Category Archives: vet visit

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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April’s Audio books and Life Update

In case you read last month’s post and are wondering how Jayden’s neck pain turned out, he’s totally fine now. We never did have to have x-rays since after the ten day course of anti-inflammatories, he was no longer whimpering and was slowly getting back to himself. I kept him calm for several days after he finished his meds just in case, but he’s totally fine now and we’re returning to the vet this week to get his shots which the vet did not want to give Jayden while he wasn’t feeling well.

I seem to be responding well to my new thyroid med and iron supplement, knock on wood, which I just did. I worked out all last week and am looking forward to doing a zombie run for the first time in forever tomorrow. I saw the neurologist this month and since I have no new symptoms I’m good to go until my next MRI in October. I told him I still have bouts of fatigue and he said that’s the MS, not the gilenya. So Gilenya doesn’t help with the fatigue? Nope. But, the thyroid med and iron supplement is helping with that so all’s well that ends well right?

I’m up to 51,500 words on the memoir. I’ve hit a rough patch on that, getting to a point in my life where nothing much seemed to happen and I’m just pulling taffy to get to the fun baseball stuff haha! I started off strong on the Stephen King plan working up to 2K words a day but I just could not keep up that pace. I’m doing some sort of writing every day though for the most part, even if it is just playing with some fun fiction that isn’t for publication.

Baseball is back and the Rays are off to a good start even though they are the walking wounded. they’re playing at and above .500 baseball without all their parts so I’m pretty happy so far with 2015.

Ok, on with the books!

*Six books this month*

40. “Rogue” (The Talon Saga book 2) by Julie Kagawa – narrated by Kaitlin Davies,MacLeod Andrews, Chris Patton and Tristan Morris

finished April 30

See my review for the first book in this series below. This second book wasn’t as good as the first one but it was still most definitely a page turner what will happen next book. I just wish there was a different female narrator.

This second book had the dragons leave the beach for all the lights of Vegas as they ran for their lives from two big enemy orders. The action was good but nothing can quite beat the ending of the first book, in my opinion. I wonder if this will just be a trilogy or one of those series that goes on and on. I think there should be an ending no matter how much I enjoy the series because people can only run from their enemies for so long.

39. “Dangerous Women” by George r. r. Martin, Gardner Dozois

Finished April 27

I got this anthology specifically because Scott Brick reads a story by Diana Rowland. This I found out on Twitter after mentioning how good Scott Brick is. Diana rowland saw it and told me about the story of hers he read and I knew I had to hear it. I’m not a huge fan of anthologies since there’s no guarantee every story will be enjoyable and this one was cross-genre so There were some sci-fi stories that were like wtf? But some that were really good. Knowing the stories are all about dangerous women made some of them predictable and some I wondered which woman was supposed to be dangerous. It was over thirty hours of stories, so it took some time to read, especially with baseball being back.

Ok I’m skipping through the book and have to mention a story read by Jonathan Frakes that disappointed me because it’s Jonathan Frakes! Commander Riker! number One! He should stick to acting with scripts though. He’s not a great audio book narrator. The story was called, the Hands That Are Not There and it was just weird. Hmmm, furry alien sex.

Oh! So there’s a story called Neighbors and in the introduction, the author’s name is given but her pseudonyms too, one of which being Robin Hobb! I was so excited. I love Robin Hobb! This story was set in present times though and was rather depressing since it has an older woman dealing with episodes of dementia and her family is arguing about putting her in a home. there’s a supernatural’ish element and in the end the woman escapes into an alternate dimension. So I was excited but then let down. No dragons or royalty or Fools haha.

My favorite story by far was I know How To Pick ‘Em by Lawrence block. The story was only forty-five minutes and that’s all it needed. Block hit it out of the freaking park with this story and i looked him up. I’ll be checking out his other work which is a lot. I’m rather surprised I’d never heard of him. this guy has been writing since before I was born.

There was a futuristic dystopia called Second Arabesque, Very slowly by Nancy Kress. This story was soooo good. I think she’s another author I’ll be looking up. It was beautifully written and had women rebelling. Oh and ballet, don’t forget the ballet.

Diana Rowland’s story was good but had no zombies or demons! It was set in Louisiana like her other books and while Scott Brick dropped rowland’s sarcastic lines with his usual ease, his voice is more New York than New Orleans. The story had a male protagonist which was a fun switch from Rowland’s usual females but he wasn’t likable in the least. Bad cop, need I say more? I’m glad he encountered a truly dangerous woman.

There was a story by S.M. Sterling which just so happened to be in the canon of a series my friend Ricardo wants me to read about a future dystopia with Wiccans. I thoroughly enjoyed the story in this anthology so I can’t wait to get started on the series. This story was good, with people in the future trying to prosecute a sexual assault using their own brand of justice.

Another good story was Caretakers by Pat Cadigan. Here we have an elderly lady again but with her two sharp tongued and witty daughters. the dialogue in this one was laugh out loud funny and the end of the story was goose bump inducing. I’ll be checking out more Pat Cadigan, to be sure!

A story called Lies My Mother told Me by Caroline Spector was like wtf but in a good way. A super hero who gets fat and then throws fat bubbles with the deadly accuracy of a sniper rifle? A woman who can call dead people from the grave to become her very own zombies? A dude who can steal powers with a touch? Oh and how about a child who’s half insect half human? Alrighty then! It all works in this story which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The last story was by George R. R. Martin of course and by then I was just ready for one novel with plenty of character development and plot. Martin’s story was set long before the happenings of ‘A Game of thrones’ and I’m sorry but an epic just doesn’t work in a short story. I fell asleep and missed the ending and didn’t really care. There wasn’t time enough to develop any feelings for the characters.

This was a fun anthology and I discovered some writers I plan to check out. and who knew Janis Ian was a good audio book narrator? she read several of the stories I liked. In fact all the narrators were good except Jonathan Frakes, though I’m a pretty picky person when it comes to audio book narrators.

38. “Talon” (The Tallon Saga book 1) by Julie Kagawa – narrated by Kaitlin Davies,MacLeod Andrews and Chris Patton

Finished April 16

This was an Audible daily deal that caught my attention and which my friend Ricardo also picked up. I began it grudgingly after the Ledger book at Ricardo’s urging even though I really wanted to begin an anthology with a Diana rowland story.

At first I didn’t think I’d like this book. I couldn’t, and still can’t, stand the female narrator. she’s just so whiny and sounds like a bad soap opera actress. I wish someone like Kate Rudd had narrated but oh well. You can’t have everything. At least it had MacLeod Andrews! Love him.

I didn’t realize this was a young adult book until Ricardo wondered if it was and I began reading. At first I was put off by the usual YA tropes, sixteen year-old girl figuring out who she is, deciding to defy the only organization she’s ever known, needing rescuing by males etc. But when that sixteen year-old just happens to be a dragon who shifted into human form so she and her twin could infiltrate a small beach town and blend into human society, it was easy to move beyond what annoyed me and escape into the characters and eventual heart pounding action.

I loved the parallels between two of the main characters, who both ended up on a journey of self-discovery, stumbling together along the way. Would they realize too late that they were centuries old enemies? I immediately preordered book two in this series. I wonder how many books it will have!

Julie Kagawa on Twitter: @JKagawa

37. “Predator One” (Joe Ledger book 7) by Jonathan Maberry – narrated by Ray Porter

finished April 13

Holy crap wow best Joe Ledger book yet! Holy crap. I mean wow. Laugh out loud quote? “Well fuck me blind and move the furniture.” Haha! No one could have dropped that line in top’s voice better than Ray Porter.

This book was freaking awesome and totally terrifying even more so than deadly plagues and zombies. One word – drones. Drones everywhere. Drones controlled by hacked software done by a genius held under duress by a madman. While I was reading this, and for a time after, every mention of a drone or any kind of autonomous vehicle on Twitter gave me chills. Of all the Ledger books, this one seemed the most feasible.

the only complaint I have about this book is the beginning, which takes place in Philadelphia on a Sunday afternoon for “National League Opening Day”, the Orioles visiting. I really thought Maberry was a baseball fan since he mentions the Orioles in every Ledger book, but that’s just not accurate. Terrifying though, a drone strike at a baseball game. *Shudder*

Jonathan Maberry on Twitter: @JonathanMaberry
Ray Porter on Twitter: @Ray__Porter

36. “Vengeance of the Demon” (Kara Gillian book 7) by Diana Rowland – narrated by Liv Anderson

Finished April 9

I so do not want to wait a year for the next book in this series! I tried not to fly through this one but it’s just so hard to take it slow. This book had more twists than a Renaissance Festival hairdo. There were wtf moments that had me screaming and at one point I was crying as hard as I did to “The Fault in Our Stars”. Whoa. After I got myself under control I wondered how I would do that to my own readers one day. Beware!

This series is just sooooooo awesome! Man. A year? I have to wait a year? Noooooooo!

“35. “Persuader” (Jack Reacher #7) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished April 6

Ok Why does Jack reacher just get to come in and take charge away from all FBI people, Secret Service people etc? He’s issuing orders and I’m like really? I don’t know; I’m grumpy with this book. I just can’t suspend my disbelief with this one I guess. Who died and made Reacher the king of all badass drifters?

I jotted those notes a couple hours before finishing the book and my opinions didn’t change with the conclusion. I just couldn’t support the mission of vengeance Reacher was on in this one. There was nothing to like about him.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, Jayden, twitter me this, Uncategorized, vet visit, writing

March’s Audio books

*Eleven books this month*

I did not keep track of books very well this month beyond keeping a list. I must remember next month that unless I want hours of work at the end of April I must write as I go.

I’m pretty much calling the month of March a wash anyway since tons of medical appointments got me out of my good writing habits. How easy it is to have plans derail. since I’m on that MS drug Gilenya, I had to have several medical appointments plus it was time for my yearly check-up with my doc as well as Jayden’s health and wellness visit. My stupid blood came back not happy (thyroid and anemia) and Jayden is having pain in his neck. His pain has been the worst part of this month though it’s getting under control. The vet checked his blood and he’s not anemic like I am. We’re still waiting on the result of the valley fever test the vet ran. His pain could just be a pulled muscle for all we know and hope.

I’m up to nearly forty-five thousand words on the memoir. Last month’s post tells me I was at twenty-five thousand so I made some progress even with the stress of this month. I wrote a little fiction last week for something different and I submitted an essay on my life with MS after a friend on Twitter alerted me to a call for submissions but I never heard anything on it.

Anyway, on with Marche’s books. Oh, this time last year I was in St. Pete. hard to believe it’s been a year since #RoToTrop. Speaking of baseball, B and I went to Phoenix a few weeks ago for a spring training game between the Cubs and Brewers. Two of his co-workers met us there along with one of the co-workers seven year-old son for his first ever baseball game. Within five minutes of sitting down, the seven year-old got a foul ball a spectator caught and gave to him. How freaking cool is that? Oh, the kid also brought me a randy Johnson baseball card which was doubly cool since he’s one of two baseball players I can remember from my sighted days. Any guesses as to the other? Ok, now really on to March’s books.

34. “The Stranger” by Harlan Coben – narrated by George Newbern

finished March 30

Classic Coben, to be sure. However, I think this audio book proves that a narrator can really give a book that final push to greatness. I’m so used to Coben books being narrated by Scott Brick that I was truly disappointed this one had a different narrator. Newbern wasn’t terrible by any means but c’mon, you can’t compare anyone to Scott Brick.

Harlan Coben books have a wonderful sarcastic style perfect for Scott Brick. He drops the lines so flawlessly as to be constantly laugh-out-loud funny. I chuckled a few times while listening to ‘Stranger’ but I didn’t get the hours of enjoyment I’ve gotten with past Brick narrated Coben books. I found the book dragging for quite awhile until the mystery began to unravel and then I couldn’t stop. This book packed a gut punch I certainly was not expecting. Good book but not one of his best. I honestly don’t think i would have said that if Scott Brick had narrated.

33. “Without Fail” (Jack Reacher book 6) by Lee Child – narrated by Dick Hill

Finished March 28

I was reading “Gulliver’s Travels”, trying hard to get through it, when I just gave up one night and frantically began scrolling through books to find something I could get lost in when I scrolled to this one and thought, Jack Reacher to the rescue! Oh wow I just looked up the series to find which number book this was and I have the next book too! I do not remember starting to collect Jack Reacher books but that makes me happy haha. Man, it’s going to be hard to finish the American history book I’m reading knowing I have another jack Reacher…

Reacher books are just plain fun reads. Mystery, action, romance, dead-pan comedy, the whole nine yards. I get a kick out of an American series being written by a Brit. It works, that’s for sure. This one was just as good as all the others, if I’m remembering right. I read a lot. Oh hi there, Captain Obvious.

32. “gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift – narrated by David thorn

Gave up halfway through on March 24

This had been a daily deal that grabbed my attention and based on the publisher’s summary and reviews I picked it up. I found it so incredibly boring though. Ok yeah fantastical stories of his travels, first he’s a giant, then he’s tiny and by the time we got to the third story I just wanted a nice concrete story with constant characters with back stories and a beginning, middle, and end. This book reminded me of “A Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy” which I enjoyed though still had the same sense of ok yada yada let’s move on. I just couldn’t finish this book and that is really rare for me because I hate abandoning a book.

31. “Stuff Matters: Exploring the Marvelous Materials that Shape our Man-Made World” by Mark Miodownik – narrated by Michael Page

finished March 22

So, if I ever get the opportunity to hold aerogel, it’ll be one of the most fascinating days of my life. Yeah because commoners like me often get to hold a piece of awesome material that looks like sky. Yep. Happens every day.

This book was soooooo fun! Do you ever wonder why something is the way it is? Do you ever run to Google to ask? Then this book is for you. Absolutely fascinating stories of different materials and how they work the way they do. I worn you though, the chapter on chocolate is pure torture if you don’t have a chocolate bar so do yourself a favor and pick one up before reading this. That is however, unless you’re one of those rare people who don’t like chocolate.

Oh! Forgot I had jotted down this note while reading because I was so excited to have a chapter on pool, which was begun with a cute little screen play. I’m telling you, this book was just plain entertaining. Ok, my note: Billiard balls, sticks made with leather tips and covered with chalk to control the spin of the balls, brought to the west by the English, hence, putting English on the ball.

30. “The Woods” by Harlan Coben – narrated by Scott Brick

Finished March 21

I am so grateful I didn’t read this right before “The Stranger” because then it would have been even more difficult to go from Scott Brick to that other guy.

This book was freaking awesome. A twenty year-old murder, a lost first love, an eccentric hippy, a court drama and just when you think those are all the details to wrap your head around, Cold War Russia decides to make an appearance. What! Yep. And all read for you by the incomparable Scott Brick. Highly, highly recommend.

29. “Involuntary Witness” (Guido Guerrieri book 1) by Gianrico Carofiglio – narrated by Sean Barrett

Finished March 18

The things you learn when you get the links to books you’ve read. This book is the first in a series and I had no idea! There are four books out and I will definitely be checking them out. This must have been a daily deal that caught my attention though in the publisher’s summary it mentions the series. I blame subsequent brain fogs for forgetting that. Also, it’s not mentioned anywhere on the Audible page but announced at the beginning of the book that it was translated from Italian to English.

I really enjoyed a murder mystery set in a different country with different laws and different courts. Guido is a lawyer set to the task of defending a “non-European” (black) man accused of murdering a child. Having no faith in the Italian courts thanks to the Amanda Knox case, which coincidentally was back in the news just weeks after this book reminded me of it, I thought would take magic for guido to succeed. It truly is a seemingly hopeless case, if you believe in his clients innocence that is.

The book is a perfect mix of serious and humor and Guido is a relatable character battling past demons and what is quite possibly a mental illness. I’m glad to know there are more books!

I only wish they had gotten an Italian narrator. Barrett’s slight English accent is pleasant but not at all Italian sounding.

28. “The Weight of Silence” by Heather Gudenkauf – narrated by Jim Colby, eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, andy Paris, Therese Plummer and Tony Ward

Finished March 16

As I was reading this I had to wonder if it was the author’s first book. Not because it was bad, just the opposite, but it just felt like a first novel. Was it the shifting points of view from first to third and even second which I’ve just never seen that gave me that impression? I’ve done that with my short stories but never would have dreamed of experimenting with all three in a novel. It works in this book though, it really does. Just now when I grabbed the link to the book page I discovered that this was indeed her debut novel.

There is such a large cast of characters in a relatively short novel that I can see why she wrote this the way she did. The delineation between all the characters was very well done and helped keep the story moving. Where are the girls? I mean where are they!

It reminded me a little of a gillian Flynn novel but with even more subtle darkness. I definitely enjoyed this book and will be reading more of Gudenkauf’s stuff.

27. “Tandia” by Bryce Courtenay – narrated by Humphrey Bower

Finished March 13

I don’t remember when I first began reading this book but it must have been last year. Actually yes, I think I remember making an egg salad sandwich while listening and that kick was sometime towards the end of last year. Anyway, I had to stop. the beginning of this book is just plain brutal as Tandia, a beautiful Indian/African has her first run-in with the South African police. What happens sets up her character and the police officer for what follows in the book as she becomes a freedom fighter of sorts during the days of Apartheid.

I decided to return to the book after my friend Ricardo, who also had to stop during the first reading, returned to the book and said it was really good. I’m glad I trusted him and returned and I’m also glad the Audible app keeps position because I was able to pick up where I left off.

Bryce Courtenay books are awesome and Humphrey bower is the perfect narrator for them. If I meet Courtenay in the afterlife I’m going to ask him what his deal was with incredibly obese women and prostitutes.

26. “Razorhurst” by Justine Larbalestier – narrated by Rebekka rimmington, Fiona Hardingham and David Ligudzinsi

Finished March 8

I was sooooo disappointed with this book. I had high expectations after reading Larbalestier’s tweets as she researched and wrote this book. I don’t know what went wrong. It had so much potential. I jotted some notes while reading:

The narrator that reads the Kelpie chapters sounds like she’s reading a Shell Silverstein book to kindergardners and is not enjoying it. I don’t understand the separate narrators.

The other female narrator sounds like she’s running out of air. And it sounds like there are commas in really odd places.

There was no description of 1930’s anything. No description of clothing. I’m shocked after all the research she did and movies she watched.

I just didn’t like it. It was neither an adult book nor a young adult book to me. It didn’t ahve the fun feeling I get when I read YA. I just didn’t like it.

End notes. Referring to the multiple narrators, I don’t understand why there was more than one narrator needed. the book shifts between two character’s points of views so that explains the female narrators I suppose but the chapters the man read were back story chapters. The book was just sort of a clustermug, to use a Stephen King word. I was so let down that’s why I ran to Bryce Courtenay.

25. “Seven for a Secret” (Timothy Wilde Book 2) by Lyndsay Faye – narrated by Steven Boyer

Finished March 5

I love Lyndsay Faye! I love these books, I love this narrator. Faye better write these books until she just can’t write any more haha. Beautifully written, intricate mysteries, fun and relatable characters, Faye has quickly become one of my new favorite authors. She’s on Twitter too, @LyndsayFaye, so I definitely won’t miss new books.

Timothy Wilde is a great guy but of course I’ve got a crush on his drug addicted, alcoholic, womanizing firefighter and politician brother Val. wow, after writing those words together I see just what a complex character Val is haha! No wonder I like him.

24.“Falling Glass” by Adrian McKinty – narrated by Gerard Doyle

finished March 2

I just read the Audible page and apparently McKinty is a fairly well known author of Irish mysteries. I love the authors I discover thanks to Audible daily deals.

This book was really good. It’s about a hitman who comes out of retirement to track down some rich guy’s ex-wife who has disappeared with the two kids. Sounds simple enough of a story line right? Oh there’s just so much more. Very good, wonderful narrator, funny and witty.

Here’s a note I jotted down:

Sudden inexplicable switch to second person narration that made no sense. A few words that sounded like maybe n editor’s note. Very odd.

Odd indeed, but great book.

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, doc, fellowship, in the news, Jayden, twitter me this, vet visit, writing

My Week in Five er, Six Songs

A fun sounding writing prompt came up yesterday but I wasn’t sure I’d do it. this morning a song popped in my head and I started thinking of other songs to fit into a five song playlist to describe my week. I picked last Monday to today. Can you guess the song before clicking the link? All the links are you tubes and they open in a new window.

Last Monday I had to go to the doctor and she wants me to have a procedure. It’s just a procedure and not surgery, but I hope the gastroenterologist isn’t like this surgeon.

Tuesday I tried to gather enough energy to get ready for an out of town guest. I tried to find a good song about out of town guests but all I found were songs about weddings. Huh? B’s dad was here for a visit Wednesday and we hung out until Friday afternoon when he and B drove up to Phoenix for Spring Training. He flew out this morning (B just got home and said his dad missed his flight. It was crazy in Phoenix this weekend with the World Baseball Classic and Spring Training and apparently it’s spring break this week too.) and B will be back today. (Yeah, he’s already back. Can YOu tell I started this post awhile ago?) I got to prepare some food for myself that I don’t normally eat much of when I eat with B, so I thought I’d find a song about cooking. It’s fun to sing while you cook. My shrimp was dead.

I was sad the night B and his dad left so after I cooked dinner I treated myself to another season of my favorite comedy. Happy making! The show kept me company for the weekend.

The rest of the time, I listened to my favorite sport. If you don’t know what that is without clicking the link, you don’t know me at all!

Last night I went to bed early so I could get up early this morning to get ready for Jayden’s wellness check vet appointment. (He earned a clean bill of health again!) I told B on the phone last night I felt really old going to bed so early and this morning my hips hurt and my knees were popping as I was getting ready and the song that came to mind let me know I had to follow the writing prompt and write this post. I could not find the original recording of that song on youtube, so I picked that cover out of the several I listened to. It reminded me of my dad sitting around singing country songs and playing his guitar while I was growing up.

Ok, bonus round. Back in my karaoke days my friend L did this song and I’ve tried to find it for years but never knew the artist or enough lyrics. The other day I found myself singing it to Jayden, replacing the word “ladies” with his name. I finally remembered I have the Sound Hound app and after humming the song to it, I finally found it! Don’t worry, the subject matter does not pertain at all to my life. 😉

How many songs did you guess? Leave me a comment and tell me. I won’t know if you lie, but your dog will. Huh?

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Filed under apple Inc, baseball, cool product, doc, family, Jayden, music, num num food, plugs, vet visit, youtube

Doggy Diaries – Jayden’s clean bill of health and perfect teeth

We saw the vet today for Jayden’s second wellness check since we’ve been together. I’m still having a difficult time believing we are in our third year together already!

Jay was given a clean bill of health and the vet asked if he can use me as an example. An example of what, you might ask? An example for how to keep a dog’s teeth in perfect condition. Why yes, you may.

I explained that GDB pounded into our heads about good grooming habits, not only because our dogs go into public, but also for the health of the dog. I have no desire to have to have Jayden put under for a teeth cleaning, and he enjoys getting his teeth brushed haha! Really it’s just the fact that the toothpaste tastes good and not the brushing itself.

I also explained that Jayden has a variety of Nylabones he chews constantly and his favorite toy, the Kong Wubba with the burlap type material, makes for great teeth scrapings in between brushes.

Jayden weighed a perfect 65 pounds which is right where he was when we left school and the vet had no complaints about his belly like last year. Jayden had indeed gained some weight at our visit last year, and the vet taught me that his belly should be right in line with his last rib, so that really has helped me make sure he felt at the right weight.

His years looked great, eyes, feet, everything. He’s in perfect health!

Thank God. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been at least a little worried about today’s visit with how this year has gone so far. Once again, Jayden is the one concrete and constant thing in my life. I don’t think I’d be as ok as I am without him.

Oh, while waiting for my ride, a girl with her little puppy complimented Jayden’s behavior and I gave credit to the puppy raisers. I always do when I get compliments on how Jayden behaves. Sure, I have to keep that up, but his puppy raiser is who trained him. I told the vet as well, when he commented on how good Jayden was about having his nails clipped. I explained that the people Jayden grew up with made sure to touch him everywhere, knowing that his blind handler would need to go by touch to make sure to find anything abnormal.

Another woman exclaimed, “what a beautiful animal!” when we walked out of the exam room. Jayden really is the lady killer, I gotta tell ya.

I also had a brief discussion with the handler of a German Shepherd who was there when Jay and I arrived. The dog was originally trained to be his wife’s wheelchair service dog but retired after becoming way too aggressive in wanting to protect her. The man said his dog was surprisingly calm around Jayden, even though jayden was staring him down. This dog was a hundred pounds, compared to Jayden’s sixty-five haha!

Going to the vet is just so much fun when we’re there for check-ups. Jayden forgets all about me when we’re in the exam room. He hangs out by the door waiting for the doc and his techs to come in hehe!

This post is all over the place. What else, oh, GDB grads? Are you remembering to have your vet fill out the wellness report we got in our binders? Remember the vet at school telling us only fifty percent of grads do this? Remember how these reports go into making our dogs great by tracking the health of the breeding lines?

I told my vet this poor stat and he was surprised. He said it doesn’t take any time at all to fill it out and they are more than happy to help the school. I always take my binder with me when going to the vet. Are you doing that too? I feel it’s my duty to have this little form filled out for GDB after all they have done for me.

Ok, I think that’s it as far as the vet visit. Finally something happy making to write about. Tomorrow is the first Rays spring training game, so there should start to maybe be some happy baseball posts, though writing about baseball last year kind of broke the writer in me haha, so maybe not.

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, dogs, GDB, gratitude, Jayden, puppy raisers, vet visit

Doggy Diaries – He’s ok, emergency vet visit

I know I haven’t written like I said I was going to. I have to get this down though, since the blog is how I keep track of Jayden’s health and such.

We started our day like normal. As soon as I got up I fed and watered him. He ate no problem but didn’t drink but that’s normal since there’s water in his food. I took him out and everything was normal. We came in and I got on my computer like normal and he got on the couch like normal.

After about five minutes he let out the most God awful screaming and got off the couch and started walking around, screaming. I went to him and started touching him and when I got near his hind quarters he kept screaming. I didn’t keep my emotions under control; I just couldn’t hide it. I had never heard him scream like that.

B was in the shower and I just kept trying to touch Jay and he was kind of squirmy around and it felt like he was trying to sit or hunch which scared me because they do that with bloat so I began crying even harder and he just kept whimpering. B got out of the shower and I called for him and he heard Jayden screaming and I was sobbing and he said Jayden looked ok and then Jayden went to his bed in my room. B said he thought I was scaring him and I probably was. I know you’re supposed to stay calm but I haven’t been ok emotionally to begin with and I just couldn’t control my sobbing.

Jayden got on the couch again but then screamed and got off it. B had to go to work and I called Carol and she said she was coming over and I called the vet and the actual doctor answered. It was only just after 8am. He recommended a mobile vet because I didn’t know if Jayden would get in the car with the pain he was in.

During the phone calls Jayden went and lay by my bathroom, a place he never lays. He wasn’t breathing heavy or anything and his nose was wet and cool. When Carol got here he was excited to see her but very calm. I don’t know if he was calm because of the pain or calm because I’ve been working with him to stay calm when people come to the door. I had almost wished he’d gotten excited, but it had been a very stressful morning and my emotions didn’t help matters.

She looked him over and watched him walk and he looked ok so I called the vet back. Oh the mobile vet didn’t answer the phone and still hasn’t called me back. My vet could get us in at 9. It was 8:30.

I threw on clothes and Jayden seemed happy to leave the house. I did human guide and just heeled him. He got in the car no problem and didn’t have a pain response.

He was happy at the vet but not too crazy. The vet came in right away and started with everything but his hind quarters. Everything was find and then he got to his back side. He examined the tail and as he got closer to the base of Jay’s spine, he caused a pain response. The tail felt ok though.

If you’re squeamish, this is a warning.

They checked Jay’s temp and he did not like that. He reacted much more strongly than normal. When the vet did the rectal Jayden was not at all happy and ended up screaming again. The vet said everything felt normal inside. He said it could maybe a slipped disc, but didn’t really think so. After the rectal, Jayden seemed to have perked up. We all noticed it. He wasn’t so sensitive about his hind quarters being touched. The vet said the glands felt a little full but not too full and he decided to do another rectal since the first one seemed to have given Jayden some relief. It was also the only place the pain seemed localized. The poor vet said he hated doing those twice and as if it was an afterthought he said, “I don’t like doing it to the dog twice”. I’m sure he also doesn’t like doing those, who would?

None of us wanted Jay to go through that again but he had to. This time the vet expressed a little out of both glands and Jayden didn’t react as badly.

Basically the doc is stumped. It might have been swollen glands, it might have been a twisted tail that righted itself. After the two exams, the vet moved the tail like crazy and got no pain response. He prescribed anti-inflammatory medication and if Jayden has any more instances of screaming, we’ll run further tests.

The vet tech said she cut the pills in half since Jayden will take one half a day. The pills are beef flavored. After Carol left I got the pills from my purse and when I felt it, it didn’t feel cut. I called the vet back and she assured me she had cut them. I told her both ends felt smooth and she assured me I had the right medication. I called Carol back and she turned around to check the pills.

I had grabbed a bottle of Aleve from my purse.

It was a rough morning to say the least. Jayden happily ate the half of the correct pill but now he just wants to be left alone. He hasn’t gotten back on the couch. I hope he’s not afraid of it now. He also isn’t interested in water. I’m keeping a close eye on that. He drank voraciously at the vet but not here.

It’s so hard to just leave him alone. It’s also hard that he wanted nothing to do with me at the vet but that makes sense. The vet tech had treats. I just of course go into my head and worry that I played a part. The last time he got sick, right after I brought him home, I had been having emotional problems and now here again, I’ve been depressed. I know my depression didn’t cause pain in him, that’s just silly. I suppose any parent of a dog or human wonders if they did anything to cause their children pain.

Naturally, I’m hovering like crazy, but I’m leaving him alone. At least there are two more business days left in the week if we need the vet again.

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, fellowship, gratitude, Jayden, vet visit

Doggy Diaries – Year ago recap 17 – Final week and today’s vet visit

Today was a fun day. But first, one of the posts from last year answered some questions I had been getting about training at GDB. The second post is about winding down and doing fine tuning work in the last week, so really focusing more on what kinds of things I’d actually encounter back home. I had taken most of the day off since the class was going to San Fran again, and I was conserving spoons for that night’s redemption route.

Now on to today. It was time for Jay’s year check-up at the vet. Crazy how time flies! It was at 9am this morning so yesterday I scheduled a cab for 8:30. I had opted not to use paratransit since they’d pick me up incredibly early and I didn’t know how long the appointment would last. I was going to go with the cab company Gamma uses but I looked them up and the phone number I called led to a different company. Not sure if the name just changed, because both numbers I called had incredibly rude people. So I went with Yellow Cab.

I asked for a van this morning since those are more comfortable and he showed up about 8:40. He was much friendlier than the last guy haha. Though, he still didn’t let me know he was there. I think he called my cell, but I didn’t hear it in my backpack.

We got to the vet and Jayden was all wiggly happy. He tried to say hi to the vet cat by trying to jump on the counter. A no and a sit put a stop to that. Just too fun though, with all the animal smells and sounds.

The receptionist asked me some questions and then looked through my GDB booklet for me to find the health check form GDB likes to get from grads. They said only about fifty percent of grads actually send in these forms, and I vowed I’d be one of them.

We sat briefly and the vet cat came and curled up in my lap. He was so sweet! Then another person and her dog came out of the exam room and I had to get firm with Jayden, so the cat bolted.

We were led into the exam room where the tech asked if I had any questions for the vet and I said I just wanted to make sure Jay’s body was conditioned well and at a healthy weight. I was concerned because he weighed in at 71 pounds, same as he had at Petsmart, but I had believed their scales to be wrong. He just didn’t feel all that different from the 64 pounds he had been when I brought him home.

They took him to do his nails and it was so weird, having him gone. I sat waiting, afraid I’d hear a yelp or something but none came. When the tech brought him back, I thought he’d be all excited to see me.

He wasn’t. He was all about the tech. I’d been replaced. *sob*

We sat a little while longer and the vet came in and I helped him get Jayden on the table. It’s one of those that raises, but Jay was hesitant to climb up the three inches till I told him it was ok.

Sure enough, the vet said Jay could lose a few pounds. I was crestfallen. I swore I wouldn’t have a guide dog who gained weight. I watch his food so closely and feel the BMI all the time like they taught us. The vet assured me Jayden is by no means overweight and looks absolutely fine, he’d just like to see a few pounds come off so there’s more of a ridge between the last rib and the belly. I had noticed a little thickening there, but couldn’t remember if that was the way it was supposed to be. So now I know. It won’t take too much of a decrease. I’ve been giving him a heaping cup, twice a day so now I’ll just level it out. We’ve been getting out a lot more too, so I’m still proud of his weight even though he’s a few pounds over.

Everything else checked out perfect. Ears, eyes, nodes, coat, feet, teeth, everything is perfect. Yay!

The vet followed the info from GDB to a T, giving him parvo and distemper and not telling me I needed all kinds of extra stuff. I had brought in the empty heart worm and flea boxes since I couldn’t remember exactly what GDB had given me. Talk about a gulp when they told me how much the meeds are. WOW! The check-up and nail clipping and shot was nothing in comparison. Crazy.

Jayden didn’t squeal at all over the shot, but he sure hated having his temp checked. I felt so bad. But the vet was like, I’ll make all that go away with these low cal high fiber treats. Jayden went nuts over them as the vet gave him a few and handed me one to give Jay. Sure enough, all thoughts of the thermometer were gone.

And guess who else got a treat? Yep, me! I got a box of Girl Scout cookies! I don’t know why they are giving those away, but I snatched a box of Simoas. If that’s how they’re spelled. Yummm!

They checked me out while we sat in the exam room because some more dogs were in the lobby and it was crazy, so they kept us where it was calm. I called the cab and the dispatcher asked if the driver should come in for me. Yes please. I didn’t ask for a van, because you have to wait longer for those.

After we paid, I used the restroom and Jayden had fun guiding me through the maze. He did great even with all the animal sounds and a mean dog in a cage. There was even a bird squaking. But he guided me like a champ.

He lay quietly at my feet and I chatted with a lady who had come in to buy treats. She said my dog was beautiful and her sister has a yellow lab guide from GDB. The lady commented on how beautiful Jay’s coat is and what do I feed him and I explained about switching from Science Diet after Jay was scratching a lot. She said her sister has the same problem, so she’d tell her about Blue Buffalo.

This lady is a substitute braille teacher at the school for the deaf and blind.

I also chatted with the receptionist about a few of their patients being career changed dogs. She said she can see why one of them didn’t make it. She said it seems like he has ADD or something haha!

We weren’t waiting long when a man came in and said, taxi! We went out to the car and I played around until I found the best way to get us in the back seat. Works best if I get in first and scoot over for him. We got home after a pleasant conversation with the cabbie about Labrador, Canada where he used to live.

When we got home I gave Jay a Wobbler with the rest of the kibble from the treat pouch and midway through he practically yelled at me letting me know that he needed to go outside. All the excitement of the morning made things move haha!

After he finished the Wobbler he was all hyper so I got out the Wubba and he tore all over the house squeaking like mad. Then he passed out on the floor. I changed into sweats and when I made my way to the computer, I stopped to smooth out the towel on Jay’s couch and he proceeded to jump on it and fall instantly to sleep, breathing heavy.

The vet was way too much fun haha! That staff really makes it more like a party and you can tell they love animals. He got tons of compliments and pets and gave lots of kisses and wiggles. As it was wrapping up I was getting sooooo sleepy.

After Jay crashed I made some calls then collapsed on the couch to crochet for awhile. Afternoon coffee and girl scout cookies after lunch was perfect.

It was a great day!

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Filed under cats, coffeeholic, crochet, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Gamma, GDB, Jayden, num num food, on this date, spoons, vet visit, working dog

Pooch Ponderings – I met my vet today

Mom says I have to tell you about my vet visit because she needs to get out of her own head and if she writes it like a human, she’ll get too serious and start crying again.

I got sooo sick, like, icky sick. Like, both ends sick. It started yesterday afternoon when I went on the tile floor and stunk the house up. Mom cleaned it up and seemed a little worried. That morning I didn’t really want to eat. She had to urge me to and finally I gave in. But after I stank up the house I wanted to eat. Then later I did it again. She took me outside and more came out. And I just didn’t feel good. But I still played a little and wagged my tail.

We did our normal night thing but mom didn’t put me in my kennel and I was all confused. She took me out again and then she let me go in my kennel. Then after everything was quiet and the humans and cats were sleeping, I stank up my kennel. Mom heard it and got up and took me outside and the guy human took my fleece out. Then I threw up and I felt sooo much better I was wiggling and wagging everywhere. Mom stayed up for a bit with me and then she had me lay on a towel right by her bed, not in my kennel.

A couple hours later I had to stink up the house again so I got up and ran to the tile. Mom heard and came out and took me out and cleaned up. She stayed up after that and that gurgling thing made it’s noise and gave her the dark stuff.

She got on the white thing and asked people if she should feed me. Don’t worry, I thought, I wasn’t hungry anyway. Then she was on the phone cancelling our ride and then the guy got up and they both touched me but I was on the floor and didn’t want to move. He left and mom was on the phone a lot, first talking to someone about me and then calling around asking for rides. She started crying when she wasn’t reaching anyone and finally called a cab.

We got to the vet and I knew it was a vet because my raiser’s mom worked at a vet. I got all excited. A cat lived there! But then I got tired again and I lay down while mom talked to the lady.

We sat there for a little bit. I’m glad the person on that Bookface thing said to go there. It wasn’t a very long ride in the cab.

We went back and the vet came in and he started rubbing me and he pressed on my belly and I barfed up a lot, but it didn’t come up very easy. Mom was getting worried and then the vet was worried and he stuck some things up my bum while mom and the nice lady talked to me.

Then the vet said he wanted to take xrays because he was worried I got something stuck in me. He said he wasn’t worried about the stinking up the house if I wasn’t barfing but since I was and I did when he touched me, he was worried. Mom called Carol when the vet left and then she put her head on me and cried a lot. The nice lady came back to take me for my pictures and they took me away from mom. I’m not used to being away from her.

When I got back she was on the floor ready for me and I ran to her and then met Carol. They had gotten the yummy brown stuff that mom loves.

We waited awhile and the doc came and told mom he was taking my pictures to have someone look at them and then he came back and my pictures were all good. Duh, I take good pictures. Mom was very happy and the vet gave her stuff for me and she paid them and we came home.

Oh yeah, but before we came home, I got a shot and it hurt so I whimpered.

Mom tried giving me this mushy food stuff but I didn’t want it. I was laying by the door. So she put it in her hands and gave it to me. Ah, that was the life. So I ate that and then she stuck a pill in my throat. Blech.

Mom is so exhausted. It’s a good thing she can’t see herself, cuz she looks awful. She keeps telling me to just rest. She moves really slow until she hears me move and then she jumps up and takes me outside where I stink up the rocks.

Mom is all worried because she’s been out of sorts so she’s afraid she made me out of sorts. The doc told her I ate something that came out and upset me. Why did he have to tell on me?

I guess we’ll be resting the next few days while I eat my special food and take my pills. Mom said she’ll get caught up on the autism posts, she promises. She also has a lesson to write for her class.

I feel pretty icky. I’m on the couch by mom now. I think it’s ok to be away from the tile for now. Being sick sure is no fun and man, is it stinky.

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Filed under cats, coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, Jayden, pooch ponderings, puppy raisers, sicky sick, vet visit