Posted on | April 6, 2013 | 13 Comments
My stomach knotted tighter, winding so hard it hurt.
Kate watched me, rubbing a piece of her hair between two fingers.
I bit my tongue, trying to work the words out.
“The boat …we’re going under.”
Today, I am going to introduce to you a special friend. So special that she was one of a very few friends I had while I sailed around in my depressed suicidal phase in middle school.
Now, according to this spiel she wrote for my blog, apparently middle school was a pleasant time for her. Let me tell you- for me, it was not fun. I wrote angsty poems and stories all the time, and got referred to the school counselor for my blog (don’t ask- some parents are stalkers). I spent majority of my days in 8th grade hiding out in the GT Resource Room, usually under the teacher’s desk, curled up in a ball (some think that this may have been the first behavioral manifestations of the Arteriovenous Malformations in my life).
But enough about me. This post is about her. Having succeeded to fulfill her dream of becoming a Published Author and Young Adult Novelist.
We wrote together as pre-teens, but while I have more or less given up on my childhood dream (I have turned more towards online publishing… of articles, websites, blogs, etc.), she kept going strong!
Please welcome Aja Hannah, a newly published author of a Paranormal Young Adult novel, Zarconian Island!
She wrote a short piece for us about her experiences in middle school (back when all of us wanted to become a writer when we grew up):
For most, middle school was a dark time filled with acne, drama, and weird body proportions. Not for me. I could have cared less about how I looked, and that is evident by the sweat-pants and ponytail filled photos. I spent my time buried in composition notebooks, but not for studying purposes.
I was part of a mismatched group of kids called Snoopy. The group was formed by Hiroko, a Japanese immigrant, who brought in the first notebook with a picture of the Peanuts character on the front.
We wrote with codenames, developing our own personalities outside of real life. Most of us were painfully shy and horribly awkward in social situations, more so than the average middle schooler. So we documented our daily lives, thoughts, hopes, and hates.
We didn’t get together often so we scribbled away any moments we had in our dozens of composition books, especially during class. I wondered how teachers didn’t get annoyed with us, throwing the notebook across the room, passing it off in the hallways, and whispering and giggling in the back of the class.
Though, I suppose, we were always good students. We didn’t talk back to teachers or step out of line. We kept our heads down.
In its own way, Snoopy taught me friendship and gave me a place to belong. My middle school experience was a breeze in a bubble, full of positive memories and happy ignorance.
Most importantly, it got me in the habit of writing everyday.
Possessing powers that are feared and shunned, eighteen-year-old Alexandra “Attie” Hotep is no virgin to attacks. Her ancestors, the Zarconians– mixed-blood inhabitants of Atlantis–were rumored to be the English fairies who kidnapped children, the Caribbean sirens that sunk ships, and the dream-like apparitions who broke into psyches. By the 1850s, they were hunted to near-extinction, leaving the existence of Atlantis and Zarconians little more than myth.
When a class trip turns deadly, Attie and her friends become stranded on an uncharted tropical island in the middle of the Pacific, and Attie finds herself targeted once more. With a jungle full of extinct and prowling animals, she struggles to find a compromise between keeping her friends safe and keeping her family’s secret.
Enter Doug Hutchinson—the school’s soccer star, and a handsome boy with his own secrets. But Attie and Doug soon realize the animals aren’t the only threat. There is a traitor amidst the group, one that plans to turn all Zarconians into permanent myths. And Attie is next on the list.
Twitter: @ZarconianSeriesFacebook: Zarconian IslandE-mail: email@example.comBlog: AjaHannah.comGoodReads: Zarconian Island
Posted on | April 8, 2013 | 1 Comment
This is a Guest Post.
Affogato, Breve, Melange, Cortado, Doppio, Mazagran, Pocillo, and Ristretto may sound like a type of pasta or an Italian dish. You’re quite mistaken because they’re not. I’ll no longer keep you in suspense; these are types of coffee. I’m just as surprised as you are to learn that there are around sixty kinds, most of which I haven’t heard of until now. Guess we’re accustomed to the usual Café Americano, Café au lait, latte, mocha, cappuccino, frapuccino, macchiato, or the brewed sort. Anyway, we learned something new today so we won’t be ignoramuses when it comes to posh coffee names.
Recently it hit me that we can also learn something from young girls and their little tea parties by organizing a gathering that features a hot beverage: coffee. If we take it from our English counterparts the best time for this is in the afternoon, when more often than not we are at our laziest. Assemble the girls and ask them to bring a unique brew for some tasting. As entertainment without shedding dollars we can also do some poetry-reading, or book-sharing, or have fun playing online games over at FoxyBingo.com. Still, whatever activity we decide to do, as long as our girlfriends are present, it’s gonna be fun.
Aside from the amusement a coffee party brings, coffee drinking has known health benefits. The health and wellness site WebMD states that coffee prevents diabetes because of anti-oxidant properties. Coffee also lowers the risk of heart disease and strokes. Moreover, it decreases the risk of Parkinson’s disease as well as Alzheimer’s. The medical science news website Medical Daily added that “decaffeinated coffee helped to ward off, and possibly treat, cognitive decline” according to a study undertaken by Giulio Maria Pasinetti, PhD, MD, a professor of neurology and psychiatry. In addition, Medical Daily also stated that “coffee decreases the risk of developing the most common form of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma,” in a study conducted by Jiali Han, PhD, an associate professor at Harvard University. Who would’ve thought the drink we take in order to fight sleepiness has a lot of advantages?
With all this good health news, we must consider having a cup of joe as part of our daily ritual. Turns out, it’s more than just a tasty beverage; it’s almost a life-saver.
Posted on | April 2, 2013 | No Comments
Knock knock- is someone there? Am I still here? Yes I am!
I apologize for the long break since I last updated (all the way back in January!!). Life has been busy, with tons of new projects and old ones to wrap up, school, and trying to find summer work and then some time to sleep while I’m at it! Time has been whizzing by, and somehow, I’m already 1 week past spring break, and only a month and a half away from my graduation.
The #AneurysmAwareness Project is an attempt to raise awareness about Aneurysms and Arteriovenous Malformation through the sale and distribution of stickers I designed using Photoshop (first time user, hollah……). You can see the samples above in the Instagram photo of the sticker basket, and you can check them all out at the Storenvy Shop and the Flickr Album. I am currently running a Fundraiser to raise funds to help offset the amount of money I had to spend out of pocket to get this thing going. Though I’ve gotten back a little bit of money from purchases (I’ve sold around 85 stickers since I started this), that only pays for a small fraction of the costs, so before I can start anything else, I feel like I should get this negative settled (watch me be ordering something to be printed soon again).
Everyone says that the stickers are “even better in person,” so if you’d like to order one, and contribute to a great cause, please head on over to #AneurysmAwareness Project and take a look at what we have! :)
I print them from Moo, and they are definitely my printer of choice, for both stickers and business cards! The business cards are so high quality, it’s pretty remarkable. I definitely get comments every time I hand them out because they are so thick and well-printed.
I’ve been learning to use Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Illustrator CS6 because of my digital design class, and the Aneurysm Awareness Poster that I designed for the Illustrator project has so far reached over 50,000 people, and has over 600 “shares”… I was pretty stunned, to say the least, since most of that happened within the first week! Needless to say, I started cranking up my presence on that Facebook Page!
I attended an AVMSurvivors meet up with Mary on Saturday, and got to talk with a few people who went through similar things, and people for once actually can understand what I’m going through. It’s so nice to know you aren’t alone, because sometimes, it’s really hard to remember that you aren’t the only one in the world who lived through a tick-tock-ing of a time bomb (I know some people dislike having their brains described as a “time bomb,” but that’s honestly how I felt) and then a rather violent way of removing the said bomb from the brain.
And we sit there just exchanging disbelief that we got off so lightly- that we are able to do what we do, despite what it COULD HAVE BEEN. It’s truly an eye-opening experience, to be so close to death, and then to be spit back like we were, back into the world of the living.
I didn’t mean for the entry to take such a sudden negative turn, but I guess it just comes with the experiences we had! I hope I will never forget “waking up” during surgery (though most people try to convince me I was dreaming), and hearing the murmurs of everything going on around me, and then waking up to a new life in the Dark Room with machines whirring everywhere, pumping blood out of my head, checking my heart rate, blood level, and making sure I was still alive.
Life is such an amazing gift, really. And only the close encounter with Death allowed me to realize just how blessed I am, in terms of friends, family, people, and resources.
Posted on | January 23, 2013 | 13 Comments
Welcome back to school, fellow students.
If you are in high school, you have probably been back in school for a month already. I am sorry. But not really. Your time will come.
Since it is the new semester, and I had a semester’s worth of experiences trudging through school with my newly developed issues and organization tools I found throughout the fall, I thought it was time I shared them with you again. Many I shared already last semester, in Going to College with Disabilities, but some may be new. These are tools I found useful or helpful in getting through the semester, and will probably be useful for you as well, regardless of whether you have learning disabilities or not. :)
Let’s start with organization… And organizations start with…. Calendars!
- Google Calendar – It is the best calendar to use online in terms of simplicity and synchronicity from the ones I have tried. It uses your Google account, so there are many applications around for mobile devices that allow you to sync all of its data to your phone.
- Business Calendar (Android App)- This is the best Android application I have been able to find for using the Google Calendar. It allows you to have multiple calendars, which is very useful when you are like me, and have multiple calendars for different reasons. One thing I really like about this calendar is that it allows you to select whatever number of days you would like to show up on your “spread” view (up to a certain point), so you can do something like “School Week,” where you only have Monday-Friday showing, or “Hell Weeks!” with 2 weeks of exams showing to see what you are doing in a 24 hour style.
Some people have asked me how I utilize my calendars to be of any use except as… general calendars. In my case, I use my online calendars as my daily schedule as well, to keep track of what obligations I have at what time, and what kind of things I need to get done. I have separate calendars to meet those needs: one for my “Daily Planner,” which has my schedule that repeats often, like my school classes, yoga classes, lunch with friends that repeat weekly, etc., and one for my “Calendar,” which has appointments and obligations that aren’t repeating, like doctor’s appointments, lunch/dinner dates with friends that aren’t weekly, and work- things that I would need to stand out for me to remember. You can see how a week of my “Calendars” look by clicking on the screencap. By having different calendars (and different colors), I can visually see what are “out of the ordinary” that I need to keep in mind immediately.
Organizing for Class, Taking Notes, and Getting Work Done!
Tough. Real tough, especially if you have attention problems like I do. But there are ways to make it easier.
- WorkFlowy – Honestly the most amazing thing to have come to outlining. It is an online outline-maker for anything from essays to presentations to to-do lists, and has the option of “collapsing” portions you don’t want to see/aren’t working on at the moment so that you won’t get distracted by tons of text on the screen. It worked great for me, because I am extremely easily distracted (thanks, Executive Function Disorder!), so I constantly needed to make new word document screens so that I can concentrate on just what I’m working on, and not get overwhelmed by the rest of the presentation or essay. You can also easily “share” whatever portion of your outline you’d like with anyone, and also “export” the whole outline to whatever word processing program you like to use.
- EverNote – Another one of those amazing things to grace the ‘webz. It is a notes organizer, and allows you to have different “journals” for every purpose, as well as have an amazing array of plug-ins and programs available for whatever you want to use the notebooks for (keeping contacts, receipts, documents, journals… anything!), and also has browser plug-ins that allow you to “import” websites into your journals for scrap-booking, and safe keeping. I use it mostly as my Agenda book, and as a To-Do list for EVERYTHING, as well as keep separate journals for every class to keep my assignment notes, rubrics, and reading lists. Also has a lot of applications and desktop programs that you can install and use anywhere.
- Instapaper – I know I say this a lot… But this is also another one of those “God Send” things that I used A LOT last semester. It is like a private online bookmarking site, and having the bookmark link on the top of your browser to “Read Later” allows you to effortlessly “save” whatever website you are looking at into your Instapaper account so that you can go back to it later even if you close the screen, or if you are on a different computer from your usual. I use it for research and saving websites that I need to go back to later, or know how to find easily. The folders option allows you to organize your links after you read them, or if you are using it for research, you can find all of your sources in one place.
- DropBox – This is great for backing up your important files on a cloud server, sharing files with friends, or to keep files available for you to read on the go on your tablet or phone. I used this site extensively last semester to read my class PDFs on the hour and half commute to my placement in the mornings. You can get quite a lot read during an hour on the bus with no wifi, AND it saves a ton of trees. Having DropBox sync to my iPad allowed me to not have to print hundreds of pages last semester (I had a few really reading intensive classes).
- Listography – I don’t really know what they actually made this for, but this place is to make lists… about anything. You have “categories” to choose from, and you can make lists about your favorite movies, actors, songs, artists, books…. or just a plain ol’ To Do list. Very colorful and easy to use, but doesn’t have an Android App (they do have iPhone apps…for a charge). Seems like they are spending too much time and money on publishing their little Listography Books to be making apps for users!
- Remember The Milk - Another one of those list-making websites/apps. I personally don’t use this (I have an account, but never really got a hang of it), since I have Evernote to make my To-Do lists on, but if you literally need a good shopping list, you should try this one out, since it syncs easily to your phones.
Getting Fit & Becoming Healthy!
Have that New Year’s Resolution on being healthy or losing weight, but can’t figure out how to keep that promise to yourself while eating diner food…? Here are some websites and gadgets that you could look into to try to keep yourself motivated…!
- FitBit (Gadget)- Cute little gadget to take around with you everywhere to track everything you do, so that you have comprehensive analysis of your daily activities and how many calories you burned, which wirelessly syncs to your phone or computer. FitBit One even allows you to track your sleep via a wristband, which would be a pretty cool feature for me, since I have a sleep disorder which needs to be looked into more, and it gently wakes you up in the morning with vibrations when it is the easiest for your body to get up. The best part about it, for me, is that it would collect points and badges… And I’m a sucker for collecting silly things and points… :P (I am still contemplating this one, since the one I want is $100, because it can track your sleep… and I also don’t have an iPhone.)
- iPod Nano & Nike+ (Gadget & Website)- I have personally not yet been able to successfully link my iPod Nano to Nike+ website, but it works fine as a pedometer at the moment, so I just transfer the information that comes up on my iPod into Fitocracy or Nexercise. I personally like my 6th Generation iPod Nano (because it’s really small), but it’s really ironic that it costs more to buy the 6th generation than the 7th on Amazon right now…
- Nexercise (App)- Earn points and real rewards for exercising (raking leaves count as exercise, too). You can earn things like Amazon mp3 credits, and samples of things like vitamin water and gum, and discounts in a lot of stores for things like candles and glasses for exercising and accumulating certain number of points.
- Endomondo Sports Tracker (App)- Best application for tracking your workouts that are based on speed and distance. I use this app to track my walking (I’m not healthy enough to run around yet), and it gives me an accurate reading of the distance traveled (it uses GPS), gives me a map of what I traveled, and gives me the time, mile time, hydration information, calories burned, etc. You have many options for upgrading, too, so that you don’t have to buy everything, but just pick and choose what you would want to upgrade. But works perfectly well as a free app, too (I haven’t upgraded yet, personally).
- Fitocracy (Website & App)- A warm community with lots of fun things to do to track your exercising and weightloss/health goals. It has groups you can join, quests you can complete for more points, and a forum to ask questions and discuss your plans and achievements. It’s literally like Facebook for getting fit. They have cellphone apps so you can keep track on the go, too. (Here’s my profile if you get an account and want to connect with me! Let’s cheer each other on! :D)
- MyFitnessPal (Website)- This website allows you to track your calorie intake, exercising, and weightloss. They have message boards to talk to other people and a blogging option to talk about whatever you want regarding your weightloss as well as a mobile app.
Crap- I forgot to order my textbooks!
Need to rent books last minute or want to get free 2 day shipping from Amazon for free? Try Amazon Student, and get 6 months of Amazon Prime for free! All you need is a .EDU e-mail address to let them know that you are a student. (After the initial 6 months, you have the option to keep Amazon Prime for a reduced price for as long as you are a student… It’s quite a life saver when you need books and stuff ASAP, or you just want to buy something good to eat…)
Ramosa.Org: New Portfolio
My portfolio is finally in its own website, and almost complete! It took me a couple of days to do the designing and code it, but everything except Web Design portfolio (which I actually have to create, because I didn’t have it in the other location) and archive of teaching materials I’ve created is complete and functional.
This was another one of those LEARN ALL THE THINGS kind of layout, where I had to relearn a lot of things because it’s changed so much, and learn new things, like how to use Google Web Fonts, and play around with effects. I am pretty proud of how far I’ve progressed since last August, when I opened this blog. But now, back to reality where I am a full-time student, and still have assignments left over from last semester, and yet still half a dozen online projects to do, as well as an online course to complete. And work. Oh well.
Posted on | January 10, 2013 | 9 Comments
Remember that project I was contemplating a few months ago, about creating a link directory for Arteriovenous Malformation because so many people look up AVM on Google and land on this blog? Well, after a few weeks of looking for scripts and databases, fooling around with programs and layouts, and installing one content management system only to realize it wouldn’t work and going through install/uninstall process for half a dozen blogging scripts, it is finally online, at AVMalformation.Org!!
It is still severely lacking in informational content (ie: basics about Arteriovenous Malformations, types of treatment, etc.), but the Link Directory portion is fully functional, as is the link submission page (in case anyone has any links that are not listed in the site to contribute!).
I am hoping to get the other sections written as time goes on, and more links added as I find them. It is hosted by lovely Melissa, though I am currently trying to figure out how to make the advertising costs sustainable, since it is pretty much a useless website if people don’t actually find it and use the resources provided. I have tried some advertisements, but I am not sure if it is going to work well enough. But at the very least, though I did initially feel like I just put in so much time and effort for something that people probably won’t even use, it’s there, and probably a lot more useful than graphics sites I spent so much time updating and creating in the 2000′s!
It already has some interesting visitors…
I am already getting really really strange visitors, especially from Russian — sites, but I am assuming they are somehow clicking on Bing Ads (though I don’t know why they are coming from there, and not from related sites…).
I am still trying to figure out what the best way of optimizing search engine viewings and such is, without having to spend too much resources. I have never really been bothered with getting hits from search engines before (most of the sites I have kept, I was very content with whomever was being referred through my link exchanges and friends because of the nature of the sites), so this is going to be something new to look into, and maybe whatever knowledge I obtain will be useful in helping my clients with their SEO improvements…
At the very least, I have learned to use and customize quite a few content management systems thanks to all the failures on this site I’ve experienced in the past week (WordPress, Cutenews, FanUpdate, PulsePlus, Fusion News, etc…)!
I will be beginning an online PHP & MySQL class in a week or so, so I hope it’ll be interesting and helpful. I have never taken any graphic/web designing or coding classes or gotten any instructions, so everything I know, I know because I tried it, or read up about it online… So I don’t really know what to expect, but maybe I will finally understand the underlining core concepts that I’ve ignored in coding for the past decade…!
Also, remember that the domain & advertisement giveaway contest still going on!
There are 3 domains and 2 advertisement spots being given away! I am probably going to have to elongate the contest length because of lack of participants, though I wish I didn’t have to, since domains that are already registered are kind of time sensitive… But it just doesn’t make much sense to hold a “raffle” when there is only 1 entrant!
I have been working on my Photography Portfolio, adding new and old photographs from various trips (some from last year that I never processed, from a trip to New York City… next up after I finish up NYC is the Netherlands and France that I never bothered processing from a few years ago… XD). I am also beginning to utilize Flickr to organize the photos as well, especially now that my mother’s friend has given me a few cameras to test out.
Time to get ready to go to my 4 hour religion & education class, while trying to keep myself busy with other things so I don’t interject into the class discussion too much!
Posted on | January 1, 2013 | 13 Comments
Last night, I was feeling pretty depressed and down, because most people on Twitter-verse and Facebook (but not Tumblr, as per always) were talking what a great night they were having for New Years Eve, whether it be in a party, or family time. And that was making me anxious and upset because we would never have such a family celebration kind of thing, either as a nuclear family or as an extended family. It was getting to be close to 12, so I just went to sleep, without waiting for clock to strike 12. My boyfriend wanted to call me at 12AM, but I turned my cellphone off before going to sleep, because I didn’t want to rain on his holiday festivities at the party he was having with his extended family (something I’ve never done other than for funerals- isn’t that a great thought).
I woke up feeling refreshed and fine, without the anxiety attack I had waking up the morning before. I managed to start the New Year on a positive step.
Of course, turns out that the heating broke overnight at my house (someone should be coming to look at it tomorrow…), and my mom came home from the dog park having destroyed one of the car side mirrors in the garage. But we went out for Dim Sum (we did Dim Sum for Christmas Eve, too), and I got my Sesame Seed Ball, so I’m content. In the afternoon, Mary and I hunted for Starbucks to do work in (everywhere was full), and ended up chilling for a few hours at Panera Bread (they have wifi!). I didn’t get much of anything school work-wise done, but at least I got some other errands taken care of!
My parents also bought me a car yesterday that I haven’t actually really looked at (I have extremely sensitive sense of smell, so that “new leather smell” is not attractive to me at all… So at the moment, I can’t go near it), but at least from the outside, it looks nice (Honda Civic). I probably won’t take it or ride it until I graduate graduate school (next year), and got more practice driving around, so for now, I will be sharing my dad’s car with my sister (we live in the same apartment complex), and my dad will be riding my car whenever he is home.
I have been watching a few movies, and making some graphics inspired by at least one of them. Last night, I watched Django Unchained with my friend without really digesting what I agreed to do. I am glad I did not puke.
Few days ago, I watched Les Mis. I was very impressed with the art direction, but not so much with the singing… Which is a shame, because it was a full-blown 2 1/2 hours of singing….
I made a few graphics inspired by the movie though, and I am hoping to make the one with Marius’s song into a layout soon (you can see both of them at my Portfolio).
Tomorrow, I will be substitute teaching at my old high school for half a day, then immediately heading back to college to make my 4PM-9PM class (FIVE HOURS!!) on religion and education. I just downloaded 190MB worth of readings (aside from the 2 books I had to acquire), so this doesn’t look like I am going to be having much free time for the next 2 1/2 weeks… (And I’m just sitting in on this class, too… I won’t be getting credits… But I didn’t feel like paying $2000 or $3000 for 3 extra credits I don’t need…)
This was probably my first real “blog” entry here. I just wanted to document my New Year, and will be going back to my old style of cram-blogging! :)
Also, remember to join my Domains & Advertisements Giveaway Contest!!
Happy New Year, Everyone!!
Posted on | December 22, 2012 | 7 Comments
In the high school that I was substitute teaching for on Wednesday, the “big rumor” was that there was going to be a shooting there on Friday, so no one was supposed to come to school (and it’s the end of the world). It got to the point that the principal had to come on the intercom and tell everyone that there is going to be no shooting, and everyone better come to school on Friday.
Speaking of the end of the world, it seems as though Instagram had a very close call this week, when it changed the Terms of Service, saying they can sell whatever photos you have on there to be used in third party advertisements without your permission, and place ads in the service. After an extremely harsh lashback against the company (Facebook), with a lot of its users purging their accounts or threatening to delete (with Flickr undoubtfully gaining a lot of members), Facebook reversed the section about selling the photos without permission, claiming it to have been a misunderstanding (I don’t know how you could read that paragraph any other way, to be honest. Sorry, Facebook.), but keeping the advertisement section. But people are still unhappy, of course.
I understand that the company needs to make money, and the downfall was inevitable when Facebook announced that it was going to purchase Instagram. So I hope that if they are going to have advertisements in the application, there’s at least a cheap alternative to buy an ad-free copy. Though I would be the most unhappy if they actually implemented the we-are-going-to-sell-your-crappy-photos-without-your-permission-to-be-used-in-random-ads thing. I am glad they got rid of that part, at least.
I am a great fan of Insta-Crap (what my friend used to call it every time I posted on there… before he got an account himself, that is!), honestly. :P I use it more as an “archive” of photos I’ve taken that look nice in a ultra-pasturized square mode.
By the way, if you wanted to export all of your Instagram photos, you can use Instaport.Me!
The Hazards of Holidays
A lady asked me to pass this graphic on to my readers, about the hazards of holidays. It’s an adorable, wonderfully organized, and informational graphic, so I would suggest you click on the image above and take a look… Even if just for the adorable little animals!!
Work and School and Life and All That Jazz
So as I mentioned earlier, I am working as a substitute teacher over the my winter break. I am also tackling a few web designing/website making/graphic designing projects, both for myself and people who need websites created. At the moment, I am working on a webpage for a friend who has a construction company, and I may help out in making a website for a friend whose father owns a Vietnamese restaurant soon. I am also working on creating e-cards for the Holidays, andI THINK YOU SHOULD SIGN UP TO RECEIVE ONE. I have a few projects I need to be getting down to doing, but have been distracted from doing, and also cooking up a domain giveaway contest. :) So be on a look out for that one!
Health wise, I am in an utter mess. I have been newly diagnosed with Stress Gait Disorder and Non-Epileptic Seizure Disorder, both stemming from aggravation of my Anxiety Disorder. You can read more about it here.
Also, a post I made there, linking to an article called 9 Thinks NOT To Say To Someone With Brain Injury is a really good read, and I completely agree with most of them, having brain injury myself resulting from my surgery.
Hopefully, I’m going to get healthier as time goes on this break. Melissa made a “New Year’s Resolution” kind of thing really early this time around, and I wanted to do the same, so we could be Resolution-Buddies, but I haven’t been able to come up with a good list yet… So hopefully, I’ll get down to doing that soon!
I have so much I want to do, and so many opportunities and open doors, but my body just is not cooperating or keeping up with it all, and it is irritating to no end. But hopefully, I’ll be able to at least go through with things little by little. I may have to give up on working as an Autism Therapist next semester like I planned, but I did sign up for a PHP/MySQL online course, so at least that’s something. I will still be working as a tutor, going to school full time, and doing student teaching 3 mornings a week, so my schedule will be pretty filled regardless of whether I am physically able to do the therapist job. And if I have extra time I want to fill, I might take up doing ESOL Conversation Program volunteering again, though this time for one-on-one tutoring.
Posted on | November 27, 2012 | 14 Comments
Yesterday, I finally finished coding and uploading my online resume/portfolio site that I opened in July… sans the portfolio section.
Coding has changed so much since I abandoned web designing years ago, and I had to practically relearn/learn crazy amounts of new things in order to make this layout work and function the way I wanted it to. It still has a few snags, which I still can’t figure out (mainly to do with fancyBox), and it still doesn’t have a portfolio, because I haven’t quite figured out how to handle that component, but the site and layout is at least finally up and working!
I hadn’t coded a layout from scratch in ages (well, aside from Version 1 of the site that I put up in July, with iFrames), so it was kind of refreshing to build something, little by little. But boy, did it take time and energy… And so much frustration! I wish I knew someone who is familiar with fancyBox, because I definitely struggled (and am still struggling) with it!
I practically completely remade the whole site (not that the previous version had much other than my resume in web format), so writing things and positioning things took a lot of glaring matches with the laptop screen as well. I fully utilized Notepad++ for the first time, too. I’d always used Notepad, so all this color/font coding and +/- collapsing shennigans took me off guard. But I’ve learned to figure it out, and it’s pretty useful in terms of looking at something, and immediately knowing where things are. I guess this is what coding looks like to my sister, who has synesthesia.
(She sees colors superimposed on numbers and letters, so reading or seeing anything written is a completely different experience for her than it is for most of us. And she’s a computer science & math major, too… So apparently she likes all the business! I don’t know how I would handle seeing so many colors everywhere I go.)
Thanksgiving… Black Friday…
My Thanksgiving break began on Thursday morning, when I went home from my apartment by the university, and went straight to yoga class. In the early afternoon, my family (sans my sister… she refused to come home yet again) and I went to our neighbor’s house to take part in their family/friends Thanksgiving feast. It was the first time in a while that I had a real Thanksgiving dinner, so it was nice, to be eating turkey and random things I usually don’t eat or try (the mashed potatoes with kale was actually pretty good).
I was planning on making another Thanksgiving post like I did last year (few weeks before neurosurgery), but I ended up not having time to. Though I really should have; I have so much to be thankful for. I don’t really subscribe to this whole “Pilgrims & Native Americans etc.” aspect of Thanksgiving, but I consider it as a personal day for me to give thanks to everything I’ve been blessed with in my life. But as with everything else… It slipped from my mind amidst the chaos.
On Black Friday, under the assumption that everyone would be 1) Too stuffed to get out, 2) Spending time with family, or 3) Shopping, my boyfriend, my mom and I headed to the National Zoo. Oh boy were we naiive! We ended up circling the zoo, looking for parking in its half a dozen to a dozen lots, and then going right on home.
Quite an understatement to say that my mother was a little upset… She had been talking about wanting to go to the zoo since last summer, after I was diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformation, and my conditions began to deteriorate. We will try going back once college lets out for winter break, when kids are still in school.
We ended up taking a walk in a horse trail we had never been to with the dogs and… My god that was one disastrous adventure! (Note to dog owners: Horse radish is very appetizing to pups…!) Afterwards, we went out for coffee with Mary at La Madeleine.
On Saturday, I spent the morning helping one of my dog park friends with planning how to redesign and remake his website for his construction business. I then went to my acupuncture appointment, then to Starbucks to get some lesson planning done, before having Spicy Tofu Soup for dinner at a Korean Tofu restaurant.
On Monday, I completely splurged on Amazon for Cyber Monday. Not sure how much I will regret this, but maybe once I get the items I ordered, I will… :P (By the way, Amazon is having Cyber Monday Deals Week, so their “Cyber Monday” will be lasting all week, in case you didn’t get to go shopping yesterday…
I’m such a wonderful influence, aren’t I?)
After work on Monday, in my “disabilities and incarceration” honors seminar, we voice chatted with Steve Lopez, the author of “The Soloist“ (which was also made into a movie of the same title). He was extremely nice and open, despite having a national best seller, being a popular columnist for LA Times, and even having had a movie made of him.
I think most of us in the class could only nervously laugh when he so casually recalled instances of talking to Robert Downey Jr. about his dilemmas pertaining to Nathaniel during the filming, or how nice and insightful he was.
OH JUST TALKING TO MY MAN, IRON MAN/SHERLOCK HOLMES, ABOUT MY DILEMMAS, NO BIG DEAL.
In all honesty, I have had a lot of really interesting and amazing opportunities while taking seminars in the Honors College, but this class has been on top with getting to meet/talk to ridiculously famous people who have done amazing things, with anyone from Steve Lopez, to Kay Redfield Jamison, to Pete Earley.
We even took a field trip a few weeks ago to New Beginnings, and also got to see abandoned Asylums and Youth Correctional Facilities that were shut down for their rampant abuse and terrible conditions (you can see some photos on my Flickr Account).
I have a lot of assignments, lesson plans, and projects to take care of before the next week and a half are over, and then have to deal with work situations (I am officially a substitute teacher now, which is what I will be doing over winter break aside from my usual tutoring), but I can almost feel the freedom…! Maybe… Not really. But maybe.
I am supposed to begin working as an Autism Therapist for a young man on the Autism Spectrum next semester, but I have yet to be able to get to meet them, because of all the chaos of Sandy, holidays, and hectic schedules on both sides. I have a few projects lined up, websites wise, so I hope to be able to get down to business with them fairly soon, too.
I feel like I am perhaps getting a little too dangerously close to a mania state, not sleeping as much (I got 2 hours of sleep last night, silly me… but something similar happened last week, too), and piling on more and more projects for myself. But hopefully, I can get them all done without too many issues or anxiety attacks.
Posted on | November 5, 2012 | 16 Comments
The 5K Run/Walk for Brain Injury Association was yesterday morning, and I can’t express my surprise and gratitude at the amount of support and generous donations that poured in for the fundraiser! I am just baffled at everyone’s generosity, anyone from my mother’s dogpark friends to my good college friends to high school friends to internet friends to people I don’t even know. The feedback was amazing, and my fundraising page raised $660 for the Brain Injury Association! I was stunned at the amount of money people were donating, and how many people stepped up for a cause that they had really no connection to, other than the fact that I was walking it, as a show of my recovery process from my own brain surgery.
Kind people at the Brain Aneurysm/AVM Support Group on Facebook were very supportive of me, and very generous with their congratulations as I completed the race.
It took me, Mary, and another friend who kindly agreed to walk it with us, almost an hour to finish the 5K, but at least we had fun! It was very chilly, but not too painfully so, and the wind didn’t begin picking up until the race was over, and I was treating myself to a frozen birthday cake for someone (I have no idea whose birthday it was…).
It was very hilly and convoluted, but Mary said she would like to run it next year with me, if I’m well enough by then (she’s a runner; we both ran cross country in high school, but it’s clear who actually enjoyed running, and who was doing it to prepare for another season of varsity tennis team in the spring…). I hope I can take on the challenge!
You can follow my Instagram account here, via INK361! (It’s a nifty browser based client that lets you see Instagram accounts on your computer, since Instagram itself isn’t technically accessible off mobile devices.)
I did finally make a Flickr account (I don’t remember what happened to my old account), and have made a photo album there for the race, and will be adding to it as I import my photos from my digital camera into my laptop (these pictures are from my cellphone).
Request for Resources for Arteriovenous Malformation
I have been looking at search key words that people using to find this blog, and have come to find that quite a few of the searches are AVM information related. And admittedly, I do not have much on here about AVMs, other than my introductory entry about my fight against it in 2011.
I feel that people who search these terms are probably newly diagnosed, or just recently found out that they or someone they love has this rare disorder, and wanted to find useful information on it.
In an effort to give back to the community that’s given me so much support through their experience and knowledge (mainly AVM Survivors Network, branch of Ben’s Friends Network), I am thinking about making a reference database where people who want information on Arteriovenous Malformation can go to find many reliable sources of information about it.
I know that I had a lot of difficulties finding information that was digestible for me, and accessible enough that I can share with my friends who have no background in neurology or medicine. And it would be nice if I could compile a huge archive of resources for people who are newly being introduced to this malformation, so that they do not have to be agitated with any more stress than they have going on in their lives now because of the new diagnosis. It was a very scary time period for me, my family, and I am sure many of my friends as well. Practically no one had ever heard of this strange thing, much less knew what it meant for me or my future.
And I’d like to make this as less painful as possible for other people.
This is where I am going to need your help. I do have some links and resources of websites, databases, support communities, and other resources that I have looked up during my journey in the past year and a half with this disorder, but I am sure there are a ton that I have missed.
If you know of any good websites or resources or support communities that you feel would be beneficial for people who are newly getting acquainted with Arteriovenous Malformation, Aneurysms, Stroke, Brain Injury, and any other conditions associated with AVMs, please leave a comment below with the link and the title, or a little comment on what you like about the page (just to make sure none of your comments accidentally get sent to the spam box that is very quickly filling up).
When I have time to sit down and work on this (maybe even Thanksgiving break- if not, then definitely during my winter break, which is coming up in a little more than a month), I will make all the links and information into a database and create a website for people to access, for their own information, and to use as a link to give out to friends and family that they may want to keep in the loop.
I am also contemplating on using the sources to write “introductory” information pages on AVMs for people who do not want to wade through countless pages of medical jargon trying to figure out what “Arteriovenous Malformation” even means.
Your assistance will be very much appreciated, not only by me, but also by anyone who will happen to stumble upon it while looking for information on this life changing health issue. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a note through the contact form, or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on | October 28, 2012 | 4 Comments
Mary and I will be walking a 5K next weekend in support of Brain Injury Association of Maryland‘s 7th Annual Scarecrow Classic 5K Run/Walk and 1 Mile Walk.
From Hiroko’s Page (my fundraising page):
This is the first race I am taking part in since I graduated high school after years of cross country, but also the first time I am taking part in an organized sport event since my brain surgery in December 2011.
I am planning on walking the 5K, as walking too quickly or up inclines never fail to make me ill, but I hope you’ll support me and my friend in raising money for the Brain Injury Association.
In medical jargon, I have “subjacent right anterior frontal subdural hygroma and left orbital frontal gyrus encephalomalacia” as results of my brain surgery. In layman’s terms, I have “scarring” or “some damage” on the left frontal lobe of my brain.
But I am back in school, on track to getting my degrees in order to teach Special Education, and I hope that the money raised through this race will help many other people who are not as fortunate as I was in recovery to get the most they can out of treatments and research.
Thank you very much for your help!
I’m actually shocked and in awe at the fact that my page raised almost $500 in less than a week. I am so thankful for my friends and people around me who are always so supportive of what I do… Even though I might end up in the ER after this. But the amount of money some people have donated is ridiculously high, considering they are getting literally nothing back for it, and I’m just going to be walking around for a cause they aren’t related to at all (except through me, of course, but my brain injury is not that major at all).
This was a really “on a whim” decision, since I randomly found an e-mail from our SCEC (our university’s chapter of Council for Exceptional Children) at maybe 1 or 2 am one night as I was checking e-mails on my iPad because I couldn’t sleep. I looked at it, looked at the location, saved the page on Instapaper so I didn’t lose the link, and texted Mary early next morning asking her if she wanted to walk this with me, and she agreed, so we both signed up that day.
This is the description of the race:
The 7th Annual Scarecrow Classic has two goals: 1) to raise funds for BIAM’s Maryland Brain Injury Resource Center, and 2) to raise awareness of brain injury in Maryland.
Mary is a runner, so I don’t know how much she is going to enjoy walking for 5 kilometers with me while everyone else is running, but since I can’t possibly run a 5K right now (I don’t even know if I’ll be able to walk all of the 5K, depending on how hilly it is…), she’s going to have to walk it with me. Not to mention it’s next week, so I barely have time to prepare to walk the silly thing, especially with all this hurricane none sense coming along!
This hurricane is supposed to be the biggest thing we’ve ever had on the East Coast (NYC has already shut down its subway system in preparation… I think it’s a tad too early for it though, when it hasn’t even made landfall), and apparently everything is sold out everywhere, including food, water, generators, etc. But where I live, we’re all still just going on our daily routines, not really giving Sandy much thought (even though the DC/metro area is supposed to be one of the most hard-hit areas). Radios and TV talks about how stores don’t have anything left, but my local grocery stores are still functioning as usual. Nothing is getting boarded up, and no one’s talking about it in any more than “Haha. There’s a hurricane coming. We should charge our laptops!”
I don’t really know what to think, since most of the times we made huge deals out of storms (snow storms and hurricanes both), it’s been a flop, but I’m charging my electronics and trying to find some more flashlights to take back to my apartment. I really hope they don’t shut down the DC metro like they did in NYC though. Having the federal government shut down one week before the presidential election can be quite problematic…
Some Snapshots From this Week
I just finished All God’s Children by Fox Butterfield a few hours ago (needed to have it finished by tomorrow). The full title of the book is, All God’s Children: The Bosket Family and the American Tradition of Violence, going back hundreds of years into the slavery times of the “tradition of violence” that followed Willie Bosket‘s family into the recent times. It begins with the Scotch Irish and their inclination to violence and violent problem solving skills in relations to their honor, going through their immigration into the colonial South, through the Civil War, whose concept of “Defend Honor with Violence” apparently simmered into the blood of their slaves as well.
Amazon: Willie Bosket was charming, magnetic, and brilliant. He was also the most cold-blooded criminal the New York State penal system had ever seen. By the time he was in his teens, he had committed over two hundred armed robberies and twenty-five stabbings. Fox Butterfield examines the heritage of violence that followed Bosket’s family from their days in slavery in South Carolina to the present.
Willie Bosket, whose violent murders of two men on the subway (there was a third victim, but he was never charged with that murder) caused for the Bosket Law (Juvenile Offender Act of 1978) to be passed in record time in New York, which allows for juveniles as young as 13 to be tried as adults for serious crimes, came from generations of violent convicts (he never met his own father because he was in jail all his life for murdering two men right before Willie was born). What is interesting about Willie and his father “Butch” and their family is that their IQ’s are ridiculously high. His father scored at IQ of 130, and while in prison, obtained his college degree with only 2B’s, being the first prison inmate to be accepted into Phi Beta Kappa, an honor society. After parole, he went on to attend graduate school and worked as a TA there as well as working full time as a computer programmer. He was revered to be one of the brightest people anyone he encountered had ever met, including professors and judges, and was considering going for his phD after he was done with his masters. He soon however got re-arrested in charges of rape of his girlfriend’s 6 year old daughter, and in the coming months, during a failed attempt at escape, shot his girlfriend and himself to death. Willie, like his father, was brilliant, but never got to liking school as his father had, and rejected scholarship. He did act as his own lawyer in many of his cases, doing exceptionally well, even getting praise from the judges. However, he remains locked up, with three consecutive 25 years ~ life in prison sentences for his felony convictions.
I personally felt that the book was much better off without the Epilogue (which was more of the author’s own manifesto of how things should be changed and what is wrong with America, instead of anything much about Willie Bosket or his family), but otherwise, it was very interesting read, and almost like a novel than a family biography (with a lot of historical context explained for those of us not so historically inclined with the Southern Slavery era).keep looking »