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why I support health care reform

When people meet me, they see a blind person. However, what they don't see is very important.

I am on public health care, and that is a very important thing to me. Without it, I could be bedridden with pain that had not been treated properly--I experienced this for a time until I found out that I could access chiropractic care through Medicare. I would not have gotten my Master's degree because I would have too many seizures to do the work and would not have the medication to control them. Or I could have died from an asthma attack. Health care literally makes a difference inwhether I can function: do daily housework, have even a chance at working, etc.

I am very fortunate. I am eligible for the Medicare/Medicaid system because I have a verifiable disability: blindness. I talk to people every day who cope with debilitating migraines, arthritis, and epilepsy and are not considered disabled and therefore cannot get access to these systems in order to obtain treatment for their conditions. Treatment would make the difference in their being able to work; but they are forced to attempt to work at jobs in spite of intense pain, frequent absenteeism due to illness that is preventable, and most of all put themselves at risk of damage to their brains because of untreated neurological conditions, all in an effort to work hard enough to pay for health care while an insurance company will deny them because their condition is preexisting. It is a situation that most people cannot fathom; but "just work hard and buy insurance" does not work for everyone; and it affects a lot more people than we like to admit.

This is why I supported the health care reform bill. It is not the best answer; but there is never a best answer. We live in a country with 300 million people. No one is going to agree on everything. If you are a person of faith and you are truly upset about the turns you think this country is taking, I would encourage you to take the energy you are using to criticize the government and use it to develop positive solutions through your church. If the church would rise up and be the agent of healing that is needed, we would not need these solutions.

I do think that the bil needs some amending. Fortunately, we live in a country where such a process is possible. Those who decry change as evi should remember that change is only a beginning and that beginnings are often painful but do work for good.

thoughts on health care coverage

kl1964 and I have been listening to the health care coverage off and on via CSpan. We can only listen to it for so long before it makes us mad and we turn it off. I'm glad I never went into politics, and I remember now why my political science classes were so detestable to me. I tuned them out because they made me so stressed out.

Read for my thoughts and reactions on health care reform and related issues.Collapse )

mobile technology: choices and usage habits

I begin with some talk about the need for us blind people to respect each other in the process of mobile technology choice-making.Collapse )

Now that my mobile tech snobbery gripe is out of the way, I will go on to the real reason for my post: what we do with this mobile tech while we are out and about...

Read more...Collapse )

Voice Post

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Voice Post

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“Good morning. I wanted to report on a morning event because a very important thing happened here this morning. I broke into a top secret package. I received it yesterday in the mail from Amazon and the way is that it was packaged while we ___ it there was something like an explosive material in there something because there was not a single place in the packaging material when one could scissors or anything like that. Normally when I get packages like that my strategy is to insert something into the place where the package things up on the display so that I can kind of manipulate that loose and eventually cut away the packaging it was not really not going to happen this morning. It's ___ 2 sharp objects to open the package and the thing it was ___ top secret was a pillow case. That is rather ridiculous on that note I'm going to go eat lunch.”

Auto-Transcribed Voice Post

LiveJournal and Captchas

A public post for the sake of education...

LiveJournal once has a usable audio Captcha alternative for people who are blind and use screen readers. This is no longer the case. If you don't know what I am talking about, go to a page where it requires you to enter the two words for security verification and click "get an audio challenge." Try to figure out the words from that whole sentence. It cannot be done.

So if you use this feature on your journal, no blind person can leave you comments--and there are a lot of us who use LJ because it was once the most accessible blog site. It would now be impossible for a blind person to sign up due to this silly Captcha problem.

If this bothers you, please make sure that your comments do not require filling out a CaptchaDropping a note to LJ expressing your views would also be nice. . Also, if you friend me and would like comments from me on your entries, please make sure that your comments do not require filling in a Captcha. Otherwise, you will not get comments from me.

Voice Post

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music thoughts

I am considering attempting to trade my Yamaha PSR530 in and see how much credit it gives me toward purchase of a weighted keyboard. I have been so out of the keyboard loop for a long time. Does anyone have thoughts on this process? I primarily use my keyboard as a MIDI controller and let Cakewalk Sonar do the real work. What are my options?, preferably to keep costs as low as possible?

I posted the following to the ACB list, on which there has been no discussion concerning this issue.

I'm sure that most of you are aware of the petition that has been circulated regarding JAWS and driver signing for braille displays.

Freedom Scientific has a statement on their web site concerning the release of JAWS 11 that says that third-party braille displays should continue to work on 32-bit systems. What the statement does not tell us is that this only applies to those third party displays whose drivers were included with the release of JAWS 10. If the display drivers were not included with the release of JAWS 10, the display will not work with JAWS 11, even if the display could be installed separately with JAWS 10 and worked. For example, I use a Brailliant display, which is distributed by Humanware. I downloaded drivers from Humanware which were compatible with JAWS 10 and have been using this display for a year. It does not work with JAWS 11. When I communicated with FS about this, I was told to encourage Baum (the maker of the display) to sign the drivers.

I resent this underhanded technique of using the users to convince the display makers to do what Freedom Scientific wants. We need to do something in response to this. Imho, that something is not encouraging the vendors to sign the drivers.

Voice Post

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Greek teaching update

Greek is now in the third week. I am alone with the class for two days this week. The professor and I had a meeting last week to discuss what concerns we still share about my development needs in teaching. We are exploring administrative issues that need to be handled early in the course in order for me to teach successfully as well as things that enable me to communicate Greek between myself and sighted students. I am documenting a number of these administrative things this week since I am now working early with a new and much bigger class (24 instead of 10).

Click for update on first fall teaching experience.Collapse )

notes on the Greek classroom

The Greek class that I taught in this summer had only eleven students. I took the same class previously, and we had 20 students. The change in group dynamics was striking. Students were more timid about getting up to do work on the board; but once it began happening, an amazing small-group camaraderie formed that could not form in my class.

The fall class has 25 students if I remember correctly. It is held in "the original room..." Greek and Hebrew are offered as joint classes between the seminary and the undergraduate religion department. The seminary hosts Hebrew, and the undergraduate department hosts Greek. We moved the summer class over to a room in the seminary due to some construction that was going on in the undergraduate building. So now we are back in the undergrad building...

I never explored the room... Today I began. I got here at 7:00 AM. There were no students present and no custodians nearby. So I opened the door, turned on the lights, dropped off my bag at a desk, and walked the room.

Undergrad classrooms are stocked with the chair/desk combos that one must cram oneself into if one weighs more than 100 pounds. I seem to remember the ratio here is seven girls to every guy; so I suppose someone thought this would not be a problem. I don't know how male athletes sit in these things! There are 40 of them in this room: four rows of ten spaced out so that a person can walk in front of the row to get to their seat. I suppose they could get in by lifting up the desk (hopefully not with their coffee on it), sitting down, and then slamming it back down over their stomach. Hey, look! Students in their own personal prisons! Undergrad really needs a refit. But I'm just a volunteer!

I decided to try a new vantage point this morning. Instead of sitting in the front on the right side (convenient for making a beeline out of here), I moved to the middle. It might be easier for hearing questions from all points in the room or moving around if needed. We will see.

update and thoughts

I was teaching assistant in the intensive Greek course for the last five weeks. The experience was extremely positive, even though there were some challenges with figuring out the best teaching techniques. I did best with one on one or small groups; but the professor seems to think the if we can hone my use of the projector with my laptop I will do well with the classroom. He invited me to stay on this fall with a larger class that meets four hours a week and take an occasional teaching day. I am also still working with one student who is completing some remaining work.

My own coursework is now complete, so I have technically earned my M.Div. I am still waiting for a couple of grades to be posted, but it is all just a formality now. I am happy to report that I passed my internship, which I was a bit worried about due to the fact that the completion of some of my tasks was hindered by lack of responsiveness of other people. I wrote a detailed report on what I was able to accomplish, the challenges I experienced, and post-internship plans; and this seemed to be a favorable thing.

I have some irons in the fire concerning writing projects and am looking into potential adjunct teaching opportunities while I research Ph.D. options and arrange to take the GRE. All of this makes me feel disoriented, but I imagine I will feel more comfortable with this new professional identity in time. I will also continue working with the Greek class and observing the second-year Hebrew class. What I have learned is that I am quite interested in the teaching of languages as an exercise in spiritual formation. I'm also learning that I am interested in finding alternative ways to teach beginning language skills that result in better retention rates.

post-convention report

My trip to Orlando was quite enjoyable. I lost count of the number of people I met, which is something i consider an extreme positive since I began the convention by becoming very sick and feeling like I would be shut up in my room for the entire time. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with my roommates (Erin, whom I had not seen in too many years, and latinanewschic, whom I had so much fun getting to know live and in person!)

Loretta's convention tolerance completely amazed me, especially since we had just finished the Church of God convention a few days earlier and since I forgot to take her medicine with me. She had no accidents and showed no signs of stress or intimidation. She targeted several locations (the elevator bank, the ladies' room in the lobby area, and the coffee counter). This was extremely helpful, especially when hotel staff gave me completely wrong information thinking they were being helpful without asking where I wanted to go! (When in doubt, trust yourself and your dog!)

I made it to most of the presentations I planned to attend. (See the above mention of illness.) I bowed out of a couple of things in favor of hooking up with very long-lost friends. Some kinds of information can be read later, but coffee may not be had for a long time in some instances. I don't regret my choices. I made it to the presentations that mattered most, including a panel in the Wednesday morning general session on schools for the blind and a writer's workshop about memoirs and ethnographies. My own presentation was well attended, and I felt generally comfortable with how it went.

I am settling in nicely with the HTC Fuze. I took the Motorola Q with me but never once took it out. I think I can safely cancel my Verizon account. There are still things I need to learn on the Fuze; but I can make a call and that is what matters.

Adjusting during the night after the travel day was not so comfortable. I had odd dreams and woke up disoriented both upon arriving there and arriving home. I am reoriented now, and the cats are happy. And it is time to set the alarm for tomorrow morning. This is not the nice narrative I would like to have written, but it is what I had time to write after doing Greek and other things.

Twitter Schmitter

For those who want to follow, I have stepped a very hesitant toe into the waters of Twitter. I willnot be posting them to LJ. I have no idea what I will use this thing for. I don't know how many people I will follow in return. I am sarahjblake.

HTC Fuze

My most recent tech purchase is the HTC Fuze from AT&T. I keep seeing it referred to as a smart phone; but it runs MobileSpeak Pocket (screen reader for PDAs). I'm not going to quibble about the semantics. It runs Windows Mobile 6.1 and comes with Office Mobile and numerous other things installed on it. (I will be taking some of them off since I won't be using them.)

The phone has a touch screen and a slide-out keyboard. The keys are tiny but a bit bigger than the ones on the Motorola Q. I can type fairly quickly on it. The disadvantage of the Fuze is that it does not have a dial keypad on the front--the diall pad is a touchpad. I have learned to use this with a bit of practice. The other disadvantage is that the volume control loops. Below the lowest setting there is a vibrate mode and a silent mode; so if I go past the highest setting I get into these. The first couple of times it happened, I thought I had crashed the phone. When MobileSpeak is running, the volume keys are used as hardware keys; so the only way to control volume with the keys is to go into bypass mode. I had to trust that this was actually working when the volume was silent so that I could turn it back up. It is a minor problem that I now understand and can fix if it happens. Now that I know what not to do, I feel comfortable keeping the phone at a certain volume.

I have used the phone for several note-taking sessions and successfully saved the files on my SDHC card. I did get into one instance when the phone said there was not enough memory to save, and I'm not sure what that was about. I am still in the learning curve stage with the phone. Once I get past this, I think the phone will be a tremendous asset to my life. It came with an adaptor that allows me to plug in a standard pair of headphones or earbuds. The adaptor fits into a pocket in my purse; and I am able to move around with a lot more ease than I am used to.

I will post a keyboard description separately. It will be a challenge--there is a function key that changes the top row of keys and also turns some of the keys into a number pad. How to describe this meaningfully is going to be a challenge.

Voice Post

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the first time I heard the word "blog"

"Do you remember your first time?"

It seems like the kind of secretive question one teenager would ask another, giggling about the idea that both had engaged in a forbidden sexual act. But no, the question is about blogging, a seemingly common household word. Do I remember the first time I heard the word "blog?"

Actually, I do. It was sometime in 2000 or 2001. I was searching via Google for information about a new singer whose music I had recently heard. Her voice had captivated me at a time in my life when I needed to be captivated. I learned through that search that she was apparently a teenage one-hit wonder--and a very troubled teenager at that. I learned it because I followed a link on her web site labeled "blog" and proceeded to read her online journal. It was filled with the desperate cries of a seventeen-year-old with no spiritual grounding. She apparently set foot in church occasionally, but her please for someone to listen to her were sprinkled with threats of suicide and curses about her bad days.

What an introduction to blogging! I later learned that the blog was also used by theology professionals to air their views and news reporters to share up-to-the-minute stories and opinion pieces. Blogs may be for public viewing, "friends-only," or private spaces where a person can archive their thoughts without keeping a copy on a local computer. Blogs come in many forms. These many forms have created a virtual community of sorts. People have become friends after first making acquaintance on blogs and taking their communication to email, phone, and then meeting in person. I am among such people who have been changed by "the blogosphere." It is rather amazing that it happened after I received such a negative introduction to blogging.

Then again, perhaps my introduction was not so negative. ... It was not blogging that I was really introduced to... It was the child-turned-star, the child who needed a connection so badly that she posted her most painful thoughts for public viewing... And this tells the story of blogging in a nutshell: it is attempt to connect and communicate. Sometimes the connection is one-way; but often the blogger seeks connection in return via comments. Not only does the blogger seek connection with himself, but he seeks to develop a place of guided community for readers by using the blog content area to start discussion. This is what the most successful bloggers do.

Voice Post

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the birthday entry

Last week, my parents talked me into selling my balcony furniture in the community garage sale. I was kind of irritated because I don't really have the money to buy new furniture and I enjoy sitting on the balcony in the nice weather; but I thought that perhaps I would locate some nice furniture for a reasonable price. If nothing else, I could buy one piece at a time. So out went the old stuff. I also sold some other pieces that were just sitting around the house not being used. It is amazing how much dog and cat hair accumulates under furniture!!!

Read the birthday entry...Collapse )

I've been nurturing a local friendship with a sort of long-time very casual friend, Angie. She has two daughters who are ten and 18. Bethany will leave for college sometime this summer, but it is nice to be able to hang out with Angie and Sarah once in a while.

quick check-in

Just a brief check-in entry. I am mired in writing a huge monograph about the history of Anderson University--more appropriately, the history of controversies between Anderson and the church--to be published online. I will also be presenting my research at our annual convention on June 30. I am also trying to keep up with laundry (and not doing well) and review last year's Greek in preparation for 2nd year Greek, which starts on Monday. Internship at the church also starts next week. I am feeling slightly more overloaded than I expected to feel right now, but it is not a bad overload. It is just a matter of time management.

Thanks to those who have added me and kept me around. I will learn how to fit LJ back into my schedule... I may need to do a few cuts. If you have a history of back and forth comments or you recently added me, don't worry... If you tend to post primarily memes but you do read me and want to keep on doing so, please comment and let me know you are reading. This is important.

Entry to follow about my birthday, which was on Sunday. I was very pleasantly surprised!

Yesterday, I turned in my last book review. So now I just have one more Hebrew chapter to translate, and I have to show up for two more weeks of class discussions. Well, I do have chapters to read and quizzes to take for my leadership class and some field hours left to do. I might actually be able to get it done meaningfully... Then I will move into the summer rouitne of internship and Greek, which I suspect will be more manageable. And somehow, I have a clean house on top of all this! Ideally, I would like to maintain that. It makes me feel good, and I could have guests in...

About my resume...Collapse )

questions for graduate students

For those who are in various Master's degree programs, I would like some input on a couple of questions as I think about some things...

What is your degree program? What is your average reading load in one week for one class? How much fieldwork do you do in a semester?

traveling with laptop gear

I am getting ready to travel--and have the flight jitters! I will be updating seriously at some point this week since I have a bit of time to breathe. For now, I have a question. Has anyone flown with an external drive? Do you take it out of your bag like a laptop to go through security?

Voice Post

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“Good morning. I'm gonna try to text something else on voice post. Right now I'm just kinda mild. There's a huge huge flock of Raven's camped outside my window and fortunately it's not a lot of load cleaning up but they can be pretty stinking loud. Now their all quite. ___ again.”

Auto-Transcribed Voice Post

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25 things about me

cold

No wonder I woke up with the migraine to beat all migraines, and Inca has been crying! This is not really how I want to be starting classes. But Hebrew begins on Wednesday... Must take coffee, and must make much warm food this week.

From our special weather statement...

THE COLDEST AIR OF THE WINTER IS EXPECTED TO IMPACT THE AREA THIS COMING WEEK. ARCTIC AIR FROM NORTHERN CANADA WILL RUSH SOUTHWARDS IN TWO SEPARATE WAVES. THE FIRST ARRIVAL OF COLD AIR WILL BE DURING THE DAY ON TUESDAY AND INTO TUESDAY NIGHT WHEN TEMPERATURES WILL DROP TO NEAR ZERO OR SLIGHTLY BELOW ALONG WITH DANGEROUSLY COLD WIND CHILLS OF LESS THAN TEN DEGREES BELOW ZERO. THE SECOND... AND COLDER AIRMASS WILL ARRIVE ON THURSDAY WHEN HIGHS ARE EXPECTED ONLY IN THE SINGLE DIGITS ABOVE ZERO WITH LOWS AS COLD AS TEN BELOW ZERO ACROSS NORTH CENTRAL INDIANA. WIND CHILL VALUES WILL BE DANGEROUSLY COLD ON THURSDAY AS WELL...FALLING TO LESS THAN TEN DEGREES BELOW ZERO AGAIN. RESIDENTS SHOULD CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS FOR ANY POSSIBLE ADVISORIES OR FURTHER INFORMATION REGARDING THIS VERY COLD WEATHER.

PETA opposes dog guides

From an interview with Daphna Nachminovitch, Vice-President of Cruelty Investigations for PETA,
in the Los Angeles Times blog L.A. Unleashed
(posted 1/10/09):

Read more...Collapse ) My reactionCollapse )

hilarious YouTube video

If you need a serious laugh, watch this video: the laughing quadruplets. My stomach hurts from laughing so hard, and I am crying.

I have not found any info on the identity of these babies. I intend to. They are adorable!

list cuts

With the new semester starting, I have trimmed my reading list a bit. If you are seeing this entry and you were cut and didn't want to be, please comment and I will add you back. None of the cuts were made out of hard feelings.

the computer with a mind of its own

My computer has been rebooting itself at random. The most recent time made me angry enough to look at the event logs to see whether I could find the evil program causing the problem. There was an error on "disk3" which I determined was my 250GB Western Digital Passport drive. I decided the drive must be on its last leg.

I may have spoken too soon.Collapse )

Bed now.

bean day

This made me think of C! Now I must write a post about her and explain because half of you reading will have no idea what I am talking about. But for the moment, just the facts, stolen from

[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<lj-user="baxaphobia">') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<p> This made me think of C! Now I must write a post about her and explain because half of you reading will have no idea what I am talking about. But for the moment, just the facts, stolen from <lj-user="baxaphobia">.</p> <p> When : Always January 6th</p> <p> Every once in a while, you come across a special day that just doesn't seem to have any rhyme or reason. Bean Day appears to be one of those days. Bean Day is day of unknown origin, and unknown cause. But, this day gets plenty of recognition from Ecard companies and calendar oriented sites.</p> <p> We suggest that you celebrate this day by eating beans. After all... Beans, beans, they're good for the heart...."</p> <p> There are other ways to celebrate Bean Day:</p> <p> Newlyweds can add a few beans to their bean jar today. <BR>Gardeners can enjoy this day surfing through seed catalogs to select beans to grow in the spring. <BR>Read the story "Jack and the Beanstalk" to your pre-schooler. <BR>Teachers can use bean seeds for learning exercises in course material. <BR>Others, can bone up on the history of beans....doesn't that sound like fun!?</p>

the great purse hunt

I've been feeding my purse/bag addiction again. I wanted something that would carry my technology as well as my keys, wallet, etc, and also medical items (glasses, hearing aids, portable nebulizer, and a small stash of emergency meds). I also wanted it to be relatively small--I bought the Acer Aspire One for extreme portability. I don't need to be beating people over the head when I pass by them. More importantly, carrying all that stuff really can get bulky. I'd like to compact it as much as possible. And I wanted to still maintain the feminine purse appearance. I really doubted it was possible. I have found purses, and I have found computer bags. I've never found anything that will double.

Read all about the great purse hunt...Collapse )

There are minor disappointments, but I am pleased overall. We'll see how it goes tomorrow at church. This certainly will make distance travel better! I'll be able to carry my purse as is on the plane and pack some little toiletries in the CPAP bag as I used to. I am happpy.

setting goals

I am feeling well after aggressive treatment of yet another respiratory infection. This week, I have been working my way through a large pile of books to scan, most of which are required reading and/or research materials for next semester's courses. I am hoping to minimize the amount of scanning I need to do during the semester so that I can work in other places when necessary.

More on 2009 goals...Collapse )

the preemie information balance beam

In 1998, a series of events happened which eventually led me to be rather deeply involved in the community of families of children born prematurely. Over time, I also became involved in a group for adults with retinopathy of prematurity, the eye condition that caused my blindness. Still later, I started a group for adults who were born prematurely (with or without ROP) and others interested in discussing long-term effects of prematurity.

Read thoughts about the long-term impact of premature birth.Collapse )

measuring peak flow

How are peak flows taken, and in particular how do I do this as a blind person? I am posting this here in a public post in answer to a question from my friend shazza59 but also because others may be curious about it.

There is a device called a peak flow meter which has a piece that moves when blown into. There are different types of meters, but the idea is similar to a thermometer. My device has markings up the left side in increments of 10. I'm not sure where they start or how far they go. It has two movable pieces on that side which can be used to mark significant places. I have mine set at 250 and 450. So I can estimate the measure by figuring out the distance from one or the other. It is not a completely accurate method, but I am usually within 10 points (or whatever you call this.)

I have had an asthma diagnosis since 1995 and have been doing peak flow measures since 1999. I've gotten to the point that I can guess my approximate peak flow without measuring and just use the meter to confirm. I function on most days between 400 and 450. During my illnesses, I can get down in the 200 to 250 range. Generally my measure goes up after a nebulizer treatment with Xopenex. The reason I've been so concerned lately is that I had been staying at 250-300 even after the treatments.

I don't know of any accessible peak flow meters, primarily because of the way they are made: with the piece that physically moves and the numbers in such tiny increments that they can't be marked tactually. If there was such a thing as an electronic meter that worked like a digital thermometer, it could be made to talk. I wish such a thing existed!

hopeful health news

This is a public post. I am once again on Prednisone and antibiotics--third infection in two months. The pulmonologist's office called again this morning with some interesting info.

Background is behind the cut.Collapse )

My IgE level is high--I need to get the number. He wants to try me on Xolair to bring it down, and he thinks this will reduce my infection rate. He said that some people have gone from having six or eight infections a year to few or none. It would be a welcome thing to just have a little cold like the rest of the world instead of being sick for weeks on end every time. I don't really expect to be free of viral infections; but if my problem is an overactive immune system, who knows what my normal response to infections should be.

The side effect profile looks acceptable compared to other meds I am taking. However, it can take some time to experience improvement. Still, this is a hopeful piece of information.

Facebook and screen readers: good news

For those who use Facebook with screen readers, I just learned about the mobile Facebook site. It is less graphics intensive and designed for tiny screens. The advantage is that it is also much more friendly to screen readers.

http://m.facebook.com

Thanks to the chain of people who got this info to me.

nebulizer review

I've learned a few things about the nebulizer. For those who wanted the info, it is the Micro Air made by Omron. The model number is NE-U22. I delayed in posting the info because I wanted to make sure it was actually usable--see below for problems and discussion.

The fact that it is nearly silent presents some significant challenges. It is impossible to determine when it is on or off if you can't see its light. This was a problem for me--I initially had the batteries in wrong but had no way to determine this. I got sighted help, and all is fine now. It makes an extremely quiet hissing sound part of the time, and the hiss gets loud when it runs out of medication. The problem with this is that it is deceptive. If you tip your head a certain way, the rest of the medication runs through and the hiss stops. I do feel the mist coming out, so that is one way I can check the battery if the environment is too loud for me to hear the hissing.

It says it delivers solution in six minutes. I'm not so sure about this. Then again, it also depends on the med. I don't really care as long as I'm not stuck to the wall.

The manual scanned nicely, but it is not a whole lot of help in describing how to assemble the machine. It is not hard, but I did one minor thing wrong at first.

If this week's experience is anything to go by, not getting enough asthma control can result in depression, fatigue, and paranoia. Really not a fun way to live.

I think I am now out of med. So I will post this and get on with my morning routine.

the timpani magnet

I've been singing with various choirs since 1993, and my dogs have never uttered one noise about being stuck in the soprano 1 section. My last guide dog, Meghan (the yellow one in the picture of three dogs), amazed me by not moving a muscle when I ended up standing behind the timpani when the church choir sang with the orchestra in 2006. That one truly surprised me. The dogs have been truly good when I've sung with contemporary worship teams and the music got quite loud. The only truly challenging thing for any of the dogs has been the pipe organ at my current church--and it seems more that the challenge is songs with clashing notes and not the loudness of the organ. The organist can see Loretta from his seat; and he apologized a couple of weeks ago for bothering her after a particularly clashy piece during which I petted her to make her lie still.

So this is all a joke between me and Leta, who sits beside me in choir... This morning on the way to cantata rehearsal, I told her about standing behind the timpani with Meg, and we decided it would be a good thing that they couldn't put the timpani in front of me this time--there is an altar in front of us, and the brass would be in front of that.

We got there and went in from the back of the sanctuary ... and the timpani is directly to the right of my row--and I am the second person down.

Poor, poor Loretta. She did amazingly well. But I think I am just a timpani magnet.

stuck at home

In some fifteen years of dealing with various taxi companies in various towns, I have never been stranded at home. I've had to wait very long times for rides in some places--sometimes two hours--and this has sometimes made me late for various appointments. However, that is a problem I have never had in Indiana. I learned that the company here likes regular riders who are polite and pay up; and I've been riding with them since 1998. I've learned that if I need a ride on the spur of the moment, I should allow about 30 minutes but can generally expect them to show up in five or ten. Since starting school, I have been setting up scheduled pick-ups, and this works very well. I call a couple of hours ahead in the morning and let them know what time I need to go in, and they are there within a ten-minute window. If I know when I will be ready to go home, I set up the return trip in the morning; otherwise, I wait for them once I call in the afternoon.

Today's difficulty and thoughts on Hebrew...Collapse )

Books are now calling my name.

What a find!

I am celebrating the end of the semester with a new toy: a portable nebulizer! I had heard of them but never knew where to get them. Someone posted a link to the preemie list, and I just made a nice little purchase. According to the company, the thing is much faster than my desktop one. We'll see next week... It runs on AA batteries. I'll have to get used to doing this in front of people; but I will work on that. I really need this next semester if I'm going to be out and about more often. And it will certainly be easier to take on trips!

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off me!

today's doings

It's been a very long week with various papers and other assignments due... Today I was set to lead the discussion on one of the two chapters we read. I somehow managed to get everything read in addition to working on papers. I wrote down some notes and copied them over to the Acer for taking to class. (First rule: there is a reason why I got a braille embosser!)

Now about that presentation...Collapse )

The seminary is up for reaccreditation, and the accreditation committee comes next week. I have been asked to be a part of the discussion with students on Monday. This is an intriguing opportunity.

Voice Post

VoicePost
530K 2:41
“Good morning, it's December and I haven't done something that I do every semester. It's, you shouldn't have told me that. You should have like let me believe that it was still warning. Now I'm gonna have a panic attack. This is Sarah Catherina these are my special guest and she's going to benefit from that little ritual. Sacrificed a child. Like sacrifice a lung. Anyway, my first semester I was writing papers and I was kinda going berserk and Alexis said you need some music to write to. To place(?) to write your papers too. So I made it up. And it goes like this. Oh get your paper done right now, right now. Get your paper done right now, oh yeah. Get your paper done right now, get your paper done right now. And make the professor say wow. He gave me a B he didn't say wow. Actually it was the german professor and he said, he said. That's good, that's good. Oh and then he said, ___ magical then historical. I'm so sorry. So, that's my, that's my little ritual that I do every time I'm writing paper. And now it's yours. I'll ___ forget the worm. Anyway for everybody else who is doing papers. Hopefully that helps you get them done. Goodbye. Frank the goat appreciates your papers ___.”

Auto-Transcribed Voice Post

Now is not the time for a Prednisone-induced depression, even if there is a legitimate reason for a scaled-down version of it. I have too much to do, too many papers to concentrate on. All I want to do is hole up in bed with the kitties and pretend it doesn't matter.

But it does. All of it. The papers matter; and what's bothering me matters, even if I can't change it.

How I handle Prednisone depressions...Collapse )

Rachel Flowers' story

In 1998, I began chronicling the progress of a little girl who showed some rather amazing promise as a pianist and reader of braille music. Her mom and I had become acquainted on the braille music email group. The last update, until this week, was posted in 1999. The family's life had become very busy, and we eventually lost touch for a while. I would hear from them off and on, but I never updated the page.

The little girl is now 14 years old and was recently featured briefly on 60 Minutes. Disturbed about some aspects of the feature, I caught up with her mom again and got some updates, including recent videos. They are now posted on the original page below the original content. There are links to the various sections of the page to allow people who are familiar with her story to skip to more current updates. Rachel Flowers' story is posted at http://www.growingstrong.org/bvi/rachel.html.

memories of baking


Tried posting this yesterday, but it went to my other journal.



I just finished up looking over Facebook for the evening. My mother's status this morning said, "Watching Donna build an apple pie." I couldn't resist leaving her a couple of comments. In the first one, I said, "She built the pie? And all this time you've been telling me that pies are baked! I feel ... I dunno ... like my mommy lied to me or something. Very disorienting." (I've been baking for quite a long time, but it's fun to tease my mom.



Then I remembered... I really didn't always know about how baked goodies came about. When I was very young, Mom always used boxed mixes when she baked anything. One day my grandmother was baking something while I was at her house, and she told my mom that she was making it from scratch. I thought for a minute and said "Hmm... I guess you just get a box of scratch." So I left Mom another comment on Facebook: "I guess you just get a box of scratch."



I hadn't thought of that in years!

Voice Post

VoicePost
965K 5:08
(no transcription available)

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