Category Archives: weather

M-O-O-N, That Spells I Can’t Think of a Title

This morning I had to moderate a spam comment that slipped through my filters. This made me realize just how neglected my blog has been when I had to log in to WordPress to spam the comment. When I opened my Twitter client I tweeted that thought and wondered if maybe I would write a post today. And look what I’m doing!

It’s not really a surprise to me that I’m writing a post. My baseball season is over. Baseball itself isn’t over but to me it is since my beloved Rays were knocked out in the first round AGAIN. I almost rather it had been to the Texas Rangers again and not the team that must not be named. Anyway, it seems that when baseball is over my mind frees up or something. I should look back at previous Octobers and see if the posting increased haha!

Next month is NaBloPoMo so I’ll begin posting daily then. Perhaps posting now is a way to begin warming up. I have TONS of book posts to write. I mean TONS. Audible started this daily deal thing. An audio book a day at a ridiculously low price. I started keeping a tally, not allowing myself to spend any more than I was on their buy three credits for the price of two deal that I was partaking in every month. I had to set a limit for myself or God only knows how much I’d spend on the daily deals. My tally resets when I get my monthly credits. This credit period I got ten books for the price of two credits. I’d say that’s a pretty awesome deal!

These are good books their offering, too. When they introduced the daily deal they said something like, we hope you’ll take a chance on a book you might not have before. I most certainly have done just that. So yeah, needless to say there are a lot of book posts I have yet to write. I’m reading totally freely now that I have an abundant supply and don’t have to limit myself. I’ll also finally be signing up for books for the blind now that they’ve gotten current and have an iOS app. Though I still like the “normalcy” of buying books and collecting. Call it something I don’t want to give up from my sighted days?

Jayden is fine and we’re both excited that the weather is cooling off. Summer hibernation is leaving! Yay! I had a really really really bad summer. My health took a turn this year with regards to weather and it was not fun. It was getting nearly impossible to control my pain. I managed to push through until monsoons ended but something will have to be done before next summer. I’m just glad I’m on the other side of it and now it’s time to get back to being active again.

I’ve been doing quite a lot of baking. I don’t know what started it but one day I was like, I want home baked cookies. My mom and I always had stuff on hand to bake cookies when we felt like it and I realized I didn’t have any of that anymore. I hit Amazon. My first batch of Ghirardelli chocolate chip cookies didn’t come out all that great haha. Mom and I always made the recipe on the back of a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. B had picked up the milk chocolate. Good, but not right. It was a good thing I made that first batch while B was home because I did the old sighted thing of not actually putting ON the oven mitts, just kind of holding them. My thumb touched the rack and I dropped the mitt. In the oven. Yeah…lesson learned haha!

I’ve since made several different kinds of cookies. Mom and I always loved snicker doodles so I looked up some recipes online. I decided on this recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. They are delicious! Even B ate them and he’s the pickiest eater on the planet. Anyway, I’ve since tried Sally’s peanut butter cookies and OMG YUM! I think those are my favorite so far because they satisfy the sweet tooth and I can’t eat many because peanut butter has protein and protein fills you up. I ate the last one yesterday so I might need to bake some more today. *grin*

I had also made some oatmeal raisin cookies since my friend Erik said those are his favorite. The recipe I found wasn’t one of Sally’s though. They were good, but I’m going to try one of Sally’s. She’s my new favorite person.

Oh, shhh don’t tell, but I gave Jayden a tiny piece of peanut butter cookie. That’s the first time I have ever done that but he LOVES peanut butter haha!

My friend Carol says she’s developing a doughnut instead of a muffin top so I’ve started saying I’m developing a cookie. Yeah…really need to incorporate exercise back in if I’m to keep up the baking.

Exercise hit a huge snag over the summer of misery. The zombie runs I love so much had gotten downright painful. Jogging around the house is my only option and it was killing my knees. I want to get a little trampoline to jog in place on. I really think that could do the trick. That’s no excuse for not doing TRX or Pilates but I was already in so much pain I didn’t want to add even the good pain of exercise. Time to ease back in.

Ok, I think this has been a decent update for my one reader who hasn’t left hahah! Kidding kidding. I’m fairly certain the posting will increase big time now that my Rays have begun their off season. *sob*

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, Amazon, Audio books, baseball, blind blunders, Jayden, mom, monsoons, num num food, plugs, spoons, treat for me, twitter me this, weather, workouts

Awesome Teaching Tool for Blind Children

I’m getting closer to writing all the promised posts, promise. Today was a much dryer day here and I felt a lot of relief. Unfortunately there’s still rain in the forecast. Lots of typing just causes some nasty nerve pain in my arms and shoulders right now. I had to share this though.

I read about it this morning. It’s a toy that combines braille with the shapes of words a child reads, like four blocks that make up the shape of a fish and have the braille dots for f, i, s and h on them. How amazing is that???

Go read about it here. I think it sounds pretty amazing!

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Filed under braille, cool blinky stuff, cool product, spoons, weather

Rays Road Trip Day One

So I shut down my Twitter client so I would just focus on writing this post. I tell you, Twitter has ruined my blogging haha! I want to capture as many memories as possible from this trip so I’m just going to write. I can pretty much guarantee that this post will be long. (Yep, WordPress tells me it’s 3,600 words. Whoa!) My hope is to write about the first day today before the Rays game at one and then write about the second day tomorrow. Let’s see how I do.

So for those who don’t know, B and Jayden and I set out on Tuesday August 6 for Phoenix, AZ to attend the two Rays games against the Diamondbacks. B got us a really nice room at a brand new hotel in downtown Phoenix right near the park and the hotel was pet friendly with complimentary dog bowls. When B read me the description of the hotel my eyes lit up. I was a little leery of dealing with other dogs but if the place was pet friendly, there would be a nice and easy relieving area, right? Ha!

B got a fantastic deal on the room. He’s really gotten good at road trips on the cheap, using hotels.com. The closer it got to the trip the more excited I started to feel but I made myself keep on an even keel so I wouldn’t get exhausted before we even left. Added to the mix was the possibility that we’d be going on the field for batting practice before the Wednesday game. What? I know. I got a message about it from David Price’s lady, Tiffany, a few days before the trip. David Price wanted to get me on field passes. Oh. Em. Gee. I felt the excitement bubbling up inside me at the possibility, images began dancing in my head of walking with Jayden on the grass, could we walk the bases? Could I get an idea of how big the field is? I started thinking about meeting the guys, getting a hug from David Price so I could tell how tall he is, telling Evan Longoria all about how he gave me baseball, was all this going to happen? Whoa there, slow down, stop it girly. Stay even. Deep breath. No highs ok? Don’t start with the expectations. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst right? Yes, even for fun things. So I tried putting that out of my mind. I told my friend Manda on Twitter and of course I told B and Carol but that was it.

So anyway, I had been checking the weather in Phoenix. Not for the impact on the games since Chase Field has a retractable roof, but for me. I was happy to read that it would be dry there. It had been somewhat humid here and I know I know those of you who live in humid climates think I’m nuts but I live in the desert because it’s dry most of the time so when you add a little moisture, I feel it.

We left here about noon on Tuesday and I was reading Twitter on my phone. David Price was tweeting a lot about food, making me laugh. Then Sarah Maddon, who I really hoped to meet who lives in Phoenix, tweeted about rain and Jaime Edmondson, Evan Longoria’s lady, tweeted about rain and I was like what? No! It’s supposed to be dry! Sure enough, we soon encountered wet freeway the closer we got to Phoenix. Bullocks. I heard rain on the windshield. Normally I love rain, however when I have to leave the house and go out in humidity, it’s a problem. Oh well, brush it off.

We hit a little bit of traffic going into Phoenix but not major traffic jams, miracle. B let me know when we drove passed Chase and I said hi to the Rays though it was like 2pm so they probably weren’t there yet. B found the hotel and it looked like it was valet only. He drove around looking for a lot but nope, valet only. Ok so valet is nice right? But when you’ve been in the car for two hours, you want to get out and stretch and leisurely move. At least I do haha. Nope! You have to get out and get your stuff right away. I’m not used to valet anything. I’m a small town girl haha! There was also kinda loud music playing. Not your normal stuffy hotel music either. So I couldn’t hear very well. We were downtown too so there was traffic noise right there, traffic and music and I just told Jayden to find B and I went on auto pilot. Somehow we got inside. B was checking in and I asked about the relieving area when suddenly there was another dog in the lobby so I was controlling Jayden and explaining that he couldn’t say hi and then B was done checking in and I asked him if he heard where the relieving area was because I hadn’t.

I had made sure we got a room near the elevator so I wouldn’t have to walk Jayden too far down halls in the morning when he had to pee. We were on the sixth floor. Holy plush carpet Batman! We went up to the room so I could use the human relieving area then we went back out to relieve Jayden. Remember how I thought a pet friendly hotel would have a convenient relieving area? Ha!

We’re walking and I’m like, “are you sure this is where they said to go?” There’s traffic and we cross a street and I’m like what? And it’s humid and I’m covered in sweat and then we’re going up some steps and I’m like, “seriouslY?” I hear a fountain and B said yes, the grass by the fountain and then there’s grass. Wow. Alrighty then.

We get back to the room and there’s time to relax before we need to head to the field. I need coffee desperately. B starts looking for the coffee maker. Hmmm. Actually you know what? He looked for it before we took Jayden out. There was no coffee maker in the room. Are you kidding me? I asked when we took Jayden out and the concierge lady said she’d send one up. They have coffee on the second floor in the morning too. I also requested dog bowls. So when we got back to the room we had the dog bowls and a coffee maker. I collapsed on the couch thing next to the bed and begged B to start a pot of coffee. I’m imagining those little pots in most hotel rooms right? Wrong. B isn’t a coffee drinker but because of me, he knows how to brew boring old coffee in boring old makers. I hear him making questioning sounds and I’m like, it should just be a little packet of coffee like a tea bag. He hands it to me. Oh! This is a K cup! Uh oh. I don’t know how to use a Keurig. I know what they are but I’ve never used one. So B reads the instructions and gets it figured out and brews me a cup. A cup. For me. The coffeeholic. Ha! There were two K cups. Two cups of coffee. I had to save the other one for morning. Oh my. But, the one cup was ok for right then and there.

I think I tweeted some then, Jayden drank water, we relaxed. I turned on my Verizon hot spot since the hotel didn’t have free internet. It was getting closer to game time and I was getting more and more excited. I changed into my Rays shirt and hat and we got ready to go. We were just going to walk from the hotel. The description on the website said it was a seven to ten minute walk. Not bad and B said it wasn’t far. Ha!

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Ok, where was I? Short walk, right. I fed Jayden and we set out, pausing at the relieving area. It was so humid right there because of the grass and the fountain so I was drenched in sweat before we even really began the walk. Thank goodness for the cloud cover! It really was a gorgeous late afternoon for a walk except for the humidity. Rain had really cooled things down nicely.

We walked and walked and walked. And walked. And then walked. Jayden wasn’t happy. There were surfaces he didn’t like. I wasn’t really ok physically which added to his discomfort so the walk wasn’t fun but we finally made it. We’re here? Finally? The Rays are here! yay!

We got the tickets I had ordered over the phone. I asked the will call girl about what would happen if I got field passes and she said if they were there tomorrow, they’d be at window one. Naturally I focused on her saying “if”.

We walked not very far inside before B found our section. It was blissfully cool inside Chase Field. I had bought accessible seats on the phone but B said, “this is supposed to be accessible?” I asked if there was an usher and one magically appeared. She looked at the tickets and explained that she would get us chairs. Our seats were indeed accessible! We got cushy folding chairs right where wheelchairs would go. We just positioned the chairs behind a row of seats so we had drink holders and everything. The usher closed a rope behind us and we settled in. Jayden had tons of room and the seats were great. We were on the first base line behind the Rays dugout and up a few levels. We hadn’t needed stairs or an elevator. We had been to Chase for a game back in 2009 when the DBacks played the Angels and back then they didn’t have nearly as much accessible seating as they do now.

So anyway, I put Jayden’s mat down but he immediately plopped his belly down on the cool concrete, resting just his head on the mat. He passed out. It was blissful to take my backpack off! I learned from the game in Colorado, which I haven’t even written about here oops, and brought my own radio. It’s the radio I got when I was first blind, before I had any iThings and digital audio books. It’s an AM/FM CD player, like you’d have in your office. We had to get batteries for it, batteries! How archaic! It took C batteries. I didn’t even know there was such a thing haha. The radio got good reception as long as I held it on my lap. Unfortunately I couldn’t listen to my guys, Dave Wills and Andy Freed. If only the At Bat app wasn’t two minutes behind. Oh well, luxury problem. I had a radio and that was all that mattered.

Are we to game time yet? I will turn this blog right around and go back home.

I had given our seat info to some friend son Twitter, something I also learned from Colorado. Before we left the hotel, I tweeted Dave Wills and asked him the best way to make sure we met since we missed each other in Colorado. He said to tweet him when we got there so I asked Manda to tweet him my seat location. I snapped a pic of the field and tweeted it to let my friends know we’d made it. B was hungry but the heat and humidity had zapped my appetite. I knew I needed to eat something so he got me some nachos and then went off to find food fore himself. I munched on nachos and listened to the sounds of the park, music playing, fans talking,, laughter, calls from the beer guy. The game wasn’t quite close to starting. I was just taking it all in. You can feel the enormity of Chase Field. It was just as impressive as it was the first time I was there in ’09 only more so now that my Rays were there. Joe Maddon was there! Evan Longoria was there! Wil Myers was there! David Price was there! Jim Hickey and Tom Foley and Fernando Rodney and Jose Lobaton and Jake McGee and Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist and and and!!!!

“Ro?”

Did I just hear Ro? I had just shoved a nacho in my mouth. The din around me and the sound of my chewing was playing tricks on me.

“Ro?”

I know that voice!!!! I turned around in my seat, waved, pointed at my mouth and the nachos.

“It is her!”

I set the nachos on B’s empty chair and stood laughing and shouting about my mouth being full. It was Dave Wills and Andy Freed!!!! Right there!!! the men I listen to every single day, the men who taught me baseball, the men I so wanted to meet! They were right there!

I hugged them both and jumped up and down and they met Jayden and we chatted and I said they needed a park like this in Florida and they said a bit smaller and we chatted and I can’t even remember about what exactly. It was so comfortable because they weren’t strangers to me at all. I know them, probably better than they realize. When you listen to someone talk on the radio for at least three hours for at least 162 games, you learn about them. Especially Dave and Andy because they are great friends so they chat on air and you really get to know them. And here they were! I was just so happy, probably the happiest I remember feeling in a very long time. B got back with his food and I introduced them and they razzed him about wearing a DBacks shirt and then they had to go to work and they said they’d come by the next day too and I whispered about the possible on field passes and said, “shhh I don’t know if it has to be on the down low” and they laughed and we hugged again and they were gone. Wow! Ok, I’m good, let’s go back to the hotel. We got up and left. Just kidding!

Oh, one thing that really impressed me about Andy Freed was he just came out and asked how I went blind. I love that! Just get it out there when you’re curious. I can’t remember which one asked me how long I’d had Jayden but I ended up explaining that he was raised for a year before his training and Andy Freed said he knows someone who raises puppies and I asked if it was for Southeastern Guide Dogs there in Florida and it was. It was just kinda cool to have that link with him. Puppy raisers rock!

So wow, the game part of this post is probably going to be the shortest part. It was so awesome to be able to cheer loudly for my guys and ring my cowbell. Coors Field in Colorado had banned cowbells. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written about that game. I didn’t really get to be a fan there. Anyway, I got to ring my bell and cheer and listen to the DBacks radio guys describe the action and B was there and Jayden was there and my Rays were right down there on the field and yay! I heard the crack of the bat in person and yay!

Ok so Jeremy Hellickson is a slooooow pitcher this season. It’s bad enough listening at home on the radio but it’s kinda torture at the park when he’s pitching and taking so long between pitches. I just knew Dave and Andy would be talking about how his defenders were on the field way too long and getting bored and the DBacks radio guys were definitely taking jabs at Helli and how slow he pitched. He did get a hit though! I Honestly don’t even remember a whole lot about the game itself. I was oh for one coming into the game since the Rays lost the one game I went to in Colorado so I was hoping for a win. I cheered and rang my cowbell when good stuff happened and I heard other cowbells and it was awesome to add mine to the chorus.

At one point, Evan Longoria was batting. I had my headphones on in both ears, keeping track of what happened. Then the crowd got loud for really the first time and completely drowned out the radio in my ears. I figured since the crowd had gotten loud, something good happened for the DBacks so I sat back and waited for it to quiet down. B shouted, “you were awfully quiet, why didn’t you cheer?”

“The crowd got loud, I couldn’t hear the radio, I figured they got him out.”

“Longoria hit a home run!”

Crap. Evan Longoria hit a home run at a game I was at and I didn’t even cheer because I didn’t know it had happened.

I said that to B and then said, “well, that’ll make a funny story for the blog.”

When I read Twitter that night after the game, there were so many tweets about Evan Longoria hitting a home run and how excited I must have been. All I could do was shake my head and chuckle. It was a valuable lesson. I kept my finger on the volume wheel after that so when the crowd got loud, I could turn up the volume.

When the DBacks fans did cheer for something good, I could tell the difference then. Unfortunately, the DBacks fans got to cheer the whole rest of the game since they won it. I was now oh for two. Bullocks.

We stayed until the last out. Even though my guys had lost, it had been such a fun night! I packed up and we waited for the crowd to dissipate some before heading out.

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Just had a quick thought, in twenty years I can say I was at a game during Wil Myers’ rookie season, a game in which I didn’t know Evan Longoria hit a home run. Who else can say that?

I stopped at the ladies room and the female DBacks fans were all nice to me. Classy fans, they really are. I was so impressed with the way the park cheered for Ryan Roberts, who is now a Ray but who used to be a DBack. It was just a great experience all around.

As we were heading out I heard my name. It was Sarah Maddon! Yay!!! I was so hoping to meet her after talking to her on Twitter quite a bit this season. She’s tiny! I only know that because we hugged, not because I did that blind movie thing where the blind person feels up everyone they meet. I got to meet her husband too. We only chatted briefly and then the rest of her party were leaving so we parted ways. I had the biggest grin as we walked out! I got to meet three of the people I hoped to meet! yay!

It was a completely different world outside the park than it had been when we walked in. There was a saxophone player somewhere nearby playing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I sang along, a bounce in my step. There was music everywhere! Musicians on street corners, musicians in bars, music everywhere! There were people walking on the sidewalks, milling around outside bars, smoking cigarettes, talking and laughing. It was like we had been transported to a big city. Oh wait, that’s because we had haha!

We stopped and relieved Jayden before going back up to the room. Ah, quiet. I tweeted some and read all my mentions. My Rays Twitter Family had been very active and it made me smile to read all the messages. I love them so much!

I decided to shower that night because we had to check out the next day at noon. The shower was bizarre! Imagine a normal stand up shower with two sliding glass doors. It was like that, only with one door and it didn’t slide. It was where the shower head was and the other side was completely open. My uncle has an open shower like that but his is a big thing, this was just crazy haha. And it’s drafty hahaha!

It took me a long time to fall asleep and I didn’t sleep well. It had been such an incredible day and perhaps the latte I’d had in the seventh inning contributed to the sleep issue but man it was good. I had also been a little chilly in the air conditioned park.

The bed was extremely comfortable though I was confused at first. I always turn down the comforter and fall asleep with just the sheet. When I went to turn down the comforter I grabbed sheet. Huh? Turned out they made the bed with a sheet, the comforter, and another sheet, like a duvet cover that doesn’t close. Interesting. Haha! The room was swanky indeed. I was almost bummed we were only staying one night.

I think I’ve pretty much captured all of the first day. My arms are pretty sore now haha! Time to go through and edit and see if anything else comes to mind. Coffee first. 😉

Finished editing and Jayden asked to go outside and I checked the time. Whoa! Gotta love the writing induced time warp!

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Filed under accessibility, apple Inc, baseball, blind tips, coffeeholic, desert life, Doggy Diaries, dogs, evan longoria, fellowship, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, jayden quirks, music, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, twitter me this, weather, working dog, wow

San Diego Recap Part Two – Zoo Part One

Most of my posts lately have just been about books so let’s try and remedy that, shall we? I’ve wanted to continue writing about the San Diego trip but never seem to be able to. so here goes! Thank goodness I jotted down a list of notes after the second day of the trip.

When last I wrote about the trip, I had woken up and taken forever to get Jayden’s breakfast ready. We leisurely got ready for the day’s adventure to the San Diego zoo. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that you could bring in water and stuff. I had asked B to check this before we left the room because I didn’t want my water bottle taken. What place lets you bring in your own water these days? Haha!

Right as we pulled into the zoo parking lot, B’s car let him know that the tire pressure was low. I just love these smart cars. We knew we’d need to address that when we left. As we walked up to the zoo gates, B was reading locations on license plates as we passed vehicles. As we stood in line to buy tickets I listened to the conversations around me. The people behind us were from another country and their children spoke in quiet and excited tones. I had to laugh at the music being broadcast over us as we waited, Christmas music since this was at the end of November. The air had a typical San diego crispness to it but it wasn’t cold. One of the songs started and angels were singing there aaaaaaah lyric and I laughed inwardly at an inside joke between Carin and Steve and me.

B let the ticket agent know we had a service dog and the man let us know to stop in at guest services before we entered the park. The man at guest services was friendly and explained to us that we were welcome anywhere but but to be careful in the aviaries as the birds might go a little crazy. He also let us know that zoo staff might walk one of the big predators at some point so just be prepared for that and if the staff asks us not to go somewhere because of this, to please obey. We were given a bandana to put on Jayden so zoo staff would know we had checked in and knew what was up. B tied it to to Jay’s harness. I now keep it on my desk as a souvenir.

As we walked, I listened to people around us, heard children exclaim, “doggy!” and listened as parents explained what jayden was. The zoo was not very crowded so we were able to move with ease. The ground texture changed often and Jayden did not like one of the bumpy textures we had to cross a few times. I practically had to drag him every time we encountered it. Not fun.

Ok, picking this up again a few weeks after writing that first part haha!

As we walked around, B would explain what he was looking at. The zoo pipes in animal noises which I really did not like because there was no real way to tell if and when I was hearing actual animals. That was so disappointing since I experience things mostly with my ears unless there’s something to touch. Aside from that it was really an awesome experience, just listening to all the people and things they said about the animals.

At one point we walked to an enclosure and B was like, “condor, big condor, oh no, turn around turn around, condor sees Jayden…” He turned us around and we walked briskly away. I could feel Jayden literally trotting beside me and B and I were both giggling as B assured me that the condor had been behind glass. It had obviously never seen very many yellow labs and was either just curious about Jayden or thought he looked like a meal. After we were some distance away, B explained that the condor had been up on a high perch but had suddenly taken flight and swooped down to the ground next to Jayden. I’m glad we were giggling so Jayden didn’t get freaked out. That was most certainly an experience!

After that things were much calmer except when some donkeys and llamas saw Jayden and got curious. I freaked out a little because there was stupid piped in donkey noises making me think the things weren’t in an enclosure but were right next to us. I really wish they didn’t pipe in animal sounds.

There were so many different textures we crossed, like wooden bridges and that surface Jayden didn’t like. One of the ones I loved the most was this soft and bouncy texture, like that stuff they have on the ground at outdoor playgrounds so the kids can fall and not break themselves. That surface helped me orient myself and if I’m still remembering correctly, the rattlesnake and tarantula enclosures were near this stuff. I wasn’t afraid of the snakes but when B said, “tarantulas!” I freaked out a bit and before B could say it I said I knew they were in an enclosure but still, ew haha!

I’m going to post this part since there’s still another entire half of the zoo experience to go and I’ll never get this trip posted about if I don’t do it in chunks.

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, Jayden, jayden quirks, plugs, silly girl, weather, working dog

Carnival Post – Top Ten

Here is the complete Carnival!

***

It’s the tenth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! Click here to read about what the blog carnival is and click here to read about this round and it’s topic. The ADBC has come full circle in this round, being hosted by the original host, After Gadget.

I have had the ultimate writer’s block but really wanted to submit since I submitted in the first round. I’m just going to write and not try to be organized haha! The topic for this post is “Perfect Ten”. I wracked my brains trying to come up with an idea but my inner creative chick is still sleeping apparently so I’m just going to jump in to some free form and see what comes out. Sometimes writing about Jayden is like trying to express gratitude. I tend to get very flustered when my heart is so full.

Jayden isn’t perfect and nor am I but I always say our match was perfect. Guide Dogs for the Blind was perfect in matching Jayden to me. I can’t imagine anything that is lacking from our partnership. When GDB asked me what I wanted in a dog I had no idea since I grew up with cats. I told them I just needed a chill dog who would be ok when my MS flared up and I needed to rest. I think GDB gave me the most chill dog available haha! He is cool with whatever I need. He loves to relax on the couch with me but when I need him to work he snaps to attention like a soldier. He has gotten so in tune with me that he knows exactly what I need, sometimes before I do. He’ll slow down on walks when he knows I’m tiring. Sometimes I try to speed him up and he disobeys and then I feel my fatigue. He knows before I do; it’s pretty crazy! He really was the perfect match in so many ways. I’m amazed at these schools and how well they do in the matching process.

I never imagined all the added bonuses (non guide work stuff) that would come with a guide dog. Let’s see if I can come up with ten added bonuses:

Good Potassium Numbers

When I was in the hospital when I went blind, my potassium was dangerously low. They gave me a pill and after I saw my doctor upon my release, she ordered a banana a day. That didn’t work out so well because I couldn’t make bananas last long enough; they went bad so quickly. After I got Jayden, I remember his raiser telling me Jay loved bananas. Now my potassium stays in good shape thanks to bananas and orange juice. How could anyone not want to share a banana with a dog who goes crazy when he hears the question, “do you want a banana?” (That link has audio) Oh and orange juice taste even better when it’s a banana chaser!

Tear Soaker Upper

I should have known what a comfort Jayden would be when I’m sad. Heck even my cats have soaked up tears over the years but they don’t hold still like Jayden does. Since Jayden and I have that incredibly strong bond of assistance dog and handler, he knows when I need him to just lay still and let me cry on him. It’s a good thing tears don’t hurt his coat haha!

A Schedule A Dog Makes

One of the hardest parts about going blind and being medically retired was the sudden loss of a schedule. Weekends were no longer anything special since every day was like a weekend. Working folk think this would all be a dream come true but when you’re twenty-nine and suddenly can’t be self supporting, it’s a huge loss of identity. It’s amazing what a schedule will do to add a sense of purpose, at least it did for me. Jayden is on a feeding and relieving schedule very similar to what he had at guide dog school. Working my life around his schedule led me to realize how great schedules can be for adding structure to my otherwise structureless life. I’ve since come up with workout and cleaning schedules that turn my week into a “work week” and allow me to enjoy weekends with B. Amazing how a pee schedule for my guide dog turned my day-to-day life into something more “normal”.

Fitness Lives

When I decided to get a guide dog I knew I’d have to do some work to build up my stamina. I needed to be able to walk a mile since I’m pretty sure that was one of the requirements for acceptance to GDB. Luckily the blind center has a gym and a health and wellness program and my name came up on the waiting list at the same time I decided to apply to GDB. Serendipity? My whole life I’ve wanted to be fit and healthy but it’s hard without guidance and I was never successful. I reached my goal of being prepared for guide dog school but I never stopped with the fitness. It has since become something of an addiction for me and since I no longer can work out at the blind center, I’ve developed a program for myself at home. I’m more fit that I’ve ever been and exercise has been the best form of treatment for the MS. This might be the most important added bonus!

Ex-Smoker

Ok this is easily a tie with the fitness as one of the best added bonuses. Anyone who smokes or used to smoke knows how hard it is to quit. For me it was easier to quit drinking than it was to quit smoking. Jayden became another motivation however, when I thought about what would happen to him if I wasn’t around. I also hated exposing him to that and I’ve now been quit over a year.

Someone To Watch Over

I’ve never wanted children. Ever since I was a teenager I didn’t want children. It’s almost as if something prepared me for my future. It’s not that I can’t have kids now,I’m fully capable, but I wouldn’t have the energy. The MS is definitely my primary disability, not the blindness. However as a woman, it’s in my nature to want to care for something. I worked in therapy about the choice not to have children because even though for years I told myself I didn’t want them, there was still this huge sense of loss when I realized I would never carry a child and rase an adult. Jayden has filled a huge part of that void and that is something I certainly never expected. I knew going into this partnership that Jayden would look to me to fill his needs but I never expected the fulfillment I get out of being that person for him! I take pride when the vet tells me how good his teeth look or when a fellow dog lover tells me how great he looks. Yes, he was raised by another before he came to me, but I’ve continued to mold and shape him and care for him and I think of him as my child. I think most animal owners think of their pets as their kids, I know I always did with my cats, but this goes so much deeper. I never expected my guide dog to fill most of the void left by the child I’ll never have.

Fear Management

The first summer after I went blind we had an insane monsoon season and during one particularly bad storm, I asked B to go into the spare room and get the cat out of there. I can’t remember why I wanted her out. B went to go get her and then I heard shattering glass and the door slam and I started screaming, not sure where B was. The wind had been howling and whistling, sounds I had never heard before. B was ok, he had just come out of the room when the wind blew the window in and caused the door to slam. After that I was terrified of wind. I was afraid I would transfer this fear to my dog so I asked at school what to do about that. I was told to just try and be as cool as possible and make storms fun for my dog. I never imagined how this would cure me of my fear! Now the wind has to be really bad to scare me but I don’t panic like I used to. I just calmly take Jayden with me to a safe spot in the house and “cuddle”. I feel safer and he doesn’t get freaked out. I love this added bonus! That fear of wind was getting debilitating before Jayden came around.

Ultimate Feet Warmer

As I’ve been writing this off and on over the last few hours, Jayden has been in several positions on the couch next to me. While I was writing the last bit, he got off the couch and lay down on my feet. It’s almost like he was saying, “don’t forget to include how much you love it when I lay on your feet!” There is just something so comforting about the weight of him on my feet and nothing is better at warming them! I love it when he does this. The only negative about when your dog is comfortable with some part of him resting on you is that you don’t want to disturb him and therefore don’t move. I’m pretty sure my feet are going to fall asleep haha!

Attitude Adjustment

It’s really hard to stay in a bad mood when you have a goober head constantly cheering you up. I might be feeling depressed and then it’s time for Jayden’s afternoon Kong Wobbler treat. I’ve taken to pronouncing “wobbler” so it sounds very French and you can’t stay in a bad mood when you’re asking your dog if he wants his Wobbler in a high pitched silly French accent. Then when he’s done with it and I ask him to show me and he takes me to where he left it, I get so proud and excited and he gets thrilled to get his reward “cookie”, that I find myself grinning so big my cheeks ache.

Fellowship

When I decided to apply for a guide dog, I told my friend Chupa that I wanted to start a blog to document the process. I jokingly said I could call it Doggy Diaries or something. She said I totally should and my old Blogger blog was born along with the Doggy Diaries category. Before I knew it I was a part of a fellowship of other guide dog handlers and puppy raisers and I felt so apart of the blind community, finally. I felt so alone when I went blind since no one I knew understood what I was going through. There was one woman I spoke with on the phone, a friend of a friend and it was actually her guide dog who was the first guide dog I met. This blog though, led me to the people who helped me feel not so lonely and they came with me on the journey of getting a guide dog. Some of those people are still my closest friends today and I bet some of those people are submitting posts for this very carnival. The fellowship in the guide dog community is certainly one I never in a million years expected when I applied to GDB in September of 2009!

Ok wow, my arms are aching something awful but look, I wrote the post! Haha, and it turned out more organized than I thought it would. I’ll come back and add a link to the complete carnival post when it’s up.

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Filed under accomplishment, Adjustment to blindness, blog carnival, cats, Doggy Diaries, fellowship, GDB, gratitude, guide dogs, intelligent disobedience, Jayden, jayden quirks, misty eyes, monsoons, num num food, puppy raisers, relieving, spoons, therapy, weather, working dog, workouts, youtube

Doggy Diaries – How is it NaBloPoMo time already?

I can’t believe it’s November already. What? It was just Spring Training. It was just November and I was just writing daily posts for NaBloPoMo and now it’s here again. Crazy! They say time flies when you’re having fun, well I can’t say it’s been a fun year but it sure is flying.

I’m feeling so much better this week. I spent all of last week in bed recovering from that diverticulitis. I had to do a liquid diet for three days which wasn’t so bad on the first day. I remember even chuckling to myself and saying, yeah ask me again tomorrow if this isn’t so bad. Oh, it was bad the next day, that’s for sure. I couldn’t stomach the broth, so I basically lived on coffee and popsicles. That, along with the two different poisonous antibiotics and a visit from Aunt Flo and I was flat on my back in bed.

I was able to care for myself and Jayden but that was it. I was telling my massage therapist about it tonight about how I think the week in bed actually did me good. He found a lot less problem areas than he usually does and I was proud to tell him I did more stretching of my constantly tight hammies while laying in bed listening to books. I’m glad it’s all over though and I’m enjoying experimenting with different foods now as I try to prevent another horrible infection.

This week has been all about getting my strength back. I could not believe how much my body was weakened. I’ve taken a lot of pride in my physical strength even during weak low spoon times. This was a whole new ball game and one I hope I don’t have to play again for awhile. The early part of this week was rough, only being able to do things in fits and starts with periods of rest to gather strength again. Today I feel so much closer to myself again. This has been one heck of an ordeal!

This morning Jayden and I walked down to the office to drop off my absentee ballot. Our office collects our outgoing mail for safe keeping which in the heat of the summer was annoying but now it’s just nice to walk down there. I was a little concerned about my strength but it was fine. No one was in the office yet so Jayden was bummed since they always give him a treat there. He showed me the door to the clubhouse and when I tried to pull away he stayed by the door. I knew he could smell his friend S, our maintenance supervisor. He and Jayden are the best of friends and I know S hangs out in the clubhouse when he’s not tooling around the complex so I tried the door and it was open. I poked my head in and said hello and got no response but Jayden insisted we go in, it was too cute! He walked me directly past the gym where we’ve been a bunch of times and right to the door going out to the patio and pool. So I stuck my head out there but no S. Poor Jayden!

On the way back we just strolled. Jayden alerted me to the guest apartment my friend Erik stayed in a year and a half ago. It’s amazing what these dogs remember! I praised him for asking if I wanted to go there and said not this time haha. Then as we passed another apartment a dog started barking and made us both jump. I giggled and said, “he’s Mr. Vocal McVocalson huh Jayde?” As we neared home Jayden decided to pick the narrowest spot between a car and a curb haha. He cracked me up, choosing the path of most difficulty. He does that sometimes, almost like he wants to challenge himself. He paused so I wouldn’t hit the side view mirror of the car since he had to walk me practically brushing up against it. Such a silly dog! It was a perfect morning and it was so nice to be out and about with my boy. I need to come up with some sort of maintenance issue so we have an excuse for S to come by haha.

I’m very much looking forward to bed time tonight. Today felt busy for some reason even though it really wasn’t. I’m just still a bit foggy from the health ordeal I think. It will be nice to put the day to bed and stretch out to some more Harry Bosch. So, here’s to another NaBloPoMo opening post!

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Filed under coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, NaBloPoMo 2012, random stuff, sicky sick, spoons, weather, working dog

Doggy Diaries – How a bath helped the human

Deciding to use a mobile groomer to get Jayden a bath took a lot of pressure and stress off me. It meant I wouldn’t have to try and figure out good paratransit times and I wouldn’t be abandoned like the last time I took Jayden for a bath. I know a lot of dog owners bathe their dogs at home but I just don’t have the energy for that so I let the professionals do it.

When I decided to go the mobile route, I googled “mobile dog groomers” and started shopping. The first result was just very meh, the second one sucked me in. K-9 Kruiser is a locally owned and operated company and their message was very personal and clear. They love animals plain and simple. They even have a bio page for all their groomers and one of them has a cat named Jayden! That cinched it.

Figuring out the grooming issue was just one of the things I had to get accomplished and that depression I was in was paralyzing me. The thought of trying to get all this stuff scheduled was just too much and it sent me into a panic. Finally deciding to use a mobile groomer eased the stress a little bit and when I finally made the call, a huge burden was lifted. The website said to leave a message since they don’t answer calls while on the road. This was perfect! I could make a phone call and not have to talk to anyone. After I left the message I actually fist pumped in victory. Hurdle jumped. Then I burst into tears. That was a week ago. This week I’m much more emotionally stable, I’m happy to report.

I felt great after scheduling that and taking care of some more phone calls. Then towards the end of last week the other shoe dropped. We were notified of paving happening in the parking lot on Monday. I freaked out. What if this caused a problem with the groomers coming and parking the van in the lot? I called the office and they couldn’t really assure me it would be fine. I just had to turn it over and wait and see. I called Monday to find out if the striping would be done by noon since that’s when the grooming was scheduled. She said it should be fine since they were starting early in the morning.

The groomer was actually early yesterday but luckily we were ready. It was so nice to not have to leave the apartment and show up an hour early for an appointment. The groomer had her associate with her so he and I stood right outside the van while she groomed Jayden. He got totally hyper towards the end and started bouncing around the van, something I will dissuade next time. He didn’t get hurt but he could have. That’s just my paranoia.

After she was done she came with us into the house to brush Jayden’s teeth. I normally do that but figured I’d make this a full service grooming. Jayden pulled towards the door and I thought maybe he had to pee but once we got inside he was just excited and wanted to go for a run. The groomer got to see how he is when not on duty and she laughed as Jayden ran laps in the house.

After she left I was exhausted and apparently so was Jayden. He didn’t want to be touched. I’m thinking he was overstimulated. He finally lay down by my feet and passed out and later he was himself again.

He is so soft and smells so good! He was a little too fluffy for my liking yesterday but today he feels normal again. I can’t stop burying my face in his fur haha!

I’m glad we don’t have to do that often but it’s sure nice when we do! Today I managed to schedule even more appointments. Calling the groomer last week was the first baby step towards clawing out of such a dark place. I’m feeling better physically too, which is another huge part. We’re back to our dry heat here. Heaven!

Oh right, the main reason I wrote this up today. Apparently Blogger is forcing the switch to the new interface yet again. Supposedly they fixed it, so we’ll see. If I don’t post here again for awhile, that’s what’s up.

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, Jayden, jayden quirks, mental health, plugs, weather

Hanging with Ro Episode 11-11.3 – No Clue What to Call It

After the post I wrote this morning in my full depression and semi sleep deprived state I talked to Georgie and that helped a little bit but then I just got overwhelmed all over again so I started playing with my audio recording software while I waited for my friend Chupa to call. After talking with her I felt a LOT better. I listened to the hour long recording I had done testing all kinds of things and I didn’t like how it turned out. So I tried again and Episode 11.1 was born.

I didn’t like how that turned out so I tried it a different way and Episode 11.2 was born. I wasn’t going to do any more but then I hoped to capture the storm if it got bad so Episode 3 was born. Below are the links. I honestly can’t really remember what all topics are included. My depression, music, Twitter mistakes, baseball, Evan Longoria, the usual riff raff of whatever. I’m exhausted now and the storm didn’t come, though it sure sounded like it was just after I ended the third recording. I really need to figure out how to edit the beginning and end of these where Voiceover can be heard controlling Audio Hijack.

Enjoy at your own risk.

Really quiet Episode 11.1

Much louder Episode 11.2

Quieter, experimental and hoping for the storm Episode 11.3

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Filed under baseball, evan longoria, fellowship, hanging with ro, mental health, music, random stuff, screen reader, silly girl, twitter me this, weather

Carnival Post – Walk the Halls

I’ve been writing so sporadically I’m shocked I’m writing for the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival. It’s time for the 8th Carnival already. Eighth? How did that happen? I must have missed the last several rounds. I thought I’d write something up today since an idea just struck me out of the blue. Nice how that works eh? Be sure to check out this round’s host for details.

The theme for this round is “Marching to Your Own Drum”. This topic really had me stumped and I hadn’t the first clue about what to write. I thought I’d just skip this round like I have the last several but I kept seeing reference to the carnival on Twitter and every time that nagging little voice said, “write something!”

So I thought back on my day. Jayden and I went to the blind center where I worked out and he napped. As Jayden went to walk into the lobby where we wait for our ride I angled my body right and said, “let’s walk.” I felt him move in the direction I indicated and pressure on the harness handle as he took off down the hall. We live in Arizona. It’s late July. It’s hot! So we don’t go walking outdoors right now. Instead, we walk the halls at the blind center. There’s usually at least one person we pass who asks, “doing laps?” I think it’s kind of become a thing to see Jay and I aimlessly walking up and down in the nice cool building after I’ve worked out. “Yep, it’s time for Jayden’s exercise,” I always reply.

Blindness is my secondary disability. The more dangerous disability is multiple sclerosis, which caused my blindness and could cause a whole host of other problems. I purposely don’t read about the possibilities, and hush people when they jump into telling me about so and so relative or friend who has MS. I don’t want to know, thanks. I’ve gotten pretty good at managing my disease and one of the most important things is not getting hot.

Not getting hot? But you live in the desert. Crazy, I know, but it’s really not that hard. You just stay inside and go from air conditioning to air conditioning. The hardest part of this is finding creative ways to exercise my guide dog. I suppose that fits into marching to a different drum, eh?

Aside from walking the halls where it’s air conditioned, Jayden and I are big fans of crazy play. The crazier I can get him the better. To me it hasn’t been a successful play session if he isn’t fast asleep and dreaming five minutes after I sit down. He just thinks it’s fun chasing after the squeaky football or going limp and letting me pull him around. Shhh, don’t tell him, but we’re both getting exercise.

You might think the play is my favorite part of our different ways to exercise, but no, it’s the working. I don’t think there’s ever a time, even two years after our first walk together, that I don’t smile when he pulls into the harness. I love the feel of him slowing down and walking me around something. I love how quickly he responds when I tell him to “leave it” when we encounter another guide dog as we do our laps.

Life with a guide dog and two disabilities means constantly finding new ways of doing something. If that’s not marching to our own distinctive beat, I don’t know what is!

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Filed under blog carnival, desert life, Doggy Diaries, guide dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, spoons, twitter me this, weather, working dog

Doggy Diaries – Jayden got treats and new toys and a storm for his birthday

Jayden is four today. Four! Four. Four? How on earth did that happen? I mean really? I’ve had moments of feeling panic for some reason. Four just feels old. I’m being overly dramatic, I know haha. It’s been an emotional day. July 15th will always have a double meaning, Jayden’s birthday being happy and the other part sadness.

But, we’ll stick to happy. Jayden always gets extra love and extra spoiling on his birthday, which means a lot haha. The other day he gets extra spoiled is the anniversary of our meeting, on February 17th.

So first, he had a Kong stuffed with peanut butter and two and a half of his Iams dog biscuits. The Kong is this dental Kong thing, so both ends are open wide and the center is a bit narrow. It’s perfect for jamming biscuits in there.

When he was done with it, he showed me where it was which earned him another half biscuit. Then B went out to get groceries and dog food and I had him pick out new rubber squeaky toys for Jayden. He found a rubber squeaky bone and a rubber squeaky football. Of course I’ve forgotten the name of the brand. Just asked B, it’s JW. Anyone know anything about that brand? Anyway, I was going to put groceries away before playing but Jayden heard the squeak and came running. I cut the tag off the bone and gave it a toss and Jayden attacked, chewing and tugging with me and then when I tossed it again he ran all over the house with it, scattering the cats on his way. He came back to me huffing with no bone and B had to go find it. Jayden had dropped it in the cats’ room haha.

We played for a bit and then when I was putting groceries away, Jayden was more curious in that than the bone, so he watched me and then we shared a banana.

I cut the tags off the football, which is really cool by the way, and gave it a toss. Again Jayden ran around the house with it, but he didn’t lose that one haha!

I don’t know how long we played. The game was on, Rays and Red Sox. Looking back at last year’s birthday post, there was a Boston game on later that night. I wonder who won that one? The Rays lost today.

I put on afternoon coffee after putting the toys up and Jay and I both collapsed on the couch together for awhile. Then I gave him his Kong Wobbler. When he’s done with it he comes to me and I ask him to show me. He takes me to it and then gets a cookie. (Iams biscuit) Today he came to me in the kitchen not long after I gave it to him. I figured he got it stuck somewhere so I asked him to show me and then I put my hand on his back and followed him.

This part amazed me haha. He took me to the back of B’s couch, where there’s a space between the back of it and the wall, with a shelf thing, a small set of drawers and B’s CD racks. I felt around for a second and then Jayden shouldered past me into the little space in the corner. I crawled in after him and felt him and he was pointing his nose to my couch, which is on an L to B’s couch. I wriggled into the space and felt around, finally grazing the plastic of the Wobbler lodged under my couch. I burst out laughing and calling out lots of good boys.

I don’t remember how I taught him to find the Wobbler and Kongs and stuff for me. He just kinda picked up on it I think, from watching me time and time again feel around for his toys and such. I honestly don’t know. He finds stuff just about every time for me though and sometimes if I’m feeling around and not finding whatever it is, I can sense his frustration and he’ll go paw it or nudge it toward me haha! One time he actually picked up a Kong and tossed it at me.

The finding was the only work he did today. The rest was tons of play, cuddling and treats. He’s passed out on the floor at my feet right now as a storm rages outside.

I know he doesn’t know it’s his birthday or why he’s getting extra love, treats and new toys, but I know, and I have so much fun celebrating with him and spoiling him! I just can’t believe he’s four. He wasn’t even two when I brought him home.

My little boy is growing up! Happy birthday my mellow yell goober head, I love you sooooooo much!

I was just wrapping this up and was going to edit when the storm got nuts out of nowhere. I have to make my poor birthday boy wait to eat and relieve since this storm is insane. Frustrating! Poor boy has to wait on his birthday. B just stepped out for dinner and this freak storm hit.

Ok that was nuts. It rained solid for about two hours. I finally tried to have Jay do his business on the patio but he wasn’t having it. We got soaked even under the awning. He’s used to eating first but I thought it had been awhile since he had been outside and he was sitting by the door. Since he didn’t go I went ahead and fed him and in that short amount of time, the rain let up. We went back out and got wet but not drenched. B had forbade me to even go out on the patio to see if Jayden had to go just before all this, it was that bad.

Crazy way to end Jay’s birthday. I’m really glad he doesn’t know it’s his birthday and that he couldn’t eat or pee when he’s used to haha! I’ve lived here my whole life and can’t remember such crazy rain. Wow.

B said it looked like an alienate invasion. I wonder what the damage reports around town will be.

Anyway, happy birthday Jay! Haha, hope I did a good job of staying calm so you won’t get afraid of storms. I think I did. Felt that panic rise up a couple times, but I stomped it down. Actually, I don’t think the wind got as bad as it’s gotten before. B just exclaimed, ‘there’s the sun!”

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Filed under baseball, birthday, Doggy Diaries, Jayden, jayden quirks, monsoons, num num food, on this date, relieving, weather, wow