Category Archives: politics

Oxygen Mask On, Head Firmly In Sand

When I was a freshman in high school, I knew I didn’t want children. I was told by other girls, and many adult women, that I would change my mind. the one woman who supported my fourteen year-old declaration was my aunt Prindle. I remember a heart-to-heart we had on my grandparents’s front steps in which she told me what a wonderful young woman I was becoming, and to always stick to my guns. I wavered over the kid thing at times, especially when I thought I was in love. Mostly, I felt a sense of duty to have children, knowing I’d be one of the good parents. I still know this to be true, but given my health issues over the last decade plus, and my active alcoholism before that, I know the decision not to have children was the right one.

Today, I am reminding myself of this often considered selfish decision after a mental break down. Not because of my mental pop, but because I needed a reminder that I do make good decisions for myself, for what might be considered selfish reasons.

I am sticking my head firmly in the sand.

I lived that way for many years and it suited me well, until it didn’t. I came to a point several years ago when I wanted to know what was going on in the world, finally giving in to that sense of not only civic duty, but humanist duty. I didn’t always handle it gracefully, like after the Aurora movie theatre shooting when I left my friend a sobbing message because she lived in Colorado and how was I to know she wasn’t at the theatre, nor even in the state that day? After that, as if I flipped a switch to off, shootings no longer dropped me to my knees. A callous had finally grown on my heart like on a stringed instrument player’s fingers, and I still don’t know if that’s a good thing.

That callous may prevent me from a breakdown with every shooting, but I have yet to harden my heart against what is happening to my country. And today I broke. Out of the blue. No warning. I’ve worked hard on my mental health in recent years and thought I was pretty well adjusted. I just picked up and moved to a new state for pity’s sake, I can do anything! Ha, right. Not this. I can’t do this.

Do what exactly?

cope. Okay, I suppose I did have some warning that I was on the verge of a break, the other day when the travel bans happened and it was too awful to believe and I felt so powerless to do anything and I projected my fear and disgust onto Facebook and those who voted for that man and then felt terrible for it.

the day my friend decided to work on sitting for the bar even though her own mental health is in question, because she knows lawyers are going to be needed, the day all the pain from around the world was projected on social media, that day should have been my warning, when I felt a sense of powerlessness so strong as to drop me to my knees, my powerlessness to do anything for my fellow human being.

I can handle it, I told myself. I need to know what’s going on, I told myself. It’s my duty as an American. I can handle checking the Associated Press every day. I’ll just cut back on what I read on social media. I’ll cut back on feeling all the pain, because as a damned empath, I feel the pain of others in my core.

And today I broke. No warning. Snap. Too much pressure on the rubber band. I didn’t shatter a coffee maker or throw a cell phone, I just decided I didn’t give a fuck and didn’t want to see what’s coming. I didn’t want my life to end, but I didn’t really want it to go on, either. I googled whether you can call a suicide hotline if you aren’t actively suicidal, just in so much pain that you don’t want to see what’s coming, and found the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I’ve retweeted that number countless times, never once imagining I’d be looking it up for myself. I still don’t know if I should call it.

I asked my friend Ricardo if he knew if one could call a suicide hotline even if they didn’t have a gun to their head, explaining that I didn’t want to keep the line busy in case someone who did have a gun to their head needed the line. Ricardo said my selflessness never ceases to amaze him. And here I berate myself daily for being self centered.

So I fed my dog and quietly told David I was taking my laptop to the bedroom to process some things emotionally and probably to break down so he might want to keep his son out of the room. I really didn’t mean for him to come inn, I just didn’t want his son to see me lose it. David came in after I closed the door and found me sobbing on the bed. He held me for awhile and as my tears soaked his fleece, I thought about all those couples the day JFK was assassinated. Is the sense of despair the same?

After my tears slowed and David got some Gatorade in me, I told him I thought I’d write a blog post and share my pain. Not to burden anyone with it, but because I know I’m not a lone. I know there are millions of us out there feeling the exact same way, and maybe there’s someone out there right now contemplating the gun in the closet or the liquor store up the street. For right now, I’m choosing my sober life. I hope you will, too. If you’re protecting sobriety that is. Hey, if you’re a normal drinker, will you drink one or twelve for me? thanks. and if you’re contemplating ending it all, please click that link above. I haven’t ruled out calling it myself, though I feel a little better after all this writing.

There’s a ten year-old playing his video game out there in the living room, as well as all those other children in this country and the world who need us adults to keep them as happy and safe as we can. In order for me to be there for him, I need to put the oxygen mask on myself first, and for right now, that means putting my head in the sand. Well, except when the ACLU emails me. I can avoid social media, but not email. I just wish I could do more for them than donate the money I don’t have. I’m a disabled woman. I’m one of the one’s they’re fighting for, I suppose. then my survivor’s guilt slips in. You don’t need fighting for. You’re blind, you have MS, and you’re white. You aren’t going to lose benefits (hopefully). Nothing is going to happen to you. I am a woman though, and it’s always been scary being a woman. So much more so now. Ugh.

I tried to find my usual cheery conclusion, but there isn’t one. Not today. This too shall pass. In four years.

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Filed under mental health, politics, sobriety, spoons, twitter me this

Book fifty-two in 2012 – “Mocking Jay” (Book Three in the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins

When I added “Catching Fire” to the book list, I was so stunned and confused that it was difficult to write it up. I remember thinking the post about it was totally lame.

I don’t think this post about “Mocking Jay” is going to be any better. These books were absolutely incredible! And to think I had originally had no interest in reading them because of my loyalty to Scott Westerfeld. How silly was that? Last night after I finished the trilogy I thought about how awesome it would be if Katniss Everdeen and Tally Youngblood got together for lunch. I then started thinking how cool it is that young women get characters like Katniss and Tally when they’re growing up when I had girls like Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield who taught me nothing except how to like boys and make me wonder why I couldn’t ride my bike to the mall too.

At the end of “Mocking Jay” there was an interview with Suzanne Collins. She talks about how the idea for these books came from her channel surfing one night. She was tired and the lines blurred as she flipped between a reality show where young people were competing for money and another channel covering the war where young people were fighting and dying. In the interview she lists questions she hopes young people will ask themselves when they read these books and I can’t remember what all the questions were but as she asked them, I had asked them myself.

One of the things that really stood out to me was when {they} are in the capitol and the citizens actually drink something that makes them purge so they can eat more of the delicious food. The rest of the country is starving and these people are vomiting to eat more. I couldn’t help but think about the attitude of so many during this campaign year, those who aren’t hungry who refuse to share, deciding instead to blame the hungry for their own lot in life, as if every hungry person is at fault.

There is a lot about this trilogy that is completely relevant, though I’m sure there are many who refuse to see it.

B came into the room last night as I was nearing the end. He found me breathing heavily, near tears. I clutched his hand and said, “no roses for like six months. No roses. I can’t smell roses.” He came in later just after I had finished the book and I said, “I just finished it.”

“You survived!”

“But not all of them did…” he couldn’t hear me, my voice was so low and trembling. I had to repeat myself.

“It’s just a book,” he said, laughing.

“But it’s going to be a movie.” That was all I could get out. There was no way I could launch into what felt so real about these books despite the totally different future they are set in.

Ok, so perhaps this post is better than the last one. I’m still reeling. I woke up this morning thinking about the books and all the characters. I will need to run to Michael Connelly tonight I think. I need my cops and bad guys. Normal. Harry isn’t hungry or killing his peers to survive.

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

43. “Lost Light” (Harry Bosch #9) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/17/12

44. “The Narrows” (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/21/12

45. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn – finished 10/25/12

46. “The Closers” (Harry Bosch #11) – Michael Connelly – Finished 10/27/12

47. “Echo Park: (Harry Bosch #12) -Finished – 10/31/12

48. “The Overlook” (Harry Bosch #13) – Michael Connelly – Finished 11/4/12

49. “The Hunger Games” (Book One of the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/9/12

50. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood – Finished 11/13/12

51. “Catching Fire” (Book Two of The Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/18/12

52. “Mocking Jay” (Book Three of the Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/23/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, in the news, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2012, politics

Book fifty in 2012 – “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood

At some point in the recent past, the Audible Twitter account tweeted that they had “The Handmaid’s Tale” narrated by Claire Danes. I love Claire Danes so I went and read the description of the book. It sounded interesting and I thought maybe a bit futuristic somehow so I used an extra credit I had and got it. I also followed Margaret Atwood on Twitter and soon discovered that I would need to wait to read this book.

Atwood retweeted many people who shared their fear that if President Obama were not reelected, we could be looking at a future like the time in the book. I didn’t realize how old the book was until I was about halfway through and decided to look it up. It was written in the mid eighties and I was stunned, since the subject matter is so close to what was discussed in the politics during this campaign year.

I had taken my own advice and put off reading this book until I knew who the President would be. I’m not sure I waited long enough. It was all just a little too close to the fear I had felt just months ago, literal fear of being a woman and what would happen if those who, even being so incredibly against big government, wanted to regulate the female body and what was done with it.

I cannot say I enjoyed this book. I am not one to walk away from books but I almost did with this one. The main character was my age. I imagined Claire Danes since I had been a fan of hers when I was a sighted teenager. Hearing her read the part of this character who goes through unimaginable things made it all too real. A friend told me to stick with it, that the female gains some power, so I did.

I like a novel I can escape into. I like a novel that gets to me emotionally, sure, but this one? I found myself getting angry at Margaret Atwood. I wanted to shout at her, “just because you had this story in your head, why did you have to share it! Why did you have to put this in my head?”

In this book, women are reduced to nothing more than vessels for child bearing. Pregnancies must be carried out no matter if the fetus is healthy. they do not do tests on the fetus’ because it does not matter if it is unhealthy. No pregnancy is terminated. Women who give birth to babies that die are classified as unwomen. They are shamed. It is horrible.

I really wish I didn’t have this book in my head. I might be glad in the future to be able to say I read it because it seems like a classic already. It just reminds me of being forced to read books in high school that I didn’t like.

Before I started the book, I tweeted something like, Now that I know we aren’t going towards a ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ like society, I can finally read the book by @MargaretAtwood. To which she replied, “That direction” ain’t over. They’ll be back, at the state and Congress level.”

How true. And how absolutely terrifying. I think for me this book summed up all the fear of this year. After the elections there was a tweet that read something like, you know your party is in trouble when you say, “the rape guy didn’t win” and the reply you get is, “which one?”

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

43. “Lost Light” (Harry Bosch #9) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/17/12

44. “The Narrows” (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/21/12

45. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn – finished 10/25/12

46. “The Closers” (Harry Bosch #11) – Michael Connelly – Finished 10/27/12

47. “Echo Park: (Harry Bosch #12) -Finished – 10/31/12

48. “The Overlook” (Harry Bosch #13) – Michael Connelly – Finished 11/4/12

49. “The Hunger Games” – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/9/12

50. “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood – Finished 11/13/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, in the news, NaBloPoMo 2012, politics, twitter me this

A Letter to Fifty-Three Year-Old Me

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

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

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

Dear fifty-three year-old Ro,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Thirty-three year-old Ro

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

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Book forty-nine in 2012 – “The Hunger Games” – Suzanne Colins

When I first heard about “The Hunger Games”, I had no desire to read it. I recently realized that it was my loyalty to Scott Westerfeld that kept away any interest. When the movie came out there was more and more talk of it but I still just had no desire. B rented the movie and I heard snippets of it but that was when baseball was on so nothing else mattered to me.

Then I got to experience the movie with Solo-DX and knew without a doubt that I would have to read the book. The premise of the movie made me ill, teenagers being led to slaughter to remind the citizens of what used to be North America that they were and would always be controlled by the government. This was a rather frightening movie to watch right before the elections when there was so much fear for me around which party would gain control. The one who wants to have power over women’s bodies? Watching a movie about the government having total control over its citizens was scary indeed. However that didn’t stop me from running to download the book. I didn’t even wait for a credit for it, that’s how much I had to read it.

The book certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s rare to go from movie to book so it was a bit of a bummer that I already knew what would happen but I couldn’t help thinking as I noticed differences in the book what a good job the movie did. The changes in the movie made sense and while reading the book I could see why things were changed for the movie. Come to find out, Suzanne Collins adapted the screenplay herself. No wonder it was a good translation.

I think what makes this book good is that this futuristic world is believable. Maybe it’s my fear of my own future and my deepening mistrust of “the system” that makes me able to believe it. There is also the element of reality TV which you’d have to be blind to not see how this country is getting obsessed with. Is it not conceivable that one day people will hunger to watch contestants kill each other in an arena? Last person standing wins. Is that not how all our reality shows are, minus the killing? Losers getting picked off one-by-one to determine who wins, who will be revered, who will get the car and the riches and the contract. We are so hungry for reality TV that we take washed up so-called celebrities and make them dance and we take a poor neglected child and make her famous. Is it not conceivable that some day in the distant future we might lead our young to slaughter for sport?

The main character, Katniss Everdeen, has decided that she will never have children of her own, lest their name be put in the lottery upon turning twelve and therefore eligible for the games. I couldn’t help but remember my own youthful determination not to bring a child into the world. That was way back then, not knowing what I know now. I just had a discussion with Carol about this very topic, about how over the years I’ve almost felt obligated to have children because I know I would be a good parent. I think my young self knew something way back then though because even if I had plenty to provide a child, I wouldn’t want to risk passing along my MS. If it’s hard to live on disability now, what will it be like in the future? Maybe it’s my own life experience that makes “The Hunger Games” world seem so plausible to me. It’s also not so different from my beloved “Uglies” series. The basics are there, how can the government control its citizens?

I’m honestly glad I’m medicated now before having read this haha. I’m somewhat amazed that it’s a young adult novel. The themes are so dark and terrifying. I wonder if young people see it the way I do? I’ll have to ask Georgie to ask her daughter.

I’m now reading a novel I’ve had for awhile but after seeing tweets about it and how if the election went one way, this book’s plot wouldn’t seem so far fetched, I put off reading it on purpose and started it last night. Yet another future of control. I tell you, I’m going to need Michael Connelly when I’m done haha!

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30.* “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

33. “Fifty Shades Freed” – E.L. James – Finished 8/25/12

34. “The Poet” (Jack McEvoy #1) – Michael Connelly Finished – 829/12

35. “13 Things That Don’t Make Sense: The Most Baffling Scientific Mysteries of Our Time” – Michael Brooks – Finished 9/4/12

36. “Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/8/12

37. “The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/13/12

38. “Blood Work” (Terry McCaleb #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/20/12

39. “A Darkness More Than Night” (Terry McCaleb #2, Harry Bosch #7) – Michael Connelly – Finished 9/25/12

40. “City of Bones” (Harry Bosch #8) – Michael Connelly – Finished 101/12

41. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay – Finished 10/7/12

42. “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden – Finished 10/13/12

43. “Lost Light” (Harry Bosch #9) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/17/12

44. “The Narrows” (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly – finished 10/21/12

45. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn – finished 10/25/12

46. “The Closers” (Harry Bosch #11) – Michael Connelly – Finished 10/27/12

47. “Echo Park: (Harry Bosch #12) -Finished – 10/31/12

48. “The Overlook” (Harry Bosch #13) – Michael Connelly – Finished 11/4/12

49. “The Hunger Games” – Suzanne Collins – Finished 11/9/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, in the news, NaBloPoMo 2012, politics, spoons

Max Factor and the Middle Class

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

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

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

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

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

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Filed under cool product, fellowship, in the news, NaBloPoMo 2012, politics, random stuff, twitter me this

Hanging with Ro Episode Thirteen – Sleep Mic New Deprived

This is long, an hour or so. I am very sleep deprived so that made for some really rambling and silly audio. You can feel free to save it to listen to instead of the Presidential debates tomorrow night.

The audio starts a little iffy with some clipping but I made an adjustment and after that it sounds pretty good. Yay for a new mic!

Topics include but are not limited to:

* The @MuggleHustle Twitter account

* Jim Gaffigan and Hot Pockets

* Coffee and murdering a coffee maker

* Baseball

* Find out if I’m a Scientologist

*Too much Twitter, sorry

* Quick Fleksy settings/dictionary demo

* Should we have a Hanging with Ro music game?

There’s more but my brain is about to shut down from lack of sleep. Go listen if you want to know what else, k? K.

Hanging with Ro Episode Thirteen

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Filed under baseball, coffeeholic, cool product, demo, hanging with ro, iPhone, Jayden, mental health, mom, music, politics, quirky words, rambles, random stuff, screen reader, silly girl, Timmy, treat for me, twitter me this

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Financial security shaken

I really miss the days when I was healthy and self supporting. Relying on the government for my security comes with its own set of self esteem killing issues and today it’s made worse with the possibility that Social Security checks won’t go out in August.

Is this a ploy by the president to prompt action? I sincerely hope so. However did he think about the fact that this statement would strike fear into the hearts of those of us who are sick and need help?

Today has been somewhat blah anyway. I can’t believe just how much writing one piece completely zapped me. I tend to forget that I am, indeed, disabled. I’m a quite high functioning blind person but when it comes to the MS? It’s such a land of the unknown. I know my eyes don’t work. That never changes. It’s been this way for over three years now. But I am never prepared for the onset of a fatigue when it hits and I never know when something like writing an article will bring it on.

There was a lot more than just writing, obviously. It was a whirlwind couple of days that brought on a deluge of emotions and questions and doubts. Mix that with some humidity, bake at 100 degrees and bam, hellos fatigue pie.

Huh?

I don’t know. 😉

My brain is apple sauce today and finding out about about the possibility of no check in August has tipped me over, especially after spending the morning budgeting.

If saying that is a ploy, Mr. Obama, I hope it works. I also hope that next time you might think about what that kind of statement will do to those of us who rely on government help. Most of us hate that we have to rely on you, trust me. Most of us wish we could bring in our own money and only have ourselves to count on.

This post is all over the place but I don’t care. I’m all over the place and it’s my blog so it matches me. I wish I could go scream at trains, but it’s too hot and there’s no indoor trains. Hey, at least I have my humor.

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You’re punishing me because I live in AZ??

I am seething right now. I don’t know if anyone will find this little post, anyone of those people who think that the ENTIRE FREAKING STATE of AZ are nothing but bad racist people. If you found this, and you’re one of those people, screw you.

For everyone else, I’m sorry but I have got to rant.

This is ridiculous. Bands are cancelling shows in AZ, people are boycotting Diomondbacks games, companies are cancelling conferences here, all because of the terrible immigration law.

Let me tell you something, bands. You’re punishing your fans??? Because they live here??? And to everyone else, you’re gonna kill our economy, making our taxes raise, so the little guy gets screwed. Guess what? Politicians aren’t gonna get hurt. It’s people like me who are gonna get hurt. And guess what? A lot of those immigrants actually use social security numbers and PAY TAXES. So by you doing this to our state, you’re screwing the people you’re thinking about here. Or those citizens who are getting pulled over because they look like they could be illegal? THEY PAY TAXES. They might even like your stupid band, or be Diomondbacks fans.

It is so freakin backward to screw the entire state because of what the politicians are doing. I can’t even believe this. It was the last straw when I found out bands are cancelling shows. Wow. Yeah, cuz it’s all the fans’ fault.

You know, where I went to school, I was one of the few caucasian kids. It was “reverse racism”, it was “f*cking white bitch” every time I turned a corner. I know what racism is. And I still stayed in this state.

I’m livid. If you are boycotting AZ and you’re reading this, THINK. Ok?

Oh yeah, and Arizona iced tea? NOT BREWED HERE. So you’re boycotting it for no reason.

Gah!!!! This country is gonna fall apart in the next ten years and I have to say it won’t be all the politicians’ faults.

Think, Americans. This is stupid. Don’t punish me because I live in AZ.

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