End of Year Update

Dear Readers,

After some contemplation and a bit of persuasion from a friend of mine, I’ve decided to write something I could properly classify as an end-of-year update. Then, I thought about the fact that I had a lot of catching up to do, and promptly started avoiding the idea. I then thought, “To hell with it, I’m going to write a post before the year ends, just because.” So, to fill the end-of-year update criteria, here is a list of highlights before I move on to my next topic.

1. January 1. I think this is the New Year holiday I spent at a virtual party online with a bunch of people on a roleplaying game I no longer frequent. Actually, it was New Year’s Eve, but still! It was an enthusiastic start to the year in any case, provided that it was actually this year I did it and not last year.

2. February 26. My now 10-month old Brother Nicolai was born. This actually covers a lot of material in one giant box, but it just *had* to be mentioned. I’d go all girly on you and say that he is the cutest, most fun, most favorite baby in the world (which is most definitely the case), but that would be a bit cliché, so I won’t. I will say, however, that having him around has been an amazing experience for me, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. There is a ton of fun stuff to cover in this area, so I will write things as I think of them in later blog posts. I can tell you, however, that since he’s been with us, we’ve discovered that he loves anything to do with Winnie the Pooh, and enjoys the engagement and interaction of other people around him. He is definitely not a morning person (thumbs up for commonalities), has grown four new teeth in the past few weeks, and has just started to figure out how to crawl forward rather than backward. He’s a babbler (yay), wonderful to cuddle with (specially in his new pajamas), and is most likely going to grow up far faster than any of us would like. We won’t talk about that last one though.

3. Sometime in March. The culmination of this month happened to be the 1-year anniversary of buying my Lenovo laptop. Not particularly exciting, but I just found out today that I’ve had this laptop for 2 years instead of 1. The result: I am quite certain that I am not going to win life’s race with Time, but damn it, I’m determined to make it a good race, even if I don’t cross the finish line before he does. Screw you Time!

4. May 8. Version 2.8 of program Bobbi Blood was released. Change log: See past blog entries, tweets, and secretly recorded Skype conversations between her friends for more info. Translation: I turned 28. No, I am not about to list all the changes that have occurred in my life up to that point. I did have a really great steak and lobster dinner with the family though (thanks Dad and Lisa).

5. Sometime in June. This is when I realized that I’ve been studying medical transcription for a year. Um, excuse me Time, no taunting allowed in this race! Just because you run fast enough to look over your shoulder and throw insults at me doesn’t mean you can actually go around doing it! I already said I don’t really care if he reaches the finish line before I do, so I’m not going to say it again. In short, I’m still running, even though I might stop to enjoy the scenery a bit. Screw you again, Time!

6. Halloween. This was the first year I didn’t get any trick-or-treaters knocking on the front door (our lights were off). It was also the first Halloween I spent by myself. Granted, I did feel a little guilty at first for not going to the little party at my aunt’s house, but then I found out that said party consisted of dressing up Nicolai in several different (though very cute) Pooh Bear costumes and showing him off. I’ll admit, part of me would have had fun just because I was around Nicolai, but part of me wanted to experience Halloween alone watching some scary movies instead, just because. So, I ended up getting filled in the next day on what I’d missed, and had my share of fun from the party anyway. I watched “The Exorcist” and found myself chuckling at some of the sounds in it, rather than getting scared out of my gourd like I usually do. Then I fell asleep to a much happier movie. Okay… so I did get a little jumpy after that first movie, but hey, I didn’t have nightmares, so I still win (and I didn’t get scared out of my gourd). I seriously only just got a little case of the creeps this time. Yep, I’m definitely growing older here…

7. November 26. Thanksgiving. I remember feeling unusually crabby at first for some reason, but that didn’t last very long. I ended up getting lots of time with Nicolai while my folks prepared a delectable meal of turkey, potatoes and gravy, potato salad (with and without egg), lots of hors d’oeuvres (cheese and crackers, olives, pickles, artichoke hearts, cheeses, bread, etc.), stuffing, eggnog, wine (thankfully not mixed with the eggnog), and Oreo pie (which we didn’t get around to eating until later, if I remember right). It felt really quite odd having nine people in our house (me, my two sisters, their significant others, Nicolai, Dad, Lisa, and my alter ego (which may or may not actually exist). I did have a lot of fun, though, and thankfully ended up sleeping peacefully rather than in the zombified state of a food coma. I’ll close this highlight by saying that I looked up the word “hors d’oeuvres” (pronounced “or “dervs”)just for you guys. You should now commence feeling special for the 5.7 seconds it will take you to move on to the next highlight. Shows you just how French cooking terminology is, doesn’t it? Granted, it also shows you that I don’t know very much about cooking terminology.

8. December 15. This was the day I performed with Dad for for a convalescence center known as Heritage Assisted Living. This was something I ended up worrying about for a month, then finding out that I worried for no reason. I fretted over carols, looked up the lyrics to more carols, found carols that were fun to sing along with, cried over carols I didn’t know I liked, cried some more over carols I ended up discovering the lyrics for, and researching the history for all the carols I decided to put in the program. Then I fussed over program order, changed it at the last minute, drank a small glass of courage on the way to the center, and ended up putting on one of the best Christmas performances I’ve ever done (thanks Dad)! The program order ended up pretty much getting thrown out the window, and I didn’t care. The audience sang along with those songs they knew, enjoyed the ones they didn’t, and were very receptive to those messages we hoped to convey. Dad and I were particularly surprised when Santa came in and sang a little ditty with us (Jingle Bells isn’t so annoying now). Yep, this one’s definitely going down in the books. Thanks for the invite, Heritage, and thanks Nona for introducing us to them!

9. December 25. This was Nicolai’s first Christmas. I wasn’t sure how well it’d turn out, given that he’s only 10 months. It’s not that I thought it was going to go badly; I just wasn’t really sure how he would react. So, when Christmas eve rolled around, I ended up really excited and I spent the day being generally cheery because it was fun and I felt like it. I ended up being sort of a hermit for a lot of the day though, but the family didn’t seem to mind. We had some company for a bit, then later we did the traditional Christmas Eve present thing later that evening. Nicolai got these really cute pajamas that I wish he could wear all the time because he looks so cuddly in them. Actually, he got 2 pairs; one with feet and one without. The one without feet (hmm that sounds kinda funny) has this cute little hood on it. I love Nicolai’s hair, but there’s something about him wearing a hood or hat that puts me into squee mode. Anyway, we eventually went to bed. Well, everyone but Dad went to bed. Then the rest of us woke up at 7 something and brought Nicolai out for presents (Pooh Bear, Piglet, Eore, Tigger, lots of bath toys, and one of those kiddie cars you push around or have the kid push around with his feet). We ended up taking a nap in the middle of opening presents, which was a first, and later ate a nice dinner of potatoes, glazed ham, and other things I unfortunately can’t remember but tasted good anyway (Dad’s a scary good cook). Our tree (beautiful artificial prelit tree decorated some days before) is still up, and I can’t get enough of the scent of pine right now. Hurray for Very Snowy Spruce (shameless Scentsy plug).

So, I actually sent out a call to Twitter folks and a few other friends for topics that they might want to include in this post, but I think what I am going to do is make note of the responses I have gotten and use them for future posts. I have a feeling that writing a few posts based on other people’s questions may give me just enough inspiration for later posts about things other than major turning points/really exciting times in my life. Waiting for those really big moments seems to result in my neglecting the little ones, which sometimes (at least for me) can be really fun to read about.

Speaking of little moments, there’s a particular series of audio dramas called “Dreadtime Stories” that I was introduced to a while ago (thanks Davy). The acting can be cheesy at times, and perhaps for some they could have been put together better, but the stories are great. Each story (all of them horror related) lasts from 45 minutes to an hour. While some of them are kind of silly rather than frightening, I’ve found that the four I’ve heard so far have had their share of humor, cheese, and downright scary moments.

“Living Space”, for example, is a great story about a young couple who move into an apartment in New York at a discounted price and find that they get much more than they bargained for. As the story progresses, it seems very predictable, but then you find out something quite unexpected. The best part? You don’t find out until the last 3 to 5 minutes of the story. Absolutely riveting. Then you have the story about a common fungus that goes evil and mutant at the same time, which is one of those more stories that is more amusing than frightening. Granted, it does have a concept in it that plays off of some people’s greatest fears, so I can give these guys some slack for that.

Long story short, Davy and I’ve just bought the rest of the dramas. Long story even shorter, I’m really looking forward to listening to them! It’s also about 15 minutes to midnight on New Year’s Eve, so I’m going to close here for the present. To all my readers reading this on New Year’s Day, happy New Year. To all those who are reading it at some other day, take care, and enjoy the rest of your day (or night if you happen to be nocturnal). Now, I am going to go have a nice glass of wine, watch the apple drop, and grab a quick bite of food. Then I will spend 10 or 15 minutes of 2016 listening to fireworks.

Carpe Diam,

B

I’m Alive… Really!

So, it’s been far too long since I’ve written last. Somehow time got away
from me without my realizing it. I could pretend it hasn’t really been 2
years, but what would be the point in that? Now, I’m done thinking about
that.

So, a lot of things have happened to me over the past 2 years. Most of them
have been little personal milestones regarding confidence and independence,
but a few have been really quite large milestones. Well, actually, I’m not
sure you’d technically call all the big events “milestones”, but hey.

So, the first big thing is that I have been studying medical transcription.
I am taking a self-paced course online through an individual who is
qualified through AHDI (The Association for Healthcare Documentation
Integrity) to teach their curriculum, which is what is taught by many
schools, such as Career Step and the Andrews School of Medical
Transcription. Why take from some random person rather than an accredited
school, you ask? The answer is quite simple: because this particular course
is completely accessible. I don’t have to worry about navigating through
software that is not screenreader friendly, and as a result, I don’t have to
ask my parents or another sighted individual for help through the course. My
goal, when choosing this course, was to study as independently as possible,
without having to rely on other sighted people to help me read through
complicated terminology, mess with software they are not familiar with, etc.
Kathy, my instructor, is also blind, thus assuring the accessibility of the
course. I have less to worry about, and don’t have to rely on others to help
me through software issues. I can study, complete assignments, take notes,
receive corrections, and communicate with the instructor without having to
rely on anyone else.

The next big thing is that I have made a goal for myself to move out into my
own place by age 30. Granted, if I am going to get a stable job as an MT
(medical transcriptionist), that will take some time because I have to
finish the course. While a certification is not absolutely necessary to get
started, I hope to be able to manage that once I have finished the course.
I’ve been taking it for nearly a year now, since June of 2014, and hope to
be finished by next year, give or take a couple months. Ideally, I would
like to work a year at whatever job I get, just to make sure I am stable.
That will be pushing things a bit in terms of the “be out by 30” thing, but
I figured that particular goal was a good starting point. If that doesn’t
work out, it won’t hurt for me to be off by another year, maybe 2.

Anyway, this goal has sparked an interest in gaining yet more independence.
I’ve been doing more things that most people my age should do-buying my own
food, cooking most of my meals, managing personal expenses, etc. That
reminds me. I’ll need to tell you a story after I finish telling you about
this last big event.

So, 4 months ago, my little brother, Nicolai, was born. It has
been quite an adjustment getting used to another little person in the house,
albeit a pleasant one. I honestly don’t have the words to properly describe
just how beautiful it has been for me. The best I can do is give you little
stories. Well, I guess that gives me more things to blog about, huh?

Speaking of stories, I got to dance with Nicolai for the first time last
May. That was something, I can tell you that. Nothing feels more amazing to
me than knowing I can now handle a baby without feeling like I’m going to
break him. haha!

Well, hopefully it won’t be another 2 years before my next post! I keep
thinking to myself that I don’t have much to blog about, other than books
and stupid little things like a game or something I found interesting out of
nowhere, but maybe I’ll just bite the bullet and see how people react. Who
says my blog has to be uplifting every time? Who says it has to be some kind
of marker for huge leaps of progress? Whatever the case, I’ll probably write
again at some point in the future!

Modem Mayhem and Other Things: #Project30Days

Dear Readers,

I’ve got some awesome things to tell you before I crash. well, okay… so I have two really awesome things to tell you. Hey, who said I have to be accurate with my numbers? I never was very good at math…

Anyway, first thing’s first. As this post is part of a Project 30 Days post, I thought I’d write about my quote for today, before everything else. That way the Project 30 Days community can get right to business and check that I’m actually living up to what I’d hoped to do.

So, here’s my quote for today:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
~Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles,” 1992 (commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela, 1994 inauguration speech)

In my opinion, this quote doesn’t need a lot of explanation. The only thought that goes through my mind when I see this is a resounding, forehead slapping “Der!” I read that quote, and all I can think of is how right it is. Naturally, we really shouldn’t puff ourselves up, but in the same token, we need to be careful about letting ourselves get to deflated. I say “We” when I guess really I mean “I.”

I’ve a feeling that I’ll run into more and more thoughts about this quote as time goes by. Right now, there’s not a lot that needs be said, other than “Holy crap how did I forget about this?” This quote will definitely serve as a good, stern reminder for me. I tend to need those more often than I prefer to admit, come to think of it. Definitely glad I found that one.

So then, today was interesting in that it was finally time to quit putting off the modem setup process. Dad and I have both been putting it off since we got the thing on the twenty-seventh of last month. Dad (Hi Dad) kept saying he just didn’t want to, and I kept avoiding it and celebrating every time another day went by that we didn’t have to deal with it.

Well, today was the day we got off our asses and decided to install it. Actually, I don’t really remember how it came up. My brain is a bit mushy after everything’s been said and done. The point is that today was the Big Day.

I stressed through every step of the process, and I think I drove Dad a bit mad with reminding him to wait on certain things, just to be safe. I was terribly afraid that we’d get just about finished only to find out something had gone wrong. Or, worse yet, everything would look fine, work properly on one computer, but not on another.

From a previous post, yesterday’s in fact, I was freaking over the “what ifs” instead of the “what is” bits. I huffed and puffed and stressed and worried and rung my hands to death through the entire process, watching to make sure everything went smoothly… and nothing has gone up in flames!

So far, not even an hour into the new internet setup, we seem to be doing quite well for ourselves. We still need to test to see if the TV works all right, though. that part is making me a little nervous, honestly. It’s kinda stupid to worry, because I won’t know really how to fix it if the TV doesn’t work. If all the computers we’ve got are working, why wouldn’t the TV be happy with the setup? I’ll probably have to go through the whole channel finding process again. I think I need to do some more research, honestly, if the TV goes roar.

I’m starting to not make sense, I think. Sorry for the confusion, guys. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m still nervous about whether or not the TV’s gonna work with this new setup. Everything else seems to be doing fine, though. I was able to watch Youtube without any stuttering. I haven’t tested a purely audio stream yet, but I figured that video was more taxing on the bandwidth than audio, so part of me doesn’t feel the need at present.

This whole modem thing was interesting because it was one of those times where I worried far too much. Yet, I was able to apply the whole “step away” concept when things were beyond my control. For instance, during the waiting times, where we had to wait for things to activate themselves and stuff like that, the suspense was driving me crazy. I was stupidly afraid that we’d get an error somewhere, and that I wouldn’t know how to fix it. I really, really hate not knowing how to fix things!

Still, as always, I found out I worried too much for no real reason. The plus here is that I was able to recognize this and think my way through my anxieties and focus on what was going on at the moment–something Da’s been trying to teach me how to do for a while now. He’s always said that when you’re having anxiety, focus on the now, and not anything else. I never have been able to do that very well in those cases. Today just so happened to be a day where I could actually apply the theory. It wasn’t easy, but it sure worked like a charm.

On another random note, I introduced Da to this blog today. I’ve been kinda mentioning it to him every so often that he should just visit when he’s bored. So, those little things like Hi Dad and stuff like that are to see if he catches them. So Dad, if you’re reading this, you should tell me about it, because you can, and because it’s fun hearing about such things.

So, with our internet all set up and apparently working how it’s supposed to, I think I’m going to close for the time being. I’m a little disappointed at how this post came out, but my brains are a little scrambled, so I guess I have a bit of an excuse. Perhaps the next one will be better.

Take care, guys, and thanks for checking in.

Most Sincerely,

Bobbi