Category Archives: workouts

May’s Audio Books Etc, Etc, Etc and Etc

I’ve got a lot of writing to do in the next month so the memoir is on hold for a bit. My first project is the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival who’s topic intrigued me. this round’s topic is, regrets. There isn’t much I regret about Jayden but I’d be lying if I said there were no regrets in the way I trained him in the home. Keep an eye out for that post if you’re curious.

I’ve just begun work on a piece of short fiction which I hope to have published in this young adult anthology which was just opened for submissions. The story is a prequel of sorts to the YA novel that has been in my heart, and partially written, for years. It’s the back story of one of the secondary characters who has a compelling story of her own which wouldn’t quite fit in the main novel. I’m thinking if her story is published, I could reference it in queries about the main novel. I’m excited! Usually when these calls for submissions come up on Twitter and I check them out, I don’t qualify for whatever reason or they’re looking for some kind of fiction I wouldn’t know how to begin writing. This one is right up my alley.. I was overjoyed when I read that this one is open to the world. yay! I mapped the story from start to finish today which is something I haven’t done in the past. I am learning so much about writing, just from following writers on Twitter. They tweet the best stuff!

I didn’t work on this post at all as the month of May went on. What did I do in May? Hmmm. Oh, B went on a road trip and was gone for two weeks. Cooking in this kitchen was interesting and different. Oh and I was deathly ill for the first part of his trip. He was sick, passed on his germs and then went out of town. What a guy! Haha!

I’ve been steadily ramping up my workouts yet again and I just love my writing room/office/gym. It has a hook in the ceiling for my TRX and when I position my rebounder underneath it, the TRX straps become the perfect balance handles for my Zombies Run! jogs. I’m feeling steadily better and better even with the heat of summer having so quickly descended upon us.

Baseball has been interesting this season, too. I’ve learned from watching Kevin Cash in his first year managing that I’d never want to be a baseball manager. despite new management and tons of injuries, my Rays are tied for first as I write this Sunday evening. granted, the division in which they play, the American League East, isn’t all that great this season, but still! First place is a fun place to be. Let’s see how they do on the west coast this week. Late night with the Rays on Twitter should be fun as usual. While I’m dreading the later games, I really can’t complain since they aren’t late by east coast standards.

Ok, on to books.

*Seven books this month*

47. “Trauma: A Novel” by Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer – narrated by Xe Sands

Finished May 27

Did you know that Michael Palmer died? I had no idea. I thought he just collaborated with his son on this book. It wasn’t until the end and I was surprised to hear an interview with Daniel Palmer that I realized Michael had died. It turns out Michael had the idea for ‘Trauma’ and had begun work on it when he died suddenly and his son, who writes non-medical novels decided to pick up the pen and continue it. I thought he did a pretty good job.

I very much enjoyed ‘Trauma’ being the medical junkie I am. The book begins with the protagonist Carrie in two different surgeries. Something goes terribly wrong and as a result, her life and career take a turn and end up on a completely unexpected path.

Carrie is brought into a program at the VA using experimental surgery to cure post traumatic stress disorder in soldiers. Carrie has high hopes for this procedure to work on her brother, who suffers PTSD.

Naturally something isn’t quite right about this program and Carrie teams up with a young investigative reporter to discover the truth.

I very much enjoyed the cutting edge science even though it seemed to take an unbelievable scifi twist at first. It was definitely a page turner. The narrator was decent though she tended to oeveract a little bit and voice Carrie like a damsel in distress rather than the strong female under duress she was. I’m glad Daniel pointed out in the interview that Carrie was a strong woman because the narration really overshadowed that until I thought back on it.

Oh, a quick detail that stood out to me was Carrie’s skin growing suddenly hot beneath her scrubs during surgery. That happened to me countless times during my blood drawing days when I’d encounter a problem. It was such an awesome and accurate detail.

@DanielPalmer on Twitter

46. “The Gods of Guilt” (Mickey Haller book 5) by Michael Connelly narrated by Peter Giles

Finished May 23

Sigh, no more Mickey Haller books out for awhile. I looked up Michael Connelly and it looks like the next one is also a Harry Bosch book so that’ll be cool. These books are just fun. I don’t want to go into any detail about the book since there’s an interview with Michael Connelly at the end of the audio book before this one which, taken with details of this book, might be spoilery. Thanks for that word, John Green.

I can’t decide if I like the narrator. He’s good, don’t get me wrong. I can’t figure out how to describe his voice. Almost mechanical maybe.

45. “Jurassic Park: A Novel” by Michael Crichton – narrated by Scott Brick

finished May 2-0

When I first discovered I could buy audio books on the internet, I began trying to restock my “book shelves” with books I’d always had when I was sighted. ‘Jurassic Park’ was one of these books, however I could not find it unabridged. How disappointing. Abridged audio books need to go away.

so imagine my elation when Audible should tweet one day that for the first time at Audible, ‘Jurassic Park’ was available unabridged! And who should narrate it but Scott Brick! I was about to buy extra credits until I noticed the book was only ten bucks so I snatched it up immediately, symbolically hugging the book to my chest. Would there be cause for Brick to growl? I’ve heard of his famous growl but have yet to read a book he narrates that calls for a growl. I’ll leave you to find out if you so desire.

I enjoyed the book just as much as I had in the past and am so so grateful I have a copy of it once again! It really is worth a read since there are many differences from the movie which I think are good ones, and the science is just plain fun to hear about in detail.

44. “The fifth Witness” (Mickey Haller book 4)by Michael Connelly – narrated by Peter Giles

Finished May16

This book was goooooood. It was so good in fact that I stayed up until three in the morning to finish it after being on Google Hangouts with my friends until one in the morning since B was on his trip haha! I had only intended to listen for a few minutes before I slept and the next thing I knew I was finishing it. And it had a wonderful holy crap moment at the end. Damn but Michael Connelly can write. Maybe it was the interview with him at the end that caused me to stay awake until three, though it was really only about ten minutes, ha! Mickey Haller is just a guy you want to root for despite his many flaws. He is such a well written character. I am so hooked! I had forgotten I had this book somehow and was delighted to discover it in my Audible library.

Haller uses the song Bolero to describe the prosecution’s case to his client so naturally I had to play the song which I have in itunes. If you’ve never heard it, give it a listen. it’s about fifteen minutes long and begins very quiet so turn up your speakers. Bolero on Youtube

My friend Sadia on Facebook commented when I posted bolero, asking me if I’d heard this podcast called Unraveling Bolero I had not. Wow. Just wow.

43. “Little Mercies” by Heather Gudenkauf – narrated by Kate Rudd and Tanya Eby

Finished May 12

I got this book with my listening rewards from Audible. I’d had it in my wish list ever since reading “The Weight of Silence by the same author. ‘Mercies’ was really good. It’s about a social worker who’s life intersects with that of a ten year-old child and the two help each other in ways neither of them expected or wanted. The Reader cares about the characters right away and Kate Rudd does a wonderful job as usual with her narration, though sometimes she sounded incredibly whiny rather than just emotional. Eby voices the chapters of the child and while she does a decent job, I rarely enjoy it when an adult tries to sound like a kid. It more often than not just sounds creepy.

Great book though, and there’s an interview with the author at the end. She discusses how she did her research on social work for this book. Seems like the theme for this month is interviews with authors haha.

@hgudenkauf on Twitter

42. “The Caine Mutiny” by Herman Wouk – narrated by Kevin Pariseau

Finished May 9

I had to record this quote because I loved it.

This life is slow suicide, unless you read.

One of the characters says this in the beginning of the book and I just find it to be oh so true, though I think he was referring to military school haha!

this book was really good though in the beginning I was losing patience with Captain Numskull as I called Captain Queeg, the captain of the Caine, an aging ship with the Navy during World War II. After awhile though, I got sucked into the story and the characters, all of whom are fairly deeply flawed. Nothing was predictable except the mutiny which seemed to take forever to happen. When it did however, wow. I’ll be reading more books by this author.

There was just a good article in The Atlantic about him. I was surprised to see that people didn’t like his books back when they were published. Weak women? I didn’t think the woman in this book was weak at all, especially for the time in which she was written.

Oh and if you’re terrified of the ocean the way I am, just prepare yourself for a very vivid typhoon scene. *shudder*

41. “Tabula Rasa” by Kristen Lippert-Martin – narrated by Kate Rudd

Finished May 2

Oh man this book was so good, so so good! It was a daily deal and oh thank Audible it was because I loved it! It falls into YA but really it could fit into most any genre where an evil agency decides to “help” people by erasing their memories. I can’t describe it any better than the publisher’s summary at the Audible page. I’ll just say I freaking loved this book! I can’t wait for more from the author. this was her debut novel. wow! I’m so jealous. Highly, highly recommend this book for non stop action and awesome sarcastically funny characters.

@KLipMart on Twitter

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Filed under 2015 Monthly Audio Book Lists, Audio books, baseball, Jayden, music, twitter me this, workouts, wow, writing

“Even White Trash Zombies get the Blues” by Diana Rowland – narrated by Allison McLemore

I don’t know how I managed to space the White Trash Zombie books out once I started reading them. This is the kind of series that makes you want to keep reading when you know more books are out there. I’m going to be sad when Rowland wraps it up!

In the second installment of Angel Crawford’s newly zombified life, we go with her as she tries to figure out who’s hunting zombies and whether or not her boyfriend is involved in the zombie mafia. Angel is also trying to learn more about her kind and the more she learns, the more questions she has. Oh and there’s that little problem of her probation. Needing to eat brains is the least of her worries in WTZ #2.

I looooooooove these books like zombies love braaaaaaaains!

Rating: So good!

“Even White Trash Zombies get the Blues” at Audible

Tomorrow I see the neurologist and discuss the results of my MRI. There should also be the result of the blood test he ran checking foe Devick’s, though I know that will be negative since it was ruled out back in 2008. I’m a little bit nervous about this appointment tomorrow since who knows what is on my MRI and who knows what sort of treatment the neurologist will want to try.

I have noticed much improvement since I took his advice and take ibuprofin on a regular basis for pain. as long as I don’t give the pain a chance to set in, I’m in pretty good shape. I’ll just need to test that when the humidity is high. I’m going to ask for a prescription for ibuprofin since I’m spending an arm and a leg on it.
Wish me luck tomorrow!

Oh, my friend Chupa and I made a pact last week to get back into regular exercise. I’m pleased to report that starting off slowly for me has worked well and I have an increase in energy since I’m pacing myself well. My den here in this house is such a great workout room!

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Filed under 2014 Book List, Audio books, doc, NaBloPoMo 2014, spoons, workouts

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

Zombies Are Good For Your Health

As of the first of the year, my awesome gym situation at the blind center ended. It’s a long story, basically the hours changed and it didn’t work for me anymore. I had decided I would join a gym and was going to wait until February for the resolution rush to die down before I picked a gym and signed my life and soul away in a contract. My apartments have a little fitness room but it only works for me this time of year because in the summer, it’s way too hot to walk there and the room isn’t cool enough.

While I waited for February to roll around, I decided I’d do my TRX for strength training and dance for cardio. I get so bored with dance though. I don’t know enough moves haha! I decided to try this app I’d been hearing a lot about on Twitter. It had also been posted about at AppleVis so I knew it was mostly accessible. I remember reading something about the supplies part of the game not being accessible, but I just wanted the exercise part. I wanted to run from zombies.

Um, what? Did I read that right? Zombies?

You read that right. It’s an app called Zombies, run! and I absolutely love it! When I first started hearing about the app I didn’t think I could play it because I can’t go running outside and I have no treadmill but I started seeing other blind people talking about running around in their apartments or even just running in place. The more I heard about the app the more I wanted it and it has quickly become my favorite app aside from Fleksy.

Zombies, run! is basically an audio game. You can select the length of your missions, about thirty minutes or about an hour, you select your music playlists, choose whether you want it to shuffle or not, decide if you want to enable zombie chases, start your mission and begin pumping those legs.

The first story mission, (choose this mode to listen to a developing story you’re a part of with every run) starts with you riding in a helicopter. You are going to be dropped into a settlement where survivors of the zombie apocalypse need your help. Unfortunately your helicopter doesn’t quite make it and you have to run if you’re going to get to the settlement and safety. There is a man talking into your headphones, saying he can see you but he’s not sure you can hear him. I literally waved my arms above my head hahahaa!

EAch mission develops the story from there and you get to know the characters as you run each time. When the mission is over, radio mode is enabled and your music keeps playing along with fun voice clips. I do my long stretching sessions to radio mode. I love it!

Ok, wrote all that yesterday and now I’m writing tonight after doing a zombie run this morning. I jotted down some notes after today’s run so I wouldn’t forget. I finally got the hang of the zombie chases. For whatever reason my first several runs did not include any zombie chases even though I had GPS enabled. Then all of the sudden a few runs ago, I had a zombie chase, but I was caught even though I pumped my legs like crazy. To describe it exactly, I pretty much reenacted the Maniac scene in Flashdance. If you’ve never seen that movie, I’m sorry.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to read tutorials which I did not too long ago. I should have from the start. Oh well haha! I learned that when the zombie chase starts, your pace needs to pick up for up to a minute. Oh! So today I had two zombie chases and I evaded the mobs both times. Go me!

I also tried something new today. If you’re not blind, I’m sorry. If you are blind, chances are you have a white cane. This worked perfectly today to keep me running in one spot. I get the best results by mimicking running as best I can in one place in my apartment. It also happens to be right under an air vent. The problem was, I was drifting and bumping the walls if I didn’t hang on to a wall. But that seemed to constrict my movements. So today I jammed my white cane in the corner where the floor and wall meet and it worked like a charm! I was able to still pump the arm that held the cane but I didn’t drift and bump the walls.

Today I had to wonder if other runners get so into the game. I’ve really gotten in to the character of Runner 5. That’s who you are as a player. I wave at the guys when they say stuff, today I talked to them saying things like, “I’ll get that package!” Then I laugh at myself and think, I’d never have this much fun if I was doing this at the gym or on the streets. Then after the run was done and I was stretching while I took off my knee braces and sneakers, I was imagining the other inhabitants of Able Township walking by and patting my back since I had just returned from a mission with a very important box. I imagined that they all knew by now that I can’t really talk when I get back from a mission because I must cool down and stretch and stuff. Is it the goofy writer in me?

I really enjoyed radio mode today as I stretched. Jack and Sam I believe their names are, and today Janine got some talk time in which was funny. I just love radio mode! I have a playlist I created called Zombies Run that I have selected and Sam and Jack will talk a bit and then say they’ll play a song, so it’s like they’ve selected the songs you’ve selected. Today they said something like, this may or not be a Canadian we play next and I wanted so badly for one of the Canadian artists I have in the playlist to play, but alas, twas Abba.

Ok, That’s all I have for now. I adore this app! Oh, random funny from today, as the computer voice told me which supplies I picked up, “crutches” sounded an awful lot like “crotches”. Hahaha! Just imagine a robot computer voice saying, “collected too pairs of crotches”. Hmmm. Zombie crotches?

Oh wait! I can’t end this yet because I forgot the best part. The developers are working on Zombies, run! 2 and guess what? it’s going to be completely accessible. Do you know how excited I was to find out about this the other day? I’ve been able to manage supplies on the website which I found out after I got a mission that couldn’t be unlocked because I hadn’t supplied the hospital. I asked the @ZombiesRunGame Twitter account if there was some way around this and I got an answer immediately, that it should work on the website and sure enough it did. But in the next version of the game, the developers are making the supplies part of the phone app accessible. Yay! I adore developers who care! Needless to say that with my TRX and this app, I won’t be signing away my first born child to a gym. Yay!

Ok this turned into a monster post. Or rather a zombie post. Ba dum bum, ching!

*Addendum* this just in, click here to read about how Zombies,run! was born.

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Filed under accessibility, accomplishment, blind tips, cool product, funnies, gratitude, iPhone, music, plugs, silly girl, twitter me this, white cane, workouts

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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My First Week on Lexapro – The Drug Might Have Saved a Leaf Blower Man

Today is a week since I began taking 10mg of Lexapro daily to help with my depression and anxiety. I know I’m not yet feeling the full effects of the drug since it takes about a month for this kind of thing to really build up in the system but the placebo effect is strong in this one. Tell me this pill is going to make me feel better and just the knowledge that relief will come will make me feel better. It’s like when you’re starving but you know you’ll eat soon, you can make it, but if you don’t know when your next meal is coming it’s harder to make it through.

I feel like my hands have been freed and I can reach my tools again. I know how to cope and get through life but I couldn’t reach out and grab that knowledge. It was like the depression and anxiety were shackles binding my wrists. I now feel like those shackles have been loosened enough for me to get one hand free. Life is looking up, just knowing that my brain chemistry will be getting back on track.

The first few days I was a little apprehensive. I wasn’t told about side effects and I didn’t look them up. A friend told me she had headaches on Lexapro so wouldn’t you know, I started having headaches. I looked up Lexapro and headaches and sure enough, lots of people have had that problem though headache isn’t listed as a side effect. I found a forum were several people said the headaches went away after a week or so for most so I had hopes that they would for me too and they have. I started taking Advil when I felt a headache coming on and now I don’t even need that. I also experienced some pretty bad nausea when I ate but luckily that has gone as well. Too bad, I need to lose some weight after being so inactive. 😉

This week I returned to the gym. My doctor cleared me to exercise when I saw her last week and I’m so grateful. I know exercise will help with the depression as well and now that the weather has chilled out and I feel better physically, I feel like I’m in the home stretch. It was so great to get back and see my friends this week and today Jayden flirted with a new guide dog in the restroom.

Yesterday was a huge test of my psyche. I don’t do well with loud noise. If the police were ever to need to flush me out of a building all they would need to do would be to cause a lot of noise and I’d come out willingly. Yesterday morning I was relaxing, reading Twitter, contemplating doing a home workout, sitting on the couch with Jayden, when this God awful noise started. I thought it might be a leaf blower but the sound was more shrill. Turns out it was indeed a leaf blower. I began to live tweet about it and last night I copied the tweets to include in this post since I’m pretty sure something would have happened had I not been medicated. So, here are the tweets:

Noise outside, no clue what it is, combo leaf blower/wee wacker? OMG my head is gonna split open. Help! 8:39am

This could be a headline: “Blind woman accused of murdering a leaf blower in AZ” 8:47am

Reminder, a leaf blower is an inanimate object. Can it be considered an appliance? 8:50am

I’ve been known to murder appliances. Ok seriously, this dude needs to move the eff off. 8:51am

Why is he focusing on my apartment? I think he wants to kidnap me. Like Wanda Sykes’ comedy skit. 8:52

(Reply to friend asking me to just be sure to get out of prison by Opening Day) I just want to break his stupid appliance. Not him. That’ll be a slap on the wrist. 8:52am

My dog is starting to get stressed. What do I do? This dude won’t effing stop! 8:56am

Just when I think he’s leaving, he comes back. This is insane! 8:57am

I think he’s finally moving on to torture another apartment. Do I dare hope?9:00am

Hey leaf blower man, you’re lucky I’m medicated now. That’s all I have to say. He’s finally gone far enough, I hope. 9:09am

(Reply to friend telling me her old landlord threatened a leaf blower man with a gun) Oh geez! I would obviously never threaten this guy but he was out here much longer than normal. My head, oh my head. 9:13am

As you can see, the leaf blowing went on for a good half hour. He kept coming back to my door. I have no idea why he kept coming back and I was so tempted to open the door and scream at him or call the office and scream at them. Luckily I did neither. The stress of it exhausted me though and I ended up putting on comedy on ootunes to try and relax and recover. I ended up doing this for about six hours though I had no idea that much time had passed. I included two more tweets here to show how much time had gone buy:

Catching up on Twitter and I’m a little nervous to find out how that 23 mile skydive went. 3:13pm

Oh, apparently my nerves were all for not as the jump was aborted. 3:15pm

I was definitely still feeling anxious and had the worst case scenario in my head while reading tweets about that guy who wants to do a twenty-three mile skydive. Today I feel a little more hopeful about that haha!

So, that’s my first week on Lexapro. I’m excited that my life seems to be getting back on track and I think I’ll be able to handle the next curve ball a little more easily. Lexapro is my hitting coach. Can you tell it’s a day of baseball? Listened to the Nationals/Cardinals while at the gym and now it’s Reds/Giants. Gotta love playoff baseball but I sure wish my Rays had made it.

Oh, another possible side effect of Lexapro is the desire to switch to hot tea from coffee in the afternoons. That one is a little bizarre. 😉

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Filed under baseball, coffeeholic, doc, faith, gratitude, guide dogs, humor as coping skill, Jayden, mental health, twitter me this, workouts

From the Desk of My Sleep Deprived and Hopeful Mind

I suppose it’s time for another sleep deprived stream of conscious post. And now I have to Google “stream of conscious”, because I can never remember if that’s correct. See it’s a good thing I turned to Google since it’s actually “stream of consciousness”. I think I knew that deep down but then I thought well conscious works too. I mean I’m conscious. I’m sleep deprived but I’m awake.

I woke up at around 2:30am. Mafia Guy Bladder woke me up and I checked the time because my body felt awake. You know those times? When you wake up and your body feels awake so you’re like oh it must be time to get up soon but you check the time and it’s only 2:30am? I could tell I wouldn’t get back to sleep. YOu just know. I gave it the old college try though. Lay there for an hour and then just wanted coffee.

What’s with the saying, “gave it the old college try”? Don’t we use that when we fail at something? Yeah I gave it the old college try but it just wasn’t meant to be. So are we referencing failing college?

The Rays gave it the college try but it wasn’t meant to be. They won last night but were eliminated when the A’s beat the Rangers. I don’t feel like talking about that.

I went to the doctor yesterday and had an anxiety attack. Yes! Yes? Yeah, I was happy about it. You know when your car is making a funny noise and you take it to the mechanic and it stops making the noise? I didn’t want that to happen. I mean I know my doc and she would believe me when I told her about the anxiety and depression but I’m just glad she got to see it. I had scheduled my appointment for 1:10, her first appointment after lunch. Paratransit got me there about 12:50 and they had to unlock the door to let me in. Receptionist said they’d call me up in a bit to check me in when it was time so I used the restroom, came out and sat down. I heard another paratransit and then I heard a white cane and a woman checking in. A slight pang of fear went through me, wondering if they signed her in ahead of me but I thought they knew that duh, I was there, right? Wrong. They called her back first even though I heard her say her appointment was at 1:20. Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me. I know it’s usually a wait at the doc but at mine it’s never that bad. The problem is that taking paratransit means you’re always watching the clock. I thought I scheduled it fine, just like I always do. My return window began at 2:10, an hour after my scheduled appointment. It would have been fine, if it hadn’t been (for those meddling kids) a Monday first of all and then I later found out that they were implementing a new computer system as well.

By 1:30 I hadn’t been called back yet and I felt the anxiety well up. I gave myself a pep talk. If I miss my ride, it’s fine. It’s not going to harm me. I might wait awhile but it’s going to be fine. Stop panicking. Stop it. Oh crap there’s the tears. Well, at least she’ll see what I’ve been going through. When they took me back to do vitals the M.A. tried to help calm me down. I did a little and she said I’d be done by 2:10, the doctor was just finishing up and she’d be right with me. I sat in the room and time ticked by and I started dreaming of grabbing stuff and throwing it. When the doctor came in and saw me she said my dog looked worried. Not, oh hey what’s wrong, why are you crying. Your dog looks worried. My doctor is brilliant. Get me talking about my dog. Calm me down. I love that woman. She assured me I’d be done in time and we were just wrapping up when the driver got there. When you hope the driver will be late, they never are.

Long story short she checked my heart, it sounded fine, she ran through questions and I’m starting Lexapro. I couldn’t get it yesterday. Insurance problems. But of course, right? It’ll be a low dose. I’ve been on it before; it’s what they gave me when I went blind to help me ease into the adjustment. I probably should have just stayed on it. Oh well, lesson learned. I was also cleared to exercise again so yay! There is hope. I feel hope.

I do have to laugh though. She asked me if I’m sleeping. Oh yeah! I sleep great! It’s 4:40am as I write this and I’ve been awake for two hours haha!

I’m going to take a break from this for a minute. I’m hoping to record some blabbering later since I got a new mic so I don’t want to just write everything that’s on my mind and have nothing left to blabber about.

Well that wasn’t much of a break since Twitter is kinda slow. Speaking of Twitter, I has a funny. I’m going to include this in the audio too but this is just too good. Yesterday on the way to the doctor I was on the paratransit and wanted to send a tweet so I started typing in Fleksy listening with my Bluetooth headset. Unfortunately Voiceover just isn’t very loud on the Bluetooth and the paratransit van was noisy so I didn’t really hear Fleksy correctly. I tweeted the following:

@Raynaadi – I’m getting notion sink on this transport wide. #vomit

I didn’t know this until I got home and checked my mentions and Steve asked if I meant to tweet that or if it was an autocorrect fail. I thought with Fleksy you couldn’t have autocorrect fails but apparently that only works if you can really hear Voiceover well. Lesson learned, next time I’ll turn spell mode on when surroundings are loud. It sure made for a great belly laugh though when I really really needed a good belly laugh. I favorited the tweet for future laughs. I’ll definitely include it in the audio though since it’s funny to hear Voiceover say it.

It’s 4:54. I think I’ll edit and see what we’ve got.

I heard a Twitter mention and a DM. Wow both! I also have that Call Me Maybe song in my head. I started thinking about the Rays rookies dance number and now that song is in my head. *Shakes fist* damn you James Shields! I’ll get you! And your little meddling kids too! Or dog. Kids? Dog. Ding don the witch is dead! Another mention, shiny! Ok, that’s a wrap. A 30. It’s 5:16am. Do you know where your slippers are?

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Filed under assistive technologies, baseball, coffeeholic, doc, funnies, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, mental health, rambles, random stuff, screen reader, Sleep Deprived Fun, treat for me, twitter me this, Voiceover, workouts

Hanging with Ro Episode Ten – TRX Time

This is for those who asked me to get audio of the TRX. This is not instructional audio. Do not take this as instructional. I was shown this by a trainer. This is not instructional. Do not attempt this at home, etc etc etc. Ah, don’t you love a sue happy society?

There’s a couple loud ouch moments. Hope this makes a little sense. I didn’t plan it haha! Do I plan any of these? Not really.

For more info about TRX, click here.

Direct youtube link

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Hanging With Ro Episode Eight – All Crazy Cardio Style

Twice I tried to get audio of me doing a TRX workout and both times, my iPod stopped recording. I reset it and just needed to test something. I decided last night to try adding a cardio workout in today even though Thursdays have been off days since I started working out over two years ago. I’ve been working out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays here at home after about two months off for varying reasons. When I was working out regularly, I was only doing it Mondays and Wednesdays, with the intention of adding Fridays when the weather cooled off since I could walk down to my home gym. Yeah, that never happened. Having the TRX at home is what finally gave me the motivation, since now I have everything I need here in the house to work out. I want to get back to the gym too though, since I miss my friends there and I’d like to weigh in even though that’s dangerous. 😉

I thought it would be fun to record and what follows is the result since the iPod didn’t stop recording.

Topics include:

*A disclaimer that this is not instructional audio since the world is so sue happy.

*The importance of stretching.

*Jayden getting exercise.

*My inner woo girl I didn’t know existed until today.

When I played this back to see if it cut off, Jayden got very excited when he heard himself squeaking his Cuz, so if you have dogs, they might have some fun with this. Jayden squeaks pretty much the entire audio hehe!

Direct youtube link

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Doggy Diaries – We’ve Been Together Two Years!

This whole week I’ve kept reminding myself that the seventeenth was the two year anniversary of dog day, and then I forgot for the first part of today haha! It’s been a really crazy month and Jay and I have been stuck in the house because of everything going on with Gamma, not wanting to miss phone calls, stress making me sick, just crazy stuff. So today I was hell bent on getting a walk in since it was time to turn in our new lease so it was a perfect excuse to finally get the courage to not be able to answer the phone in case of updates.

I checked the weather and rain was in the forecast but there was no way to guarantee when. I put my raincoat on that I had gotten for doggy school and we set out. It was chilly and rather brisk, but dry.

Both of us had a spring in our step as we walked briskly. I love flying down the sidewalk with him. It’s so funny on our way back, he slows down. Like nooooo let’s not go hooooooome. So I asked if he wanted a banana, and he picked up his pace.

We came in and I got him all excited asking if he wanted his banana and after we shared it, I realized it was the seventeenth. We took our anniversary walk and I hadn’t even realized it! I wonder what we did last year for our year together. I’ll have to grab the post I wrote. First though, I dug up the dog day posts from school.

I didn’t have internet right away, so I wrote three posts on dog day and saved them as text documents. When I pasted them into the blog, I pasted as is, typos and all, to capture the emotions of it all.

The first post mostly goes into the day before dog day.

I think second post might be my favorite. I sat there in my dorm room typing in a text document, just waiting for them to come get me. I knew Jayden’s name and that he was a yellow lab but that was it. I’m so glad I wrote these memories! Jayden, my Jay Bay, two years already?? Wow.

Haha the third post begins to show how nuts doggy school was. In it I write that he’s eighteen inches tall, but he’s twenty-two inches tall. I also write that he was in the womb when I went blind which is wrong, but he was conceived shortly after I went blind.

Reading that post, I have to wonder if they still have the brand new teams get on the bus and keep their brand new dogs from “melting” and then do a stressful walk in San Rafael. If they do, they should stop haha. I didn’t have that awesome “first walk” with Jayden like so many handlers have talked about. I think all the first timers were drained from dog day on after that. I wonder if they’ve changed that.

Ok now to see what I wrote last year. Haha ok, it’s a pretty similar post. I had also gotten his weight wrong, that’s right. I said the second dog day post was my favorite and mentioned the first walk haha. Last year though, he got to see his friends in the office. This year, they weren’t there. Last year, insurance people came over, today no one came over. So it’s been different days, but he got spoiled just the same hehe! Today he’s had his usual treats, plus an extra biscuit and some peanut butter. Since I finally had some energy and stuff, I’ve been rather hyper and silly with him and when I was working out using my TRX, he thought it was play time which made me laugh a lot. It’s been a good day.

I can’t believe we’ve been together two years now. Where does time go? I can’t wait to go visit Gamma where she’s rehabbing her hip, since he brings her tons of joy, too.

Happy anniversary my Mellow Yellow Jayden Bailey boy!! I love you sooooooo much!

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Filed under anniversary, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, gratitude, Jayden, num num food, on this date, spoons, weather, working dog, workouts, wow