. Mom taught me to wash my hands before starting a thing and never to touch my face or hair or clothing with my clean hands. I am a stickler about this especially now that my hands are my eyes and I touch everything. Good hygiene in the kitchen is important to me, so if you ever eat any of my baked goods, rest assured nothing except ingredients will be inside haha! I don’t go so far as to wear a hair net but my hair is always pulled back. Ew, hairy cookies!

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blind tips, Gamma, mom, NaBloPoMo 2013, num num food, twitter me this, Voiceover

When did I get so old?

I mean I know how I got to be as old as thirty-four almost thirty-five but when did my body get so old? It’s astounding to me because for the most part, I’ve taken really good care of my body. There was the five years I drank alcoholically, yes and I smoked for a decade but I’ve known of people who drink and smoke until they’re in their eighties and they aren’t as physically old as I am.

You wouldn’t know it to look at me, I don’t think. Obviously I can’t be sure since I’ll always look twenty-nine to myself but if you could somehow feel what it’s like to be in my body for ten minutes, you’d feel my physical age.

I’ve steadily felt like my body was aging ever since the MS diagnosis in 2006 but then I paid extra attention to the rest of my health, taking up exercise, seeing my doctor at least once a year which I had always done anyway, taking care of my hair and skin so even though I had this stupid disease, I really only noticed fatigue, not all this body pain.

This thing with my teeth has really just called attention to the fact that my body has gotten old. My knees were just killing me yesterday out of no where and I told B that once my teeth are done, it will be time to tackle my knees. It rained last night so that explained the sudden knee pain at least and today they’re fine again, but I woke up in the night gasping in pain since my right knee had been bent too long.

I recently looked up that old Baz Luhrmann speech that was turned into a song, remember that? Here it is on youtube. It was a graduation speech to the class of ’99 and it was very popular when I was in college. I remember a print version of it was pasted to the bathroom door in the ladies room I used in the dorm of this guy I got drunk with. That’s another blog post. Anyway, listening to it recently I had to chuckle when he mentions something about taking care of your knees because you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

I remember Gamma telling me I ruined my knees as a kid when I grabbed the braces under her table and slid on the tile floor on my knees. I’m not sure how true that is but I’m guessing carport basketball played a part in my knees going bad, and freaking genetics. Gamma herself has bad knees. Oh probably since most of my jobs involved lots of walking and standing, too. I was never all that sedentary until the last few years. So my knees took a lot of abuse in the past.

Wow this post went in a direction I wasn’t planning. I just wanted to write about suddenly getting old when I’m not even thirty-five. today I discussed with B the teeth extractions I need. Not only do I need three wisdom teeth pulled, my lower bottom teeth need to be pulled as well and I need a bridge.

A bridge At thirty-five. I’ll be thirty-five when I get the bridge since I’ll need to wait for my insurance credits to reset in January. The hygienist said something about how I probably don’t want to walk around toothless while I’m waiting for the insurance and I laughed.

Actually the dilemma I was feeling was B’s company holiday party in the beginning of December. The hygienist and I discussed having the wisdom teeth out this month and doing the lower front teeth after the party. She said that would work too because it would put me closer to the bridge.

The more I thought about it today though, it just makes more sense to do it all at the same time, deal with all the pain at once and get it over with. Not to mention the perfect timing of B’s usual November vacation time. It’s perfect because he can take me and he’ll be home for the recovery. If I wait until after the holiday party for the other two extractions, it won’t be nearly as convenient and I’ll have to go through the pain again.

So, it just makes more sense to have five teeth pulled mid November. Five teeth pulled. Before I’m thirty-five years old. See what I mean about wondering how I got so old? I’ve taken decent care of my teeth too, despite not seeing a dental professional regularly. I brush twice a day. If only I had known about the importance of daily flossing. If only.

Speaking of daily flossing, I haven’t done that today yet. Better post this and go floss.

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Filed under Dental Health, Gamma, NaBloPoMo 2013, spoons, youtube

Smoke Free One Year

When I was a smoker, I tended to be a bit of a closet smoker. I tried keeping it from my family and you’ll notice if you’re a long time reader here, that I kept it off my blog, too.

I was always ashamed of smoking, especially since my mom died of lung cancer. Smoking is also such an enormous waste of money. I’m happy to say, though still rather embarrassed to admit that I smoked, that I have been smoke free a year today!

I don’t know how many times I tried to quit over the years. I tried the patch, the lozenges, the gum, nothing ever worked. The longest I went was four days. I tried quitting on July 4, 2011 (what better day to get independence from nicotine?) and caved on the seventh over writing stress. I begged B to stop and get me smokes. In my sighted days I tried to quit and one time the urge to drink was so strong I decided to smoke instead.

I knew the last chance for me would be Chantix so I asked my doctor if she thought I could handle the drug. I was afraid of the mental side effects we all hear about and had known someone who wanted to kill herself on the drug. She admitted she already had severe depression before she started Chantix so I figured I’d be ok since I only had depression in spurts. My doctor and I are pretty sure that my murder of the coffee maker about ten months after I quit smoking had a lot to do with the chemical changes in the brain that nicotine causes. It might have been a good idea to go on Lexapro sooner, but hindsight and all that.

So I started Chantix at the end of 2011. My doctor said to pick a quit date and start Chantix a week before that. I didn’t do that though since in the past, quit dates had never worked for me. Not long after starting the medication the urge to smoke became less and less and I would rarely smoke a whole one. Finally I gave my last unopened pack away and finished the ones I had. The next day was the seventh and I haven’t touched a cigarette since!

All my previous attempts at quitting armed me with a lot of knowledge. I knew what my triggers were and I told myself there was no excuse to smoke, none. I made everyone promise to say no to me if I asked them to get me smokes. Being blind in this case was an added bonus since I couldn’t hop in the car though nothing kept me from calling a cab, so I told myself that wasn’t an option.

I armed myself with a new crochet project, made sure I had plenty of audio books, avoided the phone since that was a huge trigger for me, and gave myself permission to eat whatever I wanted but for no more than two months.

I told myself I would gain twenty pounds and that was ok. Basically I eliminated every excuse that every smoker has for lighting up. When Gamma fell and broke her hip a month later, the fact that I got through that without picking up a cigarette proved to me that I could get through anything.

I didn’t keep the eating up for two months haha. After I finished the Super Bowl snacks I get every year, I was done with the junk food. I still sucked on hard candy but even those didn’t last long. I developed a taste for flavored coffee creamer though and after I went through a big bottle in five days I realized I had to limit myself on that haha! I rarely have a cup with creamer now.

I did put on that twenty pounds, but the exercising before hand kept my shape pretty much the same. My jeans got too small though. A year later I can fit back into them but they’re still a little snug.

I didn’t stay on Chantix as long as is recommended. It made me incredibly sick to my stomach so after being quit a month I asked my doctor if I could go off it. She said if I thought I could stay off the smokes, to go ahead. I felt pretty confident because I was loving being a non-smoker and loving the money I saved even more.

So that’s my story. I was a smoker and I hated to admit it. Now I’m a non-smoker and I’m damn proud! I just hope I quit in time…I’ll always have that fear now. *Fingers crossed*

PS – The closest post to the day I quit last year was the ninth and I totally lied, saying I had a stomach thing. Um, how bout no? I had started a stop smoking drug that made me sick and I didn’t want to admit it hahahaha!

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Filed under accomplishment, anniversary, coffeeholic, doc, Gamma, gratitude, mental health, mom, on this date, sobriety

Pooch Ponderings – Sandy go?

Hi guys! It’s been like forever since I got a post all to myself huh? Anyway, something is going on and I don’t know what. It sounds like we’re going to a place called Sandy or something. Mom keeps saying Sandy go. So I guess we’re going somewhere. Maybe it’s just a sandy place? Does anyone know? It’s kinda sandy here though. Well not kinda, really. It’s more like dirt though. And no grass.

Today she started getting out the things she took when we left the school place and came here. She hasn’t gotten those things out since we came here. My other person has and he’s left before with those things but Mom never gets those things out and we’ve never gone with my other person. He’s not getting stuff out though. Does that mean he’s not going?

Today we went to the big place with other dogs where usually we come home and I get new things to chew on. I didn’t get anything new to chew on though! Mom touched a bunch of things and finally put one on the floor for me and asked if I wanted it. I can’t chew that. Whatever. Mom talked to a lady about my feet and clipping. Ooooh noooo I thought, leave my feet alone! They messed with my feet there once before long ago with Dude and that one lady in the big van messed with my feet not that long ago. But I guess the lady told mom something she didn’t like because we left and that’s when she asked if I wanted the flat thing. We took it when we left and then we stopped somewhere and my other person left and came back with yummy smelling things then we stopped at another place and mom got that smelly brown stuff she loves to drink so much.

We got home and Mom put the flat thing on the floor and Timmy went crazy running on it and jumping on it but I didn’t so Mom took me outside and then put the flat thing where my other flat thing is and put my chew bones on it and I lay on it and she told my other person it’ll be perfect for the hotel and even the car. Hotel?

Then she cut up one of the yummy smelling things and made noises like she was happy and she talked about Gamma a lot. Gamma? We haven’t seen Gamma in a long time. She said it was weird to be getting stuff ready to take to Gamma when we used to always bring stuff home from Gamma’s. Maybe we’re taking yummy stuff to Gamma? She used to always give me bananas and now Mom does.

So it was a strange day and I wonder what this Sandy go thing is she keeps talking about. I hope it’s fun though. Will there be other dogs? Does anyone know what Sandy go is?

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Filed under coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Gamma, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2012, num num food, pooch ponderings, Timmy

Just when you think you’re getting better, you murder the coffee maker

After I murdered a cell phone a number of years ago, I am really good about not throwing electronics. Does a coffee maker count as an electronic? It’s an appliance, so perhaps not. So I think I’m still good in the not throwing electronics department.

Today was not a good day. Mr. Coffee thoroughly tipped me over after an unexpected change of plans let the veil of depression try to lower once more. It was creepy really, feeling it try and come back. I am hyper aware of my mental health lately after clawing my way out of the last horrible and paralyzing depression.

Today we were supposed to meet my uncle and aunt for lunch after they picked Gamma up. Gamma’s birthday is Monday so we were going to celebrate today. I was really looking forward to it. My uncle called at about ten this morning to let me know that Gamma had a bad night last night and didn’t want to go out today. He said he’d call me back since his house phone was ringing and it was most likely her. I hung up with him and continued listening to comedy on ootunes as I had been doing before he called.

B got up not long after that and I told him and said I was just waiting for my uncle to call back and give me more details. As time wore on I could literally feel my mood darken. I don’t remember ever feeling that before. I could feel the depression trying to seep back into me and I tried to fight it. B and I decided to do our normal Saturday thing and he stepped out for a minute to get lunch and I prepared my afternoon pot of coffee to have with lunch.

That’s when it got bad. Thank you, Mr. Coffee, for nothing. I had just bought that coffee maker a month ago after the last one barely made it a year. A year is at least better than a month. Today when I pushed the brew button nothing happened. It had been making a strange sound here and there but I thought it was just that noise that sometimes happens when there’s pressure between the hot plate and the decanter. I pressed the off button and the on button again. I tried moving plugs. Nothing happened. I lost it. I snapped. Completely snapped.

I had the presence of mind to take the glass part out of the thing before I slammed it down into the sink. I just kept slamming it in the sink and water and coffee grounds went flying. I was sobbing and raving and banging on the counter and I picked the thing up and cursed at it and went to throw it in the bathtub but then I told myself I’d just have coffee grounds in the tub so I set the thing back on the counter and began tearing at it, pulling it apart, ripping apart the plastic pieces. If I didn’t have animals to worry about I would have shattered the glass part. I collapsed on the kitchen floor after shoving the thing in the trash. I leaned against the cabinet, wet and messy with coffee grounds and sobbed.

I thought, I need to clean this up before B gets home. Then I thought, no he needs to see what I’ve done. I won’t hide. Hiding won’t help. So I went and sat on the carpet. Jayden tentatively came to me and just sat by my side. My breathing began to slow but tears still ran down my face. My uncle called.

I hid that I was crying. I wouldn’t hide from B but I would hide from my uncle. He said they had been to see Gamma. He apologized for not calling me back sooner. I could hear my tone was clipped and I think I sounded angry. I eventually sent him an email explaining that I had just murdered a coffee maker before he called and I was hiding my crying. He hasn’t written back. I hate to add to the stress that him and my dad are under. The last thing they need is to worry about me.

I got out my backup coffee maker that doesn’t make great coffee but it’s better than nothing. I set it up on the dry part of the counter and made a pot and was sitting on the couch after having gathered the courage to turn on the Rays game when B came home.

He acted like it was completely normal to come home to a beat up kitchen and destroyed coffee maker. He didn’t bat an eye at the fact that he couldn’t set his stuff down on the counter since it was covered in water and coffee grounds. I asked if he would call the men in white coats and he said he is the men in white coats and I agreed because he is. He said this is normal. It’s normal to beat up the kitchen? Yes, when you’re under the stress you’ve been under. He laughed. I relaxed.

It is normal. But I don’t like it. And I don’t want things to escalate. I thought of my friend who knew she needed help when she beat up the refrigerator. Is it coincidence that I already have an appointment with my doc on Monday? I think not.

I asked B if he thought I should get on some meds. He quietly said it couldn’t hurt. After a bit I asked if he had been afraid to say that, afraid I’d get mad. No, he wasn’t afraid of that. I asked if he had been wanting to suggest I go on meds. He said no, he would never tell me what to do. I said I value his opinion. He said nothing works unless you come to it on your own. Ah…how right he is.

He suggested a few different medications to talk with my doctor about. I don’t expect it to be a quick fix and I don’t expect to not still have to work on my mental health. When I first went blind I was put on meds to help me get through the adjustment period and I think I might need that now, though maybe more long term. I’ve been having some scary cardiovascular symptoms which I am finding out can be anxiety. I’m sure my doc will check for other things too but it is sure sounding like anxiety. Or too much coffee. Or both. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So perhaps Mr. Coffee does deserve my thanks. Perhaps this shoddy coffee maker that only lasted a month was just the catalyst I needed to admit to myself that I need some chemical help to get through this latest upheaval.

I’m still switching brands though. B just called from the store. I’m going with a Hamilton Beach decanterless model. Let’s hope it lives a nice long life.

Oh, funny aside. Remember the first time I explained how not to spill coffee on electronics? I no longer use that wireless keyboard but of course I’m hanging onto it. Last night I moved it from behind my laptop and put it on the breakfast bar with the intention of taking it to the bedroom with me when I went to bed so I could put it in a drawer for safe keeping. I forgot it.

The breakfast bar is near where the coffee maker is kept. The coffee maker I murdered today. Guess where a lot of the flying water and coffee grounds ended up? You guessed it. The breakfast bar. So that poor little keyboard has survived brewed coffee and now unbrewed coffee and it still works. It’s an Apple product so that explains it.

Oh, and have you ever tried to clean up a kitchen after throwing around dry coffee grounds that mix with water? Yeah. Have you ever lay on the beach? You know how it’s impossible to wash off all the sand? It’s like that. I must admit though, scrubbing the kitchen after I ate and talked to B and decided to go on meds and calmed down was rather cathartic.

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Filed under apple Inc, birthday, coffeeholic, doc, family, Gamma, humor as coping skill, Jayden, mental health, misty eyes

From the Desk of My Depressed and Semi-sleep Deprived Mind

Disclaimer: This is not a happy post. I’m just putting this hear before I post this as a warning in case you’re unstable around politics like I am.

***

I’m not sure if I’ll title this post From the Desk of My Sleep Deprived Mind part three or not since I didn’t wake up at like 1:30am or anything. I did however, wake up at 4:00am, I just didn’t get out of bed until 6:00am. Do you ever do that? Wake up at an ungodly hour and lay there thinking, “if I fall asleep again now, I’ll get another three hours. Ok, so now if I fall asleep again I’ll get like two and a half hours, oh now it’s just kinda pointless, oh but I’m comfy, hey the air conditioning kicked in if I’m gonna sleep it’s now or never to that air, quick, snuggle up. Oh the air is off again. Now I’m thinking about all my fears again do I really want to do this? I could make coffee and read Twitter. But if I fall asleep now I’ll get another two hours, everyone is gonna die before me and I’ll be alone! Alone! Alone! Oh screw it just get up.” Or is that just me?

Yeah…I’m in a lot of fear in my life. I do morning writing upon awakening every day so this morning I chatted with myself about that fear a little bit. I’m not gonna write that all in public cuz that’s a rather private conversation between God and me but basically I’m having a hard time trusting that I’ll be ok. It really did hit me while trying to get back to sleep that everyone in my life is older than me. I have this horrible fear that I’m going to be left completely alone, with no one. No one! Do you know how scary that is?

I know a lot of this is coming from the change in the family dynamic since Gamma had to go to the home. The family sold her house recently and I don’t think I’m ok with that. That house was the last place we all were before everyone started dying. Now there’s no house where we all were. That’s just sad. I’m so glad that I didn’t know the last time I was at her house was the last time. I left there our last Sunday together oblivious and happy and then….

I haven’t been the same since. And the politics don’t help. That stuff is everywhere when you’re on social networking. I can filter a lot using my Twitter client called YoruFukurou but a lot still slips through. It’s like when I stopped listening to talk radio because even though I listened to the shows I related to they still played sound bites of the other side. I still had to hear it. And even the side I relate to and agree with more or less drives me crazy. It’s all crazy. But the side I don’t lean towards? They hate women! And I’m a disabled woman! Even worse! I’m a drain on my country! I’m worthless! I need help and I can’t support myself! Do you know how hard it is to hear that other side that I don’t lean towards? Why am I being evasive? Maybe I just don’t even want those words on my blog. I’ll just say if we don’t elect the same President I’m really just gonna lose it. You will have to lock me up. I’m gonna freak out. I am so terrified and that other party is a big, no huge, no gigantic part of that. Do you hear me? That side? Look at what you’re doing to the people you want to govern! Look at me! Up until like a month or two ago I was one of the most well adjusted people I knew and now I’m close to a shell of a freaking human because I’m not a rich old white guy who can support myself and who’s healthy. I have parts that side wants to assign laws to. Heart, calm down, I’m sorry, calm down heart. I’m a sick woman. Yes, I am being melodramatic, but this is how this all makes me feel and I can’t get away from it because even though I don’t follow the people who believe that stuff they still tweet it! Ok I’m gonna cry I need to stop talking about this.

It’s all worsening my depression to the nth degree. Old time readers here know how I feel about that word, depression. You know if I use it, it’s getting kinda nasty for me.

I’m not one to throw around the word depression or depressed lightly unless I’m really in a depression. When I feel it coming on I fight it, I try and keep it down, I try and soul search and inventory and fix it. Sometimes it goes away quickly so for me, that was just a case of the blues. When it hangs around for weeks and then a month and then more than a month and I find myself crying easily, it’s a depression full blown and I hate to admit it but then I admit it and it starts to lift.

Share your pain with another and cut it in half. Share it again and cut it again. Slowly, ever so slowly, it begins to help. I’m reaching into my memory vault and trying to remember the things I learned in therapy while adjusting to blindness. I officially was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder which just makes me laugh. Adjustment disorder. Alrighty then. So do “normal” people just adjust in a day to life altering changes? I think names just have to be assigned to things. I just don’t like the word disorder. I think I’ve blogged about this before.

Anyway wow, so how did all that come out? This is what happens when I’m sleep deprived. Maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s my version of a loose tongue with the drink since I don’t drink. Sometimes when I vomit out a word post I wonder if I’ll actually put it up on the blog but I always do. It’s partly that sharing to cut the pain in half thing but also because every time I post this kind of stuff someone always thanks me for sharing. The best way to get out of oneself is to help another.

Ok, so it’s 7:06 now. I only started writing because I caught up on Twitter and didn’t know what else to do. I need to refill my coffee but that will require moving. I wonder what I’ve written? I love the stream of conscious writing. That’s what my morning writing is like. I have over a year’s worth of daily writing. It’s never this much though. I think maybe because I do it first thing, before I’ve really woken up and had time to put thoughts in my head.

I wish this was more of a funny post like the other two sleep deprived posts. I was a lot more sleep deprived in those posts though, so maybe this is the equivalent to only like three beers and those other two were more like eight to ten beers. Yes, I am comparing my lack of sleep to beers. When I don’t sleep enough I do feel inebriated. How bout some coffee and reading back on this to see what I’ve got.

Wow, that was intense. I ended up vomiting out that political stuff while I went and read through. I think that’s been stuff I wanted to spew for awhile. Please, if you comment, please don’t try and change my mind on the politics. Please don’t. I’m not talking lightly about how badly the politics is affecting me, so please don’t. I don’t want a debate in the comments, that’s not why I’m writing all this. If you disagree with me, just move on. I don’t think my readers are the type to troll the comments like on big sites but for my peace of mind I had to throw that in there.

I know deep down that this too shall pass. I haven’t been well and that’s a big part of the depression. The only time I see people is when I go to the gym and I haven’t been well enough to go for awhile. Jayden is fantastic company but he can’t talk to me and he can’t hold me. I know this is a rough patch and things will get better, but I’m just not sure better is enough anymore.

Was about to publish when I thought maybe I got all this out now since I’m planning on getting some audio later and it would have sucked to cry in that. See? Silver lining still there.

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Filed under coffeeholic, faith, Gamma, in the news, Jayden, mental health, misty eyes, politics, rant, Sleep Deprived Fun, spoons, twitter me this

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

Doggy Diaries – We’ve Been Together Two Years!

This whole week I’ve kept reminding myself that the seventeenth was the two year anniversary of dog day, and then I forgot for the first part of today haha! It’s been a really crazy month and Jay and I have been stuck in the house because of everything going on with Gamma, not wanting to miss phone calls, stress making me sick, just crazy stuff. So today I was hell bent on getting a walk in since it was time to turn in our new lease so it was a perfect excuse to finally get the courage to not be able to answer the phone in case of updates.

I checked the weather and rain was in the forecast but there was no way to guarantee when. I put my raincoat on that I had gotten for doggy school and we set out. It was chilly and rather brisk, but dry.

Both of us had a spring in our step as we walked briskly. I love flying down the sidewalk with him. It’s so funny on our way back, he slows down. Like nooooo let’s not go hooooooome. So I asked if he wanted a banana, and he picked up his pace.

We came in and I got him all excited asking if he wanted his banana and after we shared it, I realized it was the seventeenth. We took our anniversary walk and I hadn’t even realized it! I wonder what we did last year for our year together. I’ll have to grab the post I wrote. First though, I dug up the dog day posts from school.

I didn’t have internet right away, so I wrote three posts on dog day and saved them as text documents. When I pasted them into the blog, I pasted as is, typos and all, to capture the emotions of it all.

The first post mostly goes into the day before dog day.

I think second post might be my favorite. I sat there in my dorm room typing in a text document, just waiting for them to come get me. I knew Jayden’s name and that he was a yellow lab but that was it. I’m so glad I wrote these memories! Jayden, my Jay Bay, two years already?? Wow.

Haha the third post begins to show how nuts doggy school was. In it I write that he’s eighteen inches tall, but he’s twenty-two inches tall. I also write that he was in the womb when I went blind which is wrong, but he was conceived shortly after I went blind.

Reading that post, I have to wonder if they still have the brand new teams get on the bus and keep their brand new dogs from “melting” and then do a stressful walk in San Rafael. If they do, they should stop haha. I didn’t have that awesome “first walk” with Jayden like so many handlers have talked about. I think all the first timers were drained from dog day on after that. I wonder if they’ve changed that.

Ok now to see what I wrote last year. Haha ok, it’s a pretty similar post. I had also gotten his weight wrong, that’s right. I said the second dog day post was my favorite and mentioned the first walk haha. Last year though, he got to see his friends in the office. This year, they weren’t there. Last year, insurance people came over, today no one came over. So it’s been different days, but he got spoiled just the same hehe! Today he’s had his usual treats, plus an extra biscuit and some peanut butter. Since I finally had some energy and stuff, I’ve been rather hyper and silly with him and when I was working out using my TRX, he thought it was play time which made me laugh a lot. It’s been a good day.

I can’t believe we’ve been together two years now. Where does time go? I can’t wait to go visit Gamma where she’s rehabbing her hip, since he brings her tons of joy, too.

Happy anniversary my Mellow Yellow Jayden Bailey boy!! I love you sooooooo much!

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Filed under anniversary, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, gratitude, Jayden, num num food, on this date, spoons, weather, working dog, workouts, wow

Book Eight in 2012 – “So Yesterday”

So yeah, I’m catching up on the book list since I had fallen behind. Luckily I’m keeping track in a text document so I don’t lose completion dates and such. So, I’ve turned back to Scott Westerfeld because his books are always comforting to me. So yeah, for some reason young adult books are what I crave when life gets hard. So, maybe I should get on to explaining why I’m suddenly jumping from King to cop dramas to autobiographies back to the Westerfeld books I love so much.

“So Yesterday” is just a fun read. It’s all about fads and things that are “cool”. When did the first person link their wallet to their pants on a big chain, when was it cool to wear jeans falling down around your arse and showing off yer undies? And why would these things lead to a kidnapping that two seventeen year olds have to solve in time to save the head cool hunter?

There are several laugh out loud moments and many references to products we all know and love without being named. My favorite two words that crack me up every time I listen to this book are, “fittle lucker”. Now you want to read it to find that, don’t you? So go on then.

I’ve decided to read my Scott Westerfeld books between Audible credits. Gamma is in the hospital after breaking her hip and everything has changed. Luckily she’s doing ok, but our Sundays will never again be what they were and we haven’t been able to talk much this week. Those who know us know how close we are. This has been very difficult adjusting to for both of us.

So I crave the books that entertain and comfort me at night. No one does that better than Scott Westerfeld for me. I’m so grateful I collect books. They are one of the only constants in life, if you think about it. The words don’t change once the book is published. Well, unless the book is abridged and that is the only format you can find it in…

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011,finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

*Audio book previously listened to.
** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, Gamma, gratitude