Category Archives: misty eyes

Tampa Bay Trip – Day Five: Ducky’s , Field passes and TV oh my!

*Just previewed this post and there are mucho mistakes but I’m tired so I’m not fixing them.*

I certainly didn’t mean to take a few days to get back to the trip posts but life doesn’t care about your plans eh? Anyway, onward we go to day five.

Knowing what was going to happen on this day was a big part of all the nerves I was feeling. It was April 2 and I knew I would be going on the field for batting practice. I knew I would be meeting players and I knew I needed to tell Evan Longoria that he saved my life. I had one chance and if I chickened out and didn’t tell him, I might not ever get the chance again. Just think back and pick out a certain athlete or musician or whatever it may be that was a part of your life during a huge turning point. Now imagine you knew there was a really good chance you would meet them. Imagine the fear that you wouldn’t, like when it could have happened the year before but didn’t, that fear mixed with excitement. No wonder I had a hard time eating haha!

Oh yeah, and before all this I was going to Evan Longoria’s restaurant, Ducky’s. Man who gave me baseball and saved my life, dream maybe coming true later, going to his restaurant which was HIS dream come true, where he had his engagement party, going to his space, are you getting a taste of the level of my nerves? Am I doing a good job of describing it? My hands are shaking as I type the memories.

Dave Haller had told me to be at Tropicana Field at 4:30 for batting practice Ducky’s is in Tampa so Davis came to pick me up with Manda And butch at 1:00. How on earth did I kill time? I can’t remember. That whole day is a blur. Luckily the really awesome parts stand out in high definition.

We drove to Tampa and when we arrived at Ducky’s I felt so happy. I checked in on Foursquare. Coolest checkin next to the Trop? Probably haha. Some other friends were meeting us there so we sat at a big round table. The walls were nothing but big TVs. I got a Dr. Pepper and it came in a Rays glass. How cool! Davis said there wasn’t Rays memorabilia everywhere. The glasses were a nice touch. I pictured it very understated. It was quiet but I’m sure when people gather to watch games it’s loud. It was elegant though. Chic. I asked everyone if Longoria mentions a favorite food there. Manda named a few things and the pickled crab cakes stuck out so that’s what I ordered. I wondered if I’d even be able to eat.

while we were waiting for our food we wandered over to the mini bowling. Way back on Twitter when the trip was just a dream, someone (Professor Twain?) said I should try the bowling. There was no way I wouldn’t try it! The balls you roll are like Skeeball balls. Someone put the bumpers up and you can here me whine, “noo!” Hahaha. Hear me? Oh yeah, there’s video. We each had two turns.

My first turn didn’t start out so well.

Direct youtube link

My second turn was much better.

Direct youtube link

We didn’t finish our whole game since our food came out and friends got there. The pickled wait not pickled. Deviled? I can’t remember, crab. Crab cakes haha. they were so good! Can’t beat crab in a coastal town. I managed to eat them all and try a piece of Manda’s candied bacon. Oh my yum! I had some of Davis’ fries too. They remind me of In and Out fries. I wondered if Evan did that on purpose with the fries since he’s from California. I took a souvenir from Ducky’s – Evan’s sauce.

There was a monkey dish of spicy sauce on my plate and right as we were nearing the end of our visit to Ducky’s I knocked the dish off and spilled it on my pants, purse and #ROTOTROP jersey. Before I could even think, the girls at the table jumped up, stripped the jersey off me and ran away. Davis was at work getting the sauce off my purse and all I could do was laugh. I had Evan’s sauce on me. Too perfect. the girls got the stain off the white jersey like living Tide stain sticks. Yay!

I visited the restroom before we left and was even impressed by that. The stalls are completely enclosed. No gaps in the doors or doors that didn’t lock. They were like little closets with glass doors. Very nice. We took Jayden to pee in the grass and then headed back to St. Pete. Oh my! Would I meet Evan?

Tina was going to meet us at the Trop since she had to work and missed out on Duckeyss. We got to the Trop early and waited around outside the gate. When it was time to go in, there was a surprise. Everyone got to go on the field with me! Originally there were only supposed to be two passes but Davis had asked Dave Haller if everyone could come inside to kill time before gates actually opened. He wasn’t expecting everyone to be allowed on the field but Dave worked his magic again so Davis, Tina and butch came with Manda and me on the field! I was so happy they could all be there!

We walked into the Trop and it was pretty cool to be the only fans inside. It was just us and the team! Oh yeah, and the bluejays haha. We were led down a ramp and passed the Rays clubhouse! We passed Alex Cobb! Alex freaking Cobb! We said hi as we passed and I was told he waved. I love Alex Cobb! Too bad he didn’t stop to chat haha.

And then we were on the field! As soon as I felt the turf under my feet I hit my needs and ran my hands over the fake grass. It felt like real grass! It was short and tight and I could feel the filler they put in. I was touching the Tropicana Field grass! We were in the area behind home plate. We weren’t alowed to go very far. There was a rope set up like they have to form lines at the bank. There was no music on yet.I started a voice note on my phone and kept my phone in my pocket. I hoped to record everything that happened down there for my memories.The place was so quiet! When you stand on the field in a dome like that you can really feel the enormity of the place. I remember noticing that at Chase Field last year.

Eventually the players started coming out for batting practice and I started meeting them! They all asked Jayden’s name and gave him love. Jayden was in puppy heaven! I think Wil Myers wanted to take him home. Manda was telling me who the guys were as they came up. I got hugs from all of them! Wil Myers, Sean Rodriguez, James Loney, Matt Joyce, Yunel Escobar, Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings, Jose Molina, and Logan Forsyth. Logan was the last one for me to meet that would round out the starting lineup for that night’s game. I also met reliever Joel Peralta. At one point a ball from batting practice rolled over and I had it in my hands when I met Loney and Forsyth so they both offered to sign it. Steve Carney came over and I asked for a real hug since we had only met briefly in the radio booth the night before.

Who am I forgetting? I’m forgetting someone. Tee heeeee heeeeee YES I MET EVAN LONGORIA! Video or it didn’t happen right?


Direct youtube link

What Davis didn’t capture and I’m glad is me hitting my knees as Evan walked away and crying. He said he’d come back! I didn’t want him to walk away. I wanted to talk to him forever, to tell him that baseball saved my life and he started it and I wanted to ask him about Elle and tell him about Jayden and just talk and he walked away but I hugged him I hugged Evan Longoria!

Jayden licked my tears from my face and I stood up, pulled myself together and met more people. Players and coaches and media guys Marc topkin, Joe Smith, Roger Mooney, Todd Kalas, Dave and Andy again and Neil Solondz came over and I finally got to meet him. He also dropped a surprise on me. He wanted to interview me later for that Sunday’s episode of This Week In Rays Baseball!Whaaaaaat? Wow. Oh that wasn’t the only surprise for that day. Dave Haller had emailed me that morning to let me know to be back on the field at 6:30 for a surprise. Hmmm. I was already going to be back on the field at 6:00 because Kelly nash wanted to talk to me for TV. Neil was trying to pin me down for an interview, I had met Evan longoria, wow wow wow! Evan was supposed to come back, would he come back?


Direct youtube link

I did get to tell him he saved my life! the picture that was taken of us was for the Times. Evan put his left arm around my shoulders and my right arm went around his waist. Luckiest girl ever! Well except maybe jaime. Jayden was on my left and that picture was in the paper. Davis cropped it for me so I could make it my Twitter profile picture. I’m told we both have big genuine smiles and look very happy. that picture captured my utter happiness. I’ll never change it!

I haven’t yet uploaded all the videos with the players but I uploaded to more two share in this post. First is my meeting with Ben Zobrist.


Direct youtube link

He is so tall! I didn’t know that until I hugged him. He was so fun to talk to. My face hurts from grinning as I listened to that just now. What a great guy!

And my face hurts again from grinning as I listened to this next video.

Direct youtube link

Longoria, Zobrist and Maddon were all apart of that magical 2008 season that saved my life. I got to tell Joe too! How many people from Tucson can say they stood on a major league field and talked to Joe Maddon about scouting and Mexican food? I must be the only one right? Wow. You can here how happy I was to meet Joe. What a dream! I’m so grateful there’s video or I might not believe this all happened!

Oh yay, time for lunch and a break.

I remembered while I was eating to explain why I wrote a few posts ago that on the jersey the hashtag was in all caps, #ROToTrop. I showed the jersey to Marc topkin on the field and he pronounced the hash tag so it sounded like Robocop. It was funny but maybe you had to be there.

When the Rays were done with batting practice the Jays were coming out on the field. We started discussing whether to stay on the field when someone, I can’t remember who, said we could go check out the new 360 walkway before gates opened. We did talk to one Bluejay though, Jose Bautista. He strolled over to say hi and I asked for a picture since B is a blueJays fan.

We left the field and took a walk around the Trop. They opened up the walkway so you can walk around the whole place now. It was cool to still be the only fans inside. I could hear the Jays taking BP below us. Davis pointed things out like the gong and the TV area and stuff. We ran into Enrique Oliu again. He was talking with Orestes Destrade so I got to meet him too. Sweet!

Davis and I both walk really fast so before I knew it everyone else was left behind. We ran into someone from Twitter who works at the Trop and then Tina was there. We used the ladies and then went over to see the Ray tank. I was getting a little stressed about time since I had to be back on the field to talk to Kelly Nash. The visit to the tank was a quick one. They told me to put my hand in the water straight down and the ray would graze my fingers. When it happened I jumped and squealed since I couldn’t see it swim towards me haha! There was a sink to wash hands and then we were off again, hoffing it back to the field. I had wanted to swing by the suite for some water but there wasn’t time. We were getting in the elevator and Suddenly Manda was there. Butch was off to start letting people in since we had the tickets. We walked to the edge of the barrier again and Kelly Nash came over. it was wonderful to meet her! I exclaimed at how tiny she is. She might be tiny, but she’s a force! She prepped me on the interview we would do. she asked the questions so I could start thinking about them. Then it was time to head over to the dugout. wow! Manda came with us and I was sat in a chair facing the dugout with the field behind me. Kelly sat next to us and Jayden lay down between us. Kelly started prepping me again and then Manda was there with cold water. Oh sweet relief! At one point Kelly said Matt Moore walked behind us. matt Moore! He was starting that night.

We sat for awhile and then it was time for the interview. This was live TV! kelly let me know they were talking to her through her ear piece and then she was talking to me. It was over pretty fast. It’s cool to see how that stuff works behind the scenes! When I stood, Dave Haller was there and told me I’d be throwing out the first pitch! Wow! I had wondered if maybe that was what the surprise was since the timing was right. Beyond the first pitch though, I was to be inducted into the Super Fan Hall of Fame! Dave walked Jayden and me over to two other fans who were also getting inducted and handed me a ball. I remembered my pitching lesson with Adam Pendleton the day before and gripped the ball to throw a four seamer haha! They told me I’d be throwing the ball to Raymond, the Rays mascot. I could hear that the Trop was filling in and then the PA guy, I’m sure it was rusty, introduced each of us and told a little of our stories. There had been no preparation in my head for this haha! Cheers and cowbells rained down on us and we threw our pitches. Raymond missed the ball haha. I can’t remember who was there to tell me. Dave Haller? manda? Raymond came up to me and I think they got a picture of us. Talk about a blur! Jayden was like what is that thing and why is it hugging you? Then we were leaving the field. “Bye Field,” I said wistfully.

I was oh so ready to sit down in the suite and drink some water. It wasn’t over yet though. As we approached the suite, Neil Solondz was there ready to do my interview. We stood in the hall outside the suite as the game was starting. After the interview I mentioned having told Dave and Andy I’d stop by and bring cookies and Neil walked me to the booth. I had the first pitch ball with me and decided I would have everyone sign it. Dave and Andy were happy to see me again and during a break they wanted pictures. I asked them to sign the ball. I think I had Dave Haller sign it there too. It was tough to leave the booth again. the emotions of the day started welling big time and leaving Dave and andy was the cincher. I could feel tears spring to my eyes.

We were walking towards the suite and I was trying not to cry. I had a whole new group of people to meet that night and I was excited. Someone said my name and it was Professor Twain! That was it. I started bawling. Great way to meet someone for the first time eh? I through myself into his arms and my tears soaked his Tampa Smokies Jersey. Mrs. T was there too and we decided to take Jayden out for a potty break. He’d done a lot too! We almost lost Mrs. T coming back inside. Security stopped her. What? We called back to them that she was with us and they let her go. Crazy.

Finally we made it up and into the suite and I got to meet the others. Ed and his wife are from England and they brought me a bunch of British goodies! Not just for me either, goodies for Jayden, too! ed’s wife was telling me what everything was and I got a kick out of her saying “biscuits”. She’s so very British! That was a little later in the evening after I’d rested from the day and chugged water. I also desperately needed coffee which the suite didn’t have, so Ed ran out and got me a cup. Yay, friends!

I didn’t even use my radio during this game. Professor Twain sat next to me doing play-by-play. It was awesome! We thought we were going to be on the jumbotron for the seventh inning stretch but since I wasn’t with the other super fan hall of fame people, we weren’t. that was fine by me! There had been so much excitement that day, I’m not sure I could have handled more.

Mrs. T and I went and checked out the team store on the suite fllor. We had our own freaking team store! Butch came with us to by a hat. Mrs. T bought me a Longo shirt and a baseball bracelet! I swear I hardly spent any of my own money on that trip. While we were in the store I heard Metallica playing and knew that would be Grant Balfour coming into the game. Darnit, I was bummed to miss him. The Rays lost that night but they got him in for some work.

I was sad to leave the suite. It had been home for three games. They even let us keep stuff in there, like Jayden’s mat and stuff. A lot of pictures were taken with me and friends and Jayden and then it was time to go. “Bye suite, “I said wistfully.

What an amazing day! I’d be back the next day as a normal fan, sitting in normal seats. That hadn’t been the original plan, but I couldn’t be in St. Pete while the Rays were playing and not be at the Trop. So it was bye field and bye suite, but not bye Trop yet!

When I got back to my room I called B and got ready to pass out.

Leave a Comment

Filed under #RoToTrop, baseball, coffeeholic, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, matt joyce, misty eyes, num num food, sean rodriguez, silly girl, twitter me this, video, working dog, wow, youtube

Tampa Bay Trip – Day Three: Don Zimmer and Opening Day

My feelings as I mentally map this post are mixed. Today is the day I write the Opening Day post. My First Opening Day and Don Zimmer’s last. He passed away peacefully last night and the evening became full of Don Zimmer memories from all over baseball. My eyes would dry and then another tweet would come through with another story, Dave and Andy would call a play and tell a story, pictures were imagined, Zim with Longoria’s fiance Jaime and baby Elle, Zim on the golf course with Jackie Robinson, my eyes were in a constant state of damp. The post-game show was a Life and Times of Don Zimmer and when they played the interview with Joe Maddon tearing up I couldn’t hold back the sobs. At the end of the show they interviewed Longoria and the heartbreak in his voice rang like a ball squared up just right before sailing out of the park. He and Zim were very close as was the entire Rays organization. Zim was their senior baseball advisor for the last eleven years. This was his sixty-sixth season in baseball.

This morning I read many wonderful articles about this baseball icon and I would like to share a few before I get to recounting my experience on Opening Day.

Don Zimmer, a baseball icon who was one of us, dies at 83 – Tampa Bay Times

Rays advisor Don Zimmer, widely seen as a baseball treasure, dies – Tampa Bay Times

Statement from Don Zimmer’s Family – Tampa Bay Times

Don Zimmer Tributes – Tampa Bay Times

Don Zimmer simply loved baseball – ESPN (Autoplaying media)

Don Zimmer was baseball icon: had fans everywhere, even an unusual place – Arizona Daily Star

I obviously did not know Don Zimmer. I heard several people last night say they could imagine him smacking them upside the heads and telling them to get on with it and call the game/play the game write about the game so that is what I will now do. It was not lost on me last night that I was due to write about my first Opening Day which was also Don Zimmer’s last.

So the morning of Opening Day 2014 wasn’t separated from March 30 by even a wink of sleep. Was it excitement that kept me awake all night? The fact that I had a sixty-five pound dog with me in the double bed? Jet lag? Looking back I’m sure it was a combination of all of it.

I was laying in bed when I heard the first seagulls start screaming. I remember laying there, checking my phone , thinking I should stay in bed and rest since I hadn’t slept but it was Opening Day!

I made some lukewarm coffee before feeding Jayden. I decided I would take him out on my own since Manda wouldn’t be at my room until around 10:30. Jayden found his litter box just fine but then we couldn’t find the room again. We walked around for awhile, not having much luck. The kids weren’t in the pool yet which was too bad since that was a great sound source. Luckily a jogger came buy and I called out when I heard the footsteps and heavy breathing. He stopped to help and I told him what room I was in. I didn’t like the idea of giving a passerby my room number but when I had tried to call the hotel, I got no answer. What was I supposed to do?

“This must be horrible for you,” he said as he led us to the pool area.

“No one likes getting lost,” I said. Um. Wow. Too late I wished I had launched into this amazing experience that was happening because I went blind. That was such a long story and honestly when the sighted say things like that, it’s just their own fear coming out. It wasn’t that he was saying it was horrible for me, he was saying it would be horrible if it happened to him. He probably didn’t know that was what he meant, but that’s what he meant. but I’m getting way off topic.

I thanked him for his help. (At least he didn’t try to take my arm or Jayden’s harness) I decided I might as well get ready for the day. Manda was going to bring Egg McMuffins! I showered in the tiny bathroom. How good that hot water felt. It was very odd to be standing in the shower and hear seagulls outside the window. Wouldn’t that have been a scary scene in The Birds? Ooh ooh The Birds and Psycho mashup!

By the time Manda got to my room I was in pretty ugly shape. Starbucks instant coffee on an empty stomach and no sleep is a very bad combination. Oh and nerves. Gee I wonder what exacerbated those? Lukewarm coffee anyone? We can’t forget the nerves. I remember telling her that I was being a bitch and apologizing and her saying something like this is you being a bitch? It was all rather blurry at that point.

The game was starting at 4:10. I remember having to tell myself not to convert it to Arizona time. Davis and Butch were going to pick us up at the hotel at 1:00 I think. We wanted to get there when the gates opened. Why did we leave so early? I don’t remember.

Butch! He was the next friend for me to meet and I couldn’t wait! We talked quite a bit on Twitter.

After I ate my egg McMuffins I felt a little better. Manda had brought a blue beaded necklace and some blue bracelets for me to where. I dressed in jeans and one of my new Rays Tank tops. I had gotten my hair cut into a bob before leaving so it was quick and easy to style and the stylist had put this blue chalk stuff in my hair. I was ready!

When the guys got to the room I met butch and we all started to get ready to go. We took Jayden to his litter box, piled into the Ro To Trop Mobile and hit the road. As soon as the car began to move I could feel myself relax. All the preparation had come down to this and we were on our way!

Thanks to the Rays, my group had parking passes and tickets to the luxury suite the team had given me for the first three games. Back when we planned the trip, I didn’t know the opening series was a four game series, so I had only planned on going to the first three. Davis’ wife Tina had to work so she would be meeting us at the Trop.

Aside:

I’m listening to the pre-game show and they just replayed Joe Maddon’s interview from last night. It’s a rare 4:10 pm EST start today, a Thursday, and I’m writing about a game that began at 4:10 EST on March 31. some of this is getting weird. Awww Joe and Dave choked me up all over again and then I laughed when Dave echoed the sentiment I wrote above about getting on with it and writing the post.

End aside.

Davis dropped us off near gate 4. That was the gate closest to the suite and where we had planned to meet up with Dave Haller, the Rays Director of Communications, who had organized my red carpet treatment. He did a tremendous job! Thank you for everything, Dave!

When I got out of the car I heard upbeat music. Immediately I felt the celebratory energy. The weather was perfect and I was at the Trop! I was so happy to check in on Foursquare haha.

We were there before doors opened so we stood around and talked while I took it all in. I asked if there was one of those planes flying around dragging a banner. Those are unmistakeable even when they aren’t seen. The music continued. Every so often there was someone talking on a loud speaker and distant cheers. The party was at the main gate, not where we were, which was fine by me. There were people milling around but it wasn’t loud.

I heard cheering closer and was told the Fox Sports Florida girls were nearby. You should have heard it when they saw Jayden. How can I describe this? Ok you know when you’re watching college football and the broadcast comes back from commercial and they lead in with the cheerleaders crowding around the camera and cheering? It was that. The girls swarmed me and cooed and then I was taking a picture with them and then some guy came up and they were gone. Talk about surreal. I think I’m going to set up an Instagram account just to post all these photos.

Aside:

9-6 Marlins. Are the Rays coming back? I finally went back to working on this post as a distraction.

End aside.

Soon after a male voice introduced himself and said he was from a news station. Wha? I plastered a movie star smile on as he asked if he and his camera guy could follow me inside and up to the suite and then ask me a few Questions. Um, Sure? Haha!

Julie, when did I meet you? Before or after all this? Ok I was going to write when I met every single person but that will give me grey hairs so just know you were all incredibly important to me haha! (Julie tweeted me May 6 after the Rays win and reminded me how I met her. After the media guys walked away I heard someone say hi to Jayden. “Who knows Jayden?” I asked, and that’s how we met. As soon as I read her tweet it came back to me so I had to edit this post for memory’s sake. By the end of the trip, lots of people called out Jayden’s name, but Julie was the first!)

The newsman and camera guy walked away and soon after Dave Haller was there. Dave!!! He had my personalized jersey with him! I had known the Rays were going to give me a jersey but had completely forgotten. It has the Number 3 on the back for Evan Longoria and the name is the trip’s hashtag, #RoToTrop. Actually i found out later that it’s in all caps. #ROTOTROP. That is important in a future post. If a person didn’t read this post, they won’t get the joke. Bwah ha ha! Dave talked to us briefly and then said he would meet us inside the gate when doors opened. The newsman and camera guy were back not long after.

“Where’d you get that jersey?” the newsman asked. I explained. “Would you mind taking it off and putting it back on so we can film it?”

That really happened. It really did. I had put the jersey on unbuttoned on top of my tank top. I did as he asked so they could create their broadcast. I think the broadcast is online somewhere. I’ll try and get those details before I post this. Ok Heather to the rescue hours later. The segment is here. She said there are two links, and you have to click an arrow to get to mine. It’s so not blind friendly.

(9-6 Miami in the 8th)

Finally the gates opened! We went through the security check and the woman said she was calling ahead to my section to let them know a service dog was coming. I was aware of the camera crew behind me but I just tried to focus on walking into the Trop for the first time. Just after we walked in the doors I heard my name. It was Dave Haller and he was telling me someone was there waiting for me but I didn’t hear him.

“Who?”

Brandon Gomes.”

I don’t remember the sound I made but it was probably that sound you make in your throat when you are shocked . Then I was hugging him. My first Ray! I was laughing with happiness and I could hear people all around and then my friends wanted pictures so we posed and I got to keep touching him, haha! I wanted a picture with my phone so I could post on Facebook for my friends and Family. I bent over trying to hear my phone so I could bring up the camera and hand it off. I remember Brandon Gomes saying, “she’s pretty good with that thing.” *Squeal* I was no longer mentally thirty-five. I was fifteen meeting a player from my favorite baseball team. Was this really happening? All too soon I had to leave Mr. Gomes who I started calling “my lover”. I don’t know why hahaha! Maybe because I unabashedly kept touching him?

We had to go up in an elevator. Did you know they have elevator attendants? So cool! We got to the floor where the suite was and walked down a narrow hall. I suddenly had the fear that Jayden would do something really bad and it would be caught on camera. I was aware that everything i said to him was being recorded. Weird!

When we got to the suite Jayden turned right and we started exploring. On the wall where the door was, there was a sink. This was the back of the suite and there were bar tables with barstool chairs. There was a table with hotdogs and fixins and there were sodas and bottled waters. Towards the front of the suite, there were two rows of stadium seats. These couldn’t be accessed from the right side. The room was enclosed on three sides with the front being completely open to the field. Along the front row of seats was a handy shelf to set drinks. I made my way to the left side of the suite and there were two steps to go down to reach the front row of seats. I went down the steps and stood at the bottom, thinking about the fact that the field where my beloved team plays was right down there! The suite was along the left field line behind third base where Longoria plays and up a few levels. The Rays dugout is on the first base line so the sightlings could look into the dugout.

The newsman was there all of the sudden asking if he could interview me so my friends and I could enjoy the suite. thinking back on this, it’s still almost not believable. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen to me! I don’t remember what he asked me exactly. Something about how I became a Rays fan, how long I had been blind (“since she couldn’t see”), etc etc. I was instantly roasting under the light they shined in my face and I bumped the mic at one point while gesturing with my hands.

After they left I needed water. Someone went and got me a bottle and Manda was showing me the nice spot next to the first chair on the first row of seats. It was a perfect spot for Jayden. I put his mat down and had him settle there and I sat in the chair, taking off the jersey top so I could cool off. What a whirlwind!

I think Manda and I took Jayden to find the relieving area before the game started. Davis and Butch were busy running tickets down to other people who would be joining us in the suite. There was a nice fenced off area with grass for Jayden. Grass? Wow. Haha. He had also used a grassy patch near a tree back before we had gone into the Trop. He left his mark everywhere.

We made sure to be back inside for the festivities . They would be raising the 2013 Wild Card banner. I didn’t want to miss any of the Opening Day ceremony.

I got all settled into my seat with my jersey back on, my little radio and cowbell at the ready, Jayden wearing his Mutt Muffs and waited for everything to begin.

The first thing was that they did a bunch of video and audio highlights. It was so cool to hear things I had heard so many times at home coming through the speakers at Tropicana Field. The stadium rang with the clanking of cowbells. I wonder if I ever stopped smiling.

I can’t remember what made me decide to record a voice memo but I’m so glad I did. I got a recording of the National Anthems, both Oh Canada and the Star Spangled Banner. On the recording is the announcement of the entire Rays “staff” if you will. Right before the starting lineup, Don Zimmer was introduced and the place went wild. He was there down by the dugout in a golf cart, and as each player left the field the player stopped and talked to Zim. I am so grateful I was in the same building as a living legend.

If you would like to hear this voice memo, click here. I listened to it this morning and am totally embarrassed by how I sound but that is the sound of unbridled joy. Even though it makes me blush, I’m so glad I have it and I’m happy to share. Warning, the cowbells and screaming is quite loud haha! Listen at your own risk.

I had pointed to where I thought everything would be on the field and got confirmation from a sightling. As the game began I put on my radio and listened to Dave And Andy just like I would at home, my head turned toward where I heard the action go. I was in the zone, listening to my radio guys, listening to the barking sound effects from District K-9 when Price got a strike-out. I heard beer and ice cream calls in person that I always hear on the radio and I heard the whistling of Yunel Escobar at short. I was there. It was Opening Day and I was at Tropicana Field. I was the luckiest damn girl in the world.

If you managed to listen to that voice memo, you heard my friend Tina saying I was making her and Butch cry in the row behind me. I was full of good emotions and the music that played when the banner was raised was the soundtrack of my happiness. Until Evan Longoria came to bat, of course. There is nothing like hearing those electric violins loud and in person. I could feel the base in my heart as the song and man that started it all came to the plate. I can’t remember if he got a hit. I want to say he did but maybe that’s just the romantic in me.

One of the friends I got to meet in the suite that night was Aviatrixx (her Twitter name). She brought her three year-old daughter with her. She had asked me before I left Tucson what she and her daughter could bring for Jayden. I told her I trusted Nylabone and Goughnut products so she gave me a Romp and Chomp. This thing is so cool! It’s a Nylabone with a space inside to put what looks like a Slim Jim inside. It was the perfect gift for a dog who was bored at a baseball game! He loved it and there were enough refills for the rest of the games and some “O bones” as I started calling them when we got home. I need to order some refills for his birthday next month. Thank you, Aviatrixx!

Nothing else specific stands out about the game. R.A. Dickey pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays and the Rays won. I do remember it wasn’t a close game so it wasn’t tense. It was just plain old fun! My record for Rays games attended was now 1-3. It was my second David Price start. He is now 1-1 in games I’ve attended hehe..

When we got back to the hotel, everyone hung out for a bit while I fed and relieved Jayden. After they left I hung out on Twitter a bit, did a good foam roll session, called B, listened to my book and fell into a blessed sleep. I hope my next Opening Day is well rested!

(The Rays lost today’s game.)

Leave a Comment

Filed under #RoToTrop, accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, baseball, coffeeholic, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, misty eyes, silly girl, Sleep Deprived Fun, twitter me this, video, working dog, wow

Tampa Bay Trip – Day Two

Ok, so day two of the trip of a lifetime. This day was supposed to be a recovery day after traveling. It’s a good thing I planned a recovery day in case I needed it, but I didn’t need it. I must have slept hard after staying up late the night before talking with Manda. The Starbucks iced mocha after I landed in Tampa was probably partly to blame for staying up late haha. I would have slept later if not for the seagulls. Did you know those birds scream in the mornings? wow. Oh and my room was right next to the pool. And there were a lot of kids staying at the hotel. The combination of seagulls and kids screaming makes it pretty impossible to sleep too late. It’s a wonder I slept as long as I did. Thank you, ear plug.

I got up and for once Jayden didn’t get excited the second I got out of bed. I could imagine him laying on the bed, opening one eye to look at me and then deciding he was on vacation and didn’t need to budge. I used the coffee maker in the room to warm up water to make my Starbucks instant coffee. That is the best way to avoid nasty hotel coffee. At least it usually is. The coffee maker didn’t make very hot water so I woke up with some lukewarm coffee and checked email and Twitter on the iPad.

I had made plans with Davis for that morning. I had asked if he could bring Egg McMuffins since I can never get to a McDonald’s before they stop serving breakfast. Foiled again though, since I didn’t wake up until around 10am. Why couldn’t those meddling kids have woken me up earlier?

Davis came buy anyway because he wanted to see how Voiceover works on my iOS devices. Davis is blind in one eye and since meeting me, some of the fear of losing his good eye has gone. It was good for him to see how technology still works for me. I showed him some of the apps I use that help me identify objects and color and text. He’ll just need to switch to iOS from Android haha. Though I hear Android is making great strides in accessibility.

After the technology demo I was feeling a little hungry so Davis and I went to downtown St. Petersburg. I had decided I wanted to try the Tijuana Flats place he goes to all the time. The weather was absolutely beautiful! There was some car rase going on downtown and when I opened the car door I was greeted by the distant whine of racecars! So cool! Oh we had also driven by Tropicana Field. I’d finally be there the next day!

When we went to the counter they all knew Davis by name and after he introduced me, one of the girls started calling me Arizona. Nice! Like Alabama in the Quentin Tarantino movies!

I ordered nachos and got a plate big enough for Hagrid to eat. I check in on Foursquare where Davis is the mayor so in the comment on the checkin I wrote, “Lunch with the Mayor”. I think my dad thought I meant the actual mayor haha!

I don’t have a picture, but I VandalEyesed the napkin dispenser.

After we ate we walked over to Starbucks so I could get more of the Via instant coffee. It turns out the ones I bought in Tucson with my friend Lori were not the right kind even though Lori specifically tried to make sure they were. The barista had kept trying to give me decaf. The ones I finally got were caffeinated but they turned out to be the iced coffee blend, which I didn’t know until Manda read the package at the hotel. All that joking Lori and I did about my Florida friends not wanting to see me decaffeinated and I still ended up with the wrong coffee. So we got the right stuff and Davis drove back to Treasure Island.

We took Jayden to his litter box and then decided to walk down to the water. I took a couple videos. Too bad the iPhone can’t block wind sound. That’s loud! The first one is a little over two minutes as we were walking. I’m holding the phone so I bet it’s bouncy haha. The second one is about 45 seconds with feet in the water. I tried to get Jayden reacting to the waves.


Direct youtube link #1

Direct youtube link #2

The sand there is not like what I’m used to. It’s not fine like the sand in San Diego. There’s a lot of history about the Treasure Island beach that Manda told me about the night before but I can’t remember the details. There’s actually plants and trees on the beach which I can’t even begin to fathom. The waves didn’t roar like they do in SanDiego since Treasure Island is on the bay. I didn’t feel the power and enormity like I did in San Diego. It’s a gentle tied. It’s like a different world!

After Davis left I hung around for a little bit and then Manda came over so we could write in the cards I got from the Guide Dogs for the Blind store to put the tickets to the suite. I had the suite schedule for each of the three nights so I would tell Manda who the card was for and how many tickets and she’d describe the puppy pictures on the cards. It was good times! I told her what to write in the cards and several times I got emotional. The enormity of the trip had finally sunk in. Tomorrow I would be going to the Trop for the first time and I’d be meeting even more people. I was suddenly exhausted!

I don’t know how we got through all those cards. We took a break at one point and ordered Cheesesteak delivery.

Manda organized the cards into piles so we could keep them all straight. I don’t remember what time we finished and called it a night. I just remember being exhausted from getting so emotional. I thought I would sleep like the dead. I didn’t sleep at all. I rotated between trying to sleep, listening to my book, checking Twitter, but no sleep. How was I going to manage Opening Day on no sleep?

3 Comments

Filed under #RoToTrop, accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, coffeeholic, fellowship, GDB, gratitude, Jayden, misty eyes, num num food, plugs, silly girl, spoons, twitter me this, video, Voiceover, weather, working dog, wow, youtube

2nd Annual Center of the Roof Top Ten Book List

(Links open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in the list. Links to Audible and Amazon when applicable for each book are found in the title links. Links links links.)

How is it time for the end of year book post? Didn’t I just post last year’s? I honestly don’t know where 2013 went but I’m glad to see it go. I had some good times though, going to Colorado to visit Chupa, going with B to Phoenix to see the Rays, making more amazing friends online and the books, especially the books! Audible introduced a daily deal as well as their usual sales so my reading increased this year. Yay books! There were a total of seventy-one this year, up from fifty-nine last year.

It seems to have been the year of the series as you’ll notice below. It was much easier to compile this list since I kept better track this year and instituted my rating system. I had nine “marriage material” rated books so I had to choose one from seventeen “so good!” rated books to fit the tenth slot. I thought it would be rather difficult but as I went through, the decision was made simple. So without further adieu, I give you the Roof’s Second Annual Top Ten Book List!

10. “The Company: A Novel of the CIA” by Robert Littell – narrated by Scott Brick

“The Company” is an awesome CIA book recommended to me by my friend Ricardo. It was so good! It follows the lives of four men as they leave college and enter life in The Company. I’ve never been into books about espionage but this one turned me on to stories in that realm.

I got so invested in these characters since we meet them when they’re young and impressionable and follow them into their careers with the CIA. Are they all on the side of the US? I should have written this up much sooner. I finished it at the end of May. I just remember it seemed non-stop, something always happening. There was a lot I found familiar since I read a book about Area 51. I feel like I’m learning more about the past from books than I ever did in school; how sad is that?

You know what else is sad? When I wrote that post, Audible had taken down the unabridged version of the book. I checked just now and they are showing an unabridged version but it’s the same length as the abridged version. Do you smell fish? I do. I wouldn’t bother with a sixteen hour version of this book. The one I read was epic and long and awesome. Shame on Audible for taking it down!

9.“The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck – narrated by Dylan Baker

Whoa, I was still using an iPod to listen to books when I reviewed this back in February haha! Just a funny (to me) aside.

This book was incredible. Not only did it capture a dreadful time in American history, it did so with simple but poetic writing and characters you want to root for.

“Grapes of Wrath” got my blood boiling a lot. I suppose a book with the word wrath in the title has achieved its purpose if it makes one’s blood boil, right? The story follows the Joad family as they are kicked off their farm and forced to move west to California. Why were they kicked off their farm you ask? The dust bowl ruined their crops so the bank decided it could turn a better profit if it kicked the farmers off the land and replaced them all with tractors.

This book was hard to listen to and not because of the narrator, who did a fabulous job, rather because of the subject matter. Those people had to travel across the States with everything they owned strapped to their cars, burying their dead along the way. They were honest working folks who’s land was ruined and people on the west coast hated them for it. Ah, sometimes that’s just the American way I guess. ‘Grapes’ was very very good and I recommend anyone read it though I certainly couldn’t read it more than once like I do with a lot of books I like. The post I wrote on the book was very cynical and wrathful indeed.

8. “Jack of Diamonds” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower

How about another Ricardo recommendation? I can’t remember if he specifically recommended this or if I just got it since I loved Courtenay’s Australian Trilogy last year. Rest in Peace, Mr. Courtenay. Your stories will be missed.

I am so so so sad that we will not receive anymore fabulous stories and wonderful characters from the one and only Bryce Courtenay. I suppose I am lucky since this is only the fourth book I’ve read by him so I still have plenty more to indulge in. When “Jack of Diamonds” was over I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the characters, knowing they wouldn’t appear in future books.

In “Jack of Diamonds”, we follow the life of Jack Spayd from his modest Canadian upbringing during the Depression with an alcoholic father and loving mother all the way to his adventures in South Africa as an adult. One could tell Courtenay meant this to be a few books, but knew he would die before he could write any more so he wrapped up the story in a way that was faithful to all the characters. It was a wonderful book filled with music, laughter, drama and love. And will the bird be ok?

Humphrey Bower narrates this as well as all of Courtenay’s books and he’s brilliant! I think I listened to another narrator to rival his talents though. Stay tuned!

7. “Truth in Advertising” by John Kenny – narrated by Robert Petkoff

I found this book since I’m a fan of William Landay and he and Kenny are friends. Lucky me! This book was fabulous. I didn’t know what to expect going in to it and I’m glad I didn’t. I didn’t say much about it in the original post so as not to spoil the overall feeling of it for anyone else and I’ll stick to that here.

Oh side note, if I hadn’t had some sort of career in medicine back in the day, I was also interested in marketing and advertising, so I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of this book. Man this book was awesome! Definitely making the year end top ten list, no doubt.

I just remember feeling affected at the end of the book and that is always a good sign. The advertising aspects of it were great but it went so much deeper. Such a good book! I hear it has also been optioned for a movie. It will make a good movie methinks. Oh man I hope they do the baby scene!

6. “The Gypsey Morph” (The Genesis of Shannara Book 3) by Terry Brooks – narrated by Phil Gigante

This was the third book in a trilogy but I didn’t write them up in one trilogy post for some reason so this book gets the nod for all three. I loved this trilogy! I used to not be one for fantasy and such but my reading tastes have grown and evolved over the years. I think I have audio books to thank for that.

If you’re a fan of stories of magic and fantasy, I definitely recommend. If you don’t think you’re a fan, why not try it? Man, I’m getting sad all over again thinking about all the characters I’ve left behind. I suppose they’ll stay alive in my Audible library though, just like how the elves were kept alive in the elf stone…

Reading through the posts I’ve written on these books makes me want to go back and revisit the stories. Ah, so good! So magical and evil and wonderful!

5. The Joe Ledger Novels by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter

Ah, Joe Ledger! What up? I’ve missed you, man. I think you’re coming back to us next year? I hope so! This series is another one I have to thank Ricardo for. He finds the best books! If you click the link to the post, you’ll find links inside that one to the six books that are out. There’s actually only five Ledger books out but the sixth is a collection of Ledger short stories that tie up some loose ends. Man, thinking about these books makes me crave more of that characterarc!

There was no stopping me once I started the series. I had no desire to read anything else. I wanted to just keep hanging out with Joe Ledger and Mr. Church and Rudy Sanches and Top and Bunny and oddities oh my!

I flew threw these books, unable to put them down.

Oh, if you don’t like blood and gore, be forewarned. There are some very graphic scenes in every book. The action rarely stops so there’s a lot of blood. But, there’s also a service dog! How’s that for perfect? He’s so cool!

Oh and Ray Porter? Excellent narrator! He nails the badass tones during fights and then almost makes you cry when Ledger is feeling emotional. I’ve looked up Porter’s other books, he’s that good.

I did read one other book narrated by Ray Porter. I’ll sneak the link to that post in.

If you click the link to the Joe Ledger post, you’ll find comments from the author himself! How cool is that?

4. “The Cider House Rules” by John Irving – narrated by Grover Gardner

You know, the best part of writing Top Ten posts is revisiting my favorite books of the year. After I go and read through my post on the book I sit for a minute remembering. Happy making!

This book was narrated by Grover Gardner and I love him. He’s definitely one of my favorite narrators and he was a big reason I got this book. I swear if I ever write a book, I’m going to be incredibly picky about who narrates.

This book follows the life of an orphan named Homer Wells, brought up in an orphanage during the early 1900’s. Expectant mothers would come to the orphanage to have one of two things, an orphan, or an abortion.

Even though the subject matter was so serious, the underlying humor and Gardner’s delivery of it made me laugh out loud several times. Homer is such a lovable character and I still find myself thinking of him when I say, “right” during a conversation.

Right. Bah hahaha! Hahaha! Why have I not read any any more John Irving books? I need to remedy that in 2014, methinks. His humor is just too good. I’ve always been fond of dark comedy.

Oh! At the end of ‘Cider’, there’s some really good author’s notes. Apparently John Irving’s father was a doctor which was partly what inspired this book. I just love author’s notes! I highly recommend this book if you can stomach the subject matter.

3. The North and South Trilogy by John Jakes – narrated by Grover Gardner

Oh I’m having feelings and I haven’t read through the post on this yet. Ok, deep breath. Hey, back-to-back Grover Gardner. I didn’t plan that. That’s kinda cool. Ok Ro, you’re avoiding reading the post. Go.

*Sigh*

I can’t even, there’s just nothing I can write about it today. I’ll leave you with some quotes from the post.

*sigh*

Oh my I mean oh my seriously I can’t even I mean how do I write about this trilogy?

Did you ever see the North and South mini series with Patrick Swayze? I’ve always told people that my knowledge of the Civil War consisted only of what I remember from watching that in high school. See my high school didn’t know how to teach history. They just had us watch North and South and Roots and The Last of the Mohicans. All great, but shouldn’t school be about book learning?

The first book, “North and South” is about the time leading up to the {Civil} war. We meet the Main and Hazard families and begin to follow their lives. The Mains are a southern rice plantation family and the Hazards are northern iron workers. The two families come together when young Orry Main and George Hazard meet on the way to West Point. I immediately feared that at some point during the war, Orry and George would meet on the battlefield.

Each book is very long so I spent a lot of time with these people. Just after I started the first book, I got a bluetooth speaker for my iPhone so I started listening to my books with the Audible app. The speaker made it all very portable so I did a lot of listening while moving about the house. These two families became a part of my life, every single member. Even the bad ones, and oh yes some were bad. This trilogy had two of the best written villains I think I have ever encountered. I found myself questioning my love for humans when I wished some of the things I wished on these people. Good thing they were fictional.

Oh, those villains! *Shakes fist* Deplorable human beings they were.

Oh, this trilogy! And wouldn’t you know, I actually got Ricardo to read them instead of the other way around? We got to discuss the villains. Terrible no good people! Ok I should really move on. I feel like I need some sorbet to cleanse my emotions first haha!

2. The Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia – narrated by Bronson Pinchot

Any guesses as to who recommended this? Who else. Thanks Ricardo! First of all,

Honestly, whoever wrote the summaries for these books did them a vast disservice in my opinion. A private detective who uses magic? Um, isn’t there already a hugely popular series of books like that? The book just didn’t sound appealing to me at all. However Ricardo has never recommended a book I didn’t like and it was a daily deal so I took a chance. Oh thank goodness I did!

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a publisher’s summary that was so off the mark for a series of books. I’ve searched on Twitter for readers and fans of the series and they are hard to find which makes me sad. This series was simply fabulous!

“Hard Magic” begins when a farmer is annoyed by yet another car full of “Okies” comes by looking for work. I read “Grapes of Wrath” earlier this year so that immediately placed the time setting of the book for me during the Dust Bowl era. The farmer notices a scrawny teenaged girl in the car with grey eyes and against his better judgement,decides to intervene on the girl’s behalf since he recognizes her as having a special magical power that kills most before they reach adulthood. It’s a good thing he decided to take her under his wing. She quickly became my favorite character. Faye Vierra! I adore you!

I became rather obsessed with Faye haha! She’s one of the most fun characters I’ve ever read.

I soon realized I had been transported to an alternate history, this one full of all sorts of magical powers and interesting characters mixed with real people from that time. If a name sounded familiar, chances are looking it up would lead me to a Wikipedia page about that person and their life. Examples are John Moses Browning, Jay Edgar Hoover himself and Raymond Chandler, to name just a few.

Oh and there are airships, did I mention airships? Yeah, remember how I feel about the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld? The Grimnoir Chronicles is the Leviathan series on steroids! By the time the first book was over I was giggling and applauding and I couldn’t wait for the next one.

Remember above when I mentioned a narrator who could give Humphrey Bower a run for his money?

The narration? Bravo! Bronson Pinchot does so many different voices and accents, from the deep slow voice of Jake to the soft accented voice of Faye to the odd and creepy Pale Horse and on and on, he was brilliant! It wasn’t until I was grabbing links for this post a couple days ago that I read he played Balki on Perfect Strangers! You could have knocked me over with a feather! Luckily he narrates the whole series.

This series is full of heart pounding battles with weapons from guns and swords to all sorts of magic you’ve never even dreamed of!

I couldn’t help but think about my dad when we went to see Independence Day all those years ago. He pointed out how frustrating it was that everything they seemed to try failed. Not everything goes perfectly four our heroes in these books either.

One of the best characters introduced in “Warbound” is the thirties version of Hannibal Lecter. Creepy! There was what I think of as an X-Files reference with this black oil stuff that made my stomach turn.

Some of these scenes could be straight out of a screen play they are so well written. You can literally see the action happening. One of my favorite mental images was of a fragile origami duck in the palm of an armored suit.

I simply adored this trilogy! I don’t think I have ever finished a trilogy and then immediately began reading book one again like I did with this one. When it was over I just wanted to peak back at how it began. I honestly didn’t think I would listen to all three books again but that is exactly what I did. There were little details I had missed the first time as well as some things that became clear the second time through since I was in pain, on drugs and grieving the first time through. I think that’s another reason I didn’t want to let the trilogy go. It had been a huge comfort to me through what was probably the most difficult few weeks of this year.

Thank you so much, Mr. Correia! You helped me through some really bad times. Oh, and I’d like a Grimnoir ring, please and thank you.

1. “The Fault in our Stars” by John Green – narrated by Kate Rudd

Just leaned my head back and had a moment of quiet reflection about this book before going to read my post on it. I knew about halfway through the book that it was going to get the number one spot on this list. It was going to take something phenomenal to bump it and nothing did. This book was sheer emotion for me from start to finish. I laughed and giggled and sobbed, oh did I sob. I haven’t read the post on it yet. The movie just finished filming and luckily John Green was rather active in it so I hope it’s wonderful. When the movie poster was released, my friend @MandaGator described it to me and I got choked up all over again. Here’s the poster.

I’m not sure I would have gotten TFIOS if it hadn’t been a daily deal. I abbreviated the title because John Green himself does too. How do I know this? At the end of the book, there was an interview with John Green and he mentioned Twitter so as I lay in bed, tears drying on my cheeks, I looked him up on my phone.

This book centers around teenagers so I suppose it could be classified as a young adult novel but that certainly doesn’t mean adults won’t enjoy it, I mean I am an adult. Sorta. I try and stay young emotionally. Not young emotionally, you know what I mean. anyway, Hazel Grace oh wait she only likes when Augustus uses her middle name, Hazel is a sixteen year old girl who has ben fighting terminal cancer. The book is written from her point of view and I love it right from the get go because she talks about how her story isn’t going to focus on the typical cancer kid book stuff.

I knew I’d end up bawling at the end of this book and I was not wrong. I loved loved loved this book! Right now it’s definitely getting the top spot on this year’s top ten list. It’s rare that a book touches deep emotions and this one surely did. From the awfulness of cancer which I’ve experienced, not in myself *knock on wood* but with my mom and B’s mom, to the having major limitations when you’re young and all you want to do is live, to the love of books and boys and music and America’s Next Top Model…

There is a lump forming in my throat.

I’m all glowing inside remembering it and how it made me feel and how the characters knew exactly what it’s like to be me. John Green, thank you! Audible, thank you! Oh and the movie just wrapped filming. John Green was at the filming so I know this because of his tweets. I want to say I won’t watch the movie since the voices will be all wrong and I’m not sure I want to feel the flood of emotion again but I know I’ll watch it. Oh, I miss you Hazel! I miss you Augustus! You’ll be back in the movie! Yay!

The teens in this book just “got me”, you know? I mean they understand. I understood them. I wasn’t just listening to this book, I was transported into it, like that Aha video from the eighties or something. I was there with Hazel and Augustus at the bones and on the plane and I watched them in the convenient store parking lot. I fell in love with them and when it was over I felt like they all died. But they are all still with me in my heart because a little bit of my life seemed to have been in each one of them. I’m close to sobbing again.

Oh! Wait! Kate Rudd, bravo! Wonderful job narrating this book! Hazel’s friend with the slightly European accent? Haha! Great job! Ok why am I writing that as if I’m writing it to Kate? This book, it just makes me gush!

They just aren’t going to sound right in the movie I know it! Ok, stop it with the contempt prior to investigation, Ro. I can’t wait for the movie so I can be with these people again! This book is the pure definition of my marriage material rating.

We aren’t done yet! From the cutting room floor:

Honorable Mentions

“Doctor Sleep” by Stephen King – narrated by Will Patton

What an excellent book “Doctor Sleep” is! I don’t think I have ever literally applauded when an audio book was done. I certainly did with this one. It was after King’s afterword and the way he ended it, in his own voice, made me squeal with delight, clap my hands and bounce on the couch. So so so so good!

*I’m surprised I couldn’t fit this in to a top ten spot so it gets the first honorable mention. Oh and I’m still a little scared of Joe Maddon now, thanks Mr. King.

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling – narrated by Robert Glenister

I really really really hope the character of Cormoran Strike in this book returns in future books. Rowling? Are you hearing me? I want more!

*Rowling works magic with a detective story!

“Stay Close” by Harlan Coben – narrated by Scott Brick

The “supporting cast” was excellent as well. Ok, Ken and Barbie, can you say creepy? What is up with those two? I mean seriously, what is up with them? *Shiver*

*Trust me, that book is not about dolls.

“Sharp Objects” by Gillian Flynn – narrated by Ann Marie Lee

Gillian Flynn, I don’t know whether to hug you or slap you. Where do the things in your head come from? Cancel that. I don’t want to know.

*Teeth. *Whimper*

“A Game of Thrones” (A Song of Ice and Fire book 1) by George R. R. Martin – narrated by Roy Dotrice

I can’t even begin to try and describe the plot because it’s so detailed and intricately woven together. Basically there’s a king and that family and a lord and that family and they marry this family and those families hate each other and then there’s this other family that is pretty much all dead way over there and it’s only hinted at what that family’s relation is to these other families and then you have this wall, this gigantic wall and there are bad things on the other side so the men of the black have to guard it and winter is coming. Winter is coming. Winter is coming.

*Whadda huh? Yeah pretty much. I’m on the third book in the series and still loving it.

“Harvest” by Tess Gerritsen – narrated by George Guidall

This book had so many twists I almost felt sea sick. You naturally root for Abby and one thing after another happens to her so you find yourself groaning as yet another force holds her down.

*The title is not referring to a pretty moon or fall festival.

“Deadly Straits” by R. E. McDermott – narrated by Todd Haberkorn

His character is quite funny and sarcastic and a bit of a jerk, but he’d be the first one to admit that. I fell for him instantly.

*McDermott is a self published author who actually went to the trouble of making his books available in audio format. Yay!

***Special Mention****

“The Bone Season” by Samantha Shannon – narrated by Alana Kerr

I made that comparison to Harry Potter since it seems Shannon’s series and even her writing are being compared to J. K. Rowling and her magical world and I honestly cannot fathom the comparison. Saying “The Bone Season” is like Harry Potter is like saying baseball and basketball are similar because both balls are round.

*This is Samantha Shannon’s debut novel, written when she was only twenty-one. I think her next books are going to be pretty incredible!

They never made it within a mile of the cutting room:

Dishonorable Mentions

“Relic” (Pendergast, Book 1) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child – narrated by David Colacci

This book is getting my equivalent of 1 out of 5 stars. I think the narration and production are a big reason why. Good narraters tend to make you forget about plot holes and idiot characters.

*Totally wanted that woman to get eaten in the exhibit.

“Jaws” by Peter Benchley – narrated by Erik Steele

For me the only likable character was the shark.

*Can the shark eat the girl from “Relic”?

“The Hunt for Red October” by Tom Clancy – narrated by J. Charles

Clancy should probably take some of the blame since he laid down a huge chunk of the plot way too soon. You know immediately what the Russian captain of the submarine, The Red October, is up to. The whole first half of the book gives background on characters and lays out exactly how the captain plans to accomplish his goal. This all might have been interesting but the horrible narration just kept distracting me.

*And it would have been fine if it hadn’t been for that horrible meddling narrator. It was so bad I had to include an audio file of me in the post.

“Strangers” by Dean Koontz – Narrated by Dick Hill

By the time I reached the end and had all the mysteries explained I just didn’t care.

*Whoa, I had forgotten that Ricardo recommended this. He has more than made up for it!

And that does it for 2013, phew! That was a lot of fun to write. I hope it was fun to read. Last year several people told me about books they bought based on the list so I hope I’ve given you some good recommendations.

Here’s hoping 2014 brings us all health and happiness and great books!

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2013 Book List, Amazon, apple Inc, Audio books, family, fellowship, iPhone, misty eyes, new year, twitter me this

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

You know, normally I am Mrs. Bah Humbug on Christmas day. I seemed to live in the past or something and not just accept what Christmas is for me today and that is a very simple day of relaxing with b. Why did I have so much envy for the people posting their family stories on social networks? Why couldn’t I be happy for the people with children to spoil with gifts? Why couldn’t I be thrilled for adults with big Christmas trees and plenty of wrapped presents to open from loved ones?

Something changed in me this year and I’m just so incredibly happy! There were no presents to open, no new toys and gadgets to play with, just me and B and Jayden and the cats and the dinner I’ve been planning since Thanksgiving when we once again ate from a food establishment.

There is peace in the thought that Gamma isn’t suffering through another lonely Christmas missing her husband. I miss her. I miss talking to her on the phone today. But I’m cooking Mom’s roast in Gamma’s pot and while I was preparing it I couldn’t help but smile thinking about how both of them are represented for me today.

So what if my Christmas isn’t “typical”? So what if there aren’t decorations and bows and wrapping paper? Ice T put it perfectly in a tweet of his this morning. He wrote something like, if you have a warm place to sleep, you are having a Merry Christmas.

I will embrace my inner peace today and not question why I am happy. I just am! And that is a lovely place to be.

PS – I’m starting to smell the roast cooking!

PPS – B was in charge of picking out a pie since I was too ill to bake one like I wanted. Why did I even bother to ask what he got? peanut butter, of course!

PPPS – I’m going to post this completely as is to capture how I feel in this moment. 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under cats, family, Gamma, gratitude, holiday, Jayden, misty eyes, mom, num num food

Handwriting in iOS 7 – Most Excellent!

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

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

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

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

Leave a Comment

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

“Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From” by Richard Davenport-Hines – narrated by Robin Sachs

The last two books I read got me really into ships so when I was done with them, I longed for more. This “book about the Titanic” as I’ve been calling it is one I’ve had for awhile that I got in an Audible sale so I decided it would be a good follow-up ship book. I am ashamed to admit that the extent of my Titanic knowledge before reading this book was only what the movie done by James Cameron “taught” me. I remember seeing that movie with my parents when I was maybe just out of high school and I sobbed for hours, knowing it had really happened. There was no lack of emotion while reading this book, that’s for sure. The stories of the men, women and children weren’t fictional. There was no Kate Winslett watching Leonardo DiCaprio sink into the abyss. There was a story however, of a mother basically doing the exact same thing with her sons who had helped her into a life boat and then were too cold and fatigued to climb in themselves. How incredibly gut wrenching.

That’s what this book is. Stories about the actual people involved, from first class to third class with no focusing on just the rich people. Did you know there was a second class? I certainly didn’t. I always thought the Titanic passengers were the super rich or super poor but there were people in between, too.

I never knew there had been a coal strike during the time of the Titanic’s maiden voyage. In the beginning of the book we learn of passengers and crew who were diverted to the Titanic because of the coal strike stopping other ships from sailing. There was an instance of demotions and such leading to a man being transferred to a different ship, the problem being that he had the key to the locker where the binoculars were stored. There is no telling if the use of binoculars would have alerted the lookout to the iceberg sooner, but the book mentions plenty of things that could have prevented what happened.

The Marconi operator for example, who got so behind on wire messages due to first class passengers sending personal messages, that he didn’t send ice warnings from other ships to the bridge in time. That just made me shake my head.

The beginning of the book goes into detail about the ship’s construction and gives many stats, even down to the number of teacups on board. There were comments from passengers from all the classes, nearly all of them marveling on the beauty of the ship and how you didn’t even know you were on the water it was so smooth. Too bad beauty and tea cups and silver couldn’t keep it from sinking.

The second half of the book really picks up, going into detail about how the ship side swiped the iceberg, which was worse than if it had hit head on. If only that man hadn’t thrown the ship into reverse to try to change course…

The gut wrenching descriptions of the filling of the life boats was really hard to listen to. The stories all came from personal accounts of the survivors. Women leaving husbands and sons, oh it just makes your heart break. The fact that the life boats weren’t even filled to capacity when there already weren’t enough to save everyone was absolutely horrifying. When a husband was told he couldn’t join his pregnant wife and then the boat was lowered only half full…horrible, just horrible.

The book doesn’t stop after the ship sinks. It details the aftermath. Turns out nothing much has changed when it comes to the media. Reporters were giving incorrect facts just like they do today. They actually said the ship sank but none were lost! I was astounded. We often talk today about how journalistic ethics are dead. Were they really there to begin with? There were also the attention seekers flaming they knew someone on board when they really didn’t. It all reminded me of the stuff that goes on on Twitter. I suppose it’s human nature and not just the fact that we’re so advanced technologically. It made me sad to hear, especially people saying God punished the passengers because the Titanic was so glorious and rich. Um, have you seen the Vatican? It’s like the people today that say God punishes places hit by natural disasters. It just makes me sad.

I’m getting off topic. I’m so glad I read this book. I feel much more educated on the Titanic than I was before, that’s for sure. The book clears a lot of things up and explains the truth of the matter of things like whether third class passengers were really locked behind gates.

I lost it during the story of a female survivor who wore two wedding rings, her own and the one a man asked her to give to his wife, since he knew he would die. There were stories of some of the survivors who were driven insane by their ordeal, some taking their own lives, an astonishing number dying on anniversaries of the sinking. Tears.

I’ve written a lot. I was just incredibly moved by this book. Either the narrator is just a good voice actor, or he was effected too. There were times I thought I heard emotion in his voice. I think it would have been really difficult to read this book out loud. My favorite quote, during the telling of the passengers finding out the ship had been hit, the third class were quick to believe the danger while the first class shrugged it off in the beginning.

Rich men were more resistant than the poor to believing life could go smash.

Rating: So good!

“Voyagers of the Titanic” at Audible ~ Voyagers of the Titanic” at Amazon

5 Comments

Filed under 2013 Book List, Audio books, misty eyes, twitter me this

Doggy Diaries – Together Three Years

Today is three years since I was matched with Jayden! I just can’t believe it. It feels like last month that I was given the perfect dog to be my guide and companion in this chapter of my life. I love this dog so much! He’s curled up on the couch beside me. I think I wore him out a bit with all the spoiling hehe! He went on a run around the house earlier when I asked if he wanted a banana, making B and me laugh. He has added so much to our life!

Every anniversary I look back on the writing from Dog Day. I’m so glad I have it! I’ll paste the first two here and then link to the third. All of the writing from that day is raw and unedited.

***

Today is dog day! I can’t believe it’s finally here! I got to work with two dogs in training yesterday, just doing some heeling and obedience, and it was the coolest thing.

I’m all over the place in this journal. I just started this one for today even though I haven’t finished the first one I started writing lol. But I just couldn’t finish that one on Dog Day.

Three people got their dogs last nighty. They are retrains who chose the three week retrain class over the two week one. None of them have dogs from GDB, oh wait no one did, I think, yeah. But the other two didn’t. The other two had in home training through another school, and the one has a german shepard who was just getting way too protective. The other person’s dog started getting a soft esophogus. Not sure why the third person had to retire her dog.

Anyway, so at dinner last night, I’m exausted. We had done lots of Juno work and the work with the two dogs and we also did work in downtown San Rafael and it was actually hot. I didn’t prepare because I didn’t realize we’d be doing a long Juno walk, so I got pretty hot. So we got back and actually had an hour and a half free time before dinner, yay! I talked to B and my dad and uncle and was about to get in the shower when Carin called the room phone, awesome! She put up a blog post for me, letting everyone know I ws safe but had no internet. That morning, Barb called. She’s Carin’s best friend in Canada and I’m staying in her old room hehe! So that was great.

AFter phone calls I got in the shower since after dinner was yoga. So I’m sitting there all exausted and one of my table mates says, I’ve got my dog here!

I think he had been bursting to tell me and the other table mate hehehe! Both of us were shocked; we had no idea there was a dog there. So the guy is like yeah! I just got him an hour ago! He told us his name and that he’s a yellow male and we were so happy for him. Then he told us the other two got their dogs. So then I was all excited. I tured to my table mate and was like, that’s us tomorrow! Gary told me we’ll get the dogs before lunch! Gary is a trainer and he’s really cool.

So I eat and we’re talking and then I wanted to check in with the others who got their dogs so I went over to their tables and they told me about their dogs, a black female and another yellow male. Sweet!!

I went back to the room and Called Carol. I didn’t have a lot of time before yoga but I wanted to say hi. So we talked briefly and then I went down for yoga. I wasn’t going to do it because I was sooot tired but I also don’t want shin splints, and my body was hurting. I had packed my work out clothes for yoga, so I might as well, right?

The retrains had to leave their dogs on tie down for class and one of them was like, I don’t know why I’m doing this, I didn’t want to leave my dog already.

Yoga was fab though. Felt great! Then I had to crawl in to my damn hard bed. It’s awful. So now I’m all sre again. And I never sleep to the alarm. I did a little better last night, but still didn’t sleep well at all.

So now it’s 6:23am and breakfast is in a little under an hour. I guess I should get dressed and then wait. After breakfast I think we’re doing more Juno and then we get our dog before lunch. Insert will have a name soon! Holy crap! Ok, I should be able to write while I’m waiting for them to bring me Insert!!

***

We had a lecture on meeting your dog and then the instructors took their sweet time coming to tak to us. they went around the room and gave everyone theier dog’s names. three no four people were ahead of me and there were some funky names, thats for sure. one guy asked if he could change it and then kept talking. they gave another lady her dog’s name and then they got to me.

you will be receiving a yellow labrador male named Jayden. J-a-y-d-e-n.

Wow! Jay jay, jay, jayden. I kept whispering the name. Jayden. Yellow male. Jayden, wow!

Then it was time to go back to our rooms and wait. So Here I am. Waiting. My door is open, I hear a vacuum, people talking, footsteps. I wonder how long I’ll wait? They are taking me to an instructor’s office to meet Jayden. So I just wait. I’m not calling anyone. I thought about texting Carin or calling friends or family or B but I just want this time to myself, to listen, to write. Jayden. I’m not crying yet. I feel a little misty. Will I cry when I meet him? I just heard an instructor say Gary are you eady? I think they’re starting. Who are they taking? I just heard another classmate say his dog’s name.

Oh man. Jayden. Lala. I hear people. Gootsteps. They pssed my room.

I have my leash around my neck and my treat pouch on. Jayden. Jayden. Jayjay. I wonder who won the pool. I get to go look at that soon. I hear them. They are taking the person across from me. Oh my goodness. I think they are going backwardsd which means I might be next. I need Gatorade. Ok that’s better. So glad I have my computer to write down this moment. I’m not recording it. I don’t want to focus on a stupid iPod when I have a Jayden!

La la la. Hmmm. I wonder who his raisers are. Yellow fur will be good in the sun. Good. Oh it’s gonna be Jayden, Spinelli, Timmy and Fi. Hehehe!

Insert is Jayden. I think I got the most normal name hahaha! I love it! It’s pretty quiet out there now. Quiet quiet. Something rolling. Cleaning people maybe. I hear them coming back. I hear her dog, the woman across from me. I might be next. Yep she’s coming back! Oh dear. Am I next? Am I? Am I? He’s walking away. I hear the lady across from me talking to her dog. Oh goodness. I hear an instructor again.

Ok I heard “do you wanna get the next dog ready?” Is that Jayden? Is it? Nerves. Can’t wait! Oh goodness. Where are they. It’s finally hear. Ok now I feel like I might cry. The lady across from me is crying, softly talking to her dog. My hands are trembling. Lump in throat. tears in my eyes. Jayden, yellow lab male, Jayden. Ok crying now. footsteps.

***

And here is the link to the third part. I had been without internet so I was writing and saving documents until I was able to post.

I’ve been thinking about that three weeks at school a lot lately coming up on this anniversary. It is still the hardest and most amazing thing I have ever done in my entire life! Thank you, GDB, for my incredibly awesome yellow mellow guide dog, Jayden!!!! Jaybay, Jayden Bailey, love him so much!

3 Comments

Filed under accomplishment, anniversary, Doggy Diaries, GDB, gratitude, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, on this date, working dog

Wanna see some of what I’ve read online lately? (Of course there’s dog stuff)

Because sometimes you just want to share the stuff you enjoy reading:

I got a kick out of this. Just goes to show that famous writers certainly don’t know everything about the craft.

“Write drunk; edit sober.” — Ernest Hemingway

Bad Writing Advice from Famous Authors

If you know me at all, you know I love medicine and fitness, so this article was fascinating to me. How’s your gut?

The gastrointestinal tract is one of the most important systems in the body. When our stomachs aren’t happy, neither are we. In this month’s case study, Dr. Detective learns that while taking probiotics can help restore bacterial balance, sometimes it’s not enough to ensure gut health and function.

Doctor Detective with Bryan Walsh

I loved this! You can listen to one of my favorite writers speak!

Defending Jacob will go on sale on now but first let’s hear what William has to say about what he thinks makes a good thriller. Over to you, William!

We Have The Perfect Thriller For You

I’m able to play the embedded video so hopefully if you’re using a screen reader, you can too. The audio is cute.

David Price is pretty talented, but the Rays ace is upstaged at times by his dog, Astro. Wednesday, Astro showed off some new tricks, including “high-fiving” Price.

Video: David Price’s dog Astro doing tricks

This totally made me misty! Anyone care to describe the photograph?

Cujo’s a jittery rat terrier with a bad hip who spends his days hanging around his house in La Porte; but, that all changed on Monday.

La Porte police officer shuts down highway to save dog

Lastly, this story is incredibly close to my heart.

Giffords suffered severe traumatic brain injuries, which left her with speech and mobility issues. In the two years since that day, she has made a remarkable recovery, which will be enhanced by Nelson, her service dog from America’s VetDogs.

Former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords Partnered with Specially Trained Service Dog from America’s VetDogs

How did we ever manage without the internet?

Leave a Comment

Filed under dogs, in the news, misty eyes, plugs, random stuff, video, working dog, wow, writing

Carnival Post – Top Ten

Here is the complete Carnival!

***

It’s the tenth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! Click here to read about what the blog carnival is and click here to read about this round and it’s topic. The ADBC has come full circle in this round, being hosted by the original host, After Gadget.

I have had the ultimate writer’s block but really wanted to submit since I submitted in the first round. I’m just going to write and not try to be organized haha! The topic for this post is “Perfect Ten”. I wracked my brains trying to come up with an idea but my inner creative chick is still sleeping apparently so I’m just going to jump in to some free form and see what comes out. Sometimes writing about Jayden is like trying to express gratitude. I tend to get very flustered when my heart is so full.

Jayden isn’t perfect and nor am I but I always say our match was perfect. Guide Dogs for the Blind was perfect in matching Jayden to me. I can’t imagine anything that is lacking from our partnership. When GDB asked me what I wanted in a dog I had no idea since I grew up with cats. I told them I just needed a chill dog who would be ok when my MS flared up and I needed to rest. I think GDB gave me the most chill dog available haha! He is cool with whatever I need. He loves to relax on the couch with me but when I need him to work he snaps to attention like a soldier. He has gotten so in tune with me that he knows exactly what I need, sometimes before I do. He’ll slow down on walks when he knows I’m tiring. Sometimes I try to speed him up and he disobeys and then I feel my fatigue. He knows before I do; it’s pretty crazy! He really was the perfect match in so many ways. I’m amazed at these schools and how well they do in the matching process.

I never imagined all the added bonuses (non guide work stuff) that would come with a guide dog. Let’s see if I can come up with ten added bonuses:

Good Potassium Numbers

When I was in the hospital when I went blind, my potassium was dangerously low. They gave me a pill and after I saw my doctor upon my release, she ordered a banana a day. That didn’t work out so well because I couldn’t make bananas last long enough; they went bad so quickly. After I got Jayden, I remember his raiser telling me Jay loved bananas. Now my potassium stays in good shape thanks to bananas and orange juice. How could anyone not want to share a banana with a dog who goes crazy when he hears the question, “do you want a banana?” (That link has audio) Oh and orange juice taste even better when it’s a banana chaser!

Tear Soaker Upper

I should have known what a comfort Jayden would be when I’m sad. Heck even my cats have soaked up tears over the years but they don’t hold still like Jayden does. Since Jayden and I have that incredibly strong bond of assistance dog and handler, he knows when I need him to just lay still and let me cry on him. It’s a good thing tears don’t hurt his coat haha!

A Schedule A Dog Makes

One of the hardest parts about going blind and being medically retired was the sudden loss of a schedule. Weekends were no longer anything special since every day was like a weekend. Working folk think this would all be a dream come true but when you’re twenty-nine and suddenly can’t be self supporting, it’s a huge loss of identity. It’s amazing what a schedule will do to add a sense of purpose, at least it did for me. Jayden is on a feeding and relieving schedule very similar to what he had at guide dog school. Working my life around his schedule led me to realize how great schedules can be for adding structure to my otherwise structureless life. I’ve since come up with workout and cleaning schedules that turn my week into a “work week” and allow me to enjoy weekends with B. Amazing how a pee schedule for my guide dog turned my day-to-day life into something more “normal”.

Fitness Lives

When I decided to get a guide dog I knew I’d have to do some work to build up my stamina. I needed to be able to walk a mile since I’m pretty sure that was one of the requirements for acceptance to GDB. Luckily the blind center has a gym and a health and wellness program and my name came up on the waiting list at the same time I decided to apply to GDB. Serendipity? My whole life I’ve wanted to be fit and healthy but it’s hard without guidance and I was never successful. I reached my goal of being prepared for guide dog school but I never stopped with the fitness. It has since become something of an addiction for me and since I no longer can work out at the blind center, I’ve developed a program for myself at home. I’m more fit that I’ve ever been and exercise has been the best form of treatment for the MS. This might be the most important added bonus!

Ex-Smoker

Ok this is easily a tie with the fitness as one of the best added bonuses. Anyone who smokes or used to smoke knows how hard it is to quit. For me it was easier to quit drinking than it was to quit smoking. Jayden became another motivation however, when I thought about what would happen to him if I wasn’t around. I also hated exposing him to that and I’ve now been quit over a year.

Someone To Watch Over

I’ve never wanted children. Ever since I was a teenager I didn’t want children. It’s almost as if something prepared me for my future. It’s not that I can’t have kids now,I’m fully capable, but I wouldn’t have the energy. The MS is definitely my primary disability, not the blindness. However as a woman, it’s in my nature to want to care for something. I worked in therapy about the choice not to have children because even though for years I told myself I didn’t want them, there was still this huge sense of loss when I realized I would never carry a child and rase an adult. Jayden has filled a huge part of that void and that is something I certainly never expected. I knew going into this partnership that Jayden would look to me to fill his needs but I never expected the fulfillment I get out of being that person for him! I take pride when the vet tells me how good his teeth look or when a fellow dog lover tells me how great he looks. Yes, he was raised by another before he came to me, but I’ve continued to mold and shape him and care for him and I think of him as my child. I think most animal owners think of their pets as their kids, I know I always did with my cats, but this goes so much deeper. I never expected my guide dog to fill most of the void left by the child I’ll never have.

Fear Management

The first summer after I went blind we had an insane monsoon season and during one particularly bad storm, I asked B to go into the spare room and get the cat out of there. I can’t remember why I wanted her out. B went to go get her and then I heard shattering glass and the door slam and I started screaming, not sure where B was. The wind had been howling and whistling, sounds I had never heard before. B was ok, he had just come out of the room when the wind blew the window in and caused the door to slam. After that I was terrified of wind. I was afraid I would transfer this fear to my dog so I asked at school what to do about that. I was told to just try and be as cool as possible and make storms fun for my dog. I never imagined how this would cure me of my fear! Now the wind has to be really bad to scare me but I don’t panic like I used to. I just calmly take Jayden with me to a safe spot in the house and “cuddle”. I feel safer and he doesn’t get freaked out. I love this added bonus! That fear of wind was getting debilitating before Jayden came around.

Ultimate Feet Warmer

As I’ve been writing this off and on over the last few hours, Jayden has been in several positions on the couch next to me. While I was writing the last bit, he got off the couch and lay down on my feet. It’s almost like he was saying, “don’t forget to include how much you love it when I lay on your feet!” There is just something so comforting about the weight of him on my feet and nothing is better at warming them! I love it when he does this. The only negative about when your dog is comfortable with some part of him resting on you is that you don’t want to disturb him and therefore don’t move. I’m pretty sure my feet are going to fall asleep haha!

Attitude Adjustment

It’s really hard to stay in a bad mood when you have a goober head constantly cheering you up. I might be feeling depressed and then it’s time for Jayden’s afternoon Kong Wobbler treat. I’ve taken to pronouncing “wobbler” so it sounds very French and you can’t stay in a bad mood when you’re asking your dog if he wants his Wobbler in a high pitched silly French accent. Then when he’s done with it and I ask him to show me and he takes me to where he left it, I get so proud and excited and he gets thrilled to get his reward “cookie”, that I find myself grinning so big my cheeks ache.

Fellowship

When I decided to apply for a guide dog, I told my friend Chupa that I wanted to start a blog to document the process. I jokingly said I could call it Doggy Diaries or something. She said I totally should and my old Blogger blog was born along with the Doggy Diaries category. Before I knew it I was a part of a fellowship of other guide dog handlers and puppy raisers and I felt so apart of the blind community, finally. I felt so alone when I went blind since no one I knew understood what I was going through. There was one woman I spoke with on the phone, a friend of a friend and it was actually her guide dog who was the first guide dog I met. This blog though, led me to the people who helped me feel not so lonely and they came with me on the journey of getting a guide dog. Some of those people are still my closest friends today and I bet some of those people are submitting posts for this very carnival. The fellowship in the guide dog community is certainly one I never in a million years expected when I applied to GDB in September of 2009!

Ok wow, my arms are aching something awful but look, I wrote the post! Haha, and it turned out more organized than I thought it would. I’ll come back and add a link to the complete carnival post when it’s up.

3 Comments

Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blog carnival, cats, Doggy Diaries, fellowship, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, monsoons, num num food, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, therapy, weather, working dog, workouts, youtube