Log: Jul 23 – Jul 28 (Thu – Tue) Where does the time go?

Jul 23 (Thu): Work;
Jul 24 (Fri): Work;
Jul 25 (Sat): ;
Jul 26 (Sun): ;
Jul 27 (Mon): Work;
Jul 28 (Tue): Therapy 8:30a; Work 10:30a – 5:30p; Dinner with my brother? (maybe cancelled by him)

Well geez. Don’t ask me how I’m going to remember what took place during these days. Ah, hey! I can look back at my text messages.

Thursday: Worked. My brother showed up randomly – he happened to be in the area for something else. After work, I went back to his apartment with him. We discussed getting dinner but he actually had too much cleaning to do (his gf was set to fly in shortly) and so we set a rain-check. So I left there for the train and had dinner with Peter.

AH HA HA HA HA!!!!! This appears to be the night I went vegetarian again! Ha. It’s sad, because he was cooking up sausages at the time, but he asked me something and I answered, and he asked another question, and noticed a discrepancy in my answer. He basically made me think too hard about why I am eating meat on one hand, and against eating meat on the other hand (he knows I plan to be vegetarian in the future). I couldn’t reconcile it in my head, so the only result I could come up with was that obviously I shouldn’t be eating meat. So I’m not. It’s the 3rd time I’ve gone vegetarian & I know it won’t last, but I do feel better when I’m not eating meat. It’s just so much damn EASIER to eat meat. There’s so much FUSS when eating with other people who are cooking up a good meal and it’s full of meat and you have to be rude, etc etc. Oh, well. It happened. I’m back. I’ll get it figured out and I’ll be very glad for it. 🙂

Friday: I got home, I made myself a dinner; Peter was going to be very late coming home. I assumed he ate the free meal at his work, so I didn’t make him anything. I made myself some yummy tofu and a big salad. Then I asked if he’d eaten, and he hadn’t, but he was only expecting a PBJ. I made him a PBJ and attempted some roasted bell pepper and a salad. I was so proud of myself.

Saturday: Huhmmm. Ah, Peter and I did some excessively domestic banking stuff. Hmm. That night, we watched my maternal extended family home video, which I love.

Sunday: Peter & I tried to get a wardrobe thing for me but after going and getting it into the flat cart and all that, we realized it wouldn’t fit into a cab. So we didn’t get it. Meanwhile, I heard bad news that my good family friend is not recovering well from his stroke. His brain is still bleeding and the neurologist thinks he will not recover. It is heartbreaking. But the family does not wish for sorrow, only positive, healing thoughts. Dinner that night with Peter’s folks. His dad made me a good tofu dish, which was very nice, especially considering I know his dad has no respect for other people who have gone vegetarian so I know he wouldn’t have respect for me, either. But he is acting respectfully and that was very nice of him. We stayed late to watch, “Kinky Boots.” I had intended to leave by 9:30pm but it was 9pm that the decision was made, and the movie was my choice of titles, and I over-rode my own common sense so I could watch with them.

Monday: Work day. I cut work an hour and a half early (no pay) due to exhaustion and wanting to go home and get some chores done. It so happened that Peter AND his roommate also showed up at about the same time as me! Ha. His roommate used the washing machine so I didn’t. Peter and I went grocery shopping. Then we ate an inexpensive restaurant because I was so exhausted and we thought this would be faster or whatever. The food turned out to be so spicy, I nearly had to leave the restaurant to get fresh air. I ate it but couldn’t feel my mouth.

I couldn’t sleep that night because of back pain, and EXTREME SINUS PAIN. I took some Aleve but it didn’t help. I laid on the floor for half of the night, and then moved to the bed, thinking it would help my back. I eventually drifted off to sleep for a very brief time. Then it was time to get up.

Tuesday: For therapy. Getting up was very hard. I left 10 minutes late from the apartment. The train was so full, I couldn’t get on and had to miss it and catch a train going to a different location, and make a switch at a different station where everybody was getting off, so the trains were emptier. I was 10 minutes late to therapy. And intensely cranky.

That’s a good word for me lately. CRANKY. Man, I don’t know if it’s the lower dose of thyroid medicine or my poor sleep quality, but I am CRANKY and MOODY. Part of my back pain last night was that my shoulder muscles WOULDN’T relax. I had been looking at e-textbook rentals and Kindle downloads and stuff before bed — so I think it could even just be stress.

I am very stressed to be on the verge of maybe quitting my job and being a full time student. I am stressed because Peter and I are about to buy a bed to fit my restless legs and a wardrobe for my things and I don’t know if I’m ready to officially commit like that, because that means we’re domestic partners and I would qualify for his health insurance according to his company’s amazing rules, and I’ll have to pay some toward rent and bills (as is, I pay for a lot of the food, but he and his roommate pay for all of the rent + electricity + all that). But then will I be afraid to break up with him later? Well, nah, no matter what, I can go onto the crappy exchange health insurance whenever I lose my coverage in the future, so long as I have the termination letter in hand. And I’ll be used to the campus by then, and be going there by myself, and will have made some friends/associations by then.

This school thing is going to be good for me.

Mood covering all the days: 2-5

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BOO on the Textbook Publishers who are refusing to enable Text To Speech!!!

BOOOO!! I say, very poorly done, textbook publishers. You were given the “yes” option to enable Text To Speech in your recent textbook editions and you CHOSE to disable the feature. You didn’t just ignore the question — you CHOSE to deny folks from being able to read your textbooks with our ears.

I’m talking to you right now, Cengage Learning.

Here, I’ve sent off my cranky request to them:

“I am a student with reading disabilities. I wanted to rent my textbooks through Amazon’s website this semester. But your books say there is no Text-To-Speech enabled. What can I do about this? I cannot get through a textbook using my eyes. I need my ears.

Must I rely on the Disability Support Services of my school to scan each page of my textbook for me, run it through their own software, and hand me back the audio CD, when it is right there in front of me, in your e-text content, if only you would enable the TTS ability?

If I rent a textbook through your CourseSmart site, will the TTS be available? How do I know?

Thank you,
[innerdragon]”

Assistive Technologies for READING (with your ears)!!!!!

There are some truly amazing technologies out there to help a person READ (or in my case, to HEAR-read).

I want to share a couple of my searches with you guys.


  1. First of all, there is the smart phone voice itself. I can only describe this from the perspective of an iPhone user — but it is quite easy with the iPhone. Settings > General > Accessibility > Speech > And you will find all sorts of wonderful options here!! You can turn on features to speak highlighted text to you, and/or you can turn on a “2-fingered swipe” down from the top of your phone screen to automatically read aloud whatever text is on your screen!! (I LOVE IT.) And most importantly, to me, you can adjust the speed of the voice, and the gender, and even the accent they use! Personally, I find the male voice for U.K. English the least distracting/easiest to follow for me.
    When I 2-finger-swipe down from the top of the screen, a very easy menu pops up so I can adjust the speed of the reading even while it’s reading to me. I can also pause and rewind and such. Fabulous invention.


  2. Next up, I have only tried a couple of apps so far that will READ ALOUD whatever text you happen to have laying around!!! Say you are trying to read a book — you can just use your smartphone, open up this app (my favorite so far is called TurboScannerOCR), and use it to snap a picture of the book page. Then you have the option of adjust the boundaries of the page you want read (for example, maybe you only want a single paragraph read to you, not the whole thing). Then you click OCR on the app, and it turns the picture into text — editable, savable, READ-ALOUD-ABLE words. I am then just 2-finger-swiping down my screen and voilà! It’s all read aloud to me!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!

    This app is FREE and you don’t have to upgrade to use it!!! I personally did pay $2.99 to remove the ads, however, because I love the app so much. I am planning on using it to read aloud any part of my upcoming textbooks that I will need help getting through this semester!!!


  3. This one doesn’t count — it’s not for ear reading. But I want to mention this here really quickly anyway. There are other devices that can help. I wish I’d had this in grade school — I have the “Rivers” reading disorder and this would have been SO wonderful. As it was, I improvised for myself eventually by using a sheet of paper above and below the line of text I was reading. But look at this! Too perfect! And actually, I would still find this useful today. I usually get lazy and use my own hand to block text below the line I’m reading, but this is fabulous and colored layouts are supposed to be useful for some people. This one’s about $20.

    They do come in other colors from other companies, however, and some are only a few dollars (but do not block as much text). There are many options out there — even colored tapes that you can lay down to make your own sort of line highlights as you read.


  4. The Intel Reader, sometimes marketed for people with Dyslexia but also good for other vision/reading issues, looks fabulous. It’s is the most portable I’ve found of these types of devices. It basically snapshots your paper, book page, whatever, turns it to text, and reads it to you. It also displays it on the screen and you can increase the font size or whatever you need to do. This picture doesn’t show how small and basically awesome it is. I watched a video on it in use and it’s pretty amazing. BUUUT it’s going to run you at LEAST $500.


  5. Reading pens. These look just super cool, and SO portable and usable. I’m hesitant to buy one, however, just because it’s only able to “read” the line you’re scanning, obviously. I can’t imagine wanting to go over every line of my textbook like this. I wanted something that can snapshot the whole page and read it aloud to me. But for smaller things or daily things, wouldn’t this be awesome??? I think they’re going to run you like $200. Of course, these have really cool features, like you can look up a word you don’t understand right then and there. It is a dictionary and can give synonyms and all kinds of neato stuff! Some can translate English to Spanish. I’m not sure about other languages.


  6. Now for the ones I wish I could afford because they’d be so EEAASSYY to use once set up!!!!! I mean, check this sucker out. Just set down your book and boom. Text to speech (and magnified or highlighted text on the screen, if you wish to eye-read along). And BOOM, minimum $1700, sometimes MORE.There are other devices along this same line, but they’re all very expensive like this one.

So that’s my list for today!!!!! I think this covers the basic gist of the assistive technologies that I would personally find really useful and great. ENJOY!!!!!

Log: Jul 21 + 22 (Tue + Wed): Just catching up on sleep, still

Jul 21 (Tue): Therapy 8:30a; Work 10:30a – 5:30p;
Jul 22 (Wed): Work; Go to my aunt & uncle’s house and run some laundry

Tuesday: Therapy in the morning. Still tired. Accomplished what I needed to accomplish at work, and rented 1 textbook from online (smile.amazon.com, please! USE IT in place of the regular Amazon so you can have them send $$$ to charities!!!).

Summer Trees

Summer Trees

Spent hours looking online for assistive technologies for reading trouble. I found some amazing ones but they cost over $1500, no joke!!! I searched for phone apps and finally located one that was free to try out, and I loved it so much I went and paid the $2.99 for the full version, without ad banners and such. It’s FANTASTIC. You take a snapshot of a book page, tell it where the borders of the text are on the picture, then use the OCR text recognition. Then it is text that you can edit, save,  or in my case — I have my phone set to read aloud to me with just a 2-finger swipe down from the top of my phone screen. I personally use the male voice English/UK-US accent. I find the female voices very annoying and they break my concentration.

Anyway, it’s awesome. The app is called TurboScannerOCR. I needed to read an instructional manual last night, and I used this and got through the important bits! Fabulous. Technology is awesome.

I’m seriously debating buying technology like the Livescribe Smartpen for school, but the reviews are pretty iffy. It sounds like the best case scenario is that they’ll last about 2 years and then at the minimum will have issues with the display screens and become basically worthless. I don’t think it’s worth the money for something so expensive and short-lived. But the potential they have is amazing.

Friendly Cat

Friendly Cat

In other news, I’m doing something that is to some degree … immoral. I trimmed just the barest tips of 2 toenails off of my boyfriend’s roommate’s cat who has cut me so many times. I have scabs all over my hands from her, and the majority of my clothes now have holes or pulled threads. She is very, extremely friendly and sweet and loving and playful and a great cat, except her nails are so damn SHARP. And when she’s happy, she likes to knead. And she has no idea how to stop catching them on things — I’ve watched her get stuck on the tablecloth and pull it off and things like that. So I kind of … bought a high-rated pair of cutters and um, just let her see them, hear them, pet her with them… rub her paws with them (my boyfriend got her used to having her nails handled as a kitten, back then expecting them to get trimmed). Oops, *snip* one tip gone, she didn’t even notice. More rubs and love and happy times. 8 minutes later, the same thing kind of happened to a single nail on the other front paw… Okay, I KNOW it’s not my cat and I need to obtain permission… And I have all kinds of rationale for just doing it myself w/o asking… But really, I do know better. Not my cat, not my business. And I don’t reeaally want my boyfriend to know I’m a secretive sneak… But this seems like one of those things that is easier to ask forgiveness about and live with those consequences whereas if I asked up front and got a “no”, I’d keep having my clothes ruined and my skin scratched up. I’ll have to be honest about it at some point, but I’d like to get the rest of the front tips snipped before I tell them.

Then I took some selfies with the cat and they’re kind of cute, but stopped when she decided to climb onto my shoulder (ouch! I only did 2 toenail tips, after all!).

Fast forward. Peter came back and we made dinner together and cleaned up afterward together. Then we went on a walk. It was 8:30 pm. I only thought I’d go a couple of blocks, but I stayed feeling okay and we ended up at a park. And swung on a swingset for a while, with a small view of the city far out, between some palm trees. Me in my sandals and hoodie. I wondered at how I could have ever made it here, to this place. In my previous life, I could have never dreamed that I’d be in the middle of a big city at 9 pm, swinging on a swingset in a park, looking out over the city in summer clothes and a warm breeze in my hair. And rats rummaging around in the park around us (they were cute).

But we didn’t get to bed until midnight and I almost cried when he suggested getting up at 6:50am. I said he could, but I would set my alarm for 8am, so I’d have a hope of getting 8 hours of sleep. He decided to get up at 8 with me! ❤ I’m so glad. I was still too anxious (about not being able to get enough sleep) to fall asleep for a while, so I took 1 mg of clonazepam. I’ve hardly taken any in the past month. Then I went back down to my floor mat and sleeping bag, and put in EARPLUGS and wore an eye cover. And I SLEPT. I don’t remember waking up at ALLLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Sadly, my sleep detector turned itself off during the night, so I don’t know how much movement I had.)

Wednesday: Not a lot to do yet at work today. It’s okay. I want to leave now, go to my uncle’s house, do my long-long-overdue laundry and pickup some other items, and then I wish I could nap. But instead, I think Peter will join me, we’ll go to this restaurant I got a coupon for, and then we’ll head back to his city, assuming my laundry is done.

I’m so behind on so many things. It’s feeling very pressured and out of control. It’s the textbooks and my horse and the non-action I’m taking. It’s so much going on and I’m still so far behind in sleep, but I’m working on getting caught back up. It just takes a long time and I can’t afford a messed up night.

Log: Jul 17 – Jul 20 (Fri – Mon): Catching up on sleep / trying to function

Jul 17 (Fri): Work;
Jul 18 (Sat): Work;
Jul 19 (Sun): Long walk with Peter & his mom 10:30a or earlier @location;
Jul 20 (Mon): Work;

Friday: Work. Later, I slept on a new floor mat with a machine-washable sleeping bag and I felt like I slept better.

Saturday: Peter and I chilled in the morning and then went to work for about five hours because an important deadline is coming up and I had a ton to get done. But I slept on the floor again and felt like I slept better.

Sunday: Very excellent. Fun day, looooong walk with Peter & his folks. Potentially a couple thousand of people total. Lots of dogs there. It was fun. I slept on the floor again and think I slept better.

More Brain Fog

More Brain Fog

Monday: General malaise x 1 million!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YUUUUCK feeling today. It’s kind of a combo thing. I’m trying to get caught up on sleep but now my period’s started, too, which always wipes me out. And I forgot to take my iron tablets for several days leading up to it, but I took some today. But my mind has been like MUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD all day. I did get done a lot of really important things at work today. OH! That’s what I did on Saturday.

Frustrating: My facial herpes is not only back, it’s also spreading. I’m being so careful not to scratch it or touch it and to wash my hands all the time. But it’s spreading anyway. Maybe I scratch it in my sleep.

Scary: My dad had a terrible incident while on one of his camping trips. Horrible. We don’t know if he was drugged or if he really did “just” drink too much. TOX and CAT scan came back clean, but those weren’t done for several days after the incident, I think. He came back bruised and bloody. He hadn’t known where he was or the time of day or anything for a very, very long period of time. His car was in a sort of ditch but was fine. He was 3 miles from camp + car and on foot when he sort of came to some awareness, but still not knowing where he was or when he was. He thought he was walking in Death Valley, which is not even the correct state. There are some very strange facts around this incident. My brother called the campground host, who thinks my dad was “just” extremely drunk/an alcoholic because there was an empty 5 gallon wine bottle left behind after my dad left the next day. But this is nothing like anything he’s ever experienced and he was scared / thought he had a brain tumor or something. His audio recordings from the time period are very, very strange (he always keeps an audio log during his trips). Before he really lost touch with location and time, he’d been eating at a restaurant, where the waitress asked if he was all right because he’d been looking at the rain for so long and was behaving oddly. He feels like maybe he was drugged at the restaurant and they were hoping to rob him or steal his car. He got his car stuck after that, although he has no recollection of it. There are more details, but you get the general idea. Something weird happened and I think he is lucky to be alive, whatever it was.

Misc: I’m getting very, very, very stressed/anxious about school. Trying to get hold of the textbooks is sort of killing me. It’s not 100% the money, although every time I see the price of the books, I feel sick and like quitting. I think it’s also the idea that I’m going to have to get through the books somehow. There are so many. The 1-credit vocal class has 2 required texts and 1 recommended. I’m dropping that class. There’s no chance in hell I’m paying over $200 for textbooks for a 1-credit vocal class that was just supposed to be fun. What are they thinking?? Forget it. Okay, I’m leaving. I’m going to go to bed SO EARLY.

Mood Ranking for Days: 4 – 5

Differences in effects of alcohol versus other drugs?

Can any of you post me some good information links on the differences between being drunk and being drugged? I don’t have time to write about it now but I believe a loved one was recently drugged but there is no way of knowing. I am just curious what the differences would look like.

We have bits and pieces of information including audio recordings made during the blacked out time. Two or three days later, a CAT scan and TOX screen both came out clear.

If you have good, solid info about the effects or behaviors of being drunk versus high / drugged, please post in the comments. Thank you.