Category Archives: Microsoft

I’m Home

It wasn’t a geographical in the AA sense of things, since I wasn’t running away from something, I was running to something. And I think I’ve found way more than I bargained for.

That was the thought running through my head this morning that made me run to my computer after refilling my coffee, knowing I needed to write a blog post. I got out of bed early today since I lay awake thinking of how close I was to finishing the first draft of the memoir – finally. I used NaNoWriMo this year to fully commit to the memoir. I studied memoir in October, reading “The Memoir Project” by Marion Roach. The book was recommended on Twitter by Josh Hanagarne @JoshHanagarne), author of “The World’s Strongest Librarian”, and I will be forever grateful to him for that recommendation. The book showed me how to structure the memoir and how to plan to write it. It showed me to find the message I wanted to convey, and that helped me narrow down which parts of my life were relevant.

What I have is a 50,550 (cool number, eh?) word sketch draft of this memoir, with the ending I imagined while doing my prep work.

I have a finished, first terrible draft of a book!

I’m pretty sure it’ll be longer than what I have now, because as I wrote, I would remember things that will need to go in, but I just jotted those down as notes to be added during rewrites. I’ll be learning Windows and Jaws *gulp* for the editing process, because the Mac and Voiceover is sorely lacking in the word processing department. Luckily, I’m in the right place with a Windows geek who can help me with that. Pray for him. *wink wink*

When last I posted, I listed all the challenges I’d been through with my benefits. I had planned to post again with fun stories about moving here, and I’ll still do that, but not in this post. Today I just wanted to post about finishing my first draft, because the feeling is incredible. I’ve finished multiple drafts of two short stories now, and those felt great, but finishing the first draft of this memoir, a book that’s been fighting to get out since way back when I had a Blogger blog, feels absolutely incredible.

I think it’s this move to Washington. It felt like home before I ever got here, and I’m so grateful it has felt more and more like home the longer I’ve been here. My creativity has grown in leaps and bounds here. I can stand outside in the front yard and just be, just listen and feel and smell. It’s so alive here! Everything is alive. Grass, trees, the nearby ocean that I smell when I step outside, everything is living, including me.

Without a doubt, I know this is home now. though I suppose we’ll see what I say in February, eh?

I’ve had to put some money down on warm stuff, but not much. I got thermal underwear on Amazon that I wear every day under my sweats and three tops, ha! David’s, and now my, friend took me to Value Village for a member’s only sale. This woman knows how to bargain hunt! I got two winter coats and a bunch of warm stuff to wear around the house. I’m currently wearing wool socks, thermal pants, sweats, a tight tank top, thermal shirt, fleece shirt, hoodie, NaNoWriMo beanie, and fingerless gloves. I’m pretty much warm, ha! I freaking love it!

It’s not so fun when it’s wet, but I’m getting used to it. The raincoat I bought for guide dog school hangs in the mud room, ready to grab to keep dry, and I’m waiting on a rain coat I ordered from GDB for Jayden. I certainly never expected to be buying a doggy raincoat. I never expected to move to Washington, either, so it just goes to show how unreliable expectations are. Tip: don’t have expectations, and prepare yourself for the unexpected.

Near the end of October, while I was preparing for NaNoWriMo and taking a fiction writing class, we met up with some of David’s family and went to the Hobuck beach at Neah Bay. David, his son, and cousins, all surfed. In the cold. I’ll be trying it in the summer if all goes as planned. Hey now, watch those expectations.

For Thanksgiving, we went to David’s parents’s house for salmon dinner. A lot of Salmon is eaten here, which is excellent, because salmon is a good anti-inflammatory food. Antiinflammation food? Hmmm. Anyway, we eat a lot of salmon and I love it.

There have been challenges. I’m still ironing out all the benefits stuff. It turns out that Medicare does follow you from state to state, but if you have a Medicare advantage plan like I had in Arizona, tying Medicaid and Medicare together with an insurance company like United Healthcare, you have to do more than just cancel your state’s Medicaid. Unbeknownst to me, my Medicare stuck to Arizona even after I cancelled Medicaid, and the only reason I found out was because when my new doctor tried to write a neurology referral, my new health group didn’t take my Arizona insurance, which I thought I had cancelled. Long story short, I had to call Medicare and get on a basic plan, and get on a prescription drug plan. As far as I understand it, everything should be straightened out on December 1, and I’ll officially be a Washingtonian, *knock on wood*.

I wasn’t planning on going into all that, but the fingers write what the fingers write. I have another call to make about my Medicaid, because I have a navigator woman with my medical group, who said I should not be on that ridiculous spend down thing. So fingers crossed she’s right.

So there’s another update for you, my one dear reader *cough* Torie *cough*. I’m thinking as I revise the memoir, maybe I’ll post things that end up on the cutting room floor. Though perhaps not until I know for sure. Better safe than sorry.

***Tip*** When taking your dog to the beach, no matter how short a leash you have him on, he’s still at risk for beach gut. Did you know that’s a thing? Yup, that’s a thing. My did Jayden get sick. Silver lining: I took him to the neighbor’s vet, which I really liked.


Filed under accomplishment, coffeeholic, family, GDB, gratitude, holiday, Jaws, Jayden, Microsoft, num num food, twitter me this, vet visit, Voiceover, weather, writing

My First Submitted Fiction – What A Ride

I need to just free write a post while my body calms down. I just submitted my final draft of ‘That Meddling Dog’ for the YA anthology. Now I wait. Will it be chosen? Will I get my first real rejection? What happens next?

I began work on the story on May 30 and received the final draft from my volunteer copy editor yesterday. the writing and revising was awesome, ending up five hundred words over the limit and getting it down to the six thousand, sending new revisions off to my friends and getting their feedback and talking about things that happened and how the story affected each reader differently and change this word for that and get rid of that story line all together because there’s no room for it and I wasn’t ready to introduce that character anyway but oh I still need to reference him ok let me just change his name.

All the creative stuff was awesome, naturally, then it was coming down to the wire, the story pretty much done, the surface so shiny from all the polishing that I could see my reflection and all that was left was formatting. the visual part.

I’ve known I have a trigger happy thumb. I’m sure it’s evident in this post since I’m not being careful at all, just getting thoughts down. I enter way too many spaces. There’s no way with Voiceover and my word processing program, Pages, to easily tighten up spacing issues. So I went character by character of a six thousand word document, deleting spaces.

Wanna hear a sample of that process?

After I got done deleting extra spaces, I went through and added all my paragraph indents. I do all my first drafts in a basic app called Text Edit, kinda like Notepad for Windows, since it’s the easiest for me to use with voiceover. When I’m writing my first drafts of a fiction story, I never remember to tab for paragraphs and dialogue and I’m not sure that would copy over to Pages anyway.

So I went through and added my tabs and then I counted the new lines of a blank document. fifty lines. I wanted to do that thing with new chapters so the chapter would begin halfway down the page, right? So I’d find the new chapter and press enter twenty-five times. In my head, there’s the white space for the chapters.

I exported the Pages document, was it twenty-seven pages or seventeen I can’t remember. Anyway, converted it to Word for my volunteer copy editor and sent it off Wednesday. Deadline Sunday. today is Saturday. Are you with me?

I’m feeling so good about it. Really good. I feel like the story is solid, the protagonist being a secondary character in the main novel I’ve had in my heart and have worked on for years, and the protag from that novel in the story too. I feel great about it. I’ve had fun hanging out with my kids and creating new ones.

Then Thursday morning, before I’ve had coffee, before I’ve played Trivia Crack, I check email on my phone.

Don’t check email on your phone when you haven’t had coffee or played Trivia Crack and you’re already a bundle of nerves from this whole process oh and when Brian is in Sedona for a conference and your sleep is all messed up from staying up all night on Tuesday in a Google hangout with your besties.

email from copy editor lets me know he found extra spaces and other formatting stuff. Extra spaces. After I spent two days going character by character to get rid of them. Words that aren’t capitalized, crazy stuff. Stuff I know I fixed right?

turns out, when you export from Pages to Word and vice versa, formatting errors occur. So I can’t just go through, read his comments, fix what I agree with, stet the rest. this isn’t going to work. I can’t fix those visual errors. I can’t figure out how to make his comments correspond to the area of the manuscript which they refer. I start to panic. I’ve worked so hard. I love this story.

I’m reminded that I’m blind.

later I talk to Ricardo on the phone. He looks at the document with voiceover on his Mac. We try and figure out the comments thing. It’s all so overwhelming. It’s Thursday and the deadline is Sunday. Should I send the manuscript to Amanda who is also blind but uses Jaws with Word? She can fix the formatting issues, keep it in the blind family. but then I still can’t convert back to Pages.

Oh crap I totally left out the cathartic screaming crying fit from earlier in the day. I threw myself on the bed and screamed into my pillow so hard it hurt. I sobbed and sobbed. the cats piled on the bed with me. All I want to be is a writer and there’s all these barriers.

When I’m talking to Ricardo I’m trying so hard not to let the tears come but they do because I can’t do this. I can’t be a writer. There are too many challenges. I need Jaws and Word. All those things I’ve heard for years about Mac and voiceover not working well for professionals, all those things are true. Who am I kidding? I’m a blind disabled nobody and that’s who I’ll stay.


Fuck that.

Deep breath.

Talking to Ricardo. He’s saying all the things I know in my heart, all the things my doubts want to kill. Sure it’s hard. Sure there are barriers. But there are also resources. Amanda told me to use my tools. What are my tools.

Email from the Professor. He can fix the visual stuff. He can just do it, we can talk in the morning, Friday, then he sends me the Word file, I don’t touch it, I submit that.

I tell Ricardo. Should I do that?

Hell yeah!

Weight lifts from my shoulders. People. People are my tools. People are more than happy to help a person who’s doing as much of the hard work as she can on her own.

I think back to the meetings. God will do for me what I can’t do for myself. For me right now, god is those people.

I’m going to be a published writer. I know this. This experience has been so valuable. Even if TMD doesn’t get picked for the anthology, the things I’ve learned from making it the best story it could be are invaluable.

And if it does get published? It could be a launching point.

I struggled with whether to include in my bio that I’m blind. I don’t want to be picked because I’m blind I want to be picked based on the merit of the work. But then I thought back to my last job, the one voc rehab helped me get and they told me not to disclose my MS. Look where that got me? I didn’t get any of the help I needed to be successful while working with a debilitating disability and I went blind.

so I chose to disclose. If I’m going to use the resources available as a blind writer, I can’t pretend I’m not. Hey look at that, tense change. I’m really bad at staying in tense. Hehe! Wait, in tense. Hahaha. Oh but I am so intense at times. In tense. intense. I love freaking words.

I thought back to an essay I read years ago that pissed me off so bad I almost wrote about it here but chose not to. the essay was written by a visually impaired woman who had kept her impairment secret for the same reasons I almost did. She had to admit it though, because she was loosing more and more of her vision.

I was so angry at her at the time but now I get it. It sucks to have to look your weakness full in the face. it sucks to admit oh crap, I can’t do this all on my own. It sucks. It’s painful. I understand now why she wanted to hide it and how much pain she must have been in the day she decided to post that essay.

I have put myself out there now. Until today, five people read TMD. Two blind friends, a young adult friend, and two sighted friends. Friends. All people who care about me. Now the story is in the hands of strangers.

It’s like bearing your soul, which Strunk prepared me for when I read his book.

I slept and slept and slept last night. I woke up at eleven this morning, an hour into the Rays game. So not like me! I was, and still am, exhausted.

After the Rays won (yay!) I opened the submission manager. Deep breath. Heart began racing.

“My heart is racing,” I say.

“Why, because you guys won?” Brian asks.

“No, I’m about to submit the story.”


He knows what a journey this has been. He’s heard me mumbling during revisions, that doesn’t sound right, how can I reword that, he knows how important this is to me.

Of course I ran into a quick technical issue while looking for the file, the only one on my desktop, to submit. Silly mac.

I clicked submit. There goes the bio I wrote, there goes my baby, bye!

“Your submission has been sent.”

Oy vey, right? Holy crap. I mean holy crap! I tweeted, then grabbed Timmy and went to cuddle him in bed. His purring soothes me. I lay in bed, collecting my thoughts, the feeling slowly returning to my feet.

Now we wait. I posted on Facebook that I’m equal parts sure it will be accepted and that I’ll get my first real rejection.

Whatever happens, I’ll keep writing. Ren and georgie insist on it and their story isn’t done. They’ve got at least an entire novel to appear in, if not two or three. And my friend Dulce made her appearance in TMD when I had to work in a flashback to explain something. We find out she had her first kiss. And Dulce the character needs to meet Jedi the dog, who will love her as much as Jayden loves the real Dulce.

This story isn’t over. It’s just beginning!


Filed under accessibility, accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, baseball, cats, coffeeholic, faith, fellowship, gratitude, Jaws, Jayden, Microsoft, misty eyes, screen reader, silly girl, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this, Voiceover, writing

Hanging with Ro Episode 14 – New Year’s Eve in Flagstaff Style

On New Year’s Eve, B and Jayden and I piled into the car and drove up to Flagstaff, AZ. The band Quiet Riot was doing a show there so we had been planning the trip for about a month. When he first asked me if I’d want to go I thought it would be fun to chill in the hotel while he went to the concert, but then I considered going to the show. It had been years since I rang in the new year anywhere other than my bed haha! I ended up not going though because it would have just been too loud for Jayden and for me. I like my hearing, thank you very much.

The drive up was uneventful. I listened to Josh Groban non-stop. B started telling me about snow on the ground next to the highway the closer we got to Flagstaff. Snow! When we arrived at the hotel the temperature change was quite drastic and the breeze bit my skin as we walked to the lobby. Inside I quickly put my Rays hoodie on.

The room was great! It had a little kitchen with a full size coffee maker. I brewed the coffee they provided but it wasn’t good so we’d have to hit a Starbucks so I could get some instant.

We relaxed for a bit in the room and after I fed and relieved Jayden, we headed to the casino to eat. B had to pick up a player’s club card which was the ticket to the show. Sitting in a diner at a casino at 5pm is super creepy. Unless it was just this particular one. It sounded like the most depressing place. There was no laughing, no idle chatter, no music and I kept hearing what sounded to me like a zombified game of Marco Polo.

As we ate I listened and finally got that people were walking by the diner saying, “Kino,” and the staff at the diner parroted them back in a very lackluster voice. Alrighty then.

Then B noticed the band walking right by the diner! He named each member as they passed. The drummer was last, the only original member of Quiet Riot and B said he was the only one with an entourage. Me: Really? B: Yeah, two people.

They were carrying their own bags and everything. Life as a washed up old hair band? It was still cool though.

As we were walking onto the actual gaming floor to get B’s pass, a security guard stopped us. I couldn’t hear what he was saying so he spoke up. He was asking if Jayden had paperwork. I blurted that I have an ID for him but I think the guy could tell I was shocked at the question. He said something like, “what are those dogs called, I can never remember.”

“I’m blind and he’s my guide dog.”

He let us go then. It was bizarre.

The game floor was so smokey! It rather disgusted me and I couldn’t believe I used to do that. I guess I have become the grumpy ex-smoker haha! It’s not so bad outdoors but inside there? Whew!

B got his pass and we went back out into the cold. Wow cold. I mean, cold!

We headed back towards the hotel and I used Siri to locate a Starbucks. Now I had real coffee and was good to go. We hung out for a bit and B tried watching that awful duck show. He switched to New Year’s stuff and there was a year in review show that was rather interesting. We never watch TV other than sports, so it was an experience haha! They discussed things I had only read about on Twitter. Pop culture anyone? It’s lost on me.

After B left I decided on a whim to record a voice note and it morphed into a Hanging with Ro episode. It had been awhile since I recorded myself being a goofball haha!

Ok so now for Hanging with Ro Episode 14. How perfect is that? Episode 14, ringing in 2014. Whoa. *opera voice* Spoooooky! *end opera voice*

So there are two files. This first one is the longest. I think it’s around forty minutes or so. I had no idea where it was going when I started haha! Topics include but are not limited to:

*Breaking the rules with Jayden

*Being out on New Year’s Eve. I just remembered the last time. It was 2005/06 and Georgie and I went to an AA New Year’s event. We were both in our first year sober and we were so scared we’d get hit by a drunk driver.


*B stands for…

*Getting distracted and laughing at the TV

*Seriously? That’s CNN? Anderson Cooper giggling.

*Remotes hate me.

*2013 year in review. Colorado to see Chupa and my first Rays game. Feeling fabulous in Colorado.

*Hip pack humiliation.

*Bad summer, bad health oh who’s singing?

*Josh Groban. How I love the Josh Groban.

*We need to move. Teeth. Not move teeth. Ow.


*I don’t get TV.

*I make a cup of instant coffee but not in the closet.

*I sing la la la and the Josh Groban love begins with gusto.

*Flagstaff smells good.

*I try and describe the Grand Canyon.

*More Josh Groban drool only this time with songs on the iPad. I’m pathetic.

*Ok Josh maybe I didn’t hear that right from you I can’t be certain because you all talked a lot.

*Wow I was sniffling already. I got totally sick the next day.

*The song that made me cry in the car is a Stevie Wonder cover.

*Here is the translation to the song I was swooning over.

*I tell you to look up this clip on youtube so here it is.

*Ok wow I really am happy being me, trust me.

*Who’s outside the window?

*I wish I could shut up my humming.

*I waste time trying to play a song. I didn’t realize I had lost my wifi so I couldn’t get it from the cloud. Here’s the other Brave song by Sara Bareilles. You’ll probably recognize it from those Microsoft commercials.

*I wrap up this portion finally haha!

New Year’s Eve Part 1

And we’re back. This one is about sixteen minutes.

*I’m paranoid it’s not recording.

*Two minutes away from 2014.

*Loud upstairs neighbor.

*David DeJesus is mentioned. Baseball must be on the brain.

*Sleepy girl

*Midnight in New York phone call.

*A totally lame Arizona midnight but at least I checked the time at the exact right moment.

*Evan Longoria. He is seriously mentioned in every single one of my audios. You’d think I do nothing but talk about that man!

*I talk about the Phoenix trip I had forgotten to mention in my year review. Who got to go on the field at Chase Field? Thank you David Price!

*Phoenix killed me though. Well not really since I’m alive but you know.

*Disappointed girl in a Vanderbilt shirt.

*Dave and Andy!

*Learning from mistakes.

*Sleepy iPad scrolling. More talking about Josh Groban. Here’s the song I talk about where his voice becomes part of the instrumental. I really think that’s one of my favorites.

*Finally come to my senses and wrap it up. I also mess up a New Year blessing haha!

New Year’s Eve Part2

I was up when B got back. Just after I stopped recording, fireworks started and there were a lot of people outside the hotel. When I took Jayden out I couldn’t believe how cold it was! Wow. When I asked Siri she said, “brrrr, it’s twenty-two degrees.” B and I talked about the show and then I tried to sleep and failed miserably.

The next morning I woke up way too early and sat on the strange uncomfortable couch waiting for B to get up. Even he couldn’t sleep late. That hotel was so noisy!

We took our time getting ready and headed out to the Grand Canyon. I was sneezing a lot and wished I had taken some of the cold meds I brought with us. The Canyon was about an hour and a half from the hotel. On the road leading to the Canyon, there was suddenly a huge heard of elk! Do they roam in heards? Is it spelled that way? Hmmm.
Anyway, B had exclaimed, “deer! Wait, those are too big to be deer.”

“Are they elk?” I asked.

He said I was probably right and explained that a few crossed the road and several were on the side grazing on grass. Cool!

We parked and found the restroom and I had a total panic attack in there because it had hand dryers that sounded like freaking wind tunnels and they hurt my ears and Jayden was affected by them too and holy crap it was good to get out of there.

We made our way to where B could see the canyon and I listened to all the accents around us and children and different bird sounds. It was very cold and breezy. I did not feel well. There was much more walking than I had expected. I mean it’s a huge hole in the ground. It doesn’t seem like you should have to walk very much to find an edge. It had been sixteen years since I’d been there so couldn’t remember. I wanted to get to a good spot to get a picture with Jayden and me in front of the canyon but it was going to involve steps and there were too many people and yeah. Blah.

I snapped some pictures with my iPhone and sent one to Twitter and apparently it was lovely. Let me see if I can find the tweet. Ok I can’t find it so I asked Twitter. Might just have to upload it again. I should really figure out Word Press pictures haha. Here’s the picture. Thanks, @L_Squared!

So I just got sicker and sicker as we went back to the hotel. I collapsed for a bit and then we started trying to figure out food. The only two places that were open on New Year’s Day were The Outback and Sizzler. Sizzler? They still have those? That was my first ever job. I was a salad bar keeper. Fried shrimp entered my brain and that was all I could think about. So we went there and there was actually a huge snow drift in the parking lot! I had my fried shrimp but I was so miserable I hardly remember it. Bread pudding for dessert. I thought a rap in my head: I had dinner, at the Sizzler with my mister, on New year’s Day, while I had a fever. Wow. Um. Yeah hi. I won’t quit my day job. Oh wait, I don’t have one.

We went back to the hotel and I did some packing up and crashed. That was pretty much it! It was a really good time and I’m glad we did it. I felt pretty good there in Flagstaff, minus being sick of course. It was like how I felt better in Colorado. High elevation and cold, I tell ya. I used to think I’d like to live in Flagstaff but I don’t think so. Just too cold and there’s an odd feeling there. Just like in Sedona when I went with B several years ago. We both feel it in northern Arizona. Just an odd feeling. It’s a nice place to visit though!

Happy 2014 everyone! I hope you enjoyed the audio if you listened.

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Filed under apple Inc, baseball, coffeeholic, Dental Health, evan longoria, Gamma, gratitude, hanging with ro, holiday, Jayden, Microsoft, music, new year, num num food, plugs, random stuff, sicky sick, silly girl, sobriety, spoons, twitter me this, Voiceover, weather, white cane, wow, youtube

Yep, I’m blind

This post might sound like I’m complaining, but I’m really not.

For the most part, the fact that I’m blind just kinda lives in the background layer of my life. It’s not something I constantly think about, it doesn’t define me, but it’s a huge part of my life, obviously. Listening to my screen reader every day or interacting with jayden are constant reminders, but they aren’t bad reminders.

Not long ago, when the budget made me wait before I could download a book, I actually thought, ‘I’ll just borrow one from B.’ Um, wait no, that won’t work. It’s thoughts like that that make me forget I’m blind. No really. I forget. The way I live now is such the norm that I forget I’m missing a vital sense.

Then there are days like today, where lots of little things add up for a bbig whopping reminder. If I’m not careful, these things can leave me feeling helplesss.

It started off with not being able to find Timmy this morning, to lock him up before taking Jayden out. Tears threatened to spill at the feeling powerless of it all. B got up and found the stupid cat. Great.

Then just picking up Jayden’s waste was a reminder. He picked a spot right by the stupid bush and I practically sat on the bush. Then I couldn’t find the poop. I hate landscape rocks. Try feeling around landscape rocks with your hand swathed in plastic, waiting to feel squishy. Ewww.

Then when I set my coffee down on my laptop cart, my cell phone went flying. Then I couldn’t negotiate the lining up of USB chord and port. Frustrating making.

What topped it all off was my heater wasn’t blowing very hot so I called maintenence. I had thought we were changing the filter regularly, but apparently we had forgotten. Also, the vent in front of the filter was caked with grime, which the maintenence guy vacuumed off. If I could see, I would have replaced the filter, I would have noticed the muck and cleaned it. Just another glaring reminder. Then he showed me where the doors to the hall closet, which are ventilated doors to allow air flow, are getting dirty too. I ran my hand along the slats and cringed.

Like I said, most of the time this stuff just doesn’t bother me. In fact, my life has gotten pretty awesome since going blind. After all, I wouldn’t have Jayden and I wouldn’t know you all.

Unfortunately when the reminders hit, other things that might be a nagging bother get blown up. The latest one? How on earth will I make sure the formatting for my novel is correct when it comes time to submit my first fifty pages to an agent? How am I going to make sure it’s a Microsoft document when I use an Apple? Will I need sighted help just to make sure the novel isn’t a formatting disaster?

Granted, I’m a ways away from submission. I’ve got about 60,000 words, but no ending yet, having taking a break from it for a few days.

Anyway, just some observations. Ever have one of those days where *everything* reminds you you’re blind?

Oh, and a discussion on Facebook has me thinking too. I haven’t decorated for Christmas since going blind. There are a few reasons, like B’s cats not being trained to stay away from things and fear that if a cat were to knock off an ornament, Jayden might eat it. Really though, what’s the point?

I’m sure lots of blinks decorate for Christmas. But I just don’t see the point in expending my already short supply of energy on digging out the suitcase full of decorations from my mess of a store room, putting everything up, worrying about the cats, and not even being able to see it. Why bother?

I might be bah humbug about it but, oh well. B wouldn’t care anyway and he’s the only one who could see it. I do miss my decorations, and maybe I get a little bummed at the thought of them. Maybe I’ll think about digging them out…but therein lays a whole ‘nother blink problem: finding it in the mess of the storage room without killing myself. Yeah, no point.

Ok, that’s it, really. 😉


Filed under Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, blind opinion, cats, holiday, I might be a writer, Jayden, Microsoft, NaBloPoMo 2010, random stuff, spoons, Timmy

A quick note about and IE

I’m getting a lot of search queries on this, ranging from IE 8 to IE 2010 if there is such a thing. In case you’re just viewing the summary on Google, to solve issue with Internet Explorer, download Firefox. is working fine on Firefox. Just be sure you tell your firewall and other security software to allow Firefox.

If you’re still having issues getting Firefox to work, check out this drawn out post about how we fixed the problem.

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Filed under Microsoft, proud geek

I will never scape Windows, will I

I started writing this yesterday so, this story started on Friday, not Saturday. 😉


Yesterday morning, B was messing with a computer before work, which he doesn’t usually do. He explained that the night before, had completely killed his Internet Explorer on the laptop and then the laptop told him he needed to install updates.

At this point I should back up and say that that laptop was nothing but a headache when I bought it back in 2007 when CompUSA was going out of business. It’s an HP Pavillion (sp?) and it didn’t even work when I took it out of the box. I had taken it to a computer geek friend of mine after getting nowhere with HP tech support, and he had to call and do all kinds of stuff and reset the BIOS to get it working. For the most part, it worked, but it would not let Yahoo Instant Messenger connect. I remember using the web version after trying to allow the firewall to allow Yahoo and all sorts of ish. Again, HP tech support was no help with that matter, so I finally just gave up.

Then, after installing the Windows updates, the laptop wouldn’t connect to the internet. Again on the phone with HP tech support. We ended up doing a system restore to the point where it was before the updates. The HP guy had told me he’s been seeing that a lot with Vista, that updates were totally screwing things up. Oh yeah, I had forgotten to mention this laptop has Vista. I should have mentioned that right from the start of this post.

So anyway, I had turned off the auto updating and things were smooth sailing. Then I went blind, found out how much Jaws was and said, um yeah, not gonna trust that laptop with a thousand dollar program. The desktop is a rebuilt jobby from a resale shop. So that’s how I got the Apple.

But do you see now why I’m so upset that the latest Apple updates have messed up Safari? It’s a Windows nightmare all over again.

But back to the laptop. So when B got home from work last night, all the updates had installed so hopefully he could view without it crashing IE.

It’s not connecting to the internet.


Reach back into my memory vaults and try and remember all the stuff I’d had to do with that laptop. I’m an Apple now, so to remember a Windows computer, trying to visualize what to do, was making my brain numb. The game was also starting.

But, when there’s a computer asking for help, I can’t rest easy. wasn’t freezing the desktop, but it was running slowly, along with another website. Weird. I’m thinking made some changes and Internet Exploder doesn’t like it. That’s not a typo. So I figured we should try Firefox but first we had to solve the internet connection issue. Then I remembered having to do the system restore, so I had B do that. I had to Google how since I couldn’t remember. Sure enough the system restore fixed it. We just cannot update that laptop apparently.

He tries again with the same results. “Any ideas?” he asks. I explain that yes, lets try Firefox. L^2 had just made a comment or a post somewhere about not bothering with IE after someone mentioned her blog didn’t load right on IE. Carin always says great things about Firefox. I can’t use it because it’s not compatible with Voiceover. So I thought maybe it would fix the problem.

B didn’t know you could do that. He thought you were just stuck with whatever browser was on your computer. I am the geek in the family, as you can tell.

So he downloads Firefox. He tells me it won’t access the internet, but IE still does. So to Google I go.

Ok, we have to tell the firewall to allow Firefox. So I have him do all that, listening to Alex give me instructions and then repeating them to B. He does that. Still nothing.

Crap. I was sooooo hoping it would be the Windows Firewall and not stupid Norton. But it’s gotta be Norton. Hadn’t I gotten rid of Norton? Way back in the day? Or didn’t my computer geek friend? Why is it still there? I tell B to look at the add/remove programs and it’s there so he tries getting rid of it and it freezes the whole computer. Ugh. We can’t even find the damn .exe file in the explorer so it must just be componenents of Norton still floating around, screwing with Firefox.

So to Google I go again. I think I typed something like “can’t get rid of Norton” or something. I found a forum where a girl asked all these questions. Her Firefox wouldn’t work, iTunes wouldn’t work, Yahoo IM wouldn’t work, etc but she couldn’t get rid of Norton.

I remembered B not being able to use iTunes on the laptop. And my past issues with Yahoo. Was this all the ghost of Norton? A guy replied to the original post saying, “Norton is harder to get rid of than a virus.” He suggested using a Norton removal tool from the Symmantic (sp?) site and gave the link. So I e-mailed B the link and he tried it.

Sure enough Firefox worked without issue! And worked just fine on it. Yay Firefox! B put it on the desktop too. He is just amazed at how much faster and smoother it is. So it all worked out ok.

I talked to Carol about all this and she said we’ve gotta put Windows 7 on the laptop. She loves Windows 7. I’m thinking we’d better, because we still can’t update the laptop without losing the internet.

So, just when I thought I had completely escaped Windows, I realized I have not. If we had money, I’d convert B to an Apple.

I actually enjoy troubleshooting computers and like I said, I can’t ignore a computer problem. But man did it make me totally brain foggy. It actually kinda freaked me out a little how foggy I got. I mean there was one point where I was ready to just shut down. I used to be able to spend hours doing that kind of thing. Maybe it was just extra exhausting since I had to remember Windows when I haven’t used a Windows computer in well over two years.

Moral of the story? If you must use Windows, get Windows 7 and Firefox. 😉


Filed under apple Inc, Microsoft, proud geek, spoons

Geek Alert! Microsoft vs. Apple in commitment to accessibility

I went searching on youtube to try and find a good video of my screen reader, Alex, speaking. I didn’t find that. What I did find, was a video of a guy talking about the iPod Touch and Voiceover. There are no clips of voiceover on it, and the touch doesn’t have enough capacity to run Alex, so it would have been a female voice anyway. So this here, is the video about the Touch.

I love this guy, he’s a total geek! Like me!

So then I found this wonderful video, where he talksabout Microsoft vs. Apple and dedication to accessibility. I love it! Some of his facts are wrong, like how to turn on Voiceover, he says you need a sightie, which you don’t.

I just wanted to share, because I think this guy is great. I really wish I knew how I could get a recording of Alex. Hmmm….


Filed under accessibility, apple Inc, assistive technologies, Microsoft, NaBloPoMo 2009, plugs, proud geek, screen reader, Voiceover