Category Archives: treat for me

Absent

I checked my stat counter this morning and saw that people are still checking here and I felt bad that nothing new has been posted, but I just don’t have much to say I suppose.

Everything is ok, Jayden is great, it’s just this time of year is hard on me and it’s just especially bad this year. It’s hard with the family so shrunken and nobody really enjoying the holidays. My mom and Gamma and I were always the ones who got into the holidays, decorating and such, and food was always divine. Since there’s no one left in the family to cook, there’s no smell of turkeys baking. It’s just not the same.

I don’t mean to whine, but I just don’t enjoy this time of year anymore. All it seems to do is remind me of loss and it’s just hard to turn up the cheer when no one else feels it. If it weren’t for Jayden, I don’t think I’d bother getting up in the mornings. Jayden truly is the main thing keeping me going right now.

I’m still working out, still writing, still doing the things I enjoy but it’s just become a very lonely life. If it weren’t for my online friends, I wouldn’t hardly have any interaction with anyone. My friend Kevin just stopped by; he’s home for the holidays, so that was really nice to actually talk with someone face to face.

I got a surprise gift from some very dear online friends and that brightened things quite a bit. I got to order myself a treat from Amazon and when I get it, I’ll have something with me all the time to think of them and bring me a smile.

Sorry to write such a glum post, but I wanted to put at least something down here, and speaking the truth is better than saying everything’s roses and butterflies, because that would just be plain dishonest.

I like to think I’m cheerful and giving throughout the year and don’t feel the need to pretend during a month where it’s expected. I hope you all are having a great month; I just can’t bring myself to read about the great and happy times everyone is having with family. Call me Scrooge, but it just makes me envious. 😉

Hope to see you all more regularly after the first of the year when life and schedules get back to normal, when nothing is expected anymore.

Off to clean and be with the one being who truly needs me, my amazing guide dog. Thank God for him. 🙂

Oh duh, the other major constant is my sobriety, and I just realized a couple days ago that I’ve been sober now longer then I drank. Pretty awesome, and I’m grateful for that and God every minute of every day, no matter if it’s December or July!

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Filed under Amazon, faith, family, fellowship, Gamma, gratitude, holiday, Jayden, mom, sobriety, treat for me

Doggy Diaries – Dress party hair

It’s been busy around here, so time for a monster update.

I’ll start at Wednesday, since I finally got back to the gym then. I had been in quite a slump since the week of not knowing whether I was sick or not. The lovely vicious cycle of auto immune, get fatigued, need to rest, rest too much, non activity makes fatigue worse, fall out of routines, get nothing done, mental state gets affected by messy kitchen and not working Jayden much, finally get the energy to start to snap out of it, special circumstances not relating to auto immune interrupt attempt, mental state gets worse, event coming up that must be planned for, have shopping date lined up, not looking forward to it, party coming up, dreading it, planned day arrives and is perfect medicine for getting back to life. And on and on and on lol.

It felt great to work out Wednesday but I was still just really blah. Thursday I had plans to go shopping with Georgie for my holiday party dress. She’s at the university, so things have been crazy for her, and the day before the party was going to be the best day for her. I was dreading shopping, even though I normally love it and this year was going to be even better since I’m at my slimmest. Luckily once she got here, I was finally looking forward to it.

We went to JC Penny because that just seems to be the best place for holiday dresses. You get something cute but don’t spend a ton. Georgie was armed with what kind of material I needed. No wool or velvet or anything that would make dog hair cling. It seems as though the fashion this year is that one strap look, which I did not want. Georgie found four different black dresses. I hadn’t really had an idea in mind about color, but it seemed black was it.

The first dress I tried on was the one. I tried on the others for fun but the first one was a no brainer. It’s black but on the bottom it’s embellished with little silver things. It’s knee length and A-line, which Georgie said just looked amazing on me. It passed the dog hair test, fur just falling off. It also had these tiny little snaps under the straps that went around bra straps. I’d never seen that before, genius!

We went to the shoe department. I wanted flats; I do not do heels. She handed me a shoe but it had a corduroy type material on it. That would not pass the dog hair test. She found another pair and went to go get them from the sales person.

I’m sitting there, Jayden at my feet, my dress in the chair beside me. I hear the bell ringer outside. Ring ring ring. Jayden had been very distracted by that when we entered the mall and I couldn’t hear Georgie over it. Finally the ringer had taken a break so I could get inside. Ring ring ring. JC Penny announcements over the intercom in english then spanish. Someone walks out and sets off the security thing. Silicone Sally says, “Please return to the nearest sales associate. We must not have removed the security device.” She repeats in spanish.

Ring ring ring. Ring ring ring. People talking. People everywhere. I hear murmurs about Jayden. Children in the distance. Ring ring ring. Where’s Georgie?

I finally start to get a little panicky. Eventually Georgie runs over and tells me she’s waiting for them to get the shoes, they had finally gotten to her, only two people working the shoes. She goes back over. Then finally comes back. Shoes way too big. She goes back. They don’t have a smaller size. Sales associate comes over, apologizing for the wait, asking if she can help us find anything else. Georgie explains about dog hair. The associate finds a pair of black leather ballet flats with silver decorations on the bows. Oh perfect! Please have my size! She goes to get them. Georgie and I sit there. Ring ring ring. Associate comes back. They fit! Let’s get out of here.

I saved over a hundred dollars. The dress was a hundred and so were the shoes, both marked down to thirty. Wow! Georgie and I went to lunch. We went to the diner. They’ve closed. Man. We went to Denny’s. They have patty melts now. We both get that and then Georgie orders half the appetizer platter. We used to always get that. I accuse her of trying to make my dress not fit. It’s a size 10! Last year’s was a 14. My new dress fits perfectly. What’s all this food gonna do?

Before Georgie had come to get me, I had been working out getting to a hair appointment on Saturday, the day after the party. I’m more excited about that than the party. 😉

Friday comes and I took it easy, talking on the phone for most of the morning, then slowly beginning the getting ready ritual. Sometimes getting ready really wears me out, so I did it all in stages. I had to wonder if the party was the fun part, or if the preparation was? All the exfoliating and moisturizing and pampering. I blow dried my hair even though I rarely did that, to make my hair even straiter and fuller. It reached my waist, long and black against my black dress.

B took some pics of me with his cell phone cam. Sorry I can’t share them here. I new the sun would be setting and it would be perfect. I put the pics on FAcebook and got compliments before I even left the house. Nice!

We drove out to the party. It was at this golf resort where it had been the first time I went to B’s holiday party. We parked and began the long trek inside. I don’t think B wanted me to work Jayden because he told me to grab his arm. We had to walk through a parking garage and there were lots of moving vehicles. Once we got up to the floor where the party was, it was mayhem. People everywhere! I had Jayden on a tight lead and did human guide with B. It would have been really hard to work Jayden and keep track of B with all those people and noise. The doors to the ballroom weren’t open yet. B asked if I wanted to go outside where it looked quieter. I was going to use the GL since Jayden was quite attracted to all the people. We went outside and found a friend of B’s and his wife. The friend had retired, but was still doing some consulting. His wife had just had foot surgery, so she was gimpy. I didn’t have Jayden’s GL, oops! I’d forgotten it was in my backpack. It was fine though, I just moved his collar up. Just that little thing makes him listen better. We sat outside for awhile and more people came over, some I had met before. One couple were admiring Jayden and how good he was, so I gave them a crash course in puppy raising. I also let them say hi to Jay and they were just in love with him.

Finally the ballroom doors opened and we went in to find a table. B’s friend found a table near the hallway doors, perfect. We wouldn’t have to weave through all the tables. I sat by his wife and we instantly started talking. We hit it off quickly. Before dinner was served, B took Jay and me to the restroom. This was the main place Jay did his job haha! Thank God for him, because the restroom was huge. No problem though; he’s perfect in restrooms haha!

When we got back, Jay instantly lay on my left. He usually passes out quickly but he was alert for the longest time, sitting there with his head up. I kept reaching over to touch him and make sure he was ok with all the stimulus.

The salad was yum and then our main dishes arrived. We had ordered about a month before the party and I didn’t choose the meat dishes because it was either steak or chicken, too hard to cut. I had ordered a vegitarian dish even though when B had described it I couldn’t quite tell what it was. When I got it, I was pleased to find it in a large bowl. Perfect for containing mess haha! It turned out to be almost like a greek plate, kinda like ravioli but in a pastry instead. It was delicious! All through dinner I chatted with my new gimpy buddy and we laughed about our men waiting on us. There was coffee nearby, Starbucks yum, so B kept going to refill for me. Her husband went and got her decaf. We had fun being waited on.

I met countless people. I saw people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Jayden finally passed out around when I started eating dessert, a custard type thing in a pastry thing, with blueberries and raspberries. Yum!

I was nervous about how it would be when the music got louder for dancing, since last year it was insane. But it wasn’t bad at all this year. We were able to still sit and talk, so we just hung out by our table. I wanted to see if we could find a spot for Jay to pee so B and I went outside and found a large grassy area. Grass! I gave B the leash after Jay relieved so Jay could just walk around and take a break from work. After that we went back inside. Jayden went under the table this time, completely hidden by the table cloth. Several people made comments after I said he was under there lol. There’s a dog under there???

We stuck around for the raffles but didn’t win anything. My new friends left about twenty minutes before we did, and after the last raffle was done, we took off. Things hadn’t gotten crazy like last year, at least not yet. We didn’t stay as late as we did last year haha.

I should mention that even when Jayden was on lead and B did human guide, Jay still worked, putting his paws on steps for me. When that harness is on, even if I’m not holding the handle, it’s like he knows he’s on duty.

We drove home and encountered a ton of cop cars. Still don’t know what was up with that. When we got home, I changed quickly for a good play session with Jay. He just goes nuts after a long work session. He ran around with the Wubba, dropped it, ran back for it, ran around some more, dropped it, lather, rinse, repeat.

We finally crashed out about midnight. What a night! It had been great. I don’t know why I had been dreading it. I’m sure it was because of my lack of energy leading up to it. I was able to conjure enough to make it through, though.

Yesterday morning I woke up excited. I was going to the salon with Lish.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a ton of Scott Westerfeld’s blog and ran across this post about a girl donating her hair after reading ‘Uglies’. Read that post, it’s really sweet. After I read it, I followed Scott’s link to Locks of Love and discovered that they now take colored hair. I had never tried donating before because I’ve colored my hair for years. This was exciting.

I posted about the possibility on Twitter and got several responses telling me how cool that would be. I had been thinking about cutting my hair and finding out I could donate it just cinched the idea. Long story short, through the wonders of Twitter, I found out about a salon in town that gives complimentary cuts and styles when you donate, and they take care of shipping the hair and everything. I had been there before for a trim a long time ago and used to get brow waxes there. Lish used to work there too. She offered to take me and before georgie had shown up on Thursday, I had an appointment for 1pm on Saturday to cut off my long lovely locks.

Friday night was my last night of long hair and I really noticed it. I noticed how it got caught in my purse strap, how I had to pull it back with a clip to eat, how it got caught between my back and the chair. I thought about all the hair that fell out around the house, how it always got stuck in Jayden’s face if it wasn’t pulled back, how I always had a hair band around my wrist. I was nervous to cut it, but knew it was time for a change and knew that someone needed it more than me.

At the salon, they have their apprentices do the complimentary cuts. They are trained stylists, but they are learning that salon’s way. I really liked my stylist. He listened to exactly what I wanted before cutting my hair. He sectioned it into four ponytails, to maximize the donation, Lish explained. She had donated her hair before too. When I felt the stylist snipping, I squealed and so did Lish. Lots of laughing haha!

Jayden did great at the salon. I think he was still exhausted from the night before. He just passed out beside me. Girls kept coming up and saying what an awesome dog he was, how they wished they could get a lab like that. I explained about career change adoptions and how to look into that. They were all very excited.

The cut took awhile. He did a great job of really shaping and doing what I wanted. I had told him I wanted a bob but not a crazy angled bob. He gave me just that. So now my hair falls just to the nape of my neck and gets a little longer on the sides. When it’s tucked behind my ears, it barely comes passed the lobes. It’s way short! Each ponytail was a foot long. Nice!!

When he was finishing up with the cut and style, the colorist came over for a consult. I’ve colored my hair with boxed temporary black for years now. I want to go lighter, so we talked at length about that process. I have an appointment in early January to start the lightening process. I can’t wait!

So that, in a nutshell, was the last few days. After we walked out of the salon, I felt my fatigue begin to say hi. It had held off for the time I needed it too and now it was begging for coffee. We got home and B couldn’t believe how short my hair is haha! I had told him before we left that I’d be back with his new girlfriend. He just kept saying wow, wow, wow. Haha! He likes it. 😉

I forced myself to stay up until about nine last night and then gratefully took Jayden for his last relieving and crawled into bed. I’m looking forward to washing my new cut today. Oh, I also lied to Gamma. I told her Lish and I were going to lunch. I want to surprise her today with my new cut. It’s gonna be fun!

I think I’m taking the day off tomorrow. I can definitely feel how all the activity over the last few days has me tired. Time to finish my crochet projects. I must get them shipped out. Talk about delayed.

Ok, must get through another few hours and then I can relax. =D

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Filed under coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, holiday, Jayden, num num food, plugs, puppy raisers, relieving, Silicone Sally, spoons, treat for me, twitter me this, working dog, workouts, wow

Being wireless

I love wireless! I’ve wanted wireless headphones for awhile now, especially back during baseball season. I just never really looked into it. Then back in October when B bought me the wireless keyboard, I realized just how cool having wireless headphones would be, since I don’t have to be tied to a screen.

Wireless headphones are like the only thing Apple doesn’t seem to make, but on their website they recommended a pair of Motorola Bluetooth headphones. From the reviews, it seems as though they would work with the laptop, so I found them cheap on Amazon and ordered them.

They totally sucked. The paring was easy, but Alex sounded like he was talking from a storm drain. No internet audio worked, no baseball, no youtube. The sound quality was crap for iTunes. They just plain sucked. They had that classic Bluetooth clicking that was just awful.

So I looked into USB headphones. I had found out from a techie at a small electronics store that Logitech products work well for both PC and Mac, and from the reviews and the product description, they sounded like a good bet. They were much more than the Bluetooth ones, so I was waiting.

Yesterday B went to Best Buy. Yes, on black Friday. He found the headphones and made sure the packaging said they were both Mac and PC compatible and they were. They were the ones I had looked up on amazon after finding out about the awesomeness that is Logitech.

He brought them home and we had to attack the fortress of packaging to free them. B looked at the instructions and said something about a light on the transmitter being a certain color if it was communicating with the headphones. I didn’t even have to charge them!

There’s a little transmitter, about the size of a thumb drive that plugs into your USP port. There’s a little expansion cable but I don’t so much get the point of it, that you can attach it to. I attached it to it, just to have a larger thing so I’m less likely to lose it.

On Pc’s, I’ve heard they work right away. I had read that with Mac, you need to go into System Preferences, select audio, then select the headphones from the drop down for output devices. The headphones showed up immediately and once I selected them, Alex came through them in all his human sounding glory.

To get the computer’s audio back, you need to unplug the transmitter or reselect the built in output, which is kind of a bummer, but I don’t mind. It’s easy with the laptop. Also, you charge them right from a USB cable, and you can use them wired if you need to charge them while using.

The buttons are fairly straight forward on the right ear piece. I can control the computer’s volume right from the buttons. There is an on/off switch, not a button, which I like because I can really tell when they’re off.

There’s a swiverl microphone attached to the left ear piece. I doubt I’ll ever use it unless I make my one Skype call per year, so I can’t say anything about that. The headphones have the behind the head design and just like with any of these design, the tops of the ears can get a little irritated. They are fairly light weight though, and fit snugly on my ears. The cushion on the earphones is comfortable.

I immediately tested youtube and heard the internet media just fine. I walked around the apartment listening to a video and it was fine. I started an audio book and went outside. The sound was crystal clear.

I just love them! It is wonderful to not be tethered to the computer, to not get tangled in the chord, to not struggle with the chord while putting the headphones away.

I have’t noticed any interference with phones, cell or cordless. I can take my wireless keyboard and get on my computer from anywhere in the house. I’m so excited!

No one is paying me to write this, and I’m not hooked up with Amazon. If you’re interested in these headphones, they are the Logitech Wireless Headset H760.

I highly recommend. They are a bit pricey, but totally worth it! I can’t wait for baseball! I won’t miss a single pitch!

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Filed under Alex, Amazon, apple Inc, baseball, cool product, NaBloPoMo 2010, proud geek, techie tips, treat for me

Doggy Diaries – The epic post

I’m thinking this will be a long post, so grab your coffee, tea, water, beer or whatever your favorite beverage is at the time you open this post. You might want a snack too. I feel like I’m predicting the future here, since I just started writing, but well, I have an entire day to write about and it might just take me a few hours with breaks in between, to get it all down.

Twice a year, Georgie and I go shopping. This has only been since I went blind, when I needed a trusted pair of eyes to help me pick out new clothes. This time was going to be especially fun since I’ve lost so much weight, so it was very much anticipated. I woke up yesterday morning excited to hit the mall and Kohl’s. This was also going to be Jayden’s first extended trip out and about with someone other than B or Dave.

I had a check to deposit and usually B and I do that on Sundays at the ATM but the stupid ATM has been broken. So I had talked with Georgie about it earlier in the week and she said she was pretty sure my bank was near the mall, so we could just stop there before our shopping began. Perfect.

After we spoke in the morning, she said she’d hop in the shower and get cleaned up, and she’d call when she was on her way. So I finished breakfast and jumped in the shower.

It doesn’t take me long to get ready to go anywhere. I think I said on FB that I need about thirty minutes to get fed, get clean, get dressed, go. So I was ready and the waiting began.

Tick tock. Read some blogs. Think about what kind of new purse I might find.

Tick tock. I can’t wait to get those running pants Georgies has told me about. Maybe I’ll get a new workout top too, oh and a long sleeved shirt for Goalball.

Tick tock. I wonder what size jeans I’ll be in now? The last pair I bought were twelves.

Tick tock. I should gets some socks too and I really need a new pair of cross trainers.

Tick tock. I know what my budget is. It’ll be helpful that I have to get cash back from that check because I can monitor spending that way.

Tick tock. I wonder how Jayden will do with such a long trip out.

Tick tock. Make a random post on FB and start having guide dog discussion.

Ring ring. She’s on her way. Turn off computer, make sure I have everything I need, lock up Timmy, Take Jayden out. Come back in, let Timmy out, harness Jayden.

Tick tock. Oh I hear her car. But she’s not turning it off. Her daughter had called when we were on the phone so she must be finishing up the conversation. Sit next to Jayden. Wait. Waiting. Hmmm. Letting heat in since door is open. Well. She’s still in her car. Jayden sitting in harness. Hmmm. Ok close door, remove harness. Knock knock. Let’s go. Phew!

Doesn’t it seem like when you’re really excited about something, time just drags? Part of it is that I’m so prompt and punctual that I do a lot of waiting for others. Ah well, at least I’m never late. We finally set out about noon. I was so excited because I rarely spend money anymore, so my two big shopping ventures are just awesome, and that money was burning a whole in my wallet.

We drove to where she thought she had seen my bank but she wasn’t having any luck. So we pulled over and she Googled it on her iPhone. Oh, it’s in the store right here. So we go in and don’t find it so she asked and they had moved. Ok, go back to the car. We’re both getting used to me working a guide dog rather than hanging on to her arm. I was laughing because usually she wears shoes that make noise, but she had picked a silent pair so I kept asking where she was.

We went to the bank finally and made our way inside and waited. More waiting. Finally get to the teller and he’s working the drive through window too. Sheesh. Finally get my cash and head back to the car.

Remember, I live in the desert. It’s not at all fun to get into cars in the summer. Luckily her car cools off quickly.

We get to the mall and I ask what entrance we’re going in. It’s the mall I’ve been working with Dave, so I know it fairly well. I thought Jayden seemed to know where we were because he was walking really fast. Then he blew an upcurb.

These two things were my first warning. A warning I didn’t compute as a warning.

We go in and Georgie is remarking how fast Jayden is going. I’m like yeah, he knows this place. We visit the Nike store where I got the running pants I’ve been fantasizing about for months ever since Georgie told me about them. They are super thin and go just below the knee. Right behind the knee is this mesh material to help keep you cool. They’ve got a little zipper pocket in the back right below the waist line. I got them in dark gray. Then we found a long sleeved top with similar type areas to et you breathe, to wear for Goalball to protect my skin from the hard ball. We then found a workout tank top with mesh all down the back where you sweat a ton.

I knew these three items would add up fast but I didn’t care. Really I pretty much live in workout clothes, and I go out in them twice a week. When I first started working out, Georgie told me not to buy anything cute yet, because I was just going to lose weight. I’m glad I listened, because you don’t want to drop that kind of money more than once if you can get away with it. They will all still fit when I lose some more since really all that’s left is some toning in the belly and those pants are made to form to you. So I was thrilled to finally get some real work out clothes. They were all on sale too! I’ve been working out in scrub pants, which are not the ideal workout pants. So we left there quite happy.

Next we were going to head to Famous Footwear to look for shoes. I wanted a pair of grey shoes to match the outfit, and I think gray works nicely, better than white.

We stopped by the restroom first. Restrooms are the bane of my existence and can zap spoons faster than just about anything. Jayden is great at finding the big stall so that’s not the problem. The problem is juggling my stuff. Usually I just have a purse, but now I had a shopping bag. I had sunglasses on my head and they went flying. Ugh. Then it’s time to find the sink which is no biggie. But no bathroom has everything strategically placed. I have to hunt for soap. I take great pleasure in messing up the mirrors haha! Sometimes soap is on the wall next to a mirror, sometimes it’s next to the sink. Then it’s time to find the paper towels. Sometimes they’re right next to the sink. Sometimes they’re across the room. Then you have to find the trash. Sometimes it’s right below where you finally found the paper towels. Sometimes it’s across the room by the door. Ugh.

We are heading in the direction of Famous Footwear. All is going well. Suddenly Jayden stops. I think he’s sniffing and say no, but when he’s sniffing and I say no, he immediately moves.

He did not move.

Reach down, feel his back. It’s hunched. Oh no. Oh no. Move my left foot by his rear and call out to Georgie. “It’s this way,” she says.

“come here!” I hiss.

She approaches. “Oh…” she says.

Like a six shooter drawing his gun, I reach into my pocket and whoosh, snap open a poop bag.

I always have poop bags in my purse. But I also always have a poop bag in my pocket. I kkeep a box of Mutt Mitts right by the door and I never step foot outside without one on me. (Thank you Gary.) I had imagine this moment. I knew it would happen. I’m pretty sure it happens to just about every guide dog handler. I remember in school, when they said to always have one, and the women on the list saying they kept poop bags in their purse, I remember imagining this moment. I remember thinking how awful to have to keep my foot marking the spot while holding on to my dog and trying to rifle throw my bag for a poop bag. It was then I decided to always have one in my pocket.

I knelt down to grab the present and Georgie made sure I got it all. Then she had a paper towel. Where did she get that? She wiped the spot and we covertly, with poop bag in palm, made our way to the trash and made a deposit to the poop bank. Georgie explained that a store clerk came running with the paper towels.

Have you seen ‘Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves’? There is this scene where Robin and his men are bringing weapons into the castle grounds to stop a hanging. Everything is done completely on the sly, with guys walking past one another, passing around hidden swords and the like. That was what this felt like. It must have all happened in twenty seconds. It was over before it began.

We kept walking. I could feel it in Jayden’s step that he was sad. I kept telling him it was ok. I told Georgie we should go outside because he probably had to pee.

We went outside and of course there’s no shade. We found some gravel, I removed the harness and Jayden definitely had to pee. I lamented on the signals I had gotten. Jayden gets a hurried trot feeling to his walk when he has to go. I misread that as him being excited that he knew the mall. When he blew that upcurb, I should have thought hmmm, maybe his body is distracting him. All these signs and signals come with time. I’ve misread them before. Maybe now it has sunk in. This was the first time he’s relieved indoors. He went on route twice at school, both outdoors, and once here at an outdoor mall with Dave. It still blows my mind, because he had his normal number two right after he ate and usuall he doesn’t go again until after dinner or even the next day.

But, we had made two stops and done some walking before getting to the mall. Then we did even more walking when we reached the mall. All that activity stimulates things. I will know for the future.

We got back inside and I’m freakin hot from standing in the sun, removing the harness while juggling my stuff. I will bring a backpack next time. We got to Famous Footwear and found the cross trainers. I told Georgie I wanted gray shoes, something light weight. She found a bench and I gratefully sat. Jayden lay down immideately and I felt the bench legs to see if I could loop his leash around it. Sure enough I could, so he was able to get a quick nap in. Georgie handed me a shoe and it felt really nice, very light, lots of mesh. She said they were Adidas running shoees and they were grey with pink. Cute!

She got my size and I tried one on and it was instant love. And they were on Sale. So We headed towards the register. There was a family with kids and I heard, doggy, doggy! Haha, that is too cute.

I was planning on getting socks at Kohl’s but they were having a sale on socks, the clerk told me. So we got the black ankle socks I wanted as well as a pair of black knee socks to wear for Goalball. We finished up there and as we were leaving I heard, “those dogs are so amazing…”

Georgie asked if I wanted to grab a bite in the food area and all I could think of was something cold to drink. I was hot and cotton mouthed. We made our way there and found a table, and began discussing how to get the food when she was like, do you want to go to the actual restaurant? Oh yes I did. So we got up, poor Jayden had already gotten comfy, and headed towards the restaurant. It was pretty noisy and Georgie asked if we could sit somewhere somewhat quiet. I went ahead and just took her arm and heeled Jayden to the table. I was about ready to collapse and it was hard to hear in there. We got to the table and Jayden settled in underneath. The server was like, he or she doesn’t have to scrunch under there. I explained that it was safest for him, so no one would step on him, and also so a server wouldn’t trip on him. She agreed with that haha.

The iced tea was freakin awesome! Hahaha. We sat and ate and relaxed and cooled off before heading to the next leg of the adventure.

As we were leaving, I heard two kids.

Kid #1 “That’s a guide dog.”

Kid #2 “Yep.”

I heard them follow us a bit and it brought a smile to my lips.

We stepped outside into the heat. Ugh. We got in the car. Double ugh. We drove to Kohl’s. Georgie found a spot shaded by a tree and I gave Jayden water. We made our way towards Kohl’s and he blew the upcurb. “Let’s take him to pee,” said Georgie.

Hahahaha! So we found some gravel and sure enough the boy had to pee. Sheesh.

We went inside and by this point Jayden knows he can just follow Georgie. So it was an absolute breeze in Kohl’s. Not only was he just following her and weaving me around all the racks, I could hear her since it was much quieter in there. There were absolutely no problems in there. Jayden would stop so I could feel it was very narrow before getting around racks and shelves and such. We found the jeans and Georgie held out a pair of twelves, since the ones I was wearing were twelves. I just got them not long ago from Gamma and already they were loose. Georgie thought the twelves would be too big, but we took a pair anyway, along with two pair of tens and an eight. We went to the fitting room and into the big stall. Jayden lay down calmly while I tried on the jeans. The twelves were definitely too big. The tens fit perfectly. I was able to pour myself into the eights and actually zip them. Too small, but I bought them anyway to have on hand for when I am a size eight, which won’t be long I’m sure. Georgie and I celebrated that I was in the size eight and I danced around a little haha! We remember when we celebrated that I was in a size sixteen.

Next were shirts. She was describing the latest fashions and holy crap the eighties called, they want their clothes back. I was singing ‘Girls just wanna have fun’. ripped up shirts on top of tank tops. Wow. We were looking in the juniors section because I can fit into juniors clothes, but I’m sorry, I’m not 14. No ripped up clothes for me, thanks.

We checked out the tops in the misses section and those were much better. I was happy to discover the peasant look is still in, so I got two peasant type tops, flowing cotton, very soft and light. We did pick up a junior’s t-shirt too. So we went to try those on and they fit just fine. The one top had this silly rope type belt thing but Georgie said she had one like that and she just cut the thing off.

I was going to pass up the purse and wallet but heck, we walked right by them so we had to give a peak. I showed Georgie the purse I’ve been using that I’ve had awhile. It works perfect. It’s not huge, but it holds my wallet and Jayden’s booties and poop bags and such. It’s got an adjustable strap that I like because I can make it so I can wear it over a shoulder and it lays across my back and doesn’t go flying when I bend over. But the way the strap is, I had to safety pin it to keep it short. So Georgie was on a mission to find something similar. She did, and it’s perfect. It’s black and I can’t explain the material. It’s kinda slick I guess, but not like vinyl. You can whipe it clean though, which I like. It’s got the adjustable strap, one large compartment for wallet and booties and some smaller ones in the front, perfect for baggies, Gentle Leader, feminine stuff and a cell phone. And, it was on sale. Orig. $60 now $20. Score! Next she looked at my wallet which was falling apart. I liked the spot where I kept cash because it was like a flap so I could have the bills folded the way I like but could get to them easily. She found a similar one with a checkbook holder thing that you can remove. The spot where bills went would work, but it wouldn’t be as easy as the other one. But, it’s sturdy and it’s black and purple, and it was on sale.

Ok we were done. I was pretty sure everything would add up to exactly as much cash as I had leftover from the mall. Georgie said we were heading towards the register but really she wanted to look at shoes. Shoes? Well, I need a pair of shoes to go with my new tops. Casual closed shoes you know, that I can wear with socks. I don’t really have a pair like that and I can’t wear my running shoes with peasant tops. So she found a pair of black swede ankle boots, on sale. Ok get those. She looked at some sandals. Jayden is laying down. Finally we go to the register.

We’re waiting in line.

“Dog. Dog. Dog. Dog. Dog. Doggy. Dog. Dog. Doggy. I like your dog. Dog,” says a child.

“Oh Ro, oh no, there’s these other boots on sale over there, should we check them out? They’re cheaper than those,” says Georgie.

“Dog. I like your dog. Doggy,” says the child.

“Ok, yeah,” I say and we leave the line as I stifle giggles.

We go and check out the other boots but they aren’t as comfortable. Georgie tells me Jayden is looking sad. She thought they only Photoshopped those puppy dog eys. I tell him we’re leaving soon.

Finally we check out. The total came to a little over my cash so I put it on my card. The clerk told me I saved $160. Seriously? That always helps you feel ok with the money you just dropped.

Absolutely everything I got was on sale. There wasn’t one thing that wasn’t. Georgie knows the best times to go shopping. I wish I could tally up just how much I saved. We always get a ton of stuff for the least about of money.

We’re in the car and by this time it’s nearing 4:30. I had been contemplating canceling with Dave today, since we have been doing the stupid mall on the 5th day of the week anyway since it’s so hot. I checked my voicemail and Dave had called, telling me he’d like to take a personal day tomorrow unless I really needed to work on something urgently, then he’d be here. So I called him back and left a message.

“Hey Dave, it’s Ro. Just got your message and I do have something urgent I need to work on. I’m really sorry to take you away from your personal day but….hahaha just kidding! I was gonna cancel on you!”

I’m such a brat.

We finally got home and Jayden was pulling me to the door. He knows it’s always frozen Kong time when we get home. It was actually his dinner time, but I didn’t want him to chug food right after getting home, so I had planned on the frozen Kong as an appetizer. Georgie brought the bags in and as she was leaving, Timmy was right by the door. She told me he was there but he was backing away and I told her I wanted to catch him anyway since I’d be taking Jayden out soon. I knelt down and he just escaped my reach so I dove after him, completely stretched out on the kitchen floor, grabbed him and stood up. Georgie laughed and said maybe I should put bells on him to practice my Goalball since that was totally a dive move hahaha!

She left and I put on a half pot of coffee. It was a little late for coffee but I was bone tired and needed dto cut tags off stuff and try on my workout clothes.

I swear half the money we spend on stuff is going towards the cost of tags. Does every item need two tags and sometimes a sticker?

I tried on the workout clothes and man those pants are trippy. Georgie had said you don’t feel like you’re wearing anything and she’s right. The whole outfit is so light, including the shoes. I feel barefoot in them. I ended up just hanging out in the workout outfit while I cut off all the tags.

Jayden finished his Kong and then got dinner. What a lucky dog.

I started checking out the purse and wallet. My old purse and wallet were stuff I had when I was a sightie so it’s always a little weird to get used to new stuff now. They work perfectly though, and that checkbook holder thing actually has a flap just like my old cash spot in the old wallet. So it’s gonna work perfect.

The pre-game show came on at 6:30 since the Rays are on the west coast. So I started the game just as B got home and I showed him the stuff. He was shocked when I told him I was a size eighteen when we started dating and now I’m a size ten. Since he sees me every day, it’s not as easy to notice the weight loss. So when I told him that he couldn’t believe it.

We had dinner and then It was already time for Jayden’s nightly game of tug. Think he was tired? He didn’t even want to play hahaha! I took him out then took the laptop into bed to listen to the Rays lose to the A’s 4-3. There’s this commercial for the grocery store on the Rays radio network and this guy says, “The eggs? It had to be the eggs? That’s the worst.” So I wrote on Twitter, “The A’s? It had to be the A’s? That’s the worst.” Thanks to them we’re out of first place, now a game behind the Yankees.

I fell asleep pretty instantly after the game was over and didn’t wake up until 8:00 this morning. I’m definitely in recovery mode from all the activity yesterday. Jayden is quite content to lay around as well, though I just gave him his frozen Kong.

Sooooo, is that the longest blog post I’ve ever written? I warned you. When I’m low on spoons, sometimes blogging is the best medicine, though truth be told, it wore me out to write this monster even though I took breaks and edited as I wrote. *Yawn*

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, baseball, coffeeholic, desert life, Doggy Diaries, Jayden, num num food, silly girl, spoons, treat for me, working dog, workouts

Doggy Diaries – Re-works and ice cream

Soon the desert heat won’t be so oppressive and isolating and I cannot wait! Dave and I were talking about all the stuff we’ll get to show Jayden when it cools off. Nice long walks Jayden doesn’t even know will get to happen. I can’t wait! The timing of getting Jayden was pretty good, but getting home in March meant we didn’t have a whole lot of time to start learning the bigger routes. Luckily there was enough to do to really solidify the bonding that we weren’t at all hindered. I can’t imagine trying to get back with a new guide dog in the hottest part of summer. We would have been immediately isolated and stuck indoors. I’m so glad GDB agreed with me on that and got me in to class as soon as possible. Thank God for that cancellation!

We usually do our outdoor stuff with Dave on Tuesdays since we can get out early, and our indoor stuff on the fifth day of the week. There’s not much indoor stuff left to do so this morning Dave suggested an abbreviated lesson, re-working the street crossing on the route to the store. On Tuesday when we did that crossing, Jayden tried to take me into the middle of a busy street. He had never done that before, and Dave thought it might have been because of all the turmoil with B going out of town and stuff, that threw Jayden off his game. So we drove to the spot since it was too hot to walk it.

Jayden nailed it every time and his pace was even better. Very strange. I guess Tuesday was just an anomoly. I don’t feel like looking up how to spell anomoly lol.

So then Dave asked if I needed anything since the lesson was short. He had just been worried about that crossing since he’s almost ready to sign off on the route so he was glad I agreed to work it. I pondered awhile, not really thinking of anything I needed and then thought mmm ice cream lol! Then the idea occured to me to work the upcurb in the parking lot, which I had never thought to work on with Dave.

When I’m out with friends, which never seems to happen anymore, but in the past when we’d get out of the car and approach the upcurb into a store, Jayden would blow it. I never fell or anything because I could feel him go up. So I was hoping he would do it with Dave so Dave could give me some feedback.

Luckily, Jayden blew it and since I was expecting it, I was able to give a firm NO and have him heel, sit tell him careful, the whole re-work. We went back to the car and he showed me the curb. Dave had said that when we got out of the car, he did like a normal sightie would do and watch me and Jayden and he made eye contact with Jayden. Dave said as soon as we got out of the car, Jayden was actually looking at Dave to follow him and forgot he was working.

So we stood by the car and pretended to chat and then I picked up the harness and told Jayden forward and he showed me the curb. Loud booming praise and kibble.

Then we did the same thing from across the parking lot. Dave acted like a friend and we chatted and Dave got ahead of us and stepped up on the curb to see if Jayden would follow, but he wasn’t fooled. He showed me the curb and got more praise and kibble.

It was a really good experience. I remember in the follow lecture, it said that a dog might start to rely too heavily on following people, so not to over use it. I therefor don’t use it often unless I’m getting help from a store clerk. The thing is, we weren’t really shown too much on what to do when out with friends. I never thought about how Jayden would decide hey, we’re with this person a lot, I’ll follow his or her lead. So now I know to get his focus on me immediately and be sure I’m directing him more than just having him follow.

It’s good to have had Dave see that from the perspective of a sighted friend. Of course a friend is going to be watching to make sure we’re ok, and they’ll look at Jayden, not knowing about the whole eye contact thing.

Since I can’t see the interaction between Jayden and people, I would never have known that. I can put a stop to verbal communication. Plenty of people whether friends or strangers, will talk to Jayden and when I hear that I can stop it. But I won’t notice them making eye contact with him.

I’m really happy with the way today’s lesson went and I sooooooo can’t wait for the weather to cool of so we can go exploring! I was telling Dave the main reason I haven’t done much venturing alone is because if it’s too hot, I could get sick and be totally screwed. So it’s nice to have someone with me. Often times I and others forget that my main disability is not my blindness, it’s the MS. Sometimes I get down on myself for not going out much, but that’s just how the summers have to be. Jayden has been totally fine, as the school assure me he would be as long as we found stuff to do here and there and did plenty of obedience and mind challenging stuff at home. He was just dream wagging on my leg, so I know he’s a happy dog. Just wait till it cools off Jay, you have no idea how much fun we’re gonna have!!!!

Oh yeah, and Jayden said I should get four pints of ice cream at the store as a reward for my hard work. 😉

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Filed under desert life, Doggy Diaries, GDB, Jayden, no no sightie, num num food, spoons, treat for me, weather, working dog

Update on Rays gift box

Thursday night, B described what I had received in the Rays gift box. The four bobbleheads are third baseman Evan Longoria, short stop Jason Bartlett, pitcher Matt Garza and pitcher James Shields. The two parachuting men are both left fielder Carl Crawford. The transformer feeling thing is in fact a transformer version of first baseman Carlos Pena. The figurine is the 2008 rookie of the year figurine of Evan Longoria. The t-shirt is a light blue t-shirt with the Rays logo. The bag thing says ‘rookie’ on one side and the other side looks like a Rays jersey. The enclosed card was from Rich Herrera and he wrote that he enjoyed talking to me, it made him homesick for AZ and he misses a local taco shop.

Pretty cool, huh?

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Filed under baseball, evan longoria, treat for me

My therapist moved to Florida

I woke up this morning in such a terrible mood and it’s not getting any better. I’m feeling a bit abandoned by my therapist. She moved to Florida. She gave me a few phone numbers of some women in the same building but I don’t want to start fresh with someone. I also can’t afford it. And my therapist helped me out with that. It’s betting to the point though, that I think I’ll need to call one of these women and just see what we might be able to do. I’m not doing so well. There’s just some major stuff I need professional help with. Doesn’t it always seem like when life is going you great, life throws a sinking curve ball and you’re out on strikes? Better bench me for awhile coach, I can’t hit right now. I just need a reminder that I’m still good in the outfield even if I’m not swinging the bat. Don’t ask me what I’m trying to say. Baseball analogies seem to work well for my life. Blech. At least I have Jayden. Don’t think I’d be managing to shower and get dressed if it weren’t for him. Actually I’d still probably want to work out. It’s great to work out when you’re pissed off. Have I mentioned I’ve lost nineteen pounds? Yep. Getting a lot of compliments, though all from people who don’t matter very much. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes it feels kinda pointless. I’m really happy though, when I can see through the haze and acknowledge myself. Oh and I ordered two dresses on jcpenny.com yesterday. I’ve never been an “off the rack” shopper, but Gamma ordered me some clothes out of a catalogue that fit, so I took a chance. Here’s hoping they’re cute. Erik took a look at them on the website and he said they’re nice. It might be dangerous though, since I went shopping online yesterday since I was on the pity pot and the Rays weren’t playing. Yikes, can’t get hooked on internet clothes shopping. I won’t, don’t worry.
K enough rambling, just had to verbal vomit. Thanks.

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Filed under baseball, Gamma, Jayden, rambles, random stuff, therapy, treat for me, workouts

Doggy Diaries – First independent outing

This weekend was really quiet. Yesterday my allergies were so bad that I didn’t even go to Gamma’s. I took a Zyrtec in the morning, but it hardly did anything and my head was so clogged I was losing my balance. B went and got me allergy pills and they made me all stone. I think they were Tylenol Allergy and Sinus or something, but they were new and those rapid release deals. I even had freakin munchies. Not a fun feeling for someone who’s sober. So I was pretty much a lump yeterday and I was feeling really bad cuz Jayden didn’t get out.

Today was our first time going to Saavi on the paratransit so I was excited. I got us all ready and when I heard the van pull up, we went outside and I worked him to the black, where we usually run right to go to the mailbox. Instead I told him forward, he stopped for the curb and then I said “find the bus” just like we did at school. He took me right to the door and put his front paws on the first step. Then I said “find a chair” and he went to say hi to the other passenger lol. A correction and a “find a chair” and he took me to an empty seat.

We got to Saavi and I said “inside” and he went right inside. He took me right to the main hallway and I did a small moving left to the ladies room. Someone had thought the wall right next to the restroom was a good place to put a card holder thing, and I knocked it off lol. Someone came and picked it up and we went inside. Man the handicapped stalls are sure easier. People always tried to take me to them before I had Jayden and I never liked them because they were too big. But now they’re a lot easier. It was occupied, so I tried getting into a small stall which we’ve done before but it wasn’t going well, so I waited for the large stall. So much easier.

We left and headed for the gym and found it no problem. G got out a mat and we found a good tie down spot, off the leg of the elevated stretching mat. So Jayden got to relax on a nice soft mat on the floor while I did my cardio. I hardly even broke a sweat and didn’t even get winded. Good to know I didn’t loose the shape I’d gotten into in the months of working out and then all the walking at school.

Next was to go next door to the weight room, so I found another good tie down spot. Jayden was great in both rooms, just relaxing. In the weight room, I was doing my curls and I heard a dog outside the room with the handler correcting. Jayden didn’t even care. Lisa said he just kinda looked in that direction. But the fact that Jayden was in there had this other dog a little excited lol. I was proud of my boy, though I’m sure we’ll have our fair share of times at Saavi where he gets excited around another dog.

After I was done in the weight room, I had Lisa weigh me and I’ve lost ten pounds since I started in September. The weight loss had kinda plataued before I went to school, but I could tell I lost some while there. I’ve probably gained some since getting back haha. But I’m really excited that I finally got below 170 yay! I was also pretty amazed that the working out felt really easy. She had taken some weights off but it was just too light. She thought she’d have to go easy on me since I hadn’t been there in a month. But hello, I wasn’t exactly just laying on the beach during those weeks haha!!

After we got home I talked with Carol awhile, during which I got my tank tops from L^2’s shop. I thought for sure UPS would come while I was away, but they were later than usual.

When I was off the phone I harnessed Jayden up again to go get the mail. I am satisfied to say that route is completely mastered. No problems at all.

I meet with Dave again in the morning. We’re maximizing the weather before it gets too hot, meeting twice a week.

So it was a great day and I’m so glad to be back to a routine!!

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Filed under accomplishment, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, guide dogs, Jayden, sobriety, transitioning, treat for me, weather, working dog, workouts

Doggy Diaries – Without Jayden

I had to use the dreaded stick today to do laundry. We have to take the same route as the mail to get to the laundry, and I just wasn’t confident enough on that rounded curb to try and direct Jayden while dragging my cart behind me. So I put him in the kennel where I felt he was most safe and then I felt horrible lol. I had two loads to do so rather than let him out and then put him back in, I just left him in the whole time. I kept talking to him and at one point when I got back with a load, he whined but a “quiet” stopped that.

Man, it sucked using the cane hahaha! It was so tedious heading down there. Anytime it got caught on anything I cursed it. It also didn’t keep me from running into the open mailboxes. The mail lady was there and I was walking towards the boxes with my cane and she said hello and I said hello and then ran into the door containing all the little mailbox doors. She felt so bad and I laughed because I had just made the UPS guy feel bad not minutes before.

He came to my door and said UPS and when I went to the door I could hear him walking away. I was like, is the package right here? Nothing. Truck starts. I come outside. Truck stops. UPS guy goes, oh man, I forgot, I was pointing, oh man, I’m so sorry. I’m laughing asking if it’s right there. He’s like, I’m coming, don’t move. He came up and handed me the box. He felt so silly and I was like it’s ok. I was getting shipments almost every day there for awhile but I haven’t in a bit so he forgot hahaha. I was just too happy to get my baseball shirts.

After I was all done with laundry, I harnessed Jay up to go get the mail, and we probably could have done the laundry together. He nailed it. No issues. So after I got the mail I decided to show him the laundry room. It’s a left turn around the building from the mail with a short curb to follow and then the door. He took me right to the door as if to say, see you didn’t have to leave me home. I would have found it. I took him inside and let him check it out and then we came home. It’s sooo much faster to have Jayden walk it, wow.

It’s already getting hot though. We were out about noon or so and it was feeling hot.

After that I groommed Jayden and man is he throwing his winter coat. Lots and lots of fur. I took off his collar to do a good groomming there and he lay down and just let me go to town in that area. Then I brushed his teeth and cleaned his ears. His summer coat is more coarse than the winter coat. He doesn’t feel quite so soft.

That’s pretty much it for today. I can’t wait to get back into my routine so he has more to do. Tomorrow we go out with Dave again and then I should be resuming workouts Monday. Yay!!

Oh yeah, before I went down to do laundry, I had the cart sitting in a stupid spot and forgot it was there. I had Jayden on leash, walking to the bedroom and he stopped. He kept me from running into the cart even though he would have cleared it just fine. And he wasn’t even working. Nice!

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, guide dogs, Jayden, laundry, no no sightie, silly girl, transitioning, treat for me, weather, white cane, working dog

Baseball and tank tops

Normally twice a year, I enlist Georgie to take me shopping for seasonal apparel. Really in Arizona, I only need tank tops for summer and then some light weight sweaters for winter haha.

This morning I got an email from L^2 telling me about a sale at Cafe Press’. If you want some cool stuff, check out her shop. Her store is hosted at Cafe Press and is accessible. She has a wide variety of her photographs on all sorts of stuff from clothing to bags to cups to magnets. It’s a really fun shop.

I needed a hoodie, so I ordered one from her with a photograph of a braille book laying open illuminated by sunlight. I had seen the photo on her blog, and her photos all have great descriptions, so I was really happy she put that photo in the shop. I’ve also ordered some of her prints which came in really nice frames.

So aside from the hoodie, I got a few tank tops. She’s got some really fun non-photo stuff and you can choose the thing you want in that style. So I got all the same tank top, which will be really fun because I don’t usually mark my clothes, so it’ll be the collection of mystery tank tops hehe! I got one that says “I’m blogging this” which she had recommended awhile back, one that says “I am away from my computer” and one that says “Property of a labrador retriever”. I might not have those word for word. Oh and I also got one that says “What are you looking at?” in braille hahaha! Not raised dots, just dots. Love it!!

So then I remembered that mlb.com has the Gameday Audio Player Lite and since I selected to automatically renew my subscription this year, I’d have access to spring training games. So I listened to a bit of my Tampa Bay Rays play the Florida Marlins and lose. In case you’re wondering, Gameday audio, which was recently renamed but I can’t remember what it’s called now, is only $14.95 a season. You get access to radio broadcasts of all the games no matter what market you’re in. It’s really cool. Last season I was able to listen to any game I wanted no matter what B wanted to watch, and radio broadcasts are so much more descrptive than tv, obviously.

Last year I ordered a Tampa Bay Rays tank top and cap from the shop at mlb.com and it was my first online purchase since using a screen reader. So I decided to go back and get a few more. So I got another Rays tank as well as an Angels tank and a Cubs tank. I just got the cheapest ones they had. Yay baseball!!

So I suppose that’s my “treat for me” purchase for March and April lol. I haven’t ordered anything since January, so I was due tee hee!

And now I’m all stocked up on tank tops. Unfortunately I can’t buy jeans online, and I’ll need those since all mine are too big now. Fun stuff.

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Filed under accessibility, baseball, braille, cool product, plugs, screen reader, treat for me, weather