April 12, 2011

While this has nothing to do with much of anything it’s momentous enough to me that it bears mentioning: in the last two weeks I have managed to whittle down the list of books, according to Goodreads, that I am currently reading from eight to three. It’s pretty common that I have a few books going at once, especially now that I read so much on my Kindle. But I have no idea how that swelled to eight. And apparently a few of these books I’ve been reading since October!1

Anyway, other than that tidbit of non-news, the only major thing going on here revolves around Uschi. (I very nearly typed Yara.) She’s still acting pretty agitated. Due to a bunch of (probably) boring reasons, Becky will be coming out to see us. Jay is sending us a “calming cap” and I still don’t know what that is, but I’m willing to try it. After talking with Becky last night, I think we’ve formed a bit of a theory as to Uschi’s issue: basically, she keeps expecting a cat to randomly jump out at her and go nuts. It’s really the only explanation I can come up with because (a.) her stress reaction is so random and (b.) she’s only showing problems when she’s having downtime, both in and out of harness. When she’s actively guiding me or has something else to focus on, she’s essentially fine.

Of course, she still won’t eat in the kitchen. Not sure how that correlates to the problem. At least she’s venturing in there of her own accord to get water and she’s not avoiding eating. I’ve been feeding her in her crate for the last week or so, which she’s always preferred so maybe I’ll just have to live with crating her for mealtimes. I’ve noticed she’s been spending a lot more time in her crate, too. I’m fine with that since she’s comfortable in it and I assuming it’s a soothing place to be. And bit by bit she seems to be coming back into her own. Small things like coming over and nudging me while I’m working on the computer or snuffling up when I’m reading a book or watching TV.

I don’t really know what my hope is for Becky’s visit. I would like there to be more I could do, but that would no doubt mean that Becky spots some huge thing I’m not privy. I think it’s just going to be one of those things Uschi will just have to get over on her own. I suppose it’s noteworthy to say that it hasn’t hindered her work. Today I worked with a mobility instructor at the local community college — where I may have to take a prerequisite course for Hunter — and she was her usual calm and focused self. If anything I was the one stressing out with the constant press of students and having to squeeze into tiny (and very old!) elevators. Not to mention the campus, while very small, is a maze!

Then again she’s been completely removed from any encounters with cats since they aren’t something I routinely run into. I do wonder how she’ll be with my friends’ cats when we visit, though.

  1. Generally, if it takes me substantially longer than a few days to read a book you can bet that I’m not particularly fond of it. More specifically, I’m probably bored by the book.

*sad face*

Nothing like waking up to some stranger on the Internet mocking your pain. There’s a few running theories about the user’s identity. *ahem* I find the comment incredibly hurtful since it’s an obvious reference to struggles I’ve chronicled here, but as I’ve already flagged it I have nothing further to say on it.

Wank notwithstanding, I’m still in an emotional roller-coaster. Understandably, I’ve been chatting with Jean a lot over the last few days. And try as I might, my resolve to fight off panic is slowly fraying at the edges. If I could only blame it all on procrastination, that would probably make me feel better since I am bringing that upon myself. But it’s more that I can’t hide from what’s about to happen because time is quickly running out.

Rationally I’m aware of the many positives about Yara’s retirement: that she’s going to a wonderful family and Jean’s demanded that I visit frequently. But logical reasoning only goes so far to beat down the sorrow and feelings of loss. Granted my selfish feelings have ebbed a bit now that the irritating ambiguity is behind me, but the fact is that I haven’t quite gotten over feeling cheated. If it weren’t for things completely out of my control — or Yara’s for that matter — I wouldn’t be dealing with this. I don’t want to deal with any of this! It doesn’t seem fair that such a strong and wonderful partnership should have to end after a mere three years.

The entire thing is a physical ache in my heart, but I’m going to procrastinate on stewing over it all by actually getting on that to-do list a bit.

Kindle, Revisited

The big news around these parts arrived in the mail today:

My new Kindle propped up against a stack of five mass market paperback books to show scale

Yes, I finally broke down and bought a Kindle. Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me. While I’ve dug my heels in for a long time1 this is probably the one electronic device that is truly my kind of tech toy. As my Goodreads account will attest I read constantly and there are always a good many books on the horizon to be read next. And while both the local independent bookstore and the library almost always have a stack of books waiting for me to pick up, I’ve also been religiously downloading books with Amazon’s Kindle for PC software.

I’ve mentioned before that while my vision is poor I can read regular print. My issue isn’t so much with text size, though my preference is still for larger print, but rather the spacing between words. Which is why the majority of the books in my possession are hardcovers. It means that I end up spending another $5-$10 over the smaller mass market paperback version to own a book. But large print versions, which would be the most logical and obvious choice for me, are even more expensive than that! This was one of the major draws for me to getting a Kindle since I would be able to manipulate the text size and spacing. And I wouldn’t have to spend more money on an accessible version of a book.

Anyway, the final push to give in and purchase yet another electronic device was made this past weekend. For my birthday I’d gotten a set of books from Raechel and several months later I still hadn’t read them. I’d tried. Three different times, in fact. But much as I was loathe to admit it, the print was just too much of a strain on my eyes to be comfortable for to read. After searching around for a more accessible version, I discovered sadly I was out of luck as there was never a hardcover or large print version made. There was an audio cassette, which is long out of print and the only one I could find was going for $75 on eBay. What I did find, however, was that Audible has the books. And so I signed up for my free trial and got the two of the five books for free . . . and with that made my decision to order a Kindle. (Let me digress a bit here from Kindle talk because I sense a swarm of suggestions coming that I don’t want nor need. I am fully aware of the many services out there that provide blind persons books in accessible formats and I fully support them. But in this particular instance I am focusing on ownership of books that are accessible to me. I not only want to be able to read a book, I want to hold it, have it on my shelf and maybe even have it signed by the author.) Personally, I find it kind of ironic that this would be the deciding factor for me because to be honest I am not a big fan of audiobooks. I’ve always been very much of an auditory learner and I certainly embrace the accessibility they provide to readers with disabilities, but in terms of pleasure reading I enjoy not just the aesthetic of reading but the physicality of it too. And, I think the dull droning of college textbooks — and the fact that they put me to sleep — really killed off what left of any enjoyment an audiobook may have provided. So, we’ll just say that I’m humbled a bit by the realization that my future reading may incorporate far more books on tape than ever before.

As for the Kindle itself, I don’t see it fully replacing all the future hardcovers I will no doubt purchase any more than it will replace all of the books currently on my shelves. I’ve been reading a pretty constant stream of ebooks since first downloading the Kindle software in March and that hasn’t changed my mind in the least; there will always be books I want a physical copy of and there are definitely those that I own and can’t bear parting with. Since placing the order, I did go through all of my books and weed out those I can’t comfortably read. It’s not more than a tenth of the total books I own, but it’s still a pretty stunning pile.2 I’ve not yet decided what I’ll do with them all, especially those that were gifts, but I am sure they’ll find readers one way or another.

  1. If you’re experiencing déjà vu, fear not the state of your fragile mind, I did indeed have this same debate about getting an mp3 player before finally settling on my much adored iPod Touch. Of course, I’m still debating upgrading to the latest generation.
  2. 56 in total, not including the books Raechel gave me for my birthday . . . and the sad thing is my shelves don’t appear any less full!

October 6, 2010

It’s been raining and dreary for days and I’m sick. So, of course, I’m having one of the crappiest days.

In no particular order, I’m basically being followed around on Goodreads and having my reviews mocked and or trashed by an aptly named user account. I’m not so much bothered about the mocking or the mean-spirited comments, I’m actually more irked at the cavalier attitude I received when I reported it. But, whatever. Other things are certainly more important.

Then there’s this whole thing going on with Yara’s meds. It’s this stupid long story that just irks me to no end. Though, a very sweet gesture from an online acquaintance did help soften the blow a bit. (Seriously, Ren, you are too kind.) It’s the principle of it all and this constant struggle that I shouldn’t have to be going through and mostly I want to cry.

I had an entirely horrific day at work. No surprise there. Not even going to bother to get into it.

Because honestly, it’s all trumped by the fact that at lunch Yara and I were very nearly run over by a car. Obviously, we’re fine. I’m not even shaken up anymore. Instead, I’ve moved on to being highly pissed about it. I’ve had traffic checks with my dogs that have been really scary: cars screaming passed us, narrowly cutting us off. Heck, getting sideswiped by a car and being knocked on my ass when I was younger was the deciding factors that led to me getting a guide dog. But this was just so incredibly the driver’s fault that I’m sure my blood pressure is sky high.

It’s raining, as I said, so I tend to rely on my dog’s hearing more so than my own. Especially with cars being so much less noisy these days. We’re at the crossing with a car parallel to us (Swan Street) and another perpendicular (Elk Street). It’s a stop sign and both cars have yielded to us so we cross. And when we’re hardly more than two feet from the curb, the car on Swan turns into us and crosses right in front of us. They crawled along, but the thing that totally baffled me is the car gets right in the middle of our way and just stops. I don’t know, like maybe they only just then noticed the angry blind woman and her soggy dog.

All I can say is that I am so glad for Yara, who was a total angel and took the initiative to not just go backward but cross in front of me and push me back. But also that the idiot behind the wheel of the rolling death machine was going so slow because even another 10 miles faster and we’d have been hit. He was that close to us when he got in our way.

I Weep for the Trees

Via Goodreads I discovered Chloe Neill when she was having a giveaway for Firespell. Didn’t win it, so added it to my wishlist1 and some kind soul must have snatched it up for me (thanks, anonymous person!) because in today’s mail was this:

Mass market paperback book resting on top of the gigantic packaging it was shipped in

I’m completely amused at how ridiculously out of proportion the packaging is to this wee mass market size paperback. Granted it isn’t the first time I’ve had this happen, but I am pretty sure this is a record extreme in my experience. I just can’t get over all that wasted paper!

  1. Similarities in book discovery and friending to another author are purely coincidental. Though, do work in my favor with regards to her allegations that I added her for some motive I’m not privy to.