Category Archives: sobriety

A Most Productive Session

I had a most productive journaling session this morning which has prompted me to want to share. I’m editing out the parts which include top secret novel plot info, ha! I am so excited and have a renewed sense of writing purpose. So much so that I have hired myself to rewrite my comfort novel. I start on Monday. I sure hope I liken my supervisor…

***

This is what’s here.

COVID-19 and social unrest and budding fascism and terror and despair.

This is what’s here.

Humans refusing to be silenced, out in the streets like revolutionary times, being the Americans again who founded this country. Americans who are dying of disease and violence and misinformation and distrust of science.

This is what’s here.

What am I going to do with it? Hunkered in my apartment where it’s safe to breathe freely and not through cotton, my little studio apartmentwhere my compromised body is safe. I haven’t been able to write. Not really write. I opened the manuscript folder for my beloved song adult novel with a teenaged girl version of me, the hero of her story. The folder contains drafts of the novel I’ve worked on since 2010 when the story was set in Connecticut, until my dear friend Ricardo suggested I set it in Arizona. He was write. I’ve never been to Connecticut. At the time, I chatted daily in what used to be called iChat, with a friend who lived in Connecticut and I wrote in a world full of snow and scarves and steaming cups of chocolate-infused coffee. When I moved the story to Arizona and created a fictional town there, the world came to life.

Set slightly in the future, {plot points omitted} The novel has been my passion project and my comfort, the one I turn to when my inner teen parts need soothing. I love the story and the characters, especially the guide dog, and my protagonist’s friendship with her best friend Georgie, who inspired her own short story which I rewrote and rewrote with the help of many friends and submitted to an anthology. The story wasn’t write for the publication, but it got compliments and praise from the editors. I’ve held onto it, not feeling right about submitting it again. And now I know why. It wasn’t the right time for that world.

The novel has been beckoning. Blog posts have beckoned. Facebook posts have beckoned. Ideas for essays to send to The Atlantic have beckoned. How Going Blind in Sobriety Helps Me Survive During a Pandemic. Blah blah. I know it would be helpful for some. But I can’t seem to write about reality.

This morning I read my daily Writer Unboxed email and the author talked about how the pandemic is finding its way into people’s works in progress. Feelings of panic and despair injected into scenes and making them stronger. Senses of hope weaving their way into scenes of sadness. My eyes opened wide as I realized what this means for my beloved WIP.

The pandemic changes it entirely. My fictional world is set slightly in the future. Therefore the pandemic has major influence. Panic. Panic for my story. Panic and despair. Oh no. What does this mean. Do I need to let the story go. It will take so much work to go back through it and inject the pandemic and everything it means into my fictional world, loosely based on the reality of our present. Thoughts of defeat wending their way through my synapses.

The obstacle is the way.

Hold on. Wait…my world involves a {plot points omitted}

Hope. Dawning light. This is the perfect time to write this story! I need to start from scratch, yes, but the characters and the world are already here and I can mine my manuscript for scenes and dialogue that I love. This world I created in 2010, a wish-fulfillment world that benefited my protagonist and her blindness in the way that the world as we know it does not benefit myself as a woman who is blind, this world and the the technology that I invented for her is perfectly suited for a post-pandemic world of the future. YES!

Oh YES!

Onward and upward. I will “write like I’m running out of time”.

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Filed under coffeeholic, COVID-19, desert life, fellowship, gratitude, guide dogs, politics, sobriety, writing

Blurry, clear, blurry, clear

***Trigger warning, some content might be upsetting***

I wonder what I was thinking that night fifteen years ago today. Not the surface thoughts, those I think I can recreate with some accuracy. ‘I think I want to sing that Gretchen Wilson song.’ Or ‘I hope he buys another pitcher.’ Or ‘Everyone is watching me as I walk across the bar to the bathroom.’ Those surface, ego thoughts. What I wonder though, is what were the thoughts beneath the noise. Beneath the cigarette smoke and sharp tang of whiskey, the yeasty bubbly beer scent of the bar. What were those trembling thoughts as I wanted to hide beneath the makeup. Don’t look at me. Don’t see me. I’m here with a married man and I’m not a wife. Don’t know me. I’m a ghost.

I wonder what I felt while alone in the bathroom stall. I wonder if I vomited there. The chances are good; I nearly always purged in bars. At home. Make room for more. Fill those voids with booze, with men, with cigarettes. Add a side of nachos and karaoke. What did I think while alone in the bathroom stall, while women primped and preened in the mirrors and gossiped about the guy standing at the bar in the tight jeans and cowboy hat or the bitch at the pool tables in the red heels. What if one of those women was like another woman on another night, who finally left the baby with her mom so she could enjoy a night out with her friends, what if she suffered nights at home while her husband was out with his buddies…and another woman.

Today it’s not hard for me to imagine the underlying pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization running like a program in the background, as yet unidentified by the user. What was I thinking after holding a hand over one eye in order to focus on the lyrics of White Trash Woman on the screen, microphone clutched in my fingers. What forced the intuitive thought–the moment of clarity–which I vocalized to the married man I was with, “Ya know, we should quit drinking and go to a meeting”.

Today I know what I’m thinking. I am grateful I listened.

I hadn’t intended to combine these to anniversaries with the following but they are forever combined.:

Twelve years ago today, a Wednesday, I stared at the golf shop’s sign through the window of the eyeglass place, moving the lenses up and down to compare and contrast. Blurry, clear, blurry, clear. Grandma had urged me to see the eye doctor after my remaining sighted eye had gone all TV-fuzz-like on Monday and landed me in the ER. She would leave me a voicemail the following day, a Thursday, asking me if I still liked my boyfriend after seeing him through my new pair of glasses. That day I would stare at him as my vision slowly faded to gray.

We watched I Am Legend Wednesday night, April 23, 2008. My last sighted movie. Bummer, right? Oh, you liked it? That’s cool. As I write this today, I am isolated like Will Smith’s character. Am I legend? In my own mind sometimes, sure.

The following day , Thursday, April 24, 2008, Instead of answering Gamma’s question, I would spend my three years sober anniversary memorizing my boyfriend’s face in the emergency room. I told him I was going blind and he didn’t want to believe it. Who would? We are still distantly acquainted. I continue to see his face the way it looked that day. We are both frozen in my memory twelve years younger than we are now. I’ve often joked, morbidly some might say, that the way I used to live I never thought I’d see thirty, pause a beat, I went blind at twenty-nine.

Today I am sad. Today I cannot seem to grab on to gratitude the way I usually can around these twin anniversaries, the way I did yesterday. Today I feel the twinge of the self pity I pray for help with daily. I want hugs tomorrow on my fifteen year sobriety anniversary. We’ll celebrate on Zoom. My best friend in Colorado will attend. Silver lining. Today is day thirty-eight of isolation. Just me and my cat, thank God for my cat, in my tiny apartment. Thank God for my tiny apartment, a safe place to shelter, away from others, away from human touch. Away from the man I started dating in January. I’m sad. I’m sad for the millions of people who don’t have the security that my disabilities afford me. I’m sad for the people who have died and for those who loved them. I’m sad for myself and everyone else who’s sad. I’m just sad.

It’s ok to feel feelings today.

Note: Usually I’m much sunnier about my sobriety. Sobriety is freaking awesome and is the foundation of how I’m getting through this isolation one day at a time. If you are struggling with drinking what you feel is too much, even though in-person things are shut down, there is still help out there. You can reach out privately by leaving me a comment and I won’t publish it, or follow the contact link above and I can direct you toward that help.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, anniversary, cats, COVID-19, faith, Gamma, gratitude, humor as coping skill, mental health, My story, on this date, sobriety

…then the pandemic happened and man has this blog been on my mind.

Tap tap tap. Tap tap. Tap tap tap tap! Ok, that’s me tapping on the inside of your screen. What up? It’s been awhile, right? I think I’m back. At least I want to be back. I am a rider who writes things and those things collect dust in my computer. I remember the days of old, way back in ’09 and a few years after that when I wrote here all the time. I’ve been talking to a few friends about those very years when there were tales of Insert who became Jayden, calls for nouns to spark ideas which became calls for Sparks which became short stories, conversations in the comments, random stories about life as I adjusted to being blind. Some of the happiest times. Then Blogger broke accessibility and I came here
and I’ve been paying way too much money to host all this content that I don’t want to lose but I no longer want to pay so much for so I’ve been looking into ways to not lose my content but also not pay as much and then the pandemic happened and man has this blog been on my mind. So here I am. How are you? Like really, how are you?

Since before Corona, I have been trying to find my thing. That thing that we humans need, whatever it is, to feel like we’re contributing to the world. At least I need that thing. After I discovered back in ’10 that writing is something I could still do after going blind, I thought that my dream was to work towards publishing novels and memoirs. I’ve studied the publishing industry, done what I could to teach myself the craft of writing, read books, signed up for seminars and online classes, and finally decided to attempt earning a Bachelor of Art in an online degree program, which failed. Using brain power to access the online learning environment, which is optimized for Windows computers and Jaws when I use a Mac and Voiceover, all while meeting weekly deadlines, proved to be way too much to handle while working to stay healthy with MS. Do you know what is not a bad word? Failure. Trying, really trying something and failing shows me what works and what doesn’t, and committing to anything on other people’s schedules doesn’t work right now.

In December, I began intensive trauma therapy once a week and my therapist utilizes a treatment modality called EMDR. It has been incredibly clarifying! What came out in my last session is that writing on this blog used to bring me great joy. The school experiment failing has reminded me, with therapy, that what worked for me a decade ago is where I’m feeling called now. To my blog. To be able to share my writing with the world, on my own schedule and by my own terms. The blog has been on my mind, and then I decided to send a random tweet and I got a response from one of my long ago readers and friends, Torie. I took that as a sign. I mean, because of this blog I created a character based on her in a scene in a novel that I still work on from time-to-time, that’s what a big role this place used to play in my life. So here we are! I’m hashing out the details of what this will become and for starters, I’m going to get help fixing the colors and fonts and stuff, since my uncle pointed out awhile ago that it’s not very pleasing to the eye, also a new look to better reflect who I am today. I knew that I wanted to post here for anyone who might still be subscribed before I start sharing on the socials, just to get back in touch and check in before the changes happen. I’m considering adding some dreaded ads so that maybe I can supplement my food stamps, ha! I missed blogging! However I also know me, and I know that I tend to run headlong into new projects and then discover that it doesn’t work for me, so who knows. I’ve been feeling called for a long time now to write about facing life’s challenges and the things that I’ve learned about how to do that over the years thanks to recovery from alcohol abuse, and living through MS blinding me. I want to share my courage and tools and right now feels like the exact right time. I began writing this post on the 13th, so hopefully I’ll get into a better and faster habit and keep writing.

We will get through this COVID-19 or Corona virus pandemic, whichever name you like best. We just don’t know what it will look like. None of us knows. But I have faith that the human race as a whole will come together, is coming together, to get through this. While we wait to find out what comes next, how about we do what we can, by putting the oxygen masks on ourselves first and then turning to help whomever needs help?One thing’s for sure, there will be stories! I will be resurrecting the calls for Sparks, absolutle!

So really, how are you?

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Filed under COVID-19, gratitude, in the news, Insert, Jaws, Jayden, sobriety, therapy, Voiceover, writing

Absentee Blogger

I have not posted a blog post since March 25, 2017. *GULP* When I think about how much my life has changed in that time, a huge part of me wants to put the keyboard away, grab my phone and bluetooth speaker, and curl up in bed with a book or a podcast. But….I had a request to pick up my virtual pen and post again. And that request came from my beloved uncle, so who am I to ignore that?

So to figure out what exactly I should write for this (hopefully) first post in my return to regular blogging, I looked back at the last few postings here and that didn’t help me narrow things down. Quite to the contrary, it made me realize that this is going to take quite a few posts for me to hit the main points in the story arc needed to paint a picture of what happened during my radio silence. Ooh, ooh, is it outline time? I used to be a pantser and now I’m a plantser. Technically, that only applies when I’m in novel prep and not blog prep, but in this case, plantsing applies. So I’ll think about main points about life since my last post in which I wrote about really being a writer. Oh boy did that thing ever jinx me or what?! Ha! Long story short on that one is that I learned a lot from Jerry’s Guild but being on a fixed income, I quit paying for it, especially since I wasn’t making enough use of it. I felt like the webinars simply repeated themselves and I was no longer learning anything new. I had to trim costs because of, woo our first outline item! #RoGetsAnApartment. Yes, I speak in hashtags.

Actually something bigger happened before I got my apartment, but the trimming costs thing started when I knew I’d be getting my own place. We must back up to, holy crap I can’t believe I never posted about this since Jayden, better known as Insert when I began this blog, was the entire reason it was started in the first place.

At the end of September, I flew Jayden to Fresno, CA to retire with his puppy raisers. This will need to be its own special post, so I’ll leave out the details for now. I will say however, that his retirement couldn’t have been any better unless he had been able to stay with me. Ok I’m gonna start crying now, so stay tuned for a post all about his retirement and what a beautiful thing it is. For your peace of mind, just imagine my mellow yellow lab laying on his back on the couch while his two best friends, career-change male yellow labs, lay nearby. The three of them are inseparable!

In July of last year, I took a trip to Colorado, leaving Jayden home since at that point, Jayden was pretty much fully retired, and I didn’t want to put him through the rigors of such a trip. My bestie Chupa lives in Colorado and there was a conference in the Rockies, a weekend of recovery for members of my program and their families. My plan had been to go to the conference as an excuse to hang out with Chupa, and maybe soak up a little recovery while I was at it. While I had remained sober, I hadn’t been active in a recovery program since just before I received Jayden in 2010. That was a lot of years of no active program filling the vacuum which alcohol had created when I gave it up. I blogged about the terrible headspace I was in in February of last year. Little did I know that fully Immersing myself back into a program of recovery would relieve me of that misery.

The conference filled me up, and as we joined hands to pray at the close, I started saying the words only for them to be swallowed by gut-wrenching sobs as I listened to the swell of united voices in the convention hall. I was home. Another long story short, perhaps lengthened in coming posts, I ran back to Bellingham and dove head first into the program that saved my life back in April of 2005, the program that kept me sober through the loss of my eyesight in 2008, the principles that kept me sober through the dry years, through deaths and health issues, and world events that threatened to break me. Now that I’m back actively working a program of recovery, I am much better suited to handle the news of the world without needing to call the suicide prevention hotline like I did last year. #Grateful

After much searching and aggravation and near hopelessness at my circumstances, I finally found an adorable studio apartment. I’m grateful that my last romantic relationship moved in to one of good friendship. I’ve lived independently now since December and LOVE IT! This is the first time it’s been just me since 2007 when B and I took each other hostage back in my sighted days. I’m now one of those blind people I had admired so much when I was newly blind and reading blog posts by other blind people who lived on their own and took care of themselves. Wow! This would not be going as smoothly (knock on wood) as it is without all of my friends.

My friends! Oh my friends…the people in the fellowship who have scooped me up and made me a part of their family. Thank God for my friends!

So, there’s a few tidbits for you, dear reader, and for future me who will look back and be grateful I’m catching up on my personal archives. Let this post be an outline for posts to come. Let me hereby commit to regular writing here and hopefully over at Randi Writes where I hope to start sharing some creative writing stuff. It’s still a work in progress. Creating a website while blind can be rather challenging on the visual elements. Speaking of, I was informed that the contrast between text and background here at the Roof is somewhat hard to read. This was the first I’d heard of it, so I wonder if my colors somehow got changed. Sighted readers, would you mind leaving me a comment with the device you’re using and how the site looks for you? Thanks in advance.

I hope you are well, that you know you are loved, and that you might be surprised to check in here and finally see a new post if you used to be a regular reader. It’s been hard out there in the world and I hope to get back to spreading my silver linings like Santa Clause spreads cheer. *groan* Ro, really? It’s freaking June. Happy summer, ya’ll! Unless you’re in Australia, in which case, stay warm!

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Filed under accomplishment, faith, family, fellowship, gratitude, guide dogs, Insert, Jayden, mental health, misty eyes, puppy raisers, sobriety, writing

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

Let it snow! Let it um, snow…oh crap it’s gonna snow

Happy holidays, everyone! Whoa wait, what? Who am I and what have you done with Ro? Yeah yeah yeah, so I’m not all bah humbug this year, what can I say? something about being a part of a happy family with a child, in the cold, with the scent of a pine candle on a warmer next to my computer has made me embrace the holidays like I haven’t done since I was newly sober and life was shiny and new. Hmmm, shiny new life, happy with the holidays. coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, snow. The first time it snowed here a week ago, it felt magical. We woke up to everything covered in sparkling white, at least that’s how I imagined it. The kids had the day off thanks to the once monthly teacher planning day, and the sounds of happy children filled the air.

I put on the heavy winter coat I bought at Value Village over my normal layers, added a heavy crochet scarf (granny squares sewed together that was supposed to be a bed coverlet that I gave up on) and my new fur lined boots and went outside with Jayden. We walked up and down the street with the kids and I marveled at the feel and sound of crunching underfoot. David’s ten year-old kept brushing piles of snow off Jayden’s nose. the kids filled a wheelbarrow full of snow from people’s cars to build an ice fort in the front yard of the house across the street from David’s. There was so much joy!

Then I started feeling the cold and my scarf was getting kind of gross since I had it wrapped around my nose and mouth and did you know that cold makes your nose run?

When we stepped into the house, my body instantly began baking in my layers, my boots squeaking as snow melted and I realized my feet, and Jayden’s, were wet and tracking snow into the house. Not so magical, I thought.

I peeled off layers and dried our feet and settled in to drink coffee and read some Twitter while the kids played outside. When it was time for Jayden to have a pee, I bundled up, wrapped the scarf around my face, laced my feet into my boots, and went back outside to enjoy the snow again. David’s son came into the yard and pelted me with a snowball. It was on!

I picked up the nicely packed snowball and rubbed it up, imagining red stitches against the white, my fingers across four seams. I narrowed my eyes at the giggling child at the plate, wound up and let fly. It went way left and was most definitely a wild pitch. A runner on third would have scored easily. All the ten year-old’s snowballs hit me squarely. Hmmm, this isn’t fun like I remember it the few times it snowed in Tucson when I was sighted, I thought, as a kid, or as an adult at the pool hall when we scooped snow off of cars to throw at each other since it didn’t stick on the ground. That night had been the first time I’d driven in the snow,, and last, unbeknownst to me. It looked like warp speed on the Starship Enterprise as the flakes were caught in the beams of my headlights.

This time, there was no snowball fight with friends in a parking lot and no warp speed stars. the kids went off to a friend’s house and with no happy little voices frolicking around, just Jayden and me crunching around in the snow alone, we went inside to where it was warm and where David, accustomed to the Washington weather, waited with coffee and a hug.

The snow turned to ice after some lovely freezing rain and temperatures, and I got used to bundling up for the minute it takes Jayden to relieve himself. Apparently, this weather hasn’t been normal around these parts for quite some time, though more snow is coming. Just in time for the frigid air, a big box full of winter clothes arrived on my doorstep from a Rays fan friend in Florida. She’d lived in the Pacific Northwest for awhile, and those clothes were going unused, so now I have a variety of sweaters to choose from, rather than this Rays shirt, or that Rays tank top, with this Rays hoodie, or that one. She even sent a hooded wool coat. thanks, friend!

I think I’ll wrap this up and go make some chocolate peanut butter candy to see how the boys like it. I get to make Mom’s old favorite holiday sweets now that there are plenty of people to enjoy them.

Merry Christmas!

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Filed under baseball, coffeeholic, crochet, family, gratitude, holiday, Jayden, mom, num num food, relieving, sobriety, twitter me this, weather, working dog

Carnival Post: I Will Not Regret the Past (Except for the Purpose of this Post)

Posts are being written and compiled for the next round of the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, the topic of which is regrets. I’m down to the wire on this one. The deadline is in just over an hour as I paste my post into WordPress.

the first idea to come to mind when I pondered what I regret about my first and current guide dog, Jayden, is that we didn’t go to Muir Woods when we were at school together at guide Dogs for the blind. As if to punctuate that thought the day I was considering what to write about for the blog carnival, I ran across this article about Muir Woods’s tallest tree.

I knew about the trip to Muir Woods before I went to GDB and it was one of the things I was most looking forward to. I imagined beams of sunlight sneaking through the canopy of tall, stately redwoods, the scene suffused with a warm golden glow, a lovely and peaceful walk with my dog through the beauty of nature, the quiet and meditative quality of the stroll with my new partner, it was going to be beautiful.

My first mistake was having that expectation. Never, never have expectations. Nothing is ever what we think it will be.

My training at GDB was hard on me emotionally and physically and when it came time for the Muir Woods trip at the end of the three weeks, I didn’t have it in my heart to go. All I could think about was returning home with my boy and settling back in to life where I was comfortable, without instructors popping out and telling me what to do. why wouldn’t they tell me what to do? Even major league baseball players still have hitting coaches.

I regret being so damned willful.

What an experience that would have been, to stroll through those woods, to smell the trees, to take a break from the honking, humming and thumping of cars but I was just so tired. I was tired and I did not want to ride on the bus for an hour on a winding road, worrying about limiting my fluids, not just Jayden’s. Not being able to smoke. I regret that I used to be held hostage by nicotine.

Looking back, I always think Muir Woods would have been the perfect place to have that first amazing walk with jayden; our other walks were stressful for both of us while in class. I deeply regret letting the physical and mental fatigue win.

One of the ways I live today is not regretting the past, yet here I am doing just that. Jayden and I did have that first awesome walk together the day we arrived home in tucson and he guided me out of the airport, around concrete poles, following B through cold rain and biting wind to the car. I grinned the entire time even though it wasn’t majestic redwoods he guided me through.

Thinking about regrets is dangerous territory unless we look at regrets not as regrets, but as mistakes.

I made a mistake by not going to Muir Woods and I won’t make that mistake again. I learned my lesson. I have not turned down a trip since then and Jayden and I have had some pretty awesome experiences together.

If you wrote your own post on regrets for this blog carnival and if that post dredged up painful feelings, just remember the past cannot be changed and we only grow by making mistakes and learning from them.

On a lighter note,another regret I have is not teaching Jayden to stay out of the kitchen. I envy my friend Carin that she did with her guide and you can bet I won’t make that mistake again. This is a small regret, but it’s the only thing that can grow into a big thing when He won’t get out from under-foot. I’ve been able to teach him to stay on the couch when I put him there however, so I found a solution.

Oh and one more thing speaking of the couch, I regret that he was taught such good house manners with regards to furniture because here at home, he does not need permission every single time he wants up on the couch. It’s your couch too, buddy!

(Ok, that’s not really a regret since I’m incredibly grateful for his house manners. thank you to his puppy raisers!)

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Filed under blog carnival, doggy school, fellowship, GDB, guide dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, puppy raisers, sobriety, spoons, working dog

Something Special for a Decade?

I was asked earlier in the week if I was doing anything special for my anniversary on Friday. Oh that’s right, it is Friday, isn’t it. My favorite number next to 3 is 424. My sobriety anniversary is the most important anniversary in my life since there’s no way I’d have the life I have today without my sobriety. No way.

Unfortunately the universe decided to make things easy for me and help me remember the date I went blind by letting that happen on my three year sobriety anniversary. I swear, I have bad luck with double anniversaries.

Of course I knew my ten year sobriety date was this month. Of course I know today is special. It just snuck up on me, what can I say? It’s been a great book month, with two books out by two of my favorite authors, the baseball season began, Josh Groban has a new album out next week along with another book by an author I just discovered, my friends got two new snakes, B and I celebrated eight years together, see how easy it was for today to sneak up on me?

I thought about my friend asking if I was doing anything special so to days ago I went looking on Amazon at sobriety medallions since I no longer attend meetings and I’m not gonna be one of “those people” who show up just for the free medallion and cheers and claps on the back and hugs. Do I miss those things? Sure. do I feel the guilt I felt when I first stopped going to meetings and showing the newcomer sobriety is possible? Nope. Ha!

That’s called growth my friends. There are plenty of people able to be constantly available to show the newcomer sobriety is possible. It’s not up to just me to save the world and I can’t be one. And that’s ok. It’s been proven to me time and time again that my life has meaning, my story has meaning, and my friends prove that to me, so much so they made me cry this morning. Ya’ll know who you are, *cough* Twitter people. Twitter people who have become my friends and constant support, who make me laugh harder than anything else ever does, who understand that going blind is not the same as breaking one’s foot.

Oh but back to Amazon. I did buy myself a trinket for today that unfortunately won’t get here until next week since today snuck up on me. It’s a dog tag necklace with, 10 Years and, One Day at a Time on it. Simple, twelve bucks, and I can’t wait to get it. Dog tag necklaces are cool!

A few hours ago I was debating writing a post today since all I’ve done over the last several months is write about my life in that memoir. Would I do anything special today? My washer just beeped. It’s never beeped before. Odd.

So no, I’m not doing anything special today. I’m washing sheets. Josh Groban is singing from the bedroom. I listened to audio this morning of my friends feeding their snakes. I laughed and smiled, and then I cried after feeling a sudden bout of melancholy, thinking over the last ten years. Maybe writing would help, as a friend pointed out. I’ll write a post and title it, A Decade in Review. I’ll write about funny memories, touching memories, I’ll cry and laugh and hope you laugh and cry too. I had a good sob when the feelings of gratitude over my friends overwhelmed me, listened to my book while I ate my cereal and the urge to write a decade in review post fled. That story is in the memoir, not yet complete, not yet close to complete, but it will be there all the same.

Instead, today is a day of reflection and memory and grateful tears, all of which are personal to me on this day of double anniversary.

I’ll do my usual Friday thing, chores and reading and Twittering and I’ll think about the past absolutely insane decade of my life at times, but then I’ll stare into space and listen to the birds and be in today and just feel.

Oh and anxiously await the male and see what my friend sent. I guess I am doing something special. *Happy giggle*

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Filed under anniversary, Audio books, baseball, fellowship, gratitude, laundry, misty eyes, music, sobriety, treat for me, twitter me this

“My Life as a White Trash Zombie” by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore

Thank you thank you thank you Audible for daily deals that turn me on to books like this. I’m in love with the White Trash Zombie books! Oh yes, there are more than one. Yay!

Angel Crawford is a drug addicted self proclaimed white trash loser in Louisiana who wakes in the hospital after what she remembers as a terrible car accident to discover her body uninjured and a judgmental bitchy nurse telling her she overdosed. A couple cops tell her she was found naked on the side of the road. Why then, does Angel remember screaming metal and all that blood?

Turns out a terrific cure for drug addiction is zombification! the only downfall is one must eat brains.

This new and different twist to zombies is freaking awesome! The very human parts of Angel as she learns how to live life as a brain eater was often times gut wrenching and the addiction part of it all was spot on. It had me in tears a few times, just feeling for Angel as she faced the emotional demons all us addicts and alcoholics do when we can no longer numb out with substances and must face ourselves. This book was so much fun and I’ve listened to it again. The first reading of it had me laughing so hard in bed at times I asked B if he had heard me in the other room. Allison McLemore is freaking fantastic and really brings Angel to life, dropping jokes and one liners with a sweet southern drawl. I recommend this book to anyone! I do warn you, some of the scenes are a bit stomach turning as Angel is learning how to consume the brains she needs to live. Live? Stay alive? Keep her body going? Not rot? Super zombie powers, activate!

Rating: Marriage Material

‘White Trash Zombie’ at Audible

It’s fitting I was up to this book on the list today since I once chatted with the author, Diana Rowland, on Twitter about how we find an MRI relaxing and even have slept in the machines. I had an MRI today. Just a routine one, not one under the duress of f severe flairs. I’m establishing care with a new neurologist and he wants a baseline and to see what my brain looks like. I wonder if my brain is baseball shaped.

It was awesome, they let me pick Josh Groban radio to listen to on the headphones in the MRI machine. Unfortunately it was a Pandora like station so there were artists other than Josh Groban too but they were all relaxing.

I find the MRI comforting. The bangs and vibrations are meditative. I used to think I was just really weird until Diana Rowland tweeted one day about sleeping in the MRI machine. Kindred spirits!

She’s awesome! There are two more White Trash Zombie books in the future. I’ve read the four that are out. Hehehe had my braaaaaaaaain looked at today bwah ha ha!

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, humor as coping skill, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2014, sobriety, spoons, twitter me this

“Love Life” by rob Lowe – narrated by Rob Lowe, Synchronicity and a Deep Question

I read Rob Lowe’s first memoir back in early 2012 and it placed seventh on that year’s top ten book list. I couldn’t wait for ‘Love Life’ to come out since I loved Lowe’s first book. It definitely did not disappoint.

‘Love Life’ doesn’t just pick up where his first book left off, rather it just tells different stories from his life in acting, family and sobriety. His stories about his son going off to college were gut wrenching and totally tear making. I can’t imagine what those stories must be like for people with children if they touched me that deeply. One can hear the emotion in his voice as he reads those segments.

The book wasn’t all heart warming stories about his family. There’s a particularly erm, interesting story about Lowe’s visit to the Playboy Mansion in his early twenties when fame was just finding him that actually made me slightly uncomfortable. I’m not a prude my any sense of the word so the only thing I can think that might have caused my squirming was the fact that my favorite baseball player is engaged to a Playboy bunny who is the mother of his children. Is that why? Perhaps I need to look at that some more haha!

I actually got a retweet from Rob Lowe after I tweeted him that his Bigfoot sound effect made my dog jump haha! It was at night and Jayden and I were curled in our respective beds when the howling issued from my speaker and the jingle of Jayden’s tags told me he had jerked awake. It was hilarious! I can’t remember exactly what Lowe’s comment was in the retweet but I think he apologized to Jayden or something. Does it matter what he said? I got a tweet from Rob Lowe! *Squeeeee!*

I enjoyed reading his memoir as research for my own memoir that I have finally begun. Much like my fiction novel, it is mostly a series of notes in my computer and memories marinating in my head. Fall is the time I usually devote to writing since baseball is over, so hopefully a dent will be placed in both projects. I like to think that my own voice in telling my story is similar to Rob Lowe’s. It’s one of seriousness mixed with self-deprecating humor. I remember when I was very newly sober, a woman told me that it’s ok to share about what I perceived as weakness because it made me relatable and therefore more helpful to others. Rob Lowe might be a hugely successful celebrity but he is also incredibly relatable and down to earth. I hope he writes another memoir! If he does, I hope he doesn’t terrify me like he did with the orange juice in this one.

Rating: Marriage Material

“Love Life’ at Audible

I wrote in yesterday’s post that I would include more life details in all these book posts so it doesn’t feel like I’m cheating for this year’s NaBloPoMo haha. I couldn’t help but think this afternoon when I sat on my couch with Jayden after sleeping extremely late that at that moment, I was loving life and the book I’d be writing about in today’s post was titled ‘Love Life’. Is it a good thing to notice the moments when one is loving life? By that I mean, do I notice those moments because it’s rare they creep in amongst the angst, fear and worry I so often feel? It’s like when you enjoy a steak all the more because you so rarely have a steak, whereas if you always had steaks, would you enjoy them as much? Do you get my meaning?

Today as I felt how much I loved that moment, I was enjoying the first cup of coffee of the day. The door was open to the cool breeze of the fall afternoon, football was on, the sounds of whistles and crowd noise the soundtrack as B and I woke up more than just our minds.

We’ve lived here a month and today was the first weekend day that both of us slept well into early afternoon. We were both pleasantly surprised. I’ve slept pretty well in this house but hadn’t yet enjoyed the truly luxurious experience of taking hours to fully awaken from a cozy and constant doze. It was wonderful!

The house in which we moved a month ago is a three bedroom two bathroom house with a nice big backyard. The yard is walled in so no more surprise visits from javelina! I love taking Jayden out in the mornings and listening to the birds in the several trees in the yard as they greet the day. I can’t wait to have chairs on the porch on which to sit and drink a cup of coffee haha!

It’s been interesting learning the new space. There has been much frustration as walls and the refrigerator jump out into my path. I have my writing studio/workout room at last! I am currently sitting in it as I type this, music softly playing, door closed to the sound of the Bigfoot movie B is watching. It’s not lost on me that I wrote about Rob Lowe’s memoir in which he tells a Bigfoot story. I often find interesting instances of synchronicity in my life, like a book with the name of a character being the same as a name of a character in the book I just finished. Am I the only one who notices things like that?

I think it’s time I wrap this up and tackle the issue of posting. I discovered yesterday that Voiceover is not playing nice with the checkboxes on the WordPress dashboard since I updated to Yosemite. It seems I can check boxes in the WordPress app though, so I’ll save this as a draft and go figure that out. Tomorrow’s book post will be a two-for-one I think. Both were rather dry non-fiction books.

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2014, sobriety, twitter me this, Voiceover, writing