A month in

January 31, 2016 at 1:42 AM | Posted in Center training | Leave a comment
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I have finished my 4th week here at the center for the blind and I am in a very different place than when I started. I was miserable at first. So amazingly miserable. What with having an actual schedule, meeting new people, spending most of the day under sleep shades, amongst many other various stressor. It was and continues to be difficult. Not only being away from home and all things familiar, but also with being back in an environment where there are expectations. I have random moments of anxiety on my way to various classes and although during the classes I am mostly able to relax and enjoy the learning experience.

I wish there was some job where I could be paid to put needless stress on myself.

I would be super rich.

We had “drops” the other day. Each student is driven around to confuse them and then dropped off and told to find their way back. You are only dropped in a location where you have traveled before (except your very final one) and challenged to find your way back to the center. I was so scared and stressed out about it that I woke up on the day of covered from head to toe in a stress rash with hives. I was miserable. It’s been over a week since and I’m almost fully healed from it.

Although it took a rather long time and a bit of help my fellow drop-ee we found our way back. I was terribly upset. I wanted to do well. Let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything less than perfect. I keep putting “perfect” as the only way that I can accept anything I do as being “good” or “successful”.

Not so surprised I’m a terribly good stresser now are you?

During a day where I felt I did really horrible because I walked up a couple driveways just a little bit and walk a little to the right when I cross streets, my teacher had a chat with me. He talked about how some students want to be perfect every time. He challenged me to talk about what exactly was negative about what I had done that day. I tried with all my might but couldn’t fully point out anything because I was able to realize what I was doing while I was doing it and correcting it. I didn’t walk out into the middle of the street, or into anyone or anything, I made it to my destination completely physically unscathed. Trying to see the positive through the cloudy and clingy negative is difficult but actually not hard as I thought when I actually focused.

Yes I do and will have bad days, where I feel horrible before, or during, or after a class, but I will need keep finding a positive element. Even if there is a small one I’m able to come up with, then I will be okay.

One thing I have accomplished is walking completely around the block that the center is located on. It’s just under a quarter of a mile. I did it without going into a street, not going too far up a driveway, and all in one piece. I may have taken a long time to do it, but I did it.

I did ask a lady where the sidewalk was once when I was a little bit up a driveway and having a confused moment. Since I heard her voice calling out to help me I asked….. then she said it’s over there and grabbed my arm and led me. I told her thank you but I’m in training and needed to find it, but she led me anyway. I’m not sure English was a first language but it still made me feel temporarily upset. I managed to shake it off and continue on.

Other things I’ve done the past two weeks was grocery shopping for class, baking a coffee cake, going to an escape room (and successfully escaping), drilled holes, and learning how to read on a braille note.

The braille notetakers are awesome, I would love one but they are super expensive (thanks to supply and demand and also horrible people profiting off the blind. 

Check this out: Click Here This is the one I am borrowing from the center. I’m starting to read Matilda by Roald Dahl. Something a little easier than normal to read as I want to get my reading wpm up. With not having much practice I’m at about 11 wpm. I really want to get that puppy up.

I feel like I should be talking about something philosophical and grandiose, but I’d just like to tell you all (myself included) to live in your moments. Any bad moments are just that, bad moments. You’ll be okay in a couple, few, some, many moments. But you will be ok.

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Just a quick late night sketch for you. Bundled up for winter this girl still has visions of spring on another world with her odd flower on her head. 

 

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Life in the Shade

January 15, 2016 at 12:01 AM | Posted in 9-5, Braille Wail, Center training, EYE believe | 2 Comments
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Tomorrow will be the end of my first two weeks of being at the center for the blind in Lincoln, Ne and it has most certainly been an interesting trip. I thought I would dread putting the sleep shades (blind fold type device) every day and after lunch but it hasn’t been as bad.

The first day or two were the worst. I didn’t want to spend that much time in the sleep shades and I was hating the social aspect of meeting new people and having to spend the majority of the day with them. I was just plain miserable.

But I am surprised that I feel better about it for the most part. There are definite things I am not looking forward to, such as how long it will take before I can be considered for graduation. I also am having a terrible time with sleep. New/different bed, no cats, no husband, different sounds, and lack of a pattern are all to blame.

I have homework some nights, I have various meetings throughout the week and I also once a month have to take part in the cleaning of the common areas at our apartment location. Also, I have to consider the fact that there is a movie theater on the same block as me and my massive addiction to the new Star Wars movie. (6 times as of writing this!) Not to mention cooking my own meals for lunches and dinners and keeping the apartment clean for weekly walk-throughs. I don’t have a lot of time to de-stress and gather my energies for the next day.

It should be ok once I figure out a workable sleep/work schedule. Just a matter of getting it done…….. I just jerked up from falling asleep for a sec there; it seems to be my new move now. Head banging to the sleep metal music playing in my head.

I have been working hard and I’ve done a bunch of things so far and I’ve been told I’m doing well so I’ll take their words for it. Here is a list of sorts for what I have done under sleep shades so far: navigate the center’s building, walk outside to the two bus stops we use, walk over to a nearby footpath bridge, navigate and use escalators and bus,  fried eggs, made brownies from a mix, washed dishes, thread a needle, sewed on a button, learned a new way to measure pieces of wood, practice on the new UEB standard of braille, brailled notes, start to learn a screen reader program called JAWS, there may be more but I can’t remember right now.

Still nodding off and fighting sleep. I really should go to sleep now…..

If you think this stuff is not at all difficult, I challenge you to try some of these things blindfolded (safely) and then tell me how you did.

This is incredibly mentally and physically and emotionally challenging.

I have only cried twice so far. (4 if you count my hearing of both David Bowie’s and Alan Rickman’s deaths.) Once when I was after navigating to a different part of the building, and I cried to myself without anyone really realizing. The other was this evening because my braille homework was just not clicking for me so I became extremely flustered and upset.

I know I will cry at other times but that’s ok. This is tough.

But I have become mostly accustomed to the people around me. Either they’re going through the same things as I am or they’re teaching it and have gone through this training as well. So they know what they’re talking about when giving people reasons to attend the center and how to empathize with what we are going through. Pretty much everyone is nice and understanding so that helps a lot.

 

I am going home for the weekend and will take some breaths and enjoy the three days at home before trying out a new week at the center.

Gotta keep on keeping on.

If you’d like to see how I’m learning to measure things in shop class here is a video I found about the tool we use. the video is a bit long and it is not the best filming but if you watch for a bit you will see a pretty cool device.

Watch this video on Youtube (link should open in a new tab/window)

P.S. I have a piece of valuable advice to give to sighted people everywhere. Please, if you see a blind person and they ask where a place/thing/person is please, for the love of whatever you believe in, do not immediately take their arm and lead/drag them to the location/thing/person. Use your words, cardinal directions, amazing eyesight, and creative minds to help. Or if you have a problem with that, ask if that blind person would like your physical help. We are not helpless babies that don’t understand. We are human beings trying to make it in a sighted world. We have our own skills and ways of getting around. Even if you are embarrassed for yourself or that person while they are seeming to be lost in a room do not assume that that person is dumb or lost. We have to take longer to see what a room is like, and where we need to be.

I am not a UPS package needing to be delivered.

I am a human being trying to make do as independently as I can, just like you.

I deserve that respect as much as you do.

 

In The Blink

May 5, 2015 at 5:50 PM | Posted in Braille Wail, Despair, EYE believe | 2 Comments
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Oh hey, I should finally write a post on my blog. It’s been a little while. (Looks at last post, sees “5 months ago” and grimaces.)

Oops. I apparently have been away longer than I meant. That or I was abducted by aliens and experienced lost time. Or a lot of changes are going on and I haven’t been ready to talk about it.

I’d bet on that last one, if I were you.

I wasn’t sure if I should continue this blog and maybe start a new one or if I should change the name of this one.

After a fun runaround in the medical community (Too many different doctors, ACK!) I finally had the right test that mapped my field of vision. I’ve attached photos of the current fields of view. the blue line is the one that is used for blindness. To be legally bind due to the field of view, it has to be less than 20 degrees. This time it most certainly is. I can now be considered legally blind.

Here is the field of vision for my right eye.

Here is the field of vision for my right eye.

Here is the field of vision for my left eye.

Here is the field of vision for my left eye.

I knew it was going to be bad, because I’ve noticed more of my peripheral going over the years. I’ve also said how I’m sick of waiting around for the ball to drop and to just get on with it. I was not prepared for it actually happening.

I was not prepared at all.

I still haven’t cried about it. I know I need to and I know it’s hurting me more by bottling it inside, but I don’t think I can deal with it yet.

I’ve switched to logical mode. If tears do start welling up I suck them back in and I toughen the skin. It’s not the time for crying yet.

I’ve finally found a new doctor for general practitioning and they seem to care about your whole well-being. I’m so used to being just another patient to be run through the mill that this was a surprise and reassuring. On their advice I’ve started seeing my old counselor that I haven’t been to in a year and a half. It was really nice to see her again and with her I should be able to slowly work through the emotional side of things.

Until then I will keep the logic shields up.

I have been getting help and working with the Nebraska Commission of the Blind and Visually Impaired. They help individuals realize their work goals as well as how to live independently. I have a case worker who will be helping me in my desire to make, show and sell art and I am working with a woman who is teaching me skills with cane travel and other things.

This training is pretty intense. they like to give the same training to everyone so they can decide what works for them no matter the level or ability of sight. To do that, everyone is equalized with a blindfold. What I use is pretty neat. They’re called sleep shades and i can keep my eyes open while wearing them. I can’t see a thing (except those pretty flashing ripples of light that pop up every once in a while. Thanks RP!)

So I have been learning to walk around the state building in Omaha under shades, just using my cane and vocal queues from my coach. They say I’m doing well. I’ll take their word for it.

(Pause for a moment while those lovely flashing lights float around and cloud my vision for a second.)

Okay.

Another thing offered is a super intensive training at their center in Lincoln, Nebraska. It’s an immersive course over a period of 6-9 months where I would stay there in Lincoln and have classes five days a week. 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the afternoon. All under those lovely sleep shades. Classes are braille, computers, home management, cane travel and wood shop. Yes, you heard/read right, wood shop. It’s confidence building course, plus you get to play with power tools.

They really want me to go to this training. They’re excited for me to be proactive and do this early so I can already have the skills as my sight fades more.

I understand this, I really do.

I went on a three-day stay, where for those three days I would shadow someone who is currently enrolled and stay overnight in the apartments. the apartments are pretty nice. Studio apartments with a decent bathroom and kitchen and nicely furnished.

It was interesting. That’s pretty much the only way I can describe it. I learned things. I got some confidence with the white cane (I even ventured outside around the building, where yes, I did cry a little due to my fear of heights. apparently walking up a slight incline under sleep shades is terrifying.) I read 1 1/2 pages of braille. I can write it decently, reading I’ve never been trained on so it was quite difficult. Took me about 3 hours to do it. Took me right back to childhood. Computers was fairly easy and soothing because it was brushing up on my keyboarding skills without the distraction of looking at the keyboard or screen like I normally do.I even chopped a green pepper and washed dishes under the shades. (Wood shop didn’t happen because the teacher was sick.)

Everyone was pleasant, helpful, encouraging and patient.

I was the one not ready. I’m not emotionally ready. I need to get to the acceptance end of grief or a least a lot closer to it to make it through that training. I also am not sure I want to be away from my husband, friends, and cats for that long. Sure I can see them on some weekends, and even some weeknights if they really wanted to make the drive out.

I have another meeting at NCBVI this week and I will be able to talk about it more with them.

Oh and for those keeping score, I got my second transcript attempt back for braille certification. Got a 75/100. Not good enough, needed 80. I may have sobbed a lot when I got those results. I have my third attempt finished and I am currently proofreading it. Third times a charm I hear.

Cloudy with a chance of cataracts

February 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM | Posted in Artsy Fartsy, Braille Wail, EYE believe | Leave a comment
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I feel compelled to write the first line about how astonished I am at how much time has passed since my last post. But this time I won’t.

Wait. Darn.

Oh well, moving on.

Something I took away from reading The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick was instead of a New Years resolution have a word or phrase to help get yourself through the year. A term that will help motivate you when you’re sitting there wondering what the heck to do. Last year I used the word ‘create’. This year I decided to go with two words: ‘start’ and ‘finish’. I chose them because I’m fairly good at starting projects and abandoning them when they get too hard or I find something else interesting. So whenever I have a time where I honestly don’t know what to do with myself I will think of everything I want to do and everything I have already started. There’s quite a few things so I don’t think I should be too bored in 2014.

I’m starting to get really excited for my spring trip around the Midwest on a tornado tour. Still need to finish paying for the trip and getting my plane ticket to get down to Oklahoma. I plan on documenting the trip and sharing my adventures on here.

I found out about a wonderful project where artists create postcard size art and they have exhibits to sell them for charity. Each year they pick a specific group and the money goes to them. Check them out here http://twitterartexhibit.org In anticipation of my tornado trip I made a piece of a very green supercell on the plains. I really hope I get to see something like this out there.

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The reason for the title of this post is that I have recently found out that I have cataracts in both eyes. I knew about my left eye but the right one is new. I know my vision has been blurry and out of focus for a while but I thought it was due to old prescription glasses. Well, I’m still quite sure that’s part of it, but the cataracts explain the rest. My retina specialist passed away and I started with another doctor who found the other cataract. He is suggesting that I get surgery. I’m not a fan of the idea but I know it will help my vision to improve. So, I will be calling my optometrist to get a recommendation for a surgeon.

It’s never a dull moment thanks to these blobs of goo in my head.

Oh! Oh! I almost forgot to mention! I finally finished my big Braille transcription for certification. I sent it in last weekend and they have acknowledged its arrival. They said it will take 6-8 weeks to find out the results. Fingers crossed for better than an 80!

Now I’m off to park my rear in front of the tv and work on the hat I’m knitting for my mom.

Launch the Ankle Breakers!

January 30, 2013 at 8:39 PM | Posted in Braille Wail, Mundane in the Brain | Leave a comment
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Imagine that, two postings in two days!

It’s very cold right now and we got about 4-5 inches of snow over night. Tomorrow should be pretty darn cold. The forecast calls for -10- -20 windchill around the time I leave work. With the new house I take two busses to get home. Thankfully there isn’t really a wait between the busses. The walk home from the bus stop is about 4 blocks worth so that will be quite cold. I hope people shoveled their sidewalks. (I did our driveway and it took nearly two hours! Who thought having a sloped driveway was a good idea!) The problem with my neighborhood is there are either no sidewalks or very poor sidewalks that are really extensions of the road. Some are mish-moshes of random asphalt laid down at different times. They are ankle breakers waiting to happen. I’ve already tripped and stumbled into the street. I had to jump back onto the sidewalk quickly. That area of the sidewalk is level with the road, no curbs. I was trying to dodge the large branches that had overgrown from  bushes and trees. It is really not a disability friendly spot, let alone a fully able body. What surprises me is there is a grade school nearby.

I keep meaning to complain to the city about the state of the sidewalks along that street. I don’t know what stops me from doing so.

*cough* laziness *cough*

The reason I’m taking the bus home now instead of getting a ride from my husband is because I get done with work much earlier in the day now. Good news: Promotion! Bad news: Less hours. So with the cut in hours plus awesome raise my take home at the end of the week is about the same. Maybe a little less.  But I’m very much enjoying my time at home. I am much less stressed out on the whole.

(Pausing a moment from writing this to watch a rocket, TDRS-K, go up on www.nasa.gov)

We truly live in an amazing age. I can watch rockets lifting off live from the comfort of my home in my pjs. The technology we have in our everyday lives is amazing.

I keep learning about the great accessibility my phone has provided. I have an iphone 4s and if I were completely blind I could still use it. It takes a little bit longer to navigate to begin with but I bet you can be surfing the web and tweeting up a storm as fast as anyone else. I’m excited for an app coming out tomorrow that will allow people to type in braille.  It’s called Braille Touch App. I will be downloading it as soon as I can!

Speaking of braille, I only have my final transcription to complete and send in to get my certification. I’m excited and frightened at the same time. I have a lot of work to do. I’m in the preparation mode. Right now I am going through the piece I have chosen to transcribe and circling all of the special characters I need. I will then work on the formatting of the pages, then to the actual braille. I will still use my slate and stylus even though I got an AWESOME gift of a braille typewriter from my husband this holiday season. It needs some work and I need to work hard to learn how to use it. I don’t want to take the chance of making more mistakes on the final transcription than I already will by hand.

Bonus pic: My cat approves of my new laptop!

Bonus pic: My cat approves of my new laptop!

Well that was a fun jaunt around my skull for the evening. Off to work on my current knitting project. I’d say more but it is a gift for a friend. I’m having fun with it though!

Line starts here

May 23, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Posted in 9-5 | Leave a comment
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Today, my Mother and I had the fun joy of getting new plates for her van. We went to one location but had to be directed to a different location to have the car inspection. It was sad because there was pretty much no one at the first location. After the inspection we stood in line for a long time. I’m not sure how long, maybe half an hour to an hour. The line was always to the door no matter how far forward we progressed. There was a bounty hunter behind us in line. He looked the part. Bandanna on his head, sunglasses on all the time, black vest with pockets full of necessary tools, badge hanging around his neck. Seemed like a nice fellow for how intimidating he looked.

Something nice happened as well, there is some hope for the youth in this world. A young man let the elderly couple behind him go first when it was his turn. If only we could see more of that every day.

A temporary end of the line is occurring tomorrow night. My last Japanese class for a while. I am sad because I really enjoy the class and I’m learning an immense amount. I am afraid I’ll not retain as much as I want. Guess I’ll just have to practice a lot more often once the class is over. I am looking forward to getting back into the Braille lessons. I haven’t touched it for a while and I feel a bit disappointed in myself for neglecting it. Language classes are quite consuming!

I have a nice to do list for the Summer for myself. I hope to have a lot of art projects finished. There’s lots of sewing projects I need to finish as well.

I have made a big step forward in freeing myself from comparing and opportunities for jealousy and depression by finally getting rid of my facebook account. I regret the loss of some connections and their updates but there was too many things  that were consuming my time and making me feel inadequate in my own life. I need to find the value in myself and my life before I can fully rejoice for others without envy tainting the sentiment. It’s basically the same way I have to deal with junk food, if I don’t have it in my home then I won’t eat any. If the temptation isn’t there I can’t falter. Someday I will have the tools to be able to have the self control necessary, but until that day the temptation had to be removed.

My daily Internet check is SUPER short now.

And now for your viewing pleasure, my cat Hope really wants to go outside.

Look at me slacking

September 7, 2010 at 9:28 AM | Posted in AWEsome Sights, Braille Wail, EYE believe | 6 Comments
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Things have not been too terribly busy here, I just have been slacking off on a lot of things. We went to a couple of weddings out of state (another one this weekend coming up!) I have some pictures from a beautiful (but wicked) storm that hit us in Nebraska. We lost power from it and it was so humid and hot, I missed my air conditioner!

This was after most of the storm went over but the clouds were still thick. It was during sunset and this was the sunlight trying to get through the clouds. It looks like a dust storm but it was just an eerie glow!

There was a rainbow off to the east and I thought it looked so neat through the glow.

Looking up at the clouds above me, I wish cameras could capture the beauty that it really was!

Off to the west, the back of the storm. It was so much better in real life. It was so orangey-red! Off to the left in this photo there were flashes of lightning in the distance. It looked like generators exploding when a tornado goes over it. It was pretty amazing. It was so quiet out with all the power out in the neighborhood (except at the hospital across the street of course.)

My braille lessons are coming along slowly, I need to work on them more often! I hope to be done with the majority of the assignments before the end of the year. I want to be working on my final transcription soon! I’m so excited for it.

My eyes are getting a little worse. I’ve noticed a little brightening in my right eye like my left eye. I thankfully can still see clearly with my right eye but it’s getting brighter. You might think it gets dimmer as you go blind, for me it’s getting quite bright. My doctor said I’m starting to get cataracts but that he doesn’t think they will get any worse. I wonder how that can be but I didn’t ask him so that’s on me. I had to stop an eye drop he prescribed because it was 100 dollars for 3ml of medicine. I had to put in drops 3 times a day into each eye. That bottle lasted a week. We can’t afford that! Robert called the doctor and he told us to just stop using it and we’ll figure out something at our next visit. We can’s even afford my bills with that doctor in the first place.

I have been having a lot of down days with this and I sometimes wonder why I even bother with the medicine and preventative measures seeing (haha pun) that I will be blind eventually. Sure, the medicine kind of helps with the brightness but it doesn’t prevent the retina giving out in spots. There is so much disappearing. Some days I have to hold the laptop up to my nose so I can focus on the words and pictures. When I am standing behind Robert while he is on the computer I can not figure out what the pictures are, they are just fuzzy color blobs.

I have to brag about my husband for a moment. He is a pretty amazing man. I am constantly feeling guilty for not working and not being able to drive and for basically being a burden. I asked him the other day if he felt resentful towards me at all. He told me he never did. I asked how he has never been angry that I don’t work when I am able to cook, clean and do laundry still amongst other things. He said that the home is a place I am familiar with. I am able to move around here and do things because I know where everything is. He says he also is walking more with a shuffle through the house around me so I know where he is. He knows I would be a wreck elsewhere (as he’s seen it when we’re at the zoo and the museum and other public places.) I was amazed at how understanding he is and I consider myself pretty darn lucky. He is so patient with me when I have mini-breakdowns in public. I snap at him because he is trying to make me stop because other people are standing when I am about to walk into them. Sometimes I do see them, and sometimes I don’t. I snap at him because I saw them, or I snap at him because when he grabs my arm I feel like I’m a child and need to be wrangled.

We have come to the conclusion that no one is respectful to others around them anymore. When we go to the zoo the children are free to push in front of other people (the adults do it, too!) No one says excuse me or apologizes or anything of the sort. Robert and I are constantly saying excuse me, or excuse us everywhere we go. For some reason at the store we get looked at like we are being rude for saying the excuse-me’s. At the store people are so in their own worlds. Robert got really frustrated with this one lady who just pushed in front of me when I was looking at which yeast I wanted. I didn’t see her or notice her, but apparently she was right next to me and reached in front of me. Robert said, “You know, you could say excuse me.” The lady suddenly said excuse me then said to Robert that she did and I think she said something about him being rude. (She had already upset him because he was backing up the cart while I was walking towards him looking at the items and he hit his back on a cart. She was across and down the aisle and left her cart behind Robert.) He was so mad.

We also had a difficulty with the museum. The lighting is SO terrible. I almost have to be led through the exhibits because they have directional lighting. People were walking in front and stopping in the middle of the walking area and once again, no politeness about it.

Okay, that’s enough of that rant. I need to get back to laundry and maybe some braille. I hope everyone has a great day!

Motivation

September 27, 2009 at 7:31 AM | Posted in Mundane in the Brain | Leave a comment
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How hard is it to get yourself motivated to do anything? To do the things you love, the things you dislike but have to do, or really, anything?

I find it extremely difficult. I love to paint but find it’s such a hassle to set up to do it at my apartment. I love to bead but my desk is covered with random things and I’m not motivated to clean it off. I’m not working therefore I should be able to find 30-60 minutes to just exercise.  I keep walking into the kitchen hoping some fairy has come and cleaned the explosion it has become, but it just doesn’t happen. I have one chore, you’d think I’d be able to do it just fine.

What is more fun is when I actually do find motivation do get everything done one card falling can bring the whole house of cards down. This could happen early in the morning so I’m useless and lazy the rest of the day.  The only things I am able to get done are my French homework and my Japanese homework. I think I’m more motivated by those because I have to answer to someone and I paid money for those courses and should get everything I can get out of the classes.

My brailling is going slow. That was a card that fell the other day. There are 25 lines you can do to a page and I messed up on the 24th line making the whole sheet unusable and I gave up for the day. Not just on brailling, but on pretty much everything. I think I only got my Japanese homework done that day.

Do you find it hard to get motivated? What tricks or what do you tell yourself to get motivated? I’m quite curious how the rest of the world does it.

Visiting Days are Over.

August 20, 2009 at 11:57 PM | Posted in Braille Wail, EYE believe, Mundane in the Brain, Parlez-vous? | 1 Comment
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Well, That was an exciting three weeks.  It was come to Omaha month. My Sister flew in on a Sunday, my Mom drove in on the next Friday, my sister flew out on the Wednesday after that. My Mother drove out on the Sunday after that. The next day, Monday, my Mother- and Brother-in-laws drove in (from the same town as my Mom so they passed each other as my Mom stayed at a hotel on her way home making it a two day trip.) The in-laws left the Sunday after that.

Whew!

That was a LOT of visiting. It was great, though. I had not seen my sister for over a year. We would love to be closer together but our lives are on different paths for right now. Hers in Florida, mine in Nebraska.

To celebrate our togetherness my sister, Michelle, the bravest of the three, my mother, Gretchen, the one who is crazy about her girls, and myself, the one who has had it done before, all got tattoos. (How’s that for a run-on sentence!)

My sister went first and was very brave through the pain. She has two piercings in each ear and that’s the extent of body modification she has had done. Unless, you count eyebrow waxing. Originally she wanted a celtic design of hearts and metalwork to look like a bracelet around her wrist. It would have been too huge for her line of work to get the detail she wanted without it looking like mush in 10 years. So she went with 5 hearts in shades of purples, pinks and a blue. 5 is her lucky number. The inside of the wrist is a painful place to get tattooed. Especially how close to her hand it was. She pushed through the pain quite amazingly. I don’t think she would have been as brave as she was if she had tried this a few years ago.

My Mom was next, and she was wary with how hard of a time my sister had so she decided on just using color as an outline. A cross to remember and honor her parents who are no longer physically with us. A purple circle for my sister and a blue circle for me, our favorite colors. Red is her favorite color. Mom was pretty brave about it as well, it hurt her as well. Also, it was a crap shoot seeing as she is pretty much allergic to anything thanks to her medication.

Then mine, 8 stars, in a design like my sister’s. I liked the design the artist came up with Michelle’s so I changed it to stars as I prefer them, and in shades of blue. (8 is my lucky number.) We have come to the conclusion that I have tattoo antibodies, because it didn’t hurt me any where near as much as it did for them. It may be because I have 12 ear piercings and 6 other body piercings, and 4 other tiny tattoos that I was used to it. I also pegged it to my eyes. Having injections in ones eyes and other pokes and prodding by machines, puffs of air, and drops makes one a little more used to sitting and not moving a muscle than others.

I felt bad that it didn’t hurt as much as it did for them. I didn’t want them to have a more painful experience. I wanted them to enjoy it. (It also irked them that mine didn’t get as puffy as theirs or that it’s healing faster. Strange, with it being the biggest one of the three.)

Here they are.

DSC01217 This is maybe the day or the day after Mom and I got ours done. Turns out Mom was allergic to the after care products, hence why her skin is more red than ours.

Somehow we also managed to watch 4 seasons of the Office in 3 days. Still funny.

I was sad to see them go. My sis and mom can’t get away much. All three of us are unemployed right now. Different circumstances got us in teh same boat. I hope I can make the journey down to Florida for Christmas this year. Take my husband with me and show him a snowless winter!

My in-laws and I lazed the days and waited for Robert to get home, then we would go somewhere, or just hang out. It was nice to talk with my mother-in-law because we are obsessed over the same two books series right now. Gossiping about all the characters and the shocks and ribaldry.

Now it’s quiet. I have been waiting until these visits happened to do a deep cleaning of the apartment. Kitchen, living room, hallway, extra bedroom, done. Bathroom, front door/dining room/computer room, bedroom, tomorrow.

I found out today that a downpoor means I might as well close my eyes while driving. i can’t see where the road is. Even though I can make out where the other cars are, I can’t see the lines on the road and I panic about being to close to the other cars. The fact it was a half sun-shower didn’t help. Light reflections are always unwelcome.

I just sent in my fourth Braille lesson. I wish it was going at a faster pace. The postal service and life like to eat at time. I would really like to be certified soon, but I know I need the time to let all the info sink in for good. Not just for some test down the road. This is a skill I’d like to keep. I start classes next week. French online and Japanese on location at the school. I’m looking forward to it and scared. I know it’s a well used community college for all ages. I am nervous about being the strange old woman in the corner. I don’t know why I still care after all these years. I will always be strange and different and I am there to learn for my future.

Time to put on my grown-up pants and dig in.

Still here

June 30, 2009 at 7:33 PM | Posted in Braille Wail, Mundane in the Brain | Leave a comment
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Why, hello there. I am still here. I just have nothing exciting going on right now. I  get up at the same time every morning. I sti at the computer and work on organizing and renaming my MP3’s. I shower, get dressed. Do laundry and dishes if needed. Do some work on my braille (I’m done with lesson 5, I just now received lesson 2 back so I can immidietly send out lesson 3.) I then work on a painting until my husband comes home from work. We watch the news, eat dinner, watch a movie, maybe play a game. Read a little, go to bed.

Day in, day out.

I’m excited for fall. We are signing up for classes. I am going to take Japanese again. I will become fluent. That is my goal. The only difference I want native speakers to notice is a possible incorrect accent to the area. I want to be that way with French as well. I might be taking a French course as well. I took them both in college, French I took since junior high. I feel my French slipping hard and my Japanese is no where near where I want it to be. I hope someday to get a job translating. Maybe one day I can not only transcribe braille, but translate it as well.

As for my eyes, they are okay. I have been moved down to a maintenance drop for my pressure. I go back on the 9th to see how it is working.

I am having a little bit more of a hard time while driving, my neck is starting to hurt with how much I have to move my head to compensate for the lack of periferal vision. More cars seem to be coming out of no where. The sunlight still hurts my eyes a lot. I have these great sunglasses that just go over my glasses. Ginormous lenses that cover half my face so no light comes in from the sides, top or bottom. Very nice.

I hope to see my sister and Mom soon. They should be coming to visit at some point, hopefully at two different times, yay for double the visit!

I have been adding stuff to my etsy shop, I hope to add some more here soon. bekochan.etsy.com You can help research into stopping blindness by purchasing. Half of your purchase price will be donated to Foundation Fighting Blindness.

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