Category Archives: Timmy

October’s Audio books and NaNoWriMo

So I was having a Twitter conversation with Lauren DeStefano and she mentioned that one of her characters in her Internment Chronicles books, has a brother who is blind. She didn’t give me many details about him and I decided I needed to read those books. So what does Lauren DeStefano do? Offers to mail me her audio book copy of the book! Of course I said no. Wait what? No of course I didn’t say no, in fact I asked her to sign the cover of the audio book. I’ve often wondered what I would do if I had the chance to go to a book signing. Ask the author to sign my iPhone? She told me the book was wrapped in black tissue paper to protect it. She wanted to make sure I knew it was just black tissue paper and I wasn’t missing any designs. I wondered why an audio book would need to be protected but whatevs.

So maybe a week later, I got an envelope with not one, but two audio books inside! Grinning, I opened the envelope and took out the books. The CD booklet didn’t feel smooth as I took off the tissue paper. Hmmm.

Lauren DeStefano signed the cases with puff paint!

I won’t lie. A lump formed in my throat. She thought of everything!

In other news, I’m officially doing National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year. The novel writing finally begins Sunday!(Sunday Sunday Sunday!) The story’s working title is ‘Vivian and the King’. Months ago my cat, Timmy, inspired an idea and I began brainstorming. I fell in love pretty quickly and so decided I would develop the story for NanOWriMo and do it for realsies this year. When I first heard about it in 2010, it was already mid November so I didn’t sign up or anything, just decided to see how much I could write before November ended. a story was developed, characters created, chapters written. That novel, with working title ‘Yellow’, has been a practice novel for me over the years ever since. I still plan to finish the first draft one day.

My goal is to finish ‘Vivian and the King’ and then revise it, polish it, begin querying agents with it. I’ve been marinating on this idea ever since Timmy inspired it. I have pages of notes, an outline, tons of bookmarks on ancient Egytp and finally named the cat in the novel. I am so ready to go! I even went and met local writers. In person. People, in person. Wow.

So I won’t be doing NaBloPoMo this year for the first time since 2009, which is kind of bitter sweet since it’s nice to have those daily posts from Novembers of years past. But, this is my dream we’re talking about here, and my dream is to be a published author, so I think I can let go of NaBloPoMo this year. Who knows when I’ll post here in December with November’s book post. I work on these posts all through the month and I’ll be just slightly busy in November. I’ll also be working on my second review for Disability in Kid Lit. I’ll be getting my review copy soon. busy bee! I’m kind of ridiculously happy lately!

Oh, forgot to mention that the character of Vivian was inspired by my friend’s daughter, who I get to hang out with for Halloween. I’m super psyched about the opportunity to talk to her about some things that will feature in the novel. Love my life right now! *knock on wood*

*Ten books this month*

88. “The Traveler” (The fourth Realm book 1) by John Twelve Hawks – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished October 31

A masterfully written novel about a group of people who call themselves harlequins who protect people called travelers who can bounce around between dimensions, pursued by people who want to tap the traveling power and link it with a super computer in order to better control the human race, narrated by Scott Brick? Yes please. I’ll even forgive Mr. Brick for pronouncing saguaro sag-war-o.

Oh man, what an amazing book. Twelve Hawks can write, I mean he can freaking write. Wow. I feel like i’m in a master class with this series. the characters are all three dimensional and believable. The action? wow. I’ve found that long action scenes in novels tend to let my mind wander. Not in ‘Traveler’. I imagined every punch, every swerve of a vehicle, every sword slash.

There’s this community of people who go live off the grid, and it’s eerily similar to the town I’ve invented for Yellow, except they definitely don’t live off the grid haha. I can’t help but smile when I see something similar to something I’ve invented, in published novels. That used to make me panic, the thought that something has already been done. but now I know to write it anyway. Only I can tell the story in my head, and everything has already been done. It’s a fact.

I definitely recommend this series. What a book. Wow. Thanks Ricardo!

Big Brother is watching and he’s armed with a quantum computer. *Shiver*

@John12Hawks

87. “Afterworlds” by Scott Westerfeld narrated by Sheetal Sheth and Heather Lind

Finished October 28

I read this book again in preparation for NaNoWriMo. The book came out this time last year and I read it then, but there’s no book post from that first reading. I read it back-to-back twice last year, its’ that good.

Darcy Patel participates in NaNoWriMo while she’s a senior in high school. “Afterworlds” opens describing how Darcy wrote to (queried) an agent, got signed and got a book deal. Lucky girl! She decides to move to New York city to be near publishing while she does rewrites on her book and begins work on the second novel of her two book deal. We follow Darcy on her journey as she falls in love, works on her career and eats noodles-lots and lots of noodles. I highly recommend having Ramen on hand.

Every other chapter is Darcy’s novel, “Afterworlds” We get to read what has become Darcey’s polished novel, watching as the two stories parallel one another. In Darcey’s ‘Afterworlds’, Lizzie Scofield plays dead to survive a terrorist attack and finds that she can travel to the flip side, where ghosts live. She meets a death god and a child ghost who’s been haunting Lizzie’s mother since she was herself a child. Darcey weaves a tale about Lizzie’s adjustment to life as a new psycho pomp, spirit guide, reaper. shine.

I loved this book the first two times I read it and even more now that I know about the publishing process in greater detail. If I wasn’t excited about my baby novel being born on Sunday before, you can bet i am now. I can’t wait!

@ScottWesterfeld

86. “Burning Kingdoms” (Internment Chronicles book 2) by Lauren DeStefano – narrated by Laura Knight Keating

finished October 26

For book one, skip to the next heading.

What a culture shock book two is! first, let me say that I think book two is cursed. None of the tracks on the CD were labeled so when I imported them and used Audio Book Binder on them, the tracks scrambled. Of course I didn’t notice this until I started reading, at night, all snuggled in bed. It took an entire day the next day to copy the tracks again and make sure they were all labeled properly. Cursed I tell you. Oh! See I knew there was something else that caused me to think the book is cursed. With about two hours to go one night, the book just stopped playing. I could tell the iPad was still on since I could see the light from it. It was plugged in. It wouldn’t speak. No amount of restarting it worked. Siri wouldn’t even talk. the next day, I plugged it into iTunes and it’s like yeah, this iPad has a problem. Maybe updating it will fix it, or else you’ll need to restore. Luckily the update fixed it so maybe the book isn’t totally cursed.

I don’t want to say too much about this second book since really saying anything will spoil the ending of the first one, as I discovered when I accidentally read the first sentence of the publisher’s summary at Audible. I’ll just say I didn’t like it as much as I did the first one. We get to know one of the characters better, which is nice. This book just sort of felt like a place holder between books one and three. I have high hopes for book three, though. It’s out next year. tick tock.

@LaurenDeStefano

85.“Perfect Ruin” (Internment Chronicles book 1) by Lauren Destefano – narrated by Laura Knight Keating

Finished October 22

What an interesting concept. Internment is a floating city, ripped from the Earth as a punishment. I totally imagined Dark city, the movie. The city is ruled by a king, and regulations are strict. Births are limited and planned, and babies are betrothed at birth. given glass betrothal bands, children wear them around the neck until the ring fits on the finger. At the time of the couple’s wedding, the glass is filled with the blood of their partner. Angelina and Billy bob much? The edge of Internment is surrounded by a fence and gale force winds, and if Internment’s residents get too close, they risk going insane. Jump off the edge, and one will be hurled back over and left with physical damage.

Morgan Stockhour’s brother Lex, is one of the jumpers, and was blinded as a result. He has an interesting contraption with which he dictates novels. He is completely dependent on his family, which shows what it might be like to lose one’s sight in a dystopian setting. Lex can no longer remember what shapes look like and he’s only been blind for three years. Not quite accurate, but hey, maybe the jumping attempt left his brain a bit addled too. Seriously though, I did roll my eyes a bit at some of Lex’s life, like how he constantly knocks over his wife’s vases of flowers. Is he just incapable of adjusting to life with blindness? Though, I do knock my own stuff over from time to time…

Lex is a side character. The main story is the brutal murder of a teenaged girl and her betrothed subsequent arrest for it. Morgan starts to understand that her life on Internment is much more complicated than she thought, and for the first time in her life, she begins to feel fear. She starts to understand why lex was so curious about the edge. what might life be like on the ground?

Once this book had its hooks in, it didn’t let go. I had to know what would happen next. It’s a quiet story. I don’t know how else to describe it. the city of Internment is so slow and sleepy but there’s this underlying tension that builds to a plummeting conclusion.

I recommend if you’re a fan of YA dystopia. It was definitely and entertaining read. Laura Knight Keating does a nice job, though Lauren DeStefano did tell me that the character name of Basil is pronounced like the spice. the narrator, and my screen reader, pronounce it differently, like the Greek name.

84. “Zeroes” by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti – narrated by Amber Benson

Finished October 20

Note I took just after starting:I had no idea there was a blind character in this book until a couple days ago, when Scott Westerfeld retweeted a tweet about it. I cringed inside, wondering how badly the authors were going to screw up blind. But, I just met the blind character and so far, aside from the bright dress she’s wearing for visibility, she’s spot on. I’m guessing the dress is the product of an overprotective parent. end note.

Actually, after reading some more, her bright dresses are explained. It’s part of her power. You see, all the teens in “Zeroes” have a power. they aren’t quite super heroes; they call themselves Zeroes.

Flicker is the blind girl but her power isn’t enhanced by her blindness. There’s a lot of complaints in the disability in literature crowd about disabilities being cured in fiction, or turning into a power. Now I understand why my friend Chupa hated the movie Powder so much. Flicker’s power is freaking awesome and I want it and I want to be her for Halloween. Except she uses a white cane and not a guide dog. sometimes she doesn’t even need her mobility tool, but you have to read the book to find out why. It’s so freaking cool! And Westerfeld and his writing partners nailed the blind aspect of the character. I talked with him on Twitter about it, and he said they spoke with a blind teenager. See? That’s how you write diversity. Anyway.

Other characters in the novel are Crash, who crashes electronics, Mob, who effects crowds, Scam, who has an inner voice that is all knowing and can take control of a situation with his charm, Anonymous, who literally hides in plain sight and I can’t remember the last one’s code name. The others called him Fearless Leader because he was the leader of the Zeroes. he also annoyed me for most of the book so maybe that’s why I can’t remember his code name.

Anyway, I freaking loved this book! It’s such a fun twist on superheroes. No one can fly or shoot webs from their wrist or wait, what exactly does Batman do? Fight evil with his money? I’m not usually a big superhero fan. Zeroes though? Hell yeah. And there’s two more books coming!

The narrator was incredible. She voiced each character in awesome, unique ways. She brought the story to life. the male characters weren’t even annoying, as they often are when voiced by women.

@ScottWesterfeld
@deborah_b
@margolanagan

83. “Apex” (Nexus book 3) by Ramez Naam – narrated by Stephanie Canon

Finished October 17

when is this book going to end OMG make it stop. last night I sped up the speech rate and it helped a little bit with the terrible narrating, and should make the end of the book come faster. The narrating, oh holy hell it’s bad. It’s not terrible until she mispronounces a word or has to read a Chinese character. They really should have gotten the actress who played Mrs. Swan in Mad TV to read this book. I new I should have taken note of the word Canon mispronounced so egregiously last night. Damn what was it. I think I have about six hours left. Make it stop, just make it stop. Why am I not giving up on this book? I guess I care about a few of the characters enough to keep going.

Last night I was thinking about this post in progress as I listened to the book. I follow a lot of writerly accounts on twitter and one of them posted an article about things not to do in your prose. I won’t mention one of the things mentioned in that article here, because Naam does it all the time in this book and it’s so distracting to me because it’s something I never would have thought of until a writerly type pointed it out and now I can’t stop analyzing it every time Naam does it, which is a lot. I’m guessing that might be part of why I can’t just get immersed in the story and ignore the bad narrating. If a writerly type happens to read this post, did my run-on just drive you nuts? I’m a fan of those.

Finally finished it last night. There was so much filler, unnecessary filler. We’re taken from our main characters too much, over to this side story in China with characters that came out of nowhere in this book and who are Chinese so we get treated to Canon’s awful Chinese accent. When we would finally get back to the main characters, I’d start to get in to the story again, only to be ripped out and taken to China again.

This series was interesting, set in the future where a drug links minds. It’s cool but terrifying. I recommend the series if you’re a scifi fan, but do this third book on Kindle or something. the narrating really destroys it, at least it did for me. Maybe the secondary story wouldn’t have been so annoying without the terrible narrator.

@ramez

82. “Furiously Happy: A funny Book About Horrible Things” by Jenny Lawson – narrated by Jenny Lawson

Finished October 11

Oh, how I needed this book. I read her first book back in July of 2012. What! 2012! No way. wow. Where does time go? Seriously. Whoa, Clair Danes just said seriously at the same time I wrote it. b is home on staycation and watching Homeland. Happy birthday B! Anyway, what was I writing about? Oh right, “furiously Happy’.

I realized while I was listening to Jenny’s voice read her words to me, that since I’ve made the decision to get serious about my writing, part of my personality got too serious. Does that make sense? I’ve gotten so serious about learning everything I can about writing and publishing, trying to get my name out there in some way or other, which will happen tomorrow, October 16th, when my first review gets published over at Disability in Kid Lit, that I’ve lost some of my silliness and personality. It’s coming back to me now that I’m upright and walking away from that depression, rather than crawling away, and I’m so grateful for it. I have to thank Jenny lawson for giving me that last push, getting me up off the floor. Thank you, jenny.

In ‘Furiously Happy’, Jenny tells her own stories of depression and anxiety, balanced perfectly with the hilarity that ensues when a mentally ill person decides to be furiously happy. It’s her way of fighting back, of saying f-you to depression and deciding that dammit, if she wants to wear a koala suit in Australia when she meets koala bears, she’s gonna freaking do it. She made the decision to be herself and embrace her damn mental illnesses because the alternative is…well…furiously ugly.

I highly, highly recommend this book for anyone dealing with mental illness or for anyone who’s loved ones are dealing with mental illness, or for anyone who just wants to look inside and see what it’s like to live with mental illness. I related to Jenny soooooo much! My anxiety and depression isn’t as bad as hers but I know it could get that bad and if it does? I’m buying myself a damned stuffed raccoon. yep. No, wait, not a stuffed animal toy raccoon. A taxidermied freaking raccoon. Apple dictionary says taxidermied isn’t a word. Whoa, I’m like a sentence in Jenny’s book.

I want a silver ribbon pin. Jenny, is there a silver ribbon pin? I’ll never remember to pin an actual silver ribbon on but a prefabbed pin? Yeah, I could remember that.

@TheBloggess

81.“White Trash Zombie Gone Wild” (White Trash zombie, book 5) by Diana rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore

Finished October 8

the only bad thing about a new White Trash Zombie book is the need to wait a year for the next one. In this latest installment, our favorite zombie, Angel Crawford, finds herself on her own, her zombie crew all off fixing things elsewhere. Oh right, and there’s also that little problem of her new addiction. Rowland is pretty dang good at writing the whole addiction thing.

so much was going on in this book that I felt my head spinning and thinking, wow too much is going on here. then, with two hours left, I was like how on earth is she gonna unravel the story she’s woven? And she did. the woman can write. and Allison McLemore does a fantastic job as always. I love these books! they have such a positive undertone, they are just plain good for my mental health. If you have an aversion to swearing and brain eating, this series is not for you, though if you expected anything else after reading the titles, I don’t know what to tell ya.

@DianaRowland

80.“White Trash Zombie Apocalypse” (White Trash Zombie book 3) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore

Finished October 6

I had reread White Trash Zombie book four in preparation for book five but didn’t time it right so I decided to read book three since book five wasn’t out for a few more days. That’s the thing about this series for me. It grabs me and doesn’t want to let go. I just enjoy Angel’s company so much that I never want to move on. She’s just a fun chick I could totally imagine having as a real friend, so long as she keeps well fed and doesn’t think my brain smells enticing.

Here’s my post from the first time I read this book. I’m kinda freaking out because I don’t remember that time at all. I read that in this house? in November? Yikes.

I had to laugh when I was perusing some of the reviews on this book. McLemore had a cold and you can totally hear it about halfway through the book. A reviewer said, get this, she has a weak stomach, and it was a challenge listening to the book and the narrator’s cold. I’m like, but the book has scenes with humans cracking skulls and eating brains! Ok, I suppose the reviewer meant she has a weak stomach when it comes to sounds. That must be it, right?

79. “How the White Trash Zombie Got Her Groove Back” (White Trash Zombie book 4) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison Mclemore

Finished October 3

I reread this in preparation for book five. There’s no post from when I read it the first time unfortunately. I guess that was from back when I lost control of my book posts and ended up changing the format for all my reviews to this new current one, which has worked so much better for me. I know people are reading the blog since I have stats on that, even though they seldom comment. I’m looking at you, dear reader. I also know that I’ve helped at least one person find books since she lets me know, so Brooke, these posts are for you!

In “Groove Back’, our Angel goes to the big city, NYC, to help rescue some of her tribe who have been kidnapped. It’s hilarious, watching small town Angel, who’s never been farther than Alabama, navigate the subway system. Her goggling at the swanky hotel she gets to stay at reminded me so much of me, especially on my recent trip to Hollywood, where I was afraid to go into the hotel where I just knew I’d stick out like a sore thumb. I was just grateful to have professionally cut and colored hair. I so related to Angel’s money woes and how small she felt next to her friends who seemed to have plenty of the green stuff. Money I mean.

I checked out reviews on this book too and one comment cracked me up, something about how there should be less swearing. Ba ha! Hey, you can take the trash outta the zombie and clean up her beer can paved driveway, but Angel wouldn’t be Angel without her swearing.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, apple Inc, Audio books, birthday, fellowship, gratitude, mental health, Timmy, twitter me this, writing

My First Submitted Fiction – What A Ride

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

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

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

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

Wanna hear a sample of that process?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m reminded that I’m blind.

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

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

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

No.

Fuck that.

Deep breath.

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

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

I tell Ricardo. Should I do that?

Hell yeah!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My heart is racing,” I say.

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

“No, I’m about to submit the story.”

“Oh!”

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

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

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

“Your submission has been sent.”

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

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

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

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

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

My Not So fiery Thursday

Picture it: Sicily I mean Tucson, a beautiful day in mid April, a 1950’s era home with doors and windows flung wide, a breeze full of deliciously fresh spring air dancing from door to door and door to window.

It was about 12:30pm on Thursday and I was contemplating making my lunch while doing something on the laptop, probably reading Twitter,while Jayden snuggled beside me on the couch. All was quiet and lovely and I was in a wonderful mood after a surprise from iTunes that morning.

After preordering the new Josh groban album, Stages, I was confused to hear the tritone chime alerting me to new downloads. Since the album isn’t out until the twenty-eighth I wasn’t expecting a download. Was it because I preordered the deluxe version? I knew some of the songs were out in the wild since I’d read tweets from people commenting on them. I have avoided reading the song list or listening to any of the new ones, wanting to experience the album song by song, sight unseen.

Curious, I searched my library for Stages and had songs! What was this magic? I didn’t check how many, wondering which songs they would be, anticipation building as I grabbed my bluetooth speaker and settled in to listen.

I had four new Josh Groban songs! four! Is it April 28 yet? April has been an awesome month for books and music, I must say.

So a few hours later as I contemplated making my turkey and radish sandwich before my Thursday call, relaxed back on the couch with my laptop, it took me a few seconds to understand the sudden horrible blaring screeching noise, Jayden bounding off the couch and running, cats running, everyone running and the blaring, was it coming from outside? No. In the house? yes. Do I smell smoke? No. Jayden was leaping around, nails clicking on the tile floor, if the screeching was hurting me it must be killing him.

Follow the sound, it was bouncing off tile and walls, bedroom? windows open in there, the only windows with screens. Neighbor burning weeds again? blaring. I can’t hear myself think. I can’t see. I can’t hear, anything but the blaring. Is something on fire? I don’t smell smoke. Are we ok? I don’t smell smoke. Bedroom, it would be up near the ceiling. run my hands along the rough brick of what used to be the outside of the house. I mutter the word help. A neighbor will hear the blaring and come to help. I can’t reach it. Run out of the bedroom, close the door.

Hurry away from the sound. Pull my phone from my pocket. B might be taking a lunch break. He has working eyes. He can come make the sound stop.

Ding ding: Call B.

Siri: Calling B.

ring ring. Ring ring. ring ring. voicemail.

Hi, um everything is fine and nothing is on fire but the fire alarm thing is going and I can’t stop it but you didn’t answer, think I’ll call the fire department just in case.

Ding ding: Call 911.

Siri: calling emergency in five seconds.

Blaring fire alarm. Head pounding. Nervous giggles threatening.

Silicon Sally: What is your emergency?

Silicone Sally? Seriously?

Um, fire alarm is going off.

Dispatcher, a real woman.

Your fire alarm is going off?

Yes and I’m blind. I don’t smell smoke.

Her voice takes on an edge. You’re blind? Ok sending a truck right now. What is your address?

I tell her, beginning to spell the street name and she interrupts.

I’ve got the spelling. Go outside and wait for the truck ok?

Ok. We hang up.

I freeze in the living room. I usually put timmy in a room when I go outside so he won’t escape. No time. No time to find timmy. He freaked out with the other animals anyway and is probably hiding. Go to back door, grab Jayden’s leash , go to front door, put leash on, step right outside the door, stop.

Wait. In school we always had to walk away from the building. Jayden’s harness is right inside the door. Step back in, grab his harness, step out, put it on, direct him to the curb.

The distant siren growing closer and then the sound of a heavy engine turning the corner. I waved, feeling so happy to hear them so fast. Even though I knew nothing was burning, I was running on pure adrenaline, and that blaring, so loud, hurting my ears…I had known what it was like to lose that all important sense, at least in a way.

the men stomped towards me and cheerfully said hello and I followed one back to the house. Jayden stopped at the door and a fireman behind me said the door was closed.

“I thought he went in ahead of me.”

“He did, he left you in the dust,” a fireman said with a chuckle. We all tromped into the house and the blaring suddenly stopped.

“Did you have anything on the stove?”

“No.”

“Did you have a candle burning in the bedroom?”

“No.”

“We could smell something sweet in there,” he prompted.

“Oh well I have a Plug-In in there.”

They went on to tell me the fire alarms were all rather old. I said I would call the landlord. the first fireman said he left the detecter on the dresser next to the fan. I mentioned the neighbor burning grass and I could hear the eye roll in the first guy’s voice.

“He shouldn’t be doing that.”

I was so wishing he were, so he would get caught at no fault of mine. It was the smoke alarm’s fault.

The men left and I sent a thank you behind them.

Firemen. Even without vision I could tell they were hot. I was suddenly aware of the fact that I was wearing no braw under a t-shirt and men’s pajama bottoms. At least my hair was freshly cut!

B arrived five minutes after the men left and it was good he did because the smoke detector started chirping. We walked around the house thinking it must be one of the other ones but no, it was the same one. The fireman had pulled it off the wall and stopped the screeching but it still had its battery, which B promptly popped out. I left a message for the landlord, b went back to work, and I had my Thursday chat.

Not to worry, if I had smelled smoke, B would not have been my first call. It was a good learning experience. I will get another leash to keep by the front door and will grab Jayden’s harness in the event of an emergency so we can walk to the curb just like I learned in elementary school. The day was interesting, to say the least. And one word: firemen.

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Filed under apple Inc, cats, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, music, Silicone Sally, Timmy, twitter me this, working dog

From the Desk of my Sleep Deprived Cat Audio

So every time I write a sleep deprived post, which is a really odd tradition to have but I seem to have made it a tradition because as soon as I decided to say screw it and get up at 5:30 this morning after laying awake since at least 4:00 I thought, I’ll need to write a post. I also always seem to write really rambly run on sentences in these. I planned on starting this post another way but then a described movie started in iTunes even though I swear I set them all to skip when shuffle so I had to go do that in iTunes. It was The Glenn Miller Story, have you seen that?

Right, so I meant to start off this post by saying I always look back on the previous sleep deprived post when I write one of these. In the last one, I wrote about how I had to have a colonoscopy because of my recurring diverticulitis and I was all doom and gloom about it, being pretty sure there’d be nothing they could do about it, that they were just ruling out something more serious, my life was already messed up so throw more at me oh woe is me cry me a river pour me another. Well guess what? Yeah, gastro doc said, “everything looks fine, you only have a small area of diverticula, keep taking the fiber and probiotics and you should be fine.”

Hmmm, will it really be that simple? Well that was back in April, the bum hose and I’ve been taking the supplements as suggested since and I’ve been fine. I even found the probiotics he recommended on Amazon for way cheaper than they were at Walgreens. I signed up to have them delivered every month and saved even more. So all my woe is me talk was just silly.

So this morning I was laying on the couch for a bit with Timmy and he was purring like crazy so I decided to grab a quick voice note.

In that I mention that his front paws are declawed and I say I don’t believe in that. I just want to clarify what I meant. I just can’t knowingly cut off a cat’s first knuckle. My mom and I always trained our cats not to claw the furniture. I’ve lost that battle in this apartment since B never trained Fi not to claw furniture so there was no point in trying to train Spinelli. So yeah, that’s what I meant by not believing in declawing. When I listened back on that I thought that was an odd choice of wording haha.

At one point I jingle Timmy’s bell collar and it made me think of Carin and Steve. Bells!

Timmy totally sounds like a pidgin at one point. I’m not sure if it’s really as funny as I thought or if I’m just delirious from sleep deprivation.

I totally couldn’t stop the recording at the end. the ol’ two finger double tap no longer works in iOS 7.0.3 I guess.

So how bout that for some sleep deprived fun with cats? First time I’ve put audio in one of these I think. I haven’t slept well the last few nights. Nature calls and wakes me up and I can’t get back to sleep for awhile. This morning I just gave up. I realized after I’d already had coffee that I forgot to use my meditation bells. Gah! Reading that last post, I sure remembered them then! Grrr. Just hope I sleep tonight.
I wrote this post much later in the day than normal for this category. It’s 1:33pm, do you know where your feet are?

I write the word “so” too much.

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Filed under Amazon, cats, coffeeholic, doc, Fi, iPhone, iTunes, mom, plugs, random stuff, silly girl, Sleep Deprived Fun, Timmy

From the Desk of My Somewhat Sleep Deprived Mind

I’m going to make a sleep deprived label I’ve decided. Yep, it’s that time again so I went and did a search for my sleep deprived posts and they’re getting up there. Best to have a label, yeah? It’s currently 6:04am as I begin this post. I’ve been up for awhile and I should have seen this coming. The other morning I realized I was awake and after some time, finally checked the time. Time. Let’s write it again. Time. It was 2:30. Whoa baby! How bout no? I lay there thinking I needed to put the meditation bells on. I have this app called AmbiSci 300 and it’s got all sorts of ambient sounds. The meditation bells are perfect for lulling me back to sleep. I just stick my phone under my pillow. It takes some time but it works.

That time I fought to get back to sleep because I was fighting an infection and knew I needed my rest. This time, damn that was only a few days ago I think, I just gave up. Did that make sense? No. But do these posts ever make sense? I decided when I checked the time and it was 4am, that that was late enough to just get up and make coffee since it was pretty obvious it was time for another sleep deprived day. I usually sleep really well though I had to laugh when I read the last sleep deprived post that my doctor had asked how I was sleeping and I told her fine only to not sleep that night.

Speaking of the doctor, I love her but I’m seeing her too much lately. Did I see her last Monday? I think so yeah. I told her it was much nicer to run into her at Joe’s Crab Shack than to be constantly seeing her at the office. I’m just falling apart, ya’ll!

I have a meet and greet with my new gastro doc in April. Yep, a gastro doc. I get to have a hose in me bum. What? A colonoscopy. Weeeeeee! I had more diverticulitis even though I’m doing absolutely everything I’m supposed to in order to prevent it. Nothing with seeds. No nuts. No tomatoes unless diced. I’m even avoiding lettuce after reading that it’s difficult to digest. I take a fiber supplement. I exercise regularly. Still I got the pain. That’s just not normal, doc says. I was expecting her to say I had to have the bum hose when I got that last attack. Now It’s just the damn waiting. Hurry up and wait. It’s not even like there’s probably anything that can be done anyway. They’ll just go in and make sure nothing more serious is going on and then that’s it. Maybe I’m being too cynical but at this point in my life, after living sick for so many years I’m just like whatever dude, throw more at me. Might as well. My life is already incredibly limited and messed up, why not give me more? Bring it! Hey, maybe I’m given all the stuff that others wouldn’t be able to handle so they don’t have to handle it. Not that I believe that any of us are given anything on purpose, but sometimes it’s nice when I’m giving myself a pep talk out of depression to think that maybe I’m preventing someone else from going through what I go through even though I know that’s not true. It’s not like I went blind so you wouldn’t have to and it’s not like I have MS so you don’t have to and it’s not like I have to get a bum hose so you don’t have to because guess what? Even if you’re the healthiest person alive, you’ll still have to get a bum hose one day if you stay on top of your screenings bwah ha ha ha!

My cat, Timmy, is snoring on the couch next to me and Jayden is on the floor at my feet which is odd because usually he’s on the couch with me. All the animals are like, what are you doing up? And Jayden is probably like, when the coffee is on, I’m usually not hungry and my bladder is usually relieved so wtf? Yes, my dog thinks wtf ok?

So if the narrator you’ve always thought should narrate your memoir says you should write your memoir when you tell her that you want her to narrate it but then you’d have to write it, you have to write it, right? I also got to thinking, now that my blog is hosted, if I die, it’ll go away. That’s a terrible thought. If I die, will someone figure out where I’m hosted and pay it? Hahaha! So then I thought back to Lorelei King tweeting me to “do it, baby!” and I was like, well at least that would be a legacy but then who am I to leave a legacy? I’m no one. If I wrote my memoir, would you read it? People have told me from the beginning of my blindness that I needed to write my story. However what voice has stuck with me? The negative one. I need to shut that voice up. Maybe if I wrote a memoir I could be somewhat self supporting because damn, relying on something other than myself for income really sucks. Then again, authors are going broke since people only want to pay ninety-nine cents for a book on their stupid electronic devices so really, can anyone make money selling books anymore unless they’re Stephen King?

Alrighty then I think that’s about all I have. I think I’ll publish this thing and then go add a sleep deprivation label of some sort. It’s 6:25am, do you know where your teeth are?

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Pooch Ponderings – Sandy go?

Hi guys! It’s been like forever since I got a post all to myself huh? Anyway, something is going on and I don’t know what. It sounds like we’re going to a place called Sandy or something. Mom keeps saying Sandy go. So I guess we’re going somewhere. Maybe it’s just a sandy place? Does anyone know? It’s kinda sandy here though. Well not kinda, really. It’s more like dirt though. And no grass.

Today she started getting out the things she took when we left the school place and came here. She hasn’t gotten those things out since we came here. My other person has and he’s left before with those things but Mom never gets those things out and we’ve never gone with my other person. He’s not getting stuff out though. Does that mean he’s not going?

Today we went to the big place with other dogs where usually we come home and I get new things to chew on. I didn’t get anything new to chew on though! Mom touched a bunch of things and finally put one on the floor for me and asked if I wanted it. I can’t chew that. Whatever. Mom talked to a lady about my feet and clipping. Ooooh noooo I thought, leave my feet alone! They messed with my feet there once before long ago with Dude and that one lady in the big van messed with my feet not that long ago. But I guess the lady told mom something she didn’t like because we left and that’s when she asked if I wanted the flat thing. We took it when we left and then we stopped somewhere and my other person left and came back with yummy smelling things then we stopped at another place and mom got that smelly brown stuff she loves to drink so much.

We got home and Mom put the flat thing on the floor and Timmy went crazy running on it and jumping on it but I didn’t so Mom took me outside and then put the flat thing where my other flat thing is and put my chew bones on it and I lay on it and she told my other person it’ll be perfect for the hotel and even the car. Hotel?

Then she cut up one of the yummy smelling things and made noises like she was happy and she talked about Gamma a lot. Gamma? We haven’t seen Gamma in a long time. She said it was weird to be getting stuff ready to take to Gamma when we used to always bring stuff home from Gamma’s. Maybe we’re taking yummy stuff to Gamma? She used to always give me bananas and now Mom does.

So it was a strange day and I wonder what this Sandy go thing is she keeps talking about. I hope it’s fun though. Will there be other dogs? Does anyone know what Sandy go is?

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Filed under coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Gamma, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2012, num num food, pooch ponderings, Timmy

And it would have been fine if it hadn’t been for those meddling headphones

This is why I really shouldn’t make plans. Strike that, I need to be prepared when a wrench is thrown into the works. It’s not even like I had crazy awesome plans, but I had my Saturday pretty much mapped out to be leisurely after a stressful week. I planned to give a book a read through to write up a post on it today. I managed to read the book but then…enter the wrench.

Last night I discovered something I didn’t know about my Mac that is pretty sweet. I had this book in a text document but I have no way of holding my place in such a long document so I planned on recording system audio during a time I wasn’t on my computer. Luckily I mentioned this to my Mac expert friend Ricardo and he informed me that the Mac will convert text to speech into a sound file in itunes. No way! Way! He explained how to do it and it worked. So Today I had an audio file of Voiceover reading the book just like an audio book with the ability to play and pause when I needed to.

So after I was done with my morning reading which included an email with content that got my blood pressure up and my heart rate pounding which started a headache (this is foreshadowing), I settled back to go over the book and drink my coffee.

B stepped out to run errands so I took my Logitech USB wireless headphones off and plugged them in to charge so I could enjoy the book over my speakers and also to throw some additional charge into the headphones. Sometimes on Weekends the charge doesn’t last all day and while I can use the headphones while they’re charging, I don’t like being tethered now that I am so used to the freedom of wireless.

I was jotting down notes for my write-up when B got home and I plugged the receiver for the headphones in and switched them on. Nothing. Hmmm. Switch off and back on. Nothing. No beep. They usually beep when switched on and then beep again when connected. Nothing. Over and over, on and off and on. Nothing. Unplug receiver. Nothing. Headache getting worse.

I dig out the old Logitech headphones that I had taped together to salvage them until B got me a new set. Nothing on those. I switch off and on. One beep. Ooh! Then nothing. Both sets were dead. Head is pounding.

Ok, so remember the vicious murder of the coffee maker?

I stood up with the Logitech and tightly grasped the earpieces in my hands.

“I’m going to break this,” I grunted through gritted teeth.

“No!” B exclaimed, making the moment sound very dramatic.

“Why not? They’re already dead!” I said, stomping towards the kitchen, prepared to snap the things like a wishbone. B stammered something and I came to my senses. I’m not sure if it was him or the Lexapro that kept me from destroying the Logitech. It turns out the charger for the headphones will work to charge B’s phone via his computer, so at least something good came from it. For some reason, both dead Logitechs went back into my drawer.

I began the task of shopping for a new set of wireless headphones. The major thing I didn’t like about the Logitech was the behind the neck design. The tops of my ears begin to ache after prolonged use and I can’t rest my head back on the couch. So deciding to try something new meant that I wanted to find a set with the old headband design.

If anyone has any questions about wireless headphones for computers, I think I read about nearly every kind out there. I asked Twitter for recommendations and it failed me for the first time. No one had opinions which shocked me. Actually one person did recommend a Plantronics set but that was after I finally settled on something.

I don’t remember how I finally found these but I decided on this Soundblaster Tactic3D Wrath wireless usb headset from Creative> After reading that page I was beginning to drool and after I read reviews on Amazon from extreme gamer types I was sold. Headphones are an extension of my computer for me. I need to be able to hear my screen reader when B has the TV on and I also don’t want him to have to hear my computer. Not only that but my music, books and movies as well. Oh and let’s not forget baseball! They must be wireless, especially for baseball, so I never miss a minute of a game when I have to walk away from my computer.

B had already agreed that a Best Buy trip would be in order once I found the headphones I wanted. I checked the website and they carry them but it said that store delivery or something wasn’t an option. That worried me. I called to see if they had them. After getting through the Silicone Sally prompts, I was told one caller was ahead of me. Loud, no not loud, blaring synthesizer Christmas music began pumping through my bluetooth. Headache. Got. Very. Very. Pissed. I thought to myself, if they have the headphones, the obnoxious music will be worth it. They didn’t have the headphones.

This was a few hours after the death of the Logitech. I had my old wired headphones plugged in and had even tried paring the Plantronics bluetooth I use for my phone to the Mac but it sounded awful and I scared myself, thinking I had killed the connection between it and the iPhone forever haha.

So when we found out Best Buy didn’t have the Soundblaster headphones, we were both dumbfounded. What other electronics stores are there? We both drew a total blank. Finally I just Googled electronics stores and remembered Radio Shack which made me remember Gamestop and SWS. Neither Radio Shack nor Gamestop had them. The man at SWS sounded regretful to inform me he didn’t carry them either but at least he had the knowledge to tell me it would probably be hard to find Soundblaster devices in stores. He told me they make soundcards and such but that I’d need to get the headphones online.

“Yeah, my headphones broke today so I was hoping to replace them today,” I said, defeated. He went on to tell me he carried Logitech and I thanked him and hung up.

I went back to Amazon and put in the order. I’m saving fifty bucks. Go Amazon! In the meantime I’m tethered to my desk. I kept getting tangled in the chord . Once you go wireless, you just can’t go back! I began to wonder how I could sit on the couch with my headphones when I remembered that my Samsung Gomic has a headphone port in it. Perfect! So I’m using that as an extension for now so I have a little more freedom of movement.

I said to B after that was all over with and we ordered dinner that this was the first day on the Lexapro that I really felt my emotions go out of control. He said the headphones must have just been the last straw. Just yesterday I wrote about taking care of the little things. They can still totally sneak up on you. This morning I had a hard time catching Timmy so I could put him in the room to keep him from escaping while I took Jayden out. I collapsed on the floor sobbing, and the darned cat came right to me. This was after awakening from a nightmare that someone had stolen Jayden. Then the email happened, then the headphones died, all after a tough week. Perfect recipe for a breakdown. It wasn’t awful though and getting some emotion out was actually a relief. Good floor time with Jayden made the headache go away.

At least no electronics or appliances were harmed in the making of this day.

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Filed under Amazon, apple Inc, coffeeholic, dream, Jayden, mental health, NaBloPoMo 2012, proud geek, screen reader, Silicone Sally, Timmy, twitter me this

A Letter to Fifty-Three Year-Old Me

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

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

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

Dear fifty-three year-old Ro,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love,

Thirty-three year-old Ro

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

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Cuddling with the Kids

I wrote this this morning before I had even had a cup of coffee. Every morning I do a bit of writing/journaling before starting my day so I turned this morning’s entry into what I decided would be today’s blog post. I went about my day and got busy with a project so I’m finally getting back to this to post it. It has been such a nice day!

***

My favorite time of day is in the morning just after I’ve fed Jayden and taken him out and started the coffee. I let Timmy out of the spare room, put in there so he doesn’t escape, and walk into the living room to turn my computer on. Most mornings Jayden is already on the couch and I sit and lay over on my side, resting my arm and head on him for a good cuddle. Timmy jumps up and he and Jayden greet each other and then we all settle in for a cuddle as I wake up.

This morning was no different except it was one of those rare mornings that Jayden isn’t on the couch. He followed me into the kitchen while I rinsed his bowl and he drank water and then followed me as I let timmy out. I walked over and turned my computer on and Timmy jumped on the couch and meowed as I sat down, almost like he was calling for Jayden! I whispered Jayden over and he got up on his spot and timmy struggled out of my grip to walk over to Jayden, purring all the while. It never fails to make me smile, this cuddling with the kids.

The three of us settled in, I on my right side with my knees pulled up, resting on Jayden as he lay curled on his end of the couch, Timmy tucked in between us purring away. Spinelli decided to join us as she does on some mornings. This will usually make Timmy run but not today. Spinelli perched on my hip and leg and the four of us lay that way for a bit. I love those mornings! The air conditioner kicked on and I groaned, mentally cursing myself for not shutting it off when I got up. I didn’t want to dislodge the kids to turn it off so I let the cool air wash over us, grateful for the animals’ warmth.

I was laying there, listening to the coffee maker gurgle as it made my wake up nectar thinking I would write about this today. The coffee maker beeped to let me know it was ready and I still didn’t move, enjoying my three fur kids and our morning ritual. Suddenly Jayden had an itch on his back leg and as he swiftly moved to use his teeth on the spot the cats scattered and I giggled, having just been agonizing over having to make everyone move so I could get my coffee. Thanks Jayden, I thought as I stood and stretched. Good morning, Saturday.

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Filed under cats, coffeeholic, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2012, Spinelli, Timmy

Doggy Diaries – A Few Fun Dog Links and Brief Clicker Story

I kept two 1-800-PET-MEDS articles up today to blog about and share because I enjoyed them both. I’ve also had a youtube saved for awhile that I wanted to share but kept forgetting, so today I give you three fun dog related links.

This first one is about Dogs for the Deaf and how they’ve expanded into training service dogs for Autism and even classroom dogs. Possibly the best part? They use shelter dogs! It was heart warming to read about these dogs who might have been destined for euthanasia but instead become service dogs. How cool is that?

This next one is about teaching your dog tricks and the effect that has on the person. It is a really adorable story about how a woman trained her dogs to love her piano playing, or, ahem, something like that. Give it a read, it’s cute!

I don’t really teach Jayden tricks but I do sometimes teach him something new to either help me or enhance obedience. Either that or just turning something into a game. I recently got out the old clicker and showed Jayden that when I pat the couch and say “up!” that I want him to get on the couch. This might seem a little silly so I’ll explain.

Jayden was raised not to get on furniture unless invited. That part of his raising was apparently incredibly hardwired because there are times when he sits and stares at his side of the couch and waits for me to invite him up. Now since that’s his spot, I haven’t required him to wait until invited pretty much since bringing him home. Most of the time he gets right up when he wants but other times he refuses, to the point where I have to actually touch him and urge him up.

These aren’t moments of wanting affection, as he’s like a foot from me and sits on the floor staring at his side of the couch, sometimes even resting his chin on it. Sometimes I’m in the middle of writing something or eating or crocheting and I just need him to let himself up on the couch haha! So I did clicker training. It was so much fun for both of us. I’d have him sit facing his side of the couch, pat and say “up!” and when he jumped up I clicked and kibbled. Then I’d tell him “off” and at first he was confused like, but is this obedience? Look, I’ll lay on the couch. Haha! Then he’d finally leap off and jump around and we’d do the whole thing over. It worked like a charm! Now I just have to pat and say “up!” and he gets up. No more having to reach over and urge him up.

Then last night I thought we’d have to do the clicker training again. He sat there looking at the couch, I felt for a cat and didn’t find one so I patted and said “up!” and he wouldn’t. I repeated this a few times and he didn’t jump up. So I went to stand up and heard Timmy’s bell. Oh! He was curled up in the very corner of the couch. No wonder Jayden disobeyed haha! I moved Timmy and Jayden jumped right up. Training him is so much fun and so rewarding. I wish we could play clicker every day.

This last link might require some tissues or perhaps that was just me. The trainers at Southeastern Guide Dogs perform Trust Me Baby. I’m guessing the images are adorable. The lyrics had me sobbing the first time I heard it and when I opened the video to get the link just now I got misty all over again. The song is a take of Call Me Maybe which always gets stuck in my head when I hear it but now I get Trust Me Baby stuck in my head instead.

Hope you enjoyed the doggy links. I sure did!

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Filed under Autism, Doggy Diaries, guide dogs, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, plugs, puppy raisers, Timmy, video, youtube