And then there’s the time I asked a side dish to marry me

English: cow

Dinner (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My sainted mother took me to dinner the other night.  I love when Mom comes to town–mostly because she’s awesome and I love her, but also because I get a free steak dinner.  In fact, if I order a steak big enough to provide leftovers, I get two free steak dinners.

This time around, we went to a really fancy steak house that I would never go to on my own unless I knew for a fact that the Mayans were right, the world was about to end, and I would never get the credit card bill.  It was fantastic.  Well, my meal was fantastic.  When my mom wasn’t looking, I proposed marriage to the risotto.  It turned me down, said it was holding out for the Mint Chocolate Napoleon.  I couldn’t blame it.

My sainted mother’s meal, on the other hand, was good right up until she cut into her steak.  Which was, you know, the point of the dinner.  Appetizers are nice, but all foreplay has to end sometime.  She had ordered her steak done medium, and even talked with the waiter about the amount of pink she wanted and would medium be right for that.  She cut into it:  no pink.  Not a wink of pink anywhere.

She very politely mentioned to the waiter that her steak was not, in fact, medium, and he looked at it and agreed.  He took it away and brought her another.  She cut into it to find–wait for it–that it was even drier than the last steak and was, in fact, a different cut than she had originally ordered.  At that point, I was almost done with my steak (rare, if you’re curious.  I like to hear it moo) and my sainted (and now very hungry) mother just gave up and patiently chipped away at the steak in front of her.  The waiter was very apologetic and she got a free dessert out of the deal (see above re:  Mint Napoleon), but still.

I got a peek at the bill and was horrified to see that it came to more than the price of a good hotel room for the night.  Things have changed since I went to prom!  Or maybe my date just took me to a bad restaurant and a nice hotel.  A good daughter would, at this point, be very grateful or perhaps even offer to chip in.

I am not that daughter.

English: This is an image from the classic 191...

English: This is an image from the classic 1918 edition of Gray’s Anatomy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw my sainted mother looking a little queasy, so I told her about how I’d heard a celebrity claim that red meat stays in your colon for years and just keeps decaying and breeding bacteria until it eventually causes whatever ends up killing you (quote from celebrity:  “And that’s a fact!”), but that, despite all of that, I had enjoyed dinner very much and that I hoped she wouldn’t feel too bad when I was in the hospital.  Especially since she’d probably be in there with me.

She laughed and said “Only you would find a way to make me feel bad about taking you out for a steak dinner!”  True.  It takes the skills of a master to pull that off.  But I made her laugh!  I think that’s why she keeps me around.  That, and she follows the blog.  Hi, Mom!  Thanks for the dinner!  It was really good, and I’m 99% sure that celebrity was wrong, anyway.

Mom! Come do my dishes for me!

Unwashed dishes in a sink; an authentic situation.

Unwashed dishes in a sink; an authentic situation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suck at being a grownup.  I came to this realization yesterday as I looked around my apartment at all the chores I had to do:  wash the dishes, do the laundry, clean the bathroom, take out the trash, pay the bills, go grocery shopping, etc.  My mother would have already done most of these things and then would have done the rest without even thinking about it.  Me, I looked at funny pictures of cats for an hour and went to bed.

When I came home from work today, the dishes were still in the sink.  I don’t even remember using some of these dishes.  I don’t know how they got dirty.  I’m pretty sure some of them aren’t even mine.  It’s like the dishes come out and party while I’m at work, apparently getting into food fights with my glassware and cutlery, then collapse into the sink five minutes before I get home.  So I had to wash the dishes.  Or just eat off paper napkins for the rest of my life and never use my sink again, and don’t think I didn’t seriously consider that option.

And the laundry was still dirty.  This is when I fully understood that I will never be as good at adulthood as my mom.  Each item of clothing in my closet has different instructions for how to wash it, except for all my favorite clothes, which all read “Dry Clean Only.”  Everything else, though, has some unique combination of requirements such as “wash in room temperature water only with fabrics of like texture and color on alternate Tuesdays while playing the viola.”  My mom would learn how to play the viola.  I just throw everything into the same load, spin a few dials, and push the “wash” button.  Which explains a lot about the state of my wardrobe.

I did not take out the trash.  I don’t take out the trash until I can’t push it down any farther and the lid won’t close.  I also don’t clean out the refrigerator until there’s no room left and I don’t mop the floor until I’ve forgotten what color it is under the dirt.  I’m not going to tell you about the inside of my microwave, because I like you, and because it’s embarrassing. If there were some sort of practical exam we all had to pass before we were allowed into adulthood, not only would I fail, I would find a way to get negative points.  Of course, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that.  Maybe if they graded on a curve?

I’ll take out the trash tomorrow.  For now, I’m going to have a glass of wine.  Which I can do.  Because I’m a grown-up.  Yay!  I finally found a part of adulthood I’m good at.

Ask a Little Blind Girl, Part 3

Old woman at desk, 1967

Old woman at desk, 1967 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t done an installment of Ask a Little Blind Girl lately, so I thought I would share a few more of the questions that my anxious public keeps begging me to address, or at least answer a few questions that random curious people who probably have no idea I keep a blog have asked me.  All right, I made up the questions.  Like Dear Abby never made up a question or two.  There can’t be that many clueless people in the world.  Regardless:  allow me to present the latest contribution to the blogosphere’s only (known) advice column from a Little Blind Girl:

1.  Dear Little Blind Girl:  If you can’t see the television and you have trouble seeing the computer screen when you go online, what do you do to pass the time?

–TV Addict in Tennessee

Dear TV Addict in Tennessee:  It’s hard to believe these days, but there was a time when people had neither television nor the internet to entertain them.  Of course, in those days, everyone was in the same boat and would meet up in their town halls to go buggy riding together, whereas today, if you’re not online, you’re out in the cold.

If, because of vision impairment, religious or ideological beliefs, or a lack of connectivity, you find yourself cut off from the online community and without a television to stare at for hours, there are still things you can do.  I like to pick a bar I’ve never been in before, take in a board game, and see how many people I can talk into playing with me.  If you’ve never had an evening of Yahtzee with a crowd of inebriated strangers, believe me, you haven’t lived.  Clue and Trivial Pursuit also work well, but take the benefit of my experience and stay away from Twister.  Someone falls on someone else the wrong way when beer is involved and things get ugly fast.

I realize that this won’t work as well for those whose religious and/or ideological beliefs also prevent them from drinking alcohol.  I don’t know what to tell you about that, except maybe to find another advice column.

2.  Dear Little Blind Girl:  I’m visually impaired and trying to navigate the tricky territory of the dating scene.  Do you have any advice to give me?

— Squinting in Savannah

Dear Squinting in Savannah:  That is an excellent question.  Being something of a dating pro myself, I would be happy to pass along my wisdom to you.

  • Rule 1:  Never be late for a date.  Rude for the blind, rude for the sighted, rude for everyone.
  • Rule 2:  Be open to the experience.  Dating is nerve-wracking and exhilarating and difficult for both parties involved, even when both parties are really trying.  If you’re not into it, say no.  If you say yes, go into the date with high hopes, low expectations, and a can of pepper spray, just in case.
  • Rule 3:  Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu on the first date.  That’s just tacky.

Notice a pattern?  Dating for the blind is pretty much like dating for anyone else.  That said, I’d avoid places with lots of stairs until you’re more comfortable clutching at your date’s arm.  Also, avoid movies with subtitles.  And mimes.  And complicated meals that involve a lot of cutting meat around bones.  There are few things more embarrassing than having to ask your date to cut up your meat.

Dear Little Blind Girl:  Be honest.  What would you do if Johnny Depp ever commented on your blog?

–Depp Fan in Dakota

English: American actor Johnny Depp The Touris...

English: American actor Johnny Depp The Tourist premiere in Tokyo, Japan 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Depp Fan in Dakota:  I sincerely doubt that I will ever know for sure, but I do have a policy of trying to respond to every comment on this blog, so I’d have to say something in reply.  I’d like to think my response would be witty, charming, insightful, and endearing.  However, having known myself practically since my birth, I think it’s more likely that I’d respond with something along the lines of “Oh my God!  Are you him?  Are you really him?  Oh my God!  Wow, you’re even cuter in your comment than you are on screen!”, probably followed with a string of inappropriate emoticons.  This would be even more embarrassing given that his comment would probably be something like, “If you don’t stop sending me marriage proposals, I will be forced to take legal action.”  But hey, live in the moment, right?

As always, feel free to leave your burning questions in the comments section, and I will address them in our next installment.  Until then, au revoir–and, Johnny?  Anytime, sweetie.  I’m just saying.

Famous last words #38: What could possibly go wrong?

Deutsch: "Kopfschmerzen". Die wohl b...

Deutsch: “Kopfschmerzen” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oh, my God.  Week from Hell.  Worst.  Week.  Ever!  to quit caffeine.  There needs to be some kind of Caffeine Anonymous program with sponsors you can call when things get tough:  “Man, I don’t know what to do.  I got three hours of sleep, I have ten errands to run after work, and my computer just blew up.  It would be so much easier to deal with all of this if I could just have some caffeine.”  “Take a deep breath, Little Blind Girl.  You can do this.  Just take it one day at a time.”

I made it through the week, more or less, with rather less in the way of running and rather more in the way of beer and Italian restaurants (sorry, Doc), but only a little more.  I thought I was safe on the weekend.  I’d done the hard part.  I’d gotten through Hell Week without caffeine.  It was Sunday evening.  What could possibly go wrong now?

Slight digression:  there are things you must never say, or even think.  They are as follows:

  1. I’ll be right back.
  2. Everything’s under control.
  3. It’s probably nothing.
  4. What does this button do?
  5. What could possibly go wrong?

Lesson learned.  No sooner had I said this to myself than my Darling Dad called and wanted to know everything about my savings and retirement situations right then over the phone, down to the last penny in the accounts and the tax consequences in the event that I predecease both parents but am survived by my step-nephew.  And he needed to know it immediately!  Slight exaggeration, but only slight.  I don’t have a step-nephew.  That I know of.

I dealt with Darling Dad, hung up the phone, sighed, and decided I needed a soda.  A non-caffeinated one, obviously.  So I started off to the convenience store across the street and what did I find hanging on the handle of my apartment door?  Was it the decapitated head of my pet horse?  A voodoo doll of me with a pin through each eye?  No.  No, it was something far worse, something calculated to cut through all of my defenses and bring me to my knees in mere seconds.

It was a bag of three bottles of Mountain Dew soda.

They were probably from my neighbor trying to be nice, after I’d had such a hard week and all (the nightmares may have clued him in, with me shouting “No!  I swear!  I’ll get the report in by Tuesday!” at 2 in the morning), but really I think it was the Karma Gods coming for me.  It’s only fair.  I knew better.

Now to publish this blog post.  So many widgets and banners and buttons on these blogs…what does this button do?

Mirage Volcano 2

Mirage Volcano 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll be right back!

How to be a bad influence almost anywhere

Matala caves

Matala caves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to a nearby park over the weekend with a friend.  We walked a little ways and then came upon a roped-off area with a sign saying “Please don’t climb in the caves.”  Silly.  Of course we climbed in the caves.  It got a little tricky when the rocks underneath started sliding out from under our feet–possibly the reason for the sign–but for once I wasn’t wearing heels, so we were more or less all right.  I ignore all warning signs on principle, anyway.

A nearby family reunion spilled over into the meadow in front of the caves, and three little kids came up to the rope.  They were old enough to read the signs and young enough to obey them.  That’s a nice age to be at.  All of the curiosity with none of the moral anxiety.  One of them saw us and shouted, “You’re not supposed to be in there!”  I smiled and shouted back “We’re rebels!”  Always trying to set a good example, me.

My friend and I explored the caves as far as our mutual fear of spiders allowed, then set out to climb back down.  Suddenly, we saw the same three boys as before tearing across the meadow on bikes, which I’m fairly sure they weren’t supposed to be doing, shouting “Rebels!” at the tops of their lungs.  I waved at them, then saw their parents glowering at me and pretended I’d been stretching.

And the moral of this story is:  if you work very, very hard and are lucky enough to have the opportunity arise, it is possible to be an extremely bad influence almost anywhere.  Especially if you’re with the Little Blind Girl, who is on the government watch list of Very Bad Influences and has practically set the standard.  Rebels!  Yeah!

No! Take anything you want, but spare the caffeine!

Old Man Grieving - Vincent van Gogh

Old Man Grieving – Vincent van Gogh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As yet another part of a well-meaning attempt to preserve what vision I have for as long as possible, my doctor has finally gone too far:  he has ordered me to give up caffeine.

Now, there are a few issues this raises.  One of the first that may strike you is–how can my doctor order me to do anything?  The answer is that he was in the army before he went into private practice and, although he doesn’t say anything, I’m pretty sure he knows at least ten different ways to kill me with his bare hands.  I know he has a very pointed look when he asks if I’ve been eating enough green, leafy vegetables.  There are very few people who scare me, but he’s one of them.

The second, and ultimately more important issue is, is it actually possible for me to survive without caffeine?  I know there are people who can, but I think at this point I may be physically composed of caffeine in significant amounts.  I’m not saying giving up caffeine would actually cause my body to shut down, but I’m not eager to find out.  I don’t have the courage to say this to my doctor, however, so the caffeine (I can’t believe I’m saying this) has got to go.

Today is my first day without caffeine.  I found myself, once I was able to reassemble and reattach my skull, experiencing some unfamiliar emotions.  Thoughts popped unbidden into my head.  I started thinking, “I don’t really need to give up caffeine.  I’m fine!  Why is this happening to me?”  I progressed from these thoughts to ones such as “Stupid doctor!  It’s not fair!  This is his fault!”  From there, I went to “Maybe if I just offered to eat more fruit,” and “I’ll donate my life savings to charity if I don’t have to give up caffeine.”

I finally realized what was going on:  I’m going through the five stages of grief.

  1. Denial.  “I don’t really need to give up caffeine”
  2. Anger.  “This is my doctor’s fault!”
  3. Bargaining.  “Maybe if I just ate more fruit”

This leaves me with two more stages:  depression and acceptance.  I’ve already progressed to the depression stage.  “It doesn’t matter, nothing matters anymore.  Life is meaningless without caffeine.”  Wikipedia has this to say about the depression stage of the Kubler-Ross model of grieving:

During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage…. It’s natural to feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty when going through this stage.

Sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty.  This is what I feel when I contemplate a Monday morning without caffeine.  A tad dramatic, you say?  Just imagine Monday morning at the office, in heels and hose, checking the seventeen messages that have accumulated over the weekend and remembering all those things that got put off from last week because it would all somehow be easier this week.  Now, add caffeine withdrawal.  Doesn’t that make you feel sadness, regret, fear, and uncertainty?

I look forward to the acceptance stage.  I’m told that’s when I come to terms with the tragic event.  Caffeine, you’ve left me too soon.  When I think of all the manic unfocused energy you gave me and the sudden complete physical collapse that came as you wore off, it’s hard to imagine my life without you.  But our time has passed.  And, to be honest, I doubt I’ll lose any sleep over you.  That was kind of the problem in the first place.

Attack of the exercise buddies, or: How I ended up running in the rain

Dvstransomsnow

Dvstransomsnow (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey, blog people!  I missed you!  I had a computer-intensive project that killed my eyes for a while.  The perils of being a little blind girl.  But I’m back, sort of, with yet more adventures to share with you.  Let us begin:

When I got up this morning, I didn’t intend to go running at any point during the day.  Yes, yes, I know I told my doctor I would, but I’ve been really busy, and then I got food poisoning, and then I was really tired, and then I had a date (+60 points, by the way), and then I just didn’t feel like it.

But a couple of colleagues of mine run after work, and today my office mate convinced me to go with them.  I’m still not sure how it happened; one minute I was downing my third mug of Red Bull, the next minute I’d agreed to throw on my ratty exercise clothes that I’ve had since I was in school and go run laps.

I lost count of the number of excuses I found not to go.  It’s raining; it’s been a long day; I couldn’t possibly leave before this person calls me back; I can’t see the track without my glasses; I think it might kill me.  I’m amazed my colleagues didn’t brain me before we ever got out of the office, but they didn’t, and I ended up at a nearby track in the rain, blind as a bat and ready to run.  Well, if not exactly ready, at least too stubborn to back out.

I didn’t run the whole way.  I did at least keep going the entire time, even though I walked the majority of the way.  I ran sporadically, and I found time to regret not having planned this a little better as I realized that, in the decade since I last exercised regularly, the elastic on my track pants has–shall we say, relaxed a little?  Or a lot?  Seriously, the minute I’d break into a jog, my pants would start slipping down my hips.  I kept having to grab them and yank them back up.  Trot, grab, pull, repeat.  For a mile and a half.

I made terrible time, but at least I didn’t end up performing an unintentional striptease.  That, combined with a wet t-shirt from the rain, would have turned my pathetic attempt at exercise into a totally different experience!  I think I’ll go again the next time my colleagues go.  Next time, however, I’m wearing spandex.  And maybe something with a drawstring.  Do you think it would be going too far to run in suspenders?