Category Archives: sobriety

Who’da thunk a trick from the old drunk days would come in handy in sobriety?

When I was an active alcoholic, there was about six months or so when I stayed in hotels a lot. No, I was not a hooker haha. I lived in a house with a bunch of people and the guy I was dating lived with his mom, so if we wanted privacy, we stayed in hotels. I was a waitress at the time so I always had cash in my pockets, making it too convenient to pay for a room every day.

If you’ve stayed in a lot of hotels or even just one once or twice a year, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the water pressure in the showers is sorely lacking. To me there’s nothing worse than a light drizzle in the shower. I want a downpour.

On Monday my apartments had all new toilets and shower heads installed to help with the conservation of water. I tried the shower head and could tell I wasn’t going to like it. B showered the next day and reported that yes, the water pressure sucks. I put off bathing since these days I try to only bathe once or twice a week. Bathing exhausts me and standing in the shower with vertigo? No fun. I’ve been taking baths but my body temp was getting too high so there was just no winning. Today I braved a shower since B was home.

Now what I don’t understand about these water conserving shower heads is this: if it takes you twice as long to rinse your hair, are you not using the same amount of water?

I was afraid of this since it’s hard enough to keep my arms above my head and now it would take twice as long. My hair is long right now since it’s just easier to maintain when long so my arms were aching just thinking about rinsing shampoo out of my hair twice and then rinsing the conditioner. I wrote “long” too many times and I’m not going to fix it. Bwah ha ha!

Luckily the old hotel living experiences came rushing back and I thought to try and twist the shower head. Could it possibly have a massage setting? Bingo! Using the massage setting condenses the stream of water into a much narrower set of jets thus increasing the water pressure and aiding with the rinsing process.

I thought about using it to actually massage my sore shoulder but let’s not get too excited. We are conserving water after all and it would take a lot more to actually massage my sore shoulder. Often ideas come to me in the shower but I think this is the first time I’ve had an idea to write about the shower in the shower.

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Filed under NaBloPoMo 2013, random stuff, sobriety, spoons

Smoke Free One Year

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Inaugural Center of the Roof Top Ten Book List

*I’ve been working on this post for about a week or so now. I can’t believe it’s finally finished! The following books weren’t all published this year but I read them all for the first time this year. It’s a monster post; it kinda morphed on me. I hope you enjoy!*

It was incredibly hard to narrow down a list of ten books out of all the books I’ve read this year (fifty-nine, whoa!). After deciding to make this list, I began going through all the books and jotting down titles that I thought might make it. It has been difficult to remove books and juggle titles as I read more and more books this year! It has also been incredibly fun and I know several people who have been anxiously awaiting this post. I’ll include a link to my original post about the book and the chronological number with the date finished in parentheses. So, without further adieu, I give you the first CenterRoof.com Top Ten Booklist!

10. “Fifty Shades Darker” (Book Two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy) – E.L. James (#31, August 16)

This book’s post is what sparked the idea for the top ten list and I kept worrying this book wouldn’t even make the list as I read more and more books this year. however, it made it to the very end, I think starting off in the seventh position. Excerpt from post:

Darker” takes us to knew and frankly terrifying places with this couple. I don’t think I’ve wept so much to a book since “Gone with the Wind’. Did she just compare a “Fifty Shades” book and “Gone with the Wind”? Yes, yes I did.

I have to wonder if I would have reacted the same way to this book if I had been on Lexapro like I am now since I am much less emotional but if not, the idea to do a top ten list might not have been born so I’m glad I reacted the way I did, regardless of why.

9. “The Concrete blonde” (Book three in the Harry Bosch Series) – Michael Connelly (#2, January 9)

This was the first Harry Bosch book I read even though it is the third in the series. A friend of mine bought it for me on Audible after I had read “Void Moon” by Michael Connelly and really liked it. ‘concrete’ was my friend’s favorite of the Bosch books
and it is still one of mine as well. I ended up starting the series from the beginning and counted this book twice in my list, something I haven’t done with later books I’ve read twice this year. I’m so grateful for Harry bosch! I’m nearly caught up with the series and then I will be very sad. Excerpt from post:

The book was published in 1994 and it was really funny to read about communication that couldn’t happen because the car had no rover. They didn’t have cell phones haha! They also used pagers. Wow. Definitely a very good book. The psychology was very interesting and the relationship between Harry and Sylvia was very real, so real in fact, that I related a little too much haha!

Wow, it’s fun to remember this book and think about how far Harry Bosch has come since then and how much has happened. Not only are these books brilliant cop dramas, the character development is superb. Connelly quickly became my favorite mystery writer this year. Love him!

8. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King (#3, January 22)

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. I remember being thoroughly creeped out and there were several times B would come into the room at night and make me jump. He also wanted to talk about it as I was reading it and sometimes He would stop and listen to the audio book, remembering parts he had forgotten. He loved the book and I quickly understood why. Excerpt from post:

It was incredibly disturbing, but not just because a mysterious and impenetrable dome falls around a small town in Maine. No, what as most disturbing was the human element in this town. Of course there were plenty of good people but the bad were baaaaaad. So bad in fact that I questioned my own morality when I wanted to see bad things happen to these people. They were so bad that B had me scared of our own town car dealer mogul and his commercials.

We have a car mogul in town named Jim, same first name as the creepy car mogul in this book. I hadn’t even thought of it until one night a commercial with our Jim came on and B mimicked the Jim from the book. I broke out in gooseflesh and screamed. It was quite the hilarious moment haha! You know a book is good when it effects you that much even while you aren’t reading it.

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe (#7, February 6)

The seventh spot on this list was creating a problem for me. I couldn’t seem to narrow it down but then I noticed that this book was the seventh of the year and this is the seventh spot and January seventh is an anniversary so it just seemed right that Rob Lowe’s book should make the list in this spot. I haven’t read too many memoirs in my life but I thoroughly enjoyed this one and related a ton since both of us have been on our own journeys in recovery. Excerpt from post:

The book follows his journey into acting, from a kid in Ohio to a teen in Southern California, meeting Liza Minnelli and adventures with the Sheen clan. He writes openly about his experiences and the names he drops brought back my own memories of movies I had seen starring different actors from when I was a kid. Although Rob Lowe was before my time, that era of teen movies still had its influence on me. While he wasn’t in The Breakfast Club, that movie introduced me to that famous group of young actors, The Brat Pack, of which he was a huge part.

I follow Rob Lowe on twitter and while he doesn’t tweet often, I’m glad I’m able to follow him. I also took a music recommendation from him, check out Tony Ferrari. When a song from the album plays, I remember it was Lowe’s recommendation and it makes me smile. I like to have reminders of sobriety throughout my day and anything associated with Rob Lowe gives me that. This was such a good book!

6. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron (#27, July11)

I absolutely adored this book! I have Audible to thank for my discovering this. Their sales lead me to books I probably never would have read otherwise and this is one of those. I remember the title grabbing me and the description intriguing me but I was on the fence about it as I shopped a sale. I’m so incredibly grateful I got it! This book was not only entertaining, it taught me even more about how to communicate with Jayden. Our bond got even stronger after I read this book, I kid you not. Excerpt from post:

We get to follow the spirit of one canine through several lives. I call it the spirit of a canine because the spirit is reincarnated into different dogs, but the spirit remains the same, growing and maturing with every experience and bringing those experiences into the next life of the next dog. I went into it knowing that the dog’s spirit takes several forms, and the tension that builds as you follow each life, wondering how this one will end, is incredible. I laughed, I cried, I cried some more, I laughed while I cried, I got on the floor and cried on Jayden while he slept.

I’ve juggled the position of this book on my list so many times I can’t count. It’s been so hard to assign numbers to these books! I love every single one of them but the closer we get to number one, the stronger my feelings grow.

5. “Nine Dragons” (Book fifteen in the Harry Bosch Series) – Michael Connelly (#56, December 15)

I was pretty sure about halfway through this book that it would make the top ten list. It was such an intense roller coaster ride throughout the entire book and those kinds of stories are my favorite. This book took bosch to several places we have never been with him before and it was one of those stories you immediately wanted more of. Excerpt from post:

At one point I was listening while soaking in the tub and I sat bolt upright and stared towards my iPod with my mouth hanging open. Bravo, Connelly! I am going to be so incredibly sad when this series is over! Did you possibly introduce us to your next series character?

I have to give Carol a lot of credit here because she said nothing while I was reading this book and after I finished it and began telling her my predictions for future books she cut me off so as not to give anything away. I don’t know if I’ll ever find another series of books I love as much as the Harry Bosch series!

4. “The Hunger Games” (Book One of The Hunger Games Trilogy) – Suzanne Collins (#49, November 9)

It’s impossible to include this book in the top ten list without mentioning “Catching Fire” and “Mocking Jay”. The books blend seamlessly into one another and you really can’t have one without the other. I never thought I would enjoy this trilogy as much as I did, mostly because of my loyalty to Scott Westerfeld. I think he would forgive me though. Excerpt from post:

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.

I think the second book was actually my favorite of the three. Excerpt from “Catching Fire” post:

While this world is well into the future and hopefully will never happen, it’s believable which makes it really scary. This book takes the characters we grew to love in the first book and plunges them into events unimaginable. I did not want to put it down! The movie is going to be amazing I think.

Excerpt from “Mocking Jay” post:

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.

It’s amazing how much a futuristic series was so relevant to today. It’s scary to consider that we are very close to heading towards this made up future.

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.

I loved these books and can’t wait for the next two movies!

3. “The Given Day” – Dennis Lehane (#23 June 17)

It’s getting harder to write more about these books as I go along because when I feel strongly about something, I tend to fall over my words because my brain is moving too fast for my hands. This is one of those books I’m looking forward to reading again but when I finished it, I knew I would need a long break before going back to it. I know there is a sequel to this book coming out at some point so I’ll probably reread it again before that. I love a book that hits me in the gut and this one most certainly did, several times. Excerpt from post:

I loved this book. Ever since reading Scott Westerfeld’s “Leviathan” series, I’ve wanted to read more historical fiction. ‘Given’ is definitely that. I learned so much about post WWI Boston that I never knew. I learned things about early baseball. I unfortunately learned how awful racism was then and how evil men could be. While the story line is fictional, the mood of the time isn’t.

The historical fiction element is what added to those aforementioned gut punches. The present has its own set of problems but reading about the past can be terribly hard to stomach. It’s a good reminder that we don’t have it as bad as we might think we do.

2. “The Potato Factory” (Book One of the Australian Trilogy) – Bryce Courtenay (#28, July 25)

Here we have more historical fiction, this time centering around the history of Australia. This book had it all, incredible writing, fantastic characters, page turning plot, the historical element and best of all, a fabulous narrator. Humphrey Bower gets my best narrator of 2012 without question. A Roofie award? This book and the one before it could easily have been number one, that’s for sure. Excerpt from post:

The main female character, Mary Abacus, goes through things I could never imagine. This is one of those books that sucks you in so deeply that you have a physical reaction to things the characters must endure. This book is definitely not for the weak of heart. It made me extremely grateful to be living in this age and not that one. I used to romanticize living in the 1800′s but I don’t think I would have survived unless I had been one of the privileged.

Yet another example of a book that makes me grateful I live in the time I do, even with its own difficulties. If I had been a blind woman in Mary Abacus’ time, I probably would have died in a gutter.

1. “Gone Girl” – Gillian Flynn (#45, October 25)

Oh, “gone Girl”, I can’t hear the title without shuddering and wishing I had someone to talk to about it. This book was just perfect! I honestly don’t know what to say here. I think I said it all in the review. Listen to me ok? Don’t go reading anything about this book, nothing detailed, ok? Ok. I feel better knowing you’ll heed my advice. No spoilers here or in the original post. Excerpt from post:

It’s a typical story, wife goes missing, husband the prime suspect, but there is nothing even remotely typical about this book. I could not put it down and it was just lucky for me that I was laid up in bed sick so I didn’t have to pause this book for long periods at all. In fact I’m always going to associate a liquid diet with “Gone Girl”. There were several times I was glad I had no food on my stomach while listening to this. I am not going to go into any kind of details lest I ruin this book for you. Please, heed my advice and do not read anything about this book before you finish it. Did you get that? Do NOT read anything about this book until you finish it. No really, are you listening? Don’t ok? Just don’t.

You know that noise you make when you take a bite of something incredibly delicious? Or rather, when you are telling your friends about that food? Yeah, that’s the noise I’m making in my head right now. “gone Girl”, you amazing book you!

1. “Defending Jacob” – William Landay (#41, October 7)

I can’t say anything more about this book than I did in the original review. I’ve already read it again and it was even better the second time, being able to pick out the little hints Landay dropped. I knew back when I finished the book that it would get the number one spot and then the author himself solidified that. You’ll see if you go check out the post. Excerpt from post:

How would your family survive if a member was accused of murder? This novel takes us inside a family that must deal with just that. The father is an assistant district attorney and the member accused of murder is his fourteen year old son. Can a marriage survive that? Will the family make it through the media scrutiny of a trial? If you have children, how do you think you would get through something like this? Would you find yourself doubting your child’s innocence even though in your heart you know he can’t be guilty? He can’t be, right? Right?

I have been considering doing a top ten book list at the end of the year but was undecided, until this book. I am so in love with this book, I would marry it if it asked me. In fact I’m having a difficult time trying to write about it. It’s like when I try and talk about gratitude; I get completely flustered and can’t form a thought.

I just sighed, feeling all my feelings about this book in the span of about fifteen seconds after reading that quote I took from the original post days ago. Quiet reflection, that is the best way I can describe what this book makes me do. I had to lay in bed for a good twenty minutes in the silence after I finished it the first time. Perfect, just a perfect book!

*It’s my blog and I’ll pick two number ones if I want to!*

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

Honorable Mentions

“Angels Flight” (Harry Bosch #6) – Michael Connelly

Oh, “Angels Flight”, I keep thinking about you. So good, just so so good! So dark, oh so dark, and nauseous making. So good.

*It’s not every day that “nauseous making” is a compliment.

“The Art of Fielding” – Chad Harbach

It’s really close to a top ten nod but I just don’t know. I might need to create an honorable mentions category…

*This book *almost* made the list. Always a bridesmaid.

“The Brain That Changes Itself: Personal Triumphs from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge

I was in nerd heaven while I read this. And I found myself more tired during the day after reading this book at night.

*This book will always be known as “that brain book”.

“The Last Coyote” (Harry bosch #4) – Michael Connelly

This book was soooooo good! It’s my favorite of the Harry Bosch books so far, even though it’s only the fourth one.

*Did I catch myself in a lie?

“Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson

When I started it that first night I laughed so hard I was afraid I’d pee the bed.

*I don’t recommend playing this audio book while driving unless constant laughter doesn’t impede your vision.

The Narrows (Harry Bosch #10) – Michael Connelly

…another beloved character is back in a way, the character who got me back into drinking orange juice.

*Thanks to McCaleb and Jayden, my potassium number is good.

“The Scarecrow” (Jack McEvoy #2) – Michael Connelly

This book was scary to me because with our technology today the scenario was pretty easy to imagine.

*Just call me Sandra Bullock. Carol, that’s for you.

“Solomon’s Song” (Book three of The Australian Trilogy) – Bryce Courtenay

His writing is so descriptive and beautiful you can’t help but feel you’re there, running on that beach with the men you’ve come to know.

*That beach was most definitely not a vacation spot.

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

Dishonorable Mentions

“77 Shadow Street” – dean Koontz

It just went on and on and on and then had a really awesome ending.

*That’s what she said.

“1q84” – Haruki Murakami

The book started out pretty cool but it went on and on in several places, so much so that I thought, how did this get passed the editors?

*Editors? We don’t need no stinking editors.

“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith

I do know that several times I felt like Lincoln’s memory was sort of, oh what’s the word…insulted?

I won’t be seeing the movie.

“The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden

I probably didn’t hear the next few sentences over the noise of the crickets in my head.

*I really think the narration is what killed this book though.

“Zero Day” – David Baldacci

Ok, I liked MacGyver, a lot, but this was too extreme.

*They don’t make TV shows like they used to. Oh yeah, forgot we were talking about books.

Those books might have been bad but at least I finished them. There was only one book I didn’t finish this year and that was “Nano” by Robin Cook. I was very disappointed since I loved him when I was a lot younger but I couldn’t even get into the second half of the audio book. The narration might be to blame on this one but Cook has to take some of the blame as well. I’m sorry, but two smart doctors wouldn’t sit in a break room discussing secretive stuff in front of the guy in the corner no matter how absorbed he looked in his work. Add the adults acting like jealous teenagers and the overly troubled past of the damsel in distress and there was just no way to focus on what was going on, the actual cool part, nano technology. Thanks a lot for wasting over two nights of good reading time, man! I wonder what was up with those poor test subjects? Maybe I’ll look it up on Wikipedia. Thanks Audible, for letting me return this and get my credit back!

That does it for the inaugural year end book post! I hope you enjoyed it, got some recommendations, found some books you’ve read here on the list or just killed some time. This post took days to write and format and I learned a lot for next year’s post, for sure. I can’t wait to see what I read next year! I really enjoyed keeping such close track of every book I listened to. I wonder if I’ll read more or less next year? Thank god for audio books and Audible.com!

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, gratitude, Jayden, plugs, sicky sick, sobriety, twitter me this

Let’s talk about God, shall we? Don’t be scared.

I haven’t used a lot of the writing prompts suggested by a Twitter account I’m following but I liked this one and decided to see if I could do it with my one and only iBook. The prompt was to grab the nearest book, turn to page eight-two and work the third full sentence into a post. Since going blind, I can never participate in these sorts of things, grabbing a sentence from a certain page, since that isn’t possible with an audio book. Now however, I have an iBook and the ability to choose my page! I am pretty sure page eighty-two of my iBook isn’t the same as the print book, but it works.

When I found the desired sentence, I was torn about whether to do this. This sentence addresses the major controversy about the program that rescued me from the clutches of alcoholism – God.

When I first stumbled into my first meeting and saw God on the walls in the steps I thought, well I’ll do those steps because I don’t want to drink anymore, but don’t talk to me about God. Of course I knew they would talk to me about a higher power. I had known a guy who had made a band his higher power. Before I had ever started drinking, I hung out at a coffee shop with a bunch of young people who were newly sober and they talked about how they could make their higher power anything they wanted. Yet, it was God on the walls everywhere, not a higher power that was a door knob or a band.

I wanted what those people had though, so I trudged forward and decided to deal with the God thing when I came to it. I wanted to be happy like those other people, those people who didn’t drink and still smiled and laughed, genuinely laughed!

“When we became alcoholics,crushed by a self imposed crisis we could not postpone or evade, we had to fearlessly face the proposition that either God is everything or else he is nothing.”

I have read that sentence countless times this morning as I copied it down from my iBook word by word. Looking back on those early days over seven and a half years later, I see that I had already noticed that God is everything when I looked at those happy people and decided I would do whatever they had done to be like them. I didn’t know it yet, but it was their faith in something, call it whatever you want, that was pouring out and making me drunk with the desire to be happy with them.

The misconception about this program and God on the wall is that when you walk in the door they start throwing bibles at you and making you believe what they believe. That is so far from the truth I laugh when I hear it. You hear comedians talking about it, you see it online in every social networking group there is, it’s everywhere and it’s sad.

The chapter in the book, (yes there’s a book but it’s not a bible, it’s more a manual) this quote comes from is the chapter called “We Agnostics”. The writers of the book understood that in order for their program to save as many lives as possible, they would need to reach out to people of all faiths. All faiths include no faith. That is where the God of your understanding comes in and that’s what saved my life.

I craved having something to believe in. I needed it. I was frightened off of religion as a child though and never found anything I could believe in. I tried as a young adult. I went to supposed “cool churches” but they still preached hate. When I was told I could borrow my sponsor’s God, I was intrigued.

She asked if I believed she believed in her higher power. Well, yes I did. She asked if I wanted what she had, meaning her sobriety and her happiness. yes I did. So she said I could borrow her God. She called it God because that is a universal name and it’s easy to spell. So when I left her house, I pretended her God came with me. I started talking to her God, just asking for help staying sober, simple stuff in the beginning. I cannot describe the relief!

Whether that God was real or not didn’t matter. The point was I was so sick and broken that believing that her God was watching out for me and helping me stay sober brought me relief and took away some of the fear that I would go weak and buy a drink. It didn’t take long for me to morph that comfort into my own conception of my own God.

That faith that helped me stay sober in the beginning has helped me through so much more than I ever thought possible. Whatever it was that I talked to and begged for help when I was diagnosed with MS, kept me from drinking and got me through that adjustment. Whatever it was that I leaned on and relaxed into when I went blind on my three year sobriety anniversary helped me stay sober through a life altering ordeal and helped me through that adjustment. Whatever I sobbed to on my knees in the kitchen with a destroyed coffee maker and water and coffee grounds all over me, kept me from drinking and guided me towards getting help for my mental health.

So in my life, is God everything? You bet. Is my God a religious God? Not for me, but if that’s what you need, fantastic! Is my God always God? No. I don’t pretend to know what God is and sometimes my higher power is just the part of me that is sane, the part of me that knows what the next right thing is and does it, the part of me that knows right from wrong and cares about others. So you see, sometimes my God is me. If that isn’t everything or nothing, I don’t know what is.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, faith, fellowship, gratitude, mental health, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, sobriety, spoons, twitter me this

“The Blanket” – My First Short Story

Back when I took the F2K Free Creative Writing course, I discovered how much I love writing short stories. After several lessons were under our belts, we were given a short story challenge. Participation was voluntary and if we so desired, we could try our hands at the guidelines. These were, write a story with a beginning, middle and end, one thousand words or less, containing these three objects: a blanket, a TV stand and an empty glass.

I couldn’t believe the ideas these three objects sparked. Long time readers of my blog will be familiar with this since I’ve asked you to submit these objects that I call sparks for a few short stories here. The first story I wrote is dear to my heart and I had originally posted it on the blog until a fellow writer told me if I ever wanted to publish the story, it couldn’t be published elsewhere. I contacted one publication that focuses on the kind of material this story is about but they don’t publish fiction.

I’ve decided the story doesn’t belong anywhere if not that publication or right here at the Roof. It has been just sitting in my computer collecting dust and a writer wants her creativity to be experienced by others. So, I decided Thanksgiving would be a good day to publish my first ever short story here. I hope you enjoy it!

Word Count: 993

“The Blanket”

The sun was setting as I left, a slight chill in the air. My name was called from the direction of the smokers, and as I turned, I saw Troy breaking free of the haze as he tossed his smoke and jogged toward me.

“Troy, congratulations my man.” I took him into a warm hug.

“Pat, thanks. And thank you for being a part of this last year. I have a favor to ask you…” he trailed off, as if afraid to continue. He often called me is sober mom, since I was old enough to be. When he walked into the rooms a year ago, he was the shell of a boy lingering on the threshold of manhood. How things change, I thought. I urged him to ask his question by saying nothing, only squeezing his hand.

“I watch you crochet those blankets,” he began sheepishly, “and I wonder if you’d make me one. I’ll pay you.” His eyes filled with tears and for a second, I couldn’t speak. I hadn’t expected that, the question, nor the show of emotion.

“Of course I’ll make you a blanket but you can pay me by explaining why asking for it filled those beautiful baby blues with tears.” I grinned at him and he relaxed.

“Deal. Can you make it in shades of green?”

“You got it darlin.” He had no other requests as to the pattern or anything, just shades of green. Interesting, I thought as I walked to my car.

Over the next few weeks, I worked on his blanket. When I crochet something for someone,a little love goes in to every stitch. I thought about Troy and how far he had come, and a few tears even made their way into the strands of yarn. When the finishing touches were added, and the blanket washed, I called Troy and we met for coffee.

As we settled in, whisps of smoke in the air and Nirvana spilling from the speakers, the blanket tucked neatly into a bag at my feet, I faced Troy, sipping the bitter espresso. “Ok, you know the deal, spill.”

Troy sighed and took a long pull on his mocha. “My mother crocheted me a blanket when I was 16. I mean, sure it was nice and all, but hell, I was 16. I wanted cds and nudey mags, you know? I don’t think I ever even used it, but I always had it, even when I left at 18, immersed in my drinking. I started dating this girl who found it and washed it and draped it over my couch. It looked so stupid. A crocheted blanket in shades of green on my stained, beat up blue couch,” he laughed and took another long pull of his mocha.

“When I was 19, mom was killed in a drunk driving accident. She was the drunk one. I hated her for that.”

I sat there, the warmth slowly fading from my cup.

Troy continued, “ironically, I hated her for being what I was becoming. One night some buddies were over and we got loaded. One of the guys ended up puking everywhere. I was already blacked out by then. Another guy grabbed that blanket off the couch, mopped up the vomit, and took the blanket to the dumpster.”

“I woke up the next morning, sprawled on the floor by the tv. I reached up and touched my aching head and it was sticky with blood. I had fallen into the tv stand the night before and busted open my eyebrow. I remember staring at an empty glass next to the tv. Had that been my glass? I still don’t know. I don’t remember how I found out about the blanket, but I remember running to the dumpster, only to find it completely empty. The damn trash man had already been there. I drank even more in those last few months, eventually landing myself a good ol’ DUI and walking into my first meeting after a nudge from the judge. When my head started clearing, and I saw you making those blankets, I knew I needed one.”

He stopped talking and flopped back onto the couch, fishing in his pocket for a cigarette. He tried lighting it with shaking hands, until I took the lighter and lit it for him. I didn’t speak and neither did he. When he was done smoking, I reached down and handed him the bag. He gingerly removed the blanket from the bag, lovingly caressing the different textured yarns in many shades of green. Finally he broke down, leaning forward with his head in the folds of the blanket arms on his knees, shoulders wracking with sobs. Now a grown man, unabashedly sobbing in the coffee shop.

We could have looked like mother and son there in that hazy shop, as I set my cup down and wrapped him in my arms as the blanket soaked up his tears. When he had calmed, he sat up and gave me a winning smile, mouthing the words, thank you.

“No, thank you,” I whispered. Brushing his hair from his forehead I said, “I knew that story would be the best payment you could have given me for this blanket. You are a miracle my son. I’m so honored to be a part of your amends to your mom.”

His eyes widened. “Amends?”

I sat back and smiled. “How do we make amends to the dead? We live our lives with grace and dignity and maybe we recreate something we lost of them. Isn’t that what you did?” He laughed and said he hadn’t thought of it that way, but agreed that I was right.

The sun was setting as we left the coffee shop, hand in hand, mother and son in sobriety, his story still swimming in our minds, a part of both our pasts now, and pushing us forward into the future, one day at a time.

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Filed under coffeeholic, crochet, gratitude, holiday, misty eyes, NaBloPoMo 2012, plugs, short story challenge, sobriety, writing

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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Filed under accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, Alex, apple Inc, assistive technologies, baseball, cool product, evan longoria, fellowship, Fi, humor as coping skill, I might be a writer, in the news, iPhone, Jayden, letters, mental health, misty eyes, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, on this date, politics, proud geek, screen reader, silly girl, sobriety, Spinelli, spoons, Timmy, twitter me this

A Letter to Fourteen Year-Old Me

I follow a Twitter account that is posting daily writing prompts to assist people with NaBloPoMo ideas. Part of me really wants to come up with my own ideas but I think that’s the stubborn part. I found one of the ideas really intriguing so I saved the tweet. For today’s post, I’ll write a letter to my fourteen year-old self. Whoa. I’m imagining it being November 4, 1993. Tomorrow I’ll write a letter to myself in twenty years. I’ve been trying to recall who I was when I was fourteen. This should be interesting!

Dear fourteen year-old Ro,

Did your eyes light up when I referred to you as Ro? I bet they did. I know how much you always wished you could have a cool nickname and how you fantasized that you could be like Ro Laren from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Well guess what? You don’t turn out like Ro, but you’ll be known as Ro in your thirties. How cool is that?

It’s funny that I’m writing this letter to you because just yesterday I played four X-Files episodes so I could convert them to mp3. You have no idea what that means I realize. Oh, the technology that is coming, I won’t even begin to try and explain because I think it might freak you out a little bit. Just…pay attention to a lot of what they use in Star Trek, ok? Because I can tell you from first hand knowledge of the future that some of that is real in my time. Don’t get too excited; they haven’t figured out how to transport things yet. You and your friend Carol will wish for that a lot when you grow up. Transporters and replicators would make life so easy but I guess maybe we won’t see that in our lifetime. Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t want you getting your hopes up. Technology is going to be a huge part of your life in the future. I know right now you’re resistant to it but just trust me, ok? Oh, and try to remember what that little Mac is called when Mom gives it to you.

Congratulations on making it through middle school. I know that was awful and I know you’re still recovering from it and wishing it had never happened. Try and believe me when I say it made you incredibly strong and you have no idea what that hardship prepared you for as you grow up. I won’t go into details but I will tell you that everything you’re going through now is all going to be invaluable as you face challenges in life. There will be challenges. But you overcome them because of your experience. Just keep doing everything you’re doing because I have no regrets. You’re doing it all the right way.

Except, quit being so hard on yourself about Mom and Dad’s marriage, ok? It’s not your fault. No really. It’s not your fault.

On a happier note, you know how much you love cats? Well that doesn’t stop and Combat and Little Kitty are with you for a really long time. You know how you think you’ll never have a dog? Well you’re gonna have the coolest dog ever, take my word for it on that. I’m sitting with him on the couch as I write this and he is the light of my life. You’re probably rolling your eyes at that but it’s the truth!

I want to say I’m very proud of you for waiting with G. Your future self is grateful you didn’t give in to your hormones with him. You really are too young for that and that is totally ok, so just keep waiting. You know that boy C who sits with you in Biology? Can you try to keep closer tabs on him? You’re probably laughing at me right now. I know you don’t think much of him now but you just wait. I lost touch with him and only just recently found him on Facebook but neither of us uses it much so I still don’t know what’s up with him. I’m sure the word Facebook is confusing you. There is so much in the realm of technology you’ll experience! I wish I could watch. Oh and Wesley Crusher? Yeah, I follow him on Twitter. Wil Wheaton that is. Don’t ask what Twitter is, it’s too hard to explain. I’ve talked to him though. Well not really I mean he hasn’t replied to me but his wife has! Oh sorry, yeah he has a wife and it’s not you. Oh that was harsh? Just helping to toughen that skin!

Oh, I know I said I had no regrets from this time in our life but I do want to make one suggestion. Stay in the girls chorus one year longer ok? If you graduate when I did you’ll be really upset the next year when you find out where the tour is. I know you left chorus to focus on getting ready for college but trust me on this and stay in an extra year. The experience of the trip will be so much better than the time wasted preparing for college. Wait, I’m not saying that college isn’t important, but please, for the love of everything Nirvana, stay in an extra year. I wish I had gotten to go on that trip…

Speaking of trips, wasn’t New York amazing? You’ll be telling stories from that trip for the rest of your life. That was such an incredible experience. Please add to it and stay in choir another year. Ok ok, I’ll drop it.

You’re probably getting bored of this letter and I bet there’s an episode of The X-Files getting ready to start or something. Oh hey thanks for recording all those episodes on the VCR. Those tapes really came in handy when I was about twenty-one or so. Just wait until you see how people record TV shows and movies today!

Keep on being the cool kid you are right now. Yes I said cool. You don’t think you’re cool but you are and you helped me be who I am today. Remember about choir and keep hanging on to those morals of yours; they get you through a lot. Mom is going to talk to you about drinking. Pay attention ok? Don’t change what you do with that information, but it becomes very valuable when you’re twenty-six. Thanks. I think that’s about all I have. I wish I could go back in time and give you a hug. Get ready for the crazy ride the next twenty years will take you on. You’ll be amazed when you sit here and write this letter to yourself, amazed at what you’ve been through and survived. Enjoy it, none of your books could have written it any better!

Love,

Thirty-three year-old Ro

PS – I still refuse to step foot inside The Gap. Oh, and I love baseball. No seriously. Ok, you’ll believe it in about seventeen years or so.

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Filed under apple Inc, baseball, cats, Combat, family, gratitude, Jayden, letters, mom, My story, NaBloPoMo 2012, on this date, proud geek, sobriety, twitter me this

Book forty-two in 2012 – “The Next Right Thing” – Dan Barden

It was bad timing and bad narration that kind of ruined this book for me I think. I began reading it after I finished “Defending Jacob” and I said in that post that nothing should have to follow that book. I think I said that because when I wrote it I was already about a quarter of the way through “The Next Right Thing” and was having a really difficult time getting into it.

The book is about a guy in AA who can’t let go of why is friend relapsed on heroine and died. The ex cop begins doing everything in his power to discover who was at fault instead of just telling himself that his friend was an addict and no matter how long someone is sober, we’re all in danger of relapsing if we’re not careful. Obviously this book appealed to me because of its subject matter. When I read the title in a tweet, I knew it would be about the fellowship that saved my life.

As with any audio book the narration can make or break it and I think in this case, the narration broke the book. I’m not familiar with this author but apparently he writes mysteries and thrillers and perhaps the narrator decided he needed to be dramatic. In any case, the comedic parts of the novel tended to be lost in the narration and the pronunciation of the coffee shop with a French name made me cringe every time.

Here in Arizona we have a lot of street names and dry river beds and such with Spanish names and when you get a Spanish speaking reporter on TV, it’s hilarious when they come across these names as their accents suddenly become quite apparent. This is what happened with this coffee shop in this novel. It was like nails on a chalkboard for me!

There were parts of the book that were endearing and I related to a lot of it, having gotten sober in this program myself and then pretty much completely withdrawing from it. It was good to hear some of the things I heard all the time back when I was an active member. I still talk with people who are also sober but it’s different from sitting in the rooms and hearing the sayings on a regular basis. This book also outlines the darker side, yes there is a darker side, how could you put a bunch of alcoholics and addicts in one room and expect everything to be perfect all the time?

I’ve never included a link to anything about the other books on my list but I’m including this Washington Post review of the book because I really do think I read it with bad timing and I might have been more positive about it had I not just finished reading what I’m considering to be my number one book of the year.

Oh, before I’m done I specifically remembered a description that was used about a flower bed that I wanted to put in the post when I wrote about this book. It was something like, the flower bed “was a gang fight of color”. I probably didn’t hear the next few sentences over the noise of the crickets in my head. It was lines like that that made me wish the narrator had done this book as a campy novel. It had a campy feel to me and I think maybe then it would have been better. A good mix of campiness and drama makes for a good novel, in my opinion.

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

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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Filed under 2012 Book List, Audio books, sobriety, twitter me this

My thoughts on the RNIB ad that’s causing such a stir

I had been noticing several tweets referencing an ad the RNIB put out for fundraising. The RNIB serves the blind and visually impaired community in the UK.

Today I finally asked what the stir was and was directed to this youtube of the ad. The ad features the story of Emma, a little girl who is losing her vision. The stars fade away and one day she’s blind, calling out to her mother who she can’t see. The uproar over the ad is over the use of such a story to ask for money, because the story portrays blindness negatively and makes being blind sound like the end of a life, since Emma can no longer have the childhood she once had.

Here is where I will try and control myself. We all have different experiences. Someone who can’t remember seeing isn’t going to relate to Emma. Someone who is well adapted to blindness either because they’ve been blind since birth or have been blind for a long time, isn’t going to relate to Emma. Such people will be offended at the way blindness is portrayed.

I relate to Emma. The stars didn’t fade over time for me. The last time I saw the stars I didn’t know it was my last time. My surroundings faded away in the space of one day. I didn’t have the presence of mind to stare at my cat or a picture of my mom before my sight faded. I did stare at my boyfriend as my sight faded, and just made out the three lines on my three year sobriety medallion before my sight faded. So I relate to Emma.

Does my story make you misty? Do you think you might be more apt to donate to an organization that helps the blind? How about my guide dog school? Are you moved to help?

How is that any different than the ad featuring Emma, a child who will have to relearn how to do things with her friends? I had to relearn how to do things with my friends and I wasn’t even a child. I’m in awe of the fact that Emma will be able to ride a bike again and I’m blind. Should I not be in awe of her?

We need organizations like the RNIB, ACB, NFB, local blind centers etc. I wouldn’t have the life I have today without the blind center here or Guide Dogs for the Blind where I got my dog, and those places need money. A person with a lot of money to donate who isn’t blind or low vision or knows someone who is might just have a child Emma’s age and when they think about their own child losing their sight, they can personalize blindness, making it easier for them to open their wallets.

The RNIB wasn’t asking for four pounds a day or whatever it was to fund a vacation for the CEO. They were asking for help for future people who will need their help. I just don’t have a problem with it. I understand those who do, I suppose. I can try to understand, I guess, but all I have is my own experience which is very much like the child Emma’s.

Plus, the narrator sounded like the butler from Downton Abby and I love that show.

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, blind opinion, GDB, gratitude, misty eyes, mom, sobriety, twitter me this, youtube

Sobriety and Blind anniversaries, Changed Plans and Silver Linings

For me, life is all about the silver linings. If I can’t find a silver lining to most things, I’ll go crazy.

It’s kinda funny how plans change, whether it be life plans or just plans for the day. While I journaled this morning, I remembered how I felt on this date seven years ago, hungover, trembling, terrified, stinky. I wrote about how I felt a little hungover this morning too, though of course not alcohol induced just sleep induced. I often feel dehydrated in the mornings with a touch of a too much sleep headache, but the feeling passes within a half hour of waking, unlike the hold hangovers.

I used to make myself wait until noon to drink a beer, the only thing that would make me feel better, because noon seemed like an acceptable time to drink. Granted, the wait was never that long since I never used to be an early riser anyway.

I love having the ability to wake up these days, rather than simply coming to. I love being able to eat breakfast and drink coffee without risking it all just coming right back up. I’m so grateful I’m not a slave to the alcohol anymore. I hope I can keep remembering how different the feelings are, because as the years pass, those old drinking days get hazier and hazier and I never want to forget why I don’t pick up the bottle. I’ve been sober longer than I drank now and that fact boggles my mind, especially since I never thought I’d make it to age thirty and now I’m thirty-three. I had certainly never planned on having to give up alcohol completely and sometimes I wish I could just have one or two, though I still say, what’s the point in one or two?

The silver lining in not being able to drink even socially? The amazing friends I have now since I got sober. My three closes girls, Carol, Chupa and Georgie, and my “brother” Kevin. I’d never in a million years trade them for the ability to sip champagne on New Year’s Eve. Hahahaha sip champagne? Really? I never sipped anything alcohol in my life!

I also obviously never planned on losing my eyesight on the day that I celebrated three years sober. Talk about crazy. I had taken the day off of work with the intention of relaxing at home and then going to a meeting. Instead, I went to the ER around noon as my vision slowly left over the space of the day. I saw the three year medallion that was brought to me in the hospital just before my eyesight left completely, and I had gazed at B, memorizing his face.

Hey, at least it’s easy to remember the day I went blind since it fell on my favorite date ever, the date I was liberated from the bondage of booze. Silver lining!

You want to know the two biggest silver linings of going blind? If you know me at all, they shouldn’t be hard to guess. My guide dog Jayden and the Tampa Bay Rays.

If I was sighted, I wouldn’t have those things. I definitely wouldn’t have Jayden. I suppose there’s an off chance Evan Longoria could have made me fall in love with the Rays even if I hadn’t gone blind, but I bet I would have just looked at him as B told me the Rays’ story, said, “pretty!” and gone back to doing whatever I used to do sighted.

Because of the Rays, I have an incredible host of friends on Twitter, one of whom just sent me a box with a Rays spring training shirt, the much coveted Game 162 shirt and a Rays cowbell, which was a surprise. The shirts I expected, but not the cowbell. I can’t wait to ring it later during the game!

This morning I had planned on doing laundry and at some point writing this post before the game. Even those plans changed, when Chupa called this morning to wish me happy anniversary. I was not about to cut the conversation short with her just to get the laundry done before it got hot. I know what my priorities are today and those are people, not possessions.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go edit this post and play with my dog a bit before publishing. I have to fight the new Blogger interface, so I need to have some fun first. 😉

Jaaaaaaaaaayden! Need to go outside? Yeah? Want your Wobbler? Ok! (Best silver lining ever. Would I give him up for sight? No way!)

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Filed under Adjustment to blindness, anniversary, baseball, coffeeholic, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, sobriety, twitter me this