Category Archives: twitter me this

I’ve Been Calling Myself a Writer. Now I Believe it.

Deciding to dedicate all study and practice to my first memoir was the best decision I could have made for myself and my writing. A few months ago, I realized that all the information I was getting from free resources–articles, blog posts, writing classes, and podcasts–was simply being disseminated in different ways, no longer teaching me anything new. When I first moved to Bellingham, I considered going back to school since I felt like my life was starting anew, but I am just not well enough to commit to a rigorous academic schedule, especially not one that requires attending physical class at specific times.

However I’ve wanted my writing to ascend to that next level, needing to move beyond what I can teach myself. One day, some headline caught my attention on Twitter, leading me to JerryJenkins.com. I don’t remember what the post was about, but I liked it so much that I signed up for his email list and received a message about a free webinar. I’ve since played so many of his webinars that I can’t remember what it was about. At first I was suspicious. The chairperson kept mentioning Jerry’s Guild, and stay tuned for information on how to join, and take advantage of this extra deal only offered during the webinar, and blah zee blah blah. I was like ok whatever, I’ll take my free information and go. But…

The information was so good. Jerry spoke from experience, of which he has much. While a lot of it was stuff I’d taught myself over the years, hearing it from a human voice and not my screen reader, with real-time examples, I felt things I’d learned begin to click into place. So I paid to join the Guild. All of Jerry’s webinars are available to me now (albeit not completely controllable with my screen reader) and I’ve since been able to study from home when I’m well enough to focus my mental energy. I’ve started putting into practice the things I’m learning and my writing has indeed jumped to the next level.

I wrote the first draft of my memoir back in November for NaNoWriMo and have since been in the rewriting phase, using Jerry’s teachings on ferociously self editing as I go, having a blast making scenes really pop. Using my own story to practice has been invaluable, as there’s little struggling over plot and character, since my plot is my story and I’m the protagonist. I say little struggling because, while I know my own story, I find myself writing about an event that took place before or after something else, only to notice while rewriting that that timeline is incorrect.

On Thursday, I attended jerry’s memoir webinar and it showed me what’s been missing, solidifying all that I’ve taught myself. Like switching from margarine to butter in my baking, I’ve finally found the ingredient that makes the recipe click. Yes! So…I’ve been working on the second draft of my memoir, tightening up the writing, adding color and shading to the sketches, and it’s 2008 and I’m about to go blind.

After Jerry’s memoir webinar, I’ve realized that my structure is all wrong, and from the work I’ve done, new themes have emerged. If I had the attention of an agent or publisher with a hard deadline, I’d be freaking out right now. How’s that for a silver lining? the only deadline thus far is my goal for finishing this draft by April 24th. I’ve considered abandoning it to begin working with my new theme and structure, but I’ve decided to finish this work since it has become a silver mine of experience and personal growth. After I finish it, I’ll mine it for the silver that’s waiting to shine. This memoir is like a paint by numbers picture for the beginning artist. I’ve been calling myself a writer. Now I believe it.

Thank you, Jerry Jenkins!

*Coming soon: randioomens.com*

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Filed under accomplishment, gratitude, NaNoWriMo, plugs, screen reader, spoons, twitter me this, writing

Oxygen Mask On, Head Firmly In Sand

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

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

I am sticking my head firmly in the sand.

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

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

Do what exactly?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Melancholy Joy

I jotted down those words on Christmas Eve because they so perfectly described how I was feeling, and the more I’ve thought about them, I’ve realized how they also sum up 2016 for me. This year has been absolutely life altering, both on a personal level and as an American. I did some travel in the early part of the year to see Josh Groban in concert, attend Rays spring training games, and visit with Florida friends. I returned home to get ready for a hysterectomy in the same month. I keep telling myself I should have feelings about now being barren, but I just don’t, ha! Not long after I recovered, My relationship ended and I fell in love again, and moved to Washington. Whoa, right? I watched Brexit unfolding on Twitter and prayed America would learn from Britain’s decision, and my hopes sank into fear and disbelief as my country elected, deep breath, I cannot write his name.

It’s hard for me to believe the turns my life has taken this year, some wonderful turns. I want to hate 2016 for all the awful, the terrorist attacks, the shootings, the steps backward in civil liberties, but I can’t help but love 2016 for what it has done for my mental health and writing. I completed the first draft of my memoir for National Novel Writing Month and am actively working on draft two. I took a fiction writing class and feel more in touch with my creative side than I remember being in a very long time. I have a file now rich with story ideas and character traits and observations. While working on draft two of the memoir, I’ve noticed how much I’ve learned about telling a story.

I thought that writing my own story would be easier than fiction. I know all the twists and turns, so it should be easy to write, right? Ha! Not only is it just as challenging to shape each sentence, it’s been taxing mentally to spend so much time in my past, especially during the holidays. That’s where the melancholy joy set in, when I received a Christmas card from my uncle and realized that I would not be getting one of his awesome hugs this year for the holidays or my birthday, the hug that he pours all his love and feeling into. I ran my fingers over the textured, glittery card as if it were braille and an ache grew in my chest and dissolved into tears. David and his son were putting up the tree, anticipation and excitement palpable, and my own joy at being here began warring with my sadness. Which one wins? The one you feed. I let the melancholy come, let myself feel it so it could pass, and moved on. I had a wonderful Christmas with my new family. David got me a soprano ukulele for my birthday, which was yesterday. I want so badly to play with it right now, but I promised myself I could have it as a reward if I worked on rewrites and posted a blog. Discipline baby!

So, 2016 comes to a close. I know many of us are ready to see the back of it. So much death this year. I won’t rehash it since we all know, we were all here, and we’ve all had our fair share of hardships along with worldwide hurt. I hope that 2017 will be better, I cling to that hope, though the pragmatist in me says, “hold on, darlin’. It’s only just begun.” I’ll focus on my art. I’ll work on making this book be the best it can be so I can share my silver linings and hope with the world. That’s my goal for 2017, to publish, yes, but most importantly, to continue to be a bright spot, continue to let my light shine. my goal is to make people smile, whether it be David or his family, a stranger on the street, a stranger on Twitter, or a reader of my blog and (hopefully) book. Let’s all strive for that, yeah? Let’s all hold on to our asses and protect those around us and love. All you need is love, right John Lennon?

Happy New Year! We can do it!

Ooooh now I can go play with my ukulele!

Here’s the first song to make its way into my memoir. It appeared during work on the second draft today.

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Filed under baseball, birthday, family, gratitude, mental health, music, twitter me this, writing

A Cardboard Box Tried To Eat Me

A webinar jinxed me. More specifically, a Can Do Multiple Sclerosis webinar. I found these webinars after David mentioned wanting some ideas for dinners (he’s a great cook), and I went searching for foods good for MS to add into our stir fries.. I certainly never meant to change his diet when I moved here, but he became intrigued with my management of cholesterol without medication, noticing that he felt better physically when he ate the stuff I eat. I have sworn off red meat, sadly. I feel like death warmed over after I eat it. Ah, the joys of getting older. Bye bye bacon.

Ro, I thought this post was about how a webinar jinxed you.

Ok yes, yes. So I listened to the latest one and it was about sleep and MS. These webinars are super informative, reinforcing a lot of the stuff I’ve learned about MS on my own over the years, either online or by adapting stuff to suit my needs. So a lot of it is sort of reeducation I suppose. the webinar mentioned often how important sleep is, which I think most of us know, but they brought up something interesting I hadn’t thought of, which is fall prevention. Of course, if we’re over tired or fatigued, we’re at a greater risk of falling. I’ve done pretty well avoiding falls, even with MS Induced vertigo and blindness. I don’t have a lot of problems with sleep, knock on wood, the biggest one being having a hard time getting back to sleep sometimes after I have to get up and answer nature’s call. They went through an awesome relaxation exercise, and recommended doing that during the night when insomnia hits. As if my body wanted me to practice, I couldn’t fall asleep right away that night after getting up, but unfortunately, I was too sleepy to have the energy to practice the relaxation exercise. Is this a chicken/egg issue? I put my current falling asleep audio book on under my pillow and eventually fell asleep to the dulcet tones of Alan Cumming reading Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN trilogy. I’m nearly done with the third book for the umpteenth time. I wonder what my next comfort, fall asleep listen will be.

I didn’t feel tired or unrefreshed when I woke up yesterday. We went about our usual lazy Sunday, and when I fed Jayden, I noticed that I’d need to empty dog food from the new bag into his food container. the box from Amazon had been sitting behind my desk for a week. I laid it flat, cut it open, and carried the thirty pound bag into the kitchen, leaving the open box on the floor.

David offered to pour the bag of food into the Vittles Vault but I assured him I’d been doing it for years and had a system, and I do, but after bending over, slowly filling the container to capacity, my back barked at me and I told David that ok, he could do it next time. We had a laugh over Jayden waiting for permission to snatch up the spilled kibble on the floor and I left the kitchen to return my scissors to my desk drawer.

Ok class, who remembers where I had opened the Amazon box containing a thirty pound bag of dog food?

Why do falls seem to happen in slow motion? Remembering it now, I can see myself walking as if in quick sand, my left foot encountering the box on the floor, my hands slowly coming up in front of me, scissors in the left one. I can hear my thoughts, how far am I from the computer? Shit, don’t break the computer, don’t fall into the desk with the computers, where’s Jayden, don’t want to fall on him, oh he’s in the kitchen ok falling falling falling.

the scissors didn’t enter my mind until after the fall was complete. Perhaps the part of my brain that controls my left hand was nice an alert, more so than the short term memory part at least.

I even swore in slow motion. David can vouch for that. He heard the whole thing from the kitchen and said I seemed to fall in steps. “Oh fuck…oh fuck….oh fuck!”

After I landed and took stock, realizing I had landed half inside the box, crushing the other half, I burst out laughing, imagining the scene in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, where Jim Carey is snooping in the storage closet at the mental hospital and tries to hide in a box. He’s wearing a pink ballet tutu and high top shoes and ends up sprawling out of the box as it gives way around him. I couldn’t stop the hysteria. David came in and bent down to feel my position and after being certain I was ok, gave me a hand to get up. But I discovered that my left leg was folded into the box and I couldn’t stand, so I began laughing even harder and pulled his hand down to show him how I was trapped. He got my leg free and pulled me up and it was then that I noticed the scissors. That could have been very bad.

David asked if I was sure I was ok, because the laughter had sounded like a combination of mirth and pain. I took a physical inventory and sure enough, my left hip was not happy. Upon further reflection, I think the hysterical laughter was a bit of an emotional pop. It’s been a sad couple of months for David and his friends, since one of them has been dying. We received word yesterday that his friend had passed on. I never met him, but feeling the love and sadness from those who knew him, I knew he had been a special person. It’s an odd thing when a death watch is over. You’re filled with sadness with the knowledge that the person you love is dying and then when it’s over, there’s a sense of relief, and then guilt over feeling that relief. None of this was about me, but I felt David’s pain, and had for months, so I think I just sort of popped when I found myself trapped in a cardboard box. Emotions are powerful and strange things.

So, the webinar jinxed me. I obviously don’t believe that, but you know how when someone injures themselves in a really stupid way and their friends are like, you should say you got into a fight with a guy who wouldn’t give up his seat to a pregnant lady or something rather than admit you were playing Pokemon Go and ran into a tree.

Jayden Quirk

Sometimes after feeding and relieving Jayden, I get back into bed for awhile, and other times I get up and sit at my desk. Jayden always goes to his bed after he’s fed and relieved. We only have one dog bed, and we move it back and forth from the bedroom to the spot under my desk where he can be near me. Sometimes I forget to move the bed when I sit at my desk, and this morning, I was reading Twitter when I felt Jayden beside me. “Oh! You want your bed?” I went into the bedroom for it, Jayden trailing behind me. I put it under my desk and he curled up happily. It always warms my heart. It’s the simple things, everyone. Don’t forget to let the simple things make you happy.

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Filed under Amazon, Audio books, blind blunders, funnies, humor as coping skill, Jayden, jayden quirks, spoons, twitter me this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Merry Christmas!

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

I’m Home

It wasn’t a geographical in the AA sense of things, since I wasn’t running away from something, I was running to something. And I think I’ve found way more than I bargained for.

That was the thought running through my head this morning that made me run to my computer after refilling my coffee, knowing I needed to write a blog post. I got out of bed early today since I lay awake thinking of how close I was to finishing the first draft of the memoir – finally. I used NaNoWriMo this year to fully commit to the memoir. I studied memoir in October, reading “The Memoir Project” by Marion Roach. The book was recommended on Twitter by Josh Hanagarne @JoshHanagarne), author of “The World’s Strongest Librarian”, and I will be forever grateful to him for that recommendation. The book showed me how to structure the memoir and how to plan to write it. It showed me to find the message I wanted to convey, and that helped me narrow down which parts of my life were relevant.

What I have is a 50,550 (cool number, eh?) word sketch draft of this memoir, with the ending I imagined while doing my prep work.

I have a finished, first terrible draft of a book!

I’m pretty sure it’ll be longer than what I have now, because as I wrote, I would remember things that will need to go in, but I just jotted those down as notes to be added during rewrites. I’ll be learning Windows and Jaws *gulp* for the editing process, because the Mac and Voiceover is sorely lacking in the word processing department. Luckily, I’m in the right place with a Windows geek who can help me with that. Pray for him. *wink wink*

When last I posted, I listed all the challenges I’d been through with my benefits. I had planned to post again with fun stories about moving here, and I’ll still do that, but not in this post. Today I just wanted to post about finishing my first draft, because the feeling is incredible. I’ve finished multiple drafts of two short stories now, and those felt great, but finishing the first draft of this memoir, a book that’s been fighting to get out since way back when I had a Blogger blog, feels absolutely incredible.

I think it’s this move to Washington. It felt like home before I ever got here, and I’m so grateful it has felt more and more like home the longer I’ve been here. My creativity has grown in leaps and bounds here. I can stand outside in the front yard and just be, just listen and feel and smell. It’s so alive here! Everything is alive. Grass, trees, the nearby ocean that I smell when I step outside, everything is living, including me.

Without a doubt, I know this is home now. though I suppose we’ll see what I say in February, eh?

I’ve had to put some money down on warm stuff, but not much. I got thermal underwear on Amazon that I wear every day under my sweats and three tops, ha! David’s, and now my, friend took me to Value Village for a member’s only sale. This woman knows how to bargain hunt! I got two winter coats and a bunch of warm stuff to wear around the house. I’m currently wearing wool socks, thermal pants, sweats, a tight tank top, thermal shirt, fleece shirt, hoodie, NaNoWriMo beanie, and fingerless gloves. I’m pretty much warm, ha! I freaking love it!

It’s not so fun when it’s wet, but I’m getting used to it. The raincoat I bought for guide dog school hangs in the mud room, ready to grab to keep dry, and I’m waiting on a rain coat I ordered from GDB for Jayden. I certainly never expected to be buying a doggy raincoat. I never expected to move to Washington, either, so it just goes to show how unreliable expectations are. Tip: don’t have expectations, and prepare yourself for the unexpected.

Near the end of October, while I was preparing for NaNoWriMo and taking a fiction writing class, we met up with some of David’s family and went to the Hobuck beach at Neah Bay. David, his son, and cousins, all surfed. In the cold. I’ll be trying it in the summer if all goes as planned. Hey now, watch those expectations.

For Thanksgiving, we went to David’s parents’s house for salmon dinner. A lot of Salmon is eaten here, which is excellent, because salmon is a good anti-inflammatory food. Antiinflammation food? Hmmm. Anyway, we eat a lot of salmon and I love it.

There have been challenges. I’m still ironing out all the benefits stuff. It turns out that Medicare does follow you from state to state, but if you have a Medicare advantage plan like I had in Arizona, tying Medicaid and Medicare together with an insurance company like United Healthcare, you have to do more than just cancel your state’s Medicaid. Unbeknownst to me, my Medicare stuck to Arizona even after I cancelled Medicaid, and the only reason I found out was because when my new doctor tried to write a neurology referral, my new health group didn’t take my Arizona insurance, which I thought I had cancelled. Long story short, I had to call Medicare and get on a basic plan, and get on a prescription drug plan. As far as I understand it, everything should be straightened out on December 1, and I’ll officially be a Washingtonian, *knock on wood*.

I wasn’t planning on going into all that, but the fingers write what the fingers write. I have another call to make about my Medicaid, because I have a navigator woman with my medical group, who said I should not be on that ridiculous spend down thing. So fingers crossed she’s right.

So there’s another update for you, my one dear reader *cough* Torie *cough*. I’m thinking as I revise the memoir, maybe I’ll post things that end up on the cutting room floor. Though perhaps not until I know for sure. Better safe than sorry.

***Tip*** When taking your dog to the beach, no matter how short a leash you have him on, he’s still at risk for beach gut. Did you know that’s a thing? Yup, that’s a thing. My did Jayden get sick. Silver lining: I took him to the neighbor’s vet, which I really liked.

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Filed under accomplishment, coffeeholic, family, GDB, gratitude, holiday, Jaws, Jayden, Microsoft, num num food, twitter me this, vet visit, Voiceover, weather, writing

Pants on Fire

“After my last post about accidental olive oil, I promised a friend I would write the story of setting my pants on fire. There was also interest in my brief mention of scissors in the fridge and milk on the counter after my Y2K party, so I’ll explain a little more about that, too.

At the end of March, I had an abdominal surgery. Just laparoscopic; I wasn’t cut open, but I did have four holes in my belly. I was given a belly binder thing, to help with pain relief. I lovingly referred to it as my girdle. who knew that it would also save me from bad burns, too?

I was putting chickpeas on to boil after soaking them over night, so my gas flame was on as high as it would go, and I was experimenting with adding fresh onion and garlic to the water to flavor the beans.

I was slicing fresh garlic directly into the pot, when I began to sniff the air, like a dog who caught a yummy scent on the breeze. Is something burning, I thought as I cut slice after slice into the water.

(I can hear all you cooks thinking, you’re supposed to mash fresh garlic, what are you doing slicing it?)

As I sniffed the air, trying to decide what was burning, I felt heat on my belly. I threw the rest of the garlic into the water, the knife onto the counter, and batted at my belly, burning my fingers in the process.

You know in books, when the protagonist tells you that time seemed to slow? That is absolutely, 100% true. Thinking back, it still seems like the whole experience took minutes, but I’m certain that the first sniff to the oh shit I’m on fire realization, only took a few seconds. Before I could think about it, I ran to the sink, flipped it on, picked up the sprayer and shot water at my belly.

After the fire was out and my fingers were only slightly prickling with pain, I inspected my pants. The drawstring had caught fire, the knot still tied, but the bow now split into four burnt strands. The embers at the end of those strands had managed to burn a whole in my shirt, as well as the pants. the only thing that saved me from a burn on my belly, was my post-surgical belly binder, my girdle, which had not a tactile mark on it. Do hospitals collaborate with NASA or something?

Lesson learned: do not cut the veggies over the pot of boiling water.

On the scissors in the fridge comment from my last post

Someone on Twitter said it sounded like one helluva party. It was a great party. I turned twenty-one the day before Y2K, so I used money I had gotten from Christmas and my birthday and stocked my dad’s fridge full of booze. I had informed him he would need to not be home as I was throwing a party. Looking back, I’m kinda surprised he was just like, okay. Um, thanks Dad?

I had taken a picture of my fridge before the party, showing off all the bottles of beer. I took pictures the next day, too. All the beer was gone, except for the case of Milwaukee’s Beast, I mean Best that someone had brought and no one drank. There, on the middle shelf, were the kitchen scissors. Across the kitchen from the fridge, the milk sat on the counter, gone warm. I don’t have any idea when or how this happened. Sighted readers, sorry but while I might still have said pictures in an old folder on my hard drive, I have no way of finding them.

Last thoughts

I see the doctor tomorrow to get my cholesterol results, so wish me luck!

Is there a cooking and/or healthy eating question you have, or do you want more blunder-type stories? Feel free to ask in the comments or on Twitter, since a combination of the two is how this post was born. I am revamping my blog. I got bored of writing all the book posts, and while I was seeing traffic on my stat counter, I wasn’t interacting with readers. I miss those days, so talk to me!

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Ro Goes to florida 2016

So, back in 2014, the Tampa Bay Rays family on Twitter decided it was going to get me to St. Petersburg for the opening series of the season. This involved fundraising via Paypal to raise the money for my flights and hotel, as well as game tickets and food. The Rays got wind of this and donated a suite for three games, so tickets were covered. Sweet! the rest of the trip was completely funded by cash donations. How freaking cool is that? All those strangers new how much I love the team, and that since I was on a fixed income thanks to my disabilities, I’d never be able to afford to attend games in St. Petersburg at Tropicana Field. So they made it happen. You can read about the donations and stuff here, and about the trip through the #RoToTrop category on my blog.

Just before the idea for that trip came to fruition, I fell in love with singer Josh Groban, @JoshGroban thanks to William Shatner, @WilliamShatner, constantly tweeting a love fest about the guy. I looked Josh Groban up on iTunes one night out of annoyance at Shatner and his man crush, and holy wow OMG Josh Groban wow oh this music holy crap let me just buy this album and that one and that one and I followed him on twitter and stalked him er I mean his timeline and fell absolutely and totally head over heals in love. He’s pretty much the only one on my freebie card now, though, unlike Ross Gellar’s, mine is not laminated.

Ok so what do my trip to Florida to see the Rays back in ’14, and my slight obsession with Josh Groban have to do with one another?

My friend Professor Twain, @PRTwain tweeted me one day last year to inform me that my Josh, I mean, that Josh Groban will be performing in Clearwater, FL on March 1, right as the Rays begin Spring Training.

A plan was born.

A generous Rays family member donated frequent flyer miles. My flights are booked.

Another generous Rays family member donated hotel points in clearwater. Those hotel nights are booked.

Another generous Rays family member donated hotel points for my stay in Port Charlotte for spring training games. those nights are booked.

another generous Rays family member donated two concert tickets for me to see my Josh groban, dangit, for me to see, ahem, Josh Groban on March 1.

pardon me while I scream.

All that was taken care of within two days of us announcing the trip on Twitter. Two days. It’s amazing how much happens when so many people love a person. I still, even after that first trip, am astounded that the person all these people love is me.

thank you. thank you, a thousand times thank you. My friends and followers know my life isn’t a cake walk but, though I’m blind, I always see the silver linings. These people are such a radiant silver lining, they shine like the brightest of stars.

We’re still raising money via my Paypal page using my email, raynaadi @ gmail . com

We raised enough that first day for me to be able to reimburse the person who donated hotel points, but who had to pay cash for the last night since he was out of points. That’s quite a bit of money. So amazing right? A Rays family member bought two seats each at two games in Port Charlotte and one in Ft. Myers, just in case they sold out. I’m hoping to be able to reimburse this person with further donations.

*Squeak* Josh Groban just shuffled in, singing Bring Him Home from Les Miserables and I get to hear him sing it in person! OH MY!

Anyway, so we raised $270 right after we announced the trip and I reimbursed #200 of that, so my current donations tally is $70.

I’d like to reimburse monies for the game tickets, which totaled $210,and cash for meals, checked baggage and tips for airport assistants would help. Did you know people at airports who assist the disabled work on tips?

Itinerary and Logistics

I’ll be flying from tucson to Tampa on Monday, February 29. When i told my friend yesterday that I feel like flying on leap year day might make me end up in an alternate dimension, he accused me of reading too much. guilty as charged. I’ve got a ride from the airport to the hotel covered.

Tuesday, March 1 – I’ll have time for visiting in the Tampa area before the Josh Groban concert. We’ve kicked around the idea on Twitter to have lunch at Evan Longoria’s restaurant, Ducky’s. I figure that would be a great place to congregate and hang out. March 1 is the only time I’ll have available in the Tampa St. Pete area. Transportation is needed.

Wednesday, March 2 – It’s down to Port Charlotte and the Rays spring training facility. Woo! I’ve got that trip covered. Who’s going to the game? It’s Nationals at Rays at 1pm. Let’s meet up! Maybe dinner after?

Thursday, March 3 – Baltimore at Rays 1pm. this game is not covered. I’m staying in Port Charlotte, so I just need a buddy to attend the game with, maybe grab dinner, and a ride back to the hotel.

Friday, March 4 – Rays at Boston in Fort Myers at 1pm. This game is also not covered. I’ll need a ride from Port Charlotte and back.

Saturday, March 5 – Rays at Baltimore in Sarasota at 7pm. This game is covered. Who else is going?

Sunday, March 6 – I fly back home. Awww. I need a ride from Port Charlotte to the Tampa Airport. My flight leaves at 4pm so I should probably be at the airport between 2pm and 2:30pm. ***This ride is covered as of a few hours of posting this!***

So, there it is. If you’re interested in helping with transportation, contact me on Twitter@Raynaadi. Any vehicle I ride in must have air conditioning. I swear I’m not picky, but my MS makes me sick if I get over heated. I will also have my yellow lab guide dog with me and he’s trained to ride in the foot well of the front passenger seat between my feet. If you don’t want a dog in your car, it’s probably best not to volunteer for transportation. Also, I’ll only get in the car with people I’ve talked with on Twitter, and who others I know have met in person at games. Lastly, I won’t get in a vehicle if the driver has had any alcohol. It’s not just me i’ve gotta worry about, but my guide dog too.

We can do this, right? I’m so excited and grateful! Wow!

I’ll update this post with the donations tally as well as keep track of transportation volunteers. I can’t wait to hang out with my florida family again!

~*Meeting the person who started it all*~

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Filed under baseball, evan longoria, family, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, leap year, music, spoons, twitter me this, wow

December’s Audio Books Et Cetera

I’m fighting a migraine and it’s my birthday (12/30) as I write this and I’m waiting for my requested birthday dinner of 5 Guys, Burgers and Fries but my stomach is a little queasy from the migraine so no fair. December has not been kind to me. I’ve got a mystery bug that sent me in a panic to the neurologist after I almost passed out on stage while singing in the Tucson Girls Chorus 30th Anniversary concert. I thought for sure my MS was in one hell of a relapse but my MRI was clean, so the neuro tested me for an evil virus which I was sure I was dying from but that came back negative so the neuro sent me to my primary care doc and turned the mystery over to her. I see her next month. the neuro thinks I’ve got a bug that’s exacerbating normal MS symptoms like fatigue and dizziness. I get super breathless and light headed with the slightest of elevation changes. I’ll have a day of feeling better and then the next day I’m back to square one. Sitting in a normal chair is difficult since I feel like I’m going to topple out of it. I worked on my novel in the first part of the month after taking a week to recover from NaNoWriMo, then this bug hit and I’ve been useless. That’s about all I’m going to say on that right now since I’m fighting a depression that would love to grab hold while I’m weak so let’s move on to books, shall we? Oh, I checked my stat counter today to give me the motivation to care about this post and you’re still reading, so I’ll keep writing. comment sometimes, will ya? I’m fragile. tee hee. A ear end book recap/top ten list is coming at the beginning of next year.

*Seven books this month*

106. “The Twelve: A Novel” (The Passage Trilogy book 2) by Justin Cronin – narrated by Scott Brick

finished December 31

Ok so I really don’t think I’ll be finished with this on December 31 but it’ll be damn close and it’s a long book, as was the first book in this trilogy, so I’m counting it since I’m over half finished as of today, the 30th. Book two has been so much better than book one, which was good but very draggy. Lots of blood. Lots and lots of blood. Not quite your typical post apocalyptic. The third book is out next year and I’ll definitely read it to see how the trilogy concludes. And, Scott Brick. Need I say more?

Ok now I’m writing this on December 31 and last night the book started having an X-Files feel. Oooooh! Government conspiracy in the apocalypse? yes please!

Ok so it’s December 31 and I’ll be finishing this book tonight. I haven’t been able to put it down all day.

@jccronin

105. “The Passage” (The Passage Trilogy book 1) by Justin Cronin – narrated by Scott Brick, link Adenrele Ojo and link Abby Craden

Finished December 26

After I tied Ricardo up and made him read my favorite zombie trilogy back-to-back, he told me about this series, narrated by Scott Brick so I decided to read it since it’s Scott Brick and I kinda felt bad for abusively forcing Ricardo into that zombie series even though he did like it.

‘passage’ was good but after the first part, I was very angry and I can’t say why because spoilers but the book redeemed itself and I stopped being angry. Ricardo said he liked the second book better and I have to agree. This book was super laggy with navel gazing, a publishing term I just learned from my friend Lauren which means talking about stuff that doesn’t matter. On and on some passages (hey, passages, the Passage har har) went. Just get on with it, I thought often. It was a good book though. Very reminiscent of Stephen King’s “The Stand” but with a lot more blood. A lot.

The two female narrators read brief segments, the second of which being diary entries. As a warning to the listener, Scott Brick interrupts the second woman with things like, missing pages or illegible, and it made me jump to hear his voice suddenly haha.

good book, but there were times I wanted to skip through or just stop reading all together. Be patient, and I don’t think you’ll be sorry if you like bloody post apocalyptic thrillers.

104. “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” (Daughter of Smoke and Bone book 1) by Laini Taylor – narrated by Khristine Hvam

Finished December 17

I put off reading the Justin Cronin books because my friend Lauren wanted me to read this with her and would you believe it, she kept stopping reading it? I mean, my goodness. She’s reading it again now though which is good since I can’t wait to talk about it.

This book reminded me a lot of Diana Rowland’s kara Gillian series, but for young adults. It has an awesome fantasy element, angels and demons in an urban setting, with portals into other places. Oh and the protagonist has bright blue hair and tattoos. What’s not to love? the writing is absolutely exquisite, with passages that made my breath catch in my chest they were so hauntingly beautiful. then in the next breath, the characters would do something funny. It’s the perfect balance of beauty, humor, magic, world building and character development. I can’t wait for the next two books, which I bought with iTunes gift cards my uncle and aunt gave me for Christmas and my birthday. Weee!

Just wait until you find out what the wishbone is for…oh and the teeth…

This book is the closest to my novel that I’ve read since I began writing it back in November, well except for the achingly beautiful prose which mine doesn’t have yet in this first draft. Muahhaha!

@lainitaylor

103. “Champion” (Legend book 3) by Marie Lu – narrated by Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern

Finished December 14

What an excellent trilogy! Bleak dystopia, heart breaking romance, awesome narration and the most epic fighter jet scene I think I’ve ever read in a book. Highly, highly recommend this trilogy if you like YA.

102. “Prodigy” (Legend book 2) by Marie Lu – narrated by Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern

Finished December 10

Wait, the epic fighter jet scene, that was in this book, not book three. Why, why do I not write stuff about these books right as I finish them? I seem to remember at least jotting down notes. My brain this month, blame my brain.

I think all I’ve got is so good, go read, so good haha. click the links I provide to Audible and read about the books there, what do you think I am, a publisher’s summary blog? Haha! Ok I think I need dinner. Loopy much? Books? What? Oh right, books. I think the first book in this trilogy is in November’s book post.

101. “Kill Shot” (Icarus book 1) by Aria Michaels – narrated by Rhiannon Angell

finished December 9

This was a daily deal and I wish Kate Rudd had narrated. It screamed for her voice. the narrator was ok but there were two characters she did super high pitched that made my brain throb.

It was an entertaining read, though several times i found myself thinking, was this book self published? There was a glaring error of continuity at one point, where these teenagers are hunkered down in the basement of the high school after this solar flare causes all hell to break loose, and they’re in the basement for days. When the protagonist has to venture out she thinks to herself how different everything looks from when they walked to school that morning. *record scratching sound* Nooooo, back up and read what you wrote. Didn’t realize they’d be in the basement that long or something?

turns out the novel was self published. the reviews on the book are from people who were asked to review the book by the narrator. It all makes sense. I’ve got nothing against self publishing, but I’d like to see this book and the sequel get a traditional publisher and professional editors. Just a good polishing and this book would shine.

Ooooh, I did jot a one word note on this book: anyways. The characters kept saying it and that word is one of my pet peeves. Also, everyone kept saying the protagonist’s name. How are you feeling, name? How’s the weather, name? Name, what should we do now? And not her full name. Her nickname. It got so old! I still enjoyed the book though; I can’t lie.

@AriaMichaelsYA

100. “A Dangerous Fortune” by Ken Follett – narrated by Michael Page

Finished December 5

Ken Follett at his best, wow. This was such a good book. This book takes us into the inner workings of the banking world of the late 1800’s. It shows what happens when families have too much power and will do anything, anything, to keep it. Ricardo recommended this book and I could not put it down. Excellent!

***

Happy New Year and happy wedding day to Evan Longoria!

@Evan3Longoria Anyone who says they weren’t nervous on their wedding day is a liar! It’s a great kind of nervous! Excited to see my bride @jaimeedmondson. from Twitter for iPhone Dec 31, 2015, 12:07:17 PM

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, birthday, Choir, doc, evan longoria, family, gratitude, humor as coping skill, iTunes, new year, rambles, spoons, twitter me this, writing

November’s Audio Books and NaNoWriMo

Well, I did it! I got my first NaNoWriMo win! I wrote at least two thousand words a day for fifteen days straight before I practically collapsed from exhaustion and took a day off. I think the writing advice that one must write every day is absurd and dangerous. Writing is exhausting work since the mind is going non-stop while creating a novel.

I have learned so much about what kind of writer I am, from before the month of November and then even more so during it. NanOWriMo suits me well since I’m a drafter, meaning I write non stop until something is finished and then go back and edit. So, I’ve got 50,300 words of Vivian and the King and I passed the midpoint of my outline. I’m guessing the novel is about half complete, or maybe three-quarters complete. the first draft that is. Then I’ll go back and revise revise revise.

I’m in love with the story and the characters. They have taken me to places I never imagined when I began outlining and brainstorming the idea for Vivian and the King. I wasn’t sure if it would be a stand-alone novel or a series, and while I worked on it and worked out plot holes and problemes, I decided it will be a trilogy. I am so, so excited!

for those who followed my journey on Twitter and Facebook, you saw my excitement when I realized how to make it a trilogy. Presently, I’m a little too tired to convey that excitement here.

I crossed the finish line on Saturday while sprinting with someone I met on Twitter, after the virtual write-in I was expecting didn’t happen. What I mean by sprinting is, we agreed on a thirty minute sprint and set a timer. the point is to write write write and see how much you can write in thirty minutes. I did 1,300, which pushed me over the finish line. then I collapsed on the floor, sobbing. Not really, but I’m just slightly exhausted, ha!

I was keeping track of books I read this month but put no effort into working on this post. I read out of genre, meaning I stayed away from anything similar to Vivian and the King. I took today, the thirtieth, off of any sort of writing and forgot I wanted to fill in the details of this post after having gathered links yesterday. Oops! I am so cogfogged! Pardon the lack of details for most of these. You forgive me, right?

Ok, on to books.

*Eleven books this month*

99. “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte – narrated by Emma Messenger

Finished November 30

I can’t remember if I read this in high school but I really don’t think I did. I think I would have remembered it. I picked it up since one of my favorite authors, Lyndsay Faye, has a book out in March that’s a retelling of Jane Eyre called Jane Stele.

wow is Jane Eyre good! I had no idea what to expect going into it. I avoid publisher’s summaries whenever possible. The above linked version is super inexpensive since it’s a public domain work. The narration is wonderful. What a good book!

98. “Legend” (Legend book 1) by Marie Lu – narrated by Mariel Stern and Steven Kaplan

Finished November 25

My author friend on Twitter turned crack dealer I mean gift giver gifted me this book and it was so good except there are two more in the trilogy and I have to wait fore Audible credits to finish the trilogy and my dealer ahem Twitter pal keeps talking about the other books and OMG make it stop! I think she gets a cut from the publisher. Kidding, kidding.

Good book though. YA dystopia. Since I mentioned above that I read out of genre of my novel, you now know my novel is not a YA dystopia. Pay attention to the clue, folks. *wink wink*

@Marie_Lu

97.“The Promise” by Robert Crais – narrated by MacLeod Andrews and Luke Daniels

Finished November 23

*Note I jotted while reading:

Close to current events.

*End note

by current events, I mean Paris. This book is the sequel to the bbook, suspect, which has a k9 officer. The follow-up definitely did not disappoint.

96. “All the Stars in the Sky” (Until the end of the World book 3) by Sarah Lyons Fleming – narrated by Julia Whelan

finished November 20

This is the third book in a trilogy so read on. OMG these books. So good! I mean so good! Zombies are not the worst thing about the zombie apocalypse. And the author is quite friendly on Twitter. I can’t wait for her next series. More zombies!

@SLyonsFleming

95. “And After” (Until the end of the World book 2) by Sarah Lyons Fleming – narrated by Julia Whelan

Finished November 18

Have someone to talk to when you read these books. I kept tweeting the author but I had to be spoiler free. Oh and have the tissues handy.

94. “Until the End of the World” (Until the End of the World book 1) by Sarah Lyons Fleming – narrated by Julia Whelan

Finished November 16

*Squeak*

93. “So Long, Lollipops”(The free ‘Until the End of the World’ Novella) by Sarah Lyons Fleming – narrated by Julia Whelan

Finished November 13

Note I jotted after finishing:

I am so getting the rest of this series! How brilliant of Audible to give this one away for free. I’m hooked!

*end Note

And I immediately went and got the rest of the series after listening to the preview of book one at the end of the novella. I picked up the free one because my fav Julia Whelan narrates. I needed more of her when Paris happened and she does the whole series.

92. “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler – narrated by Ray Porter

Finished November 12

good book. I didn’t like it as much as I did “The Long Goodbye”. Good though.

91.“Blind” by Rachel Dewoskin narrated by Annalie Gernert d

Finished November 11

I’m supposed to be reviewing this for Disability in Kid Lit but I haven’t heard back from them. If my review goes live, I’ll link to it here.

I will say I don’t recommend the book unless you’re blind and want to laugh at the inaccurasies.

90. “the Golden City” (fourth Realm book 3) by John Twelve Hawks – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished November 8

*Note jotted while reading:

Total gut punch moment holy crap. Wow. Just wow.
*And then when gdone:

Underwhelming ending.

*end note.

That quick note sums up my feelings on the trilogy. It was so good until the second half of the third book, and then nothing was resolved. Very disappointing.

89. “The Dark River” (fourth Realm book 2) by John Twelve Hawks – narrated by Scott Brick

finished November 4

Gulliver’s travels similarity.

I don’t remember why I jotted that note down. I didn’t even finish that book. For the review of the first book in this trilogy, it’s in last month’s post, the first heading level four.

So, have you narrowed it down to what genre Vivian and the King may be? Ha! Let’s play a game. I know people are still reading since I have hits in my stat counter. Leave me a comment and I’ll start talking about my novel if people are interested. 🙂

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