“Traveling through the graveyard with a suitcase full of sparks, honey I’m just trying to make my way to you.”
This song has been a near constant presence in my life for a year now, introduced to me by a close friend. It says so much, and yet is so ambiguous in my life, that it just… fits. It holds a special place in my heart, but to most people, they just hear the backing track on car commercials. It’s so much more, and it’s delightful to see how everyone interprets music.
For me, traveling has been a dream of mine. I’ve always wanted to visit places that only existed in books; Italy, Ireland, Scotland, London, just to name a few. When I think of traveling, I think of getting to see the mundane everyday things that people in those parts of the world find mundane. Seeing tourist attractions is nice, but has any of you just thought of standing near a canal and watching the water pass? I always think of wanting to do the things that everyone is bored by. Lay under the stars that look like home but aren’t home. Drink coffee from a foreign café and eat all the delicious foreign chocolates. My soul desires to wander and explore, but I know I can’t do it alone.
Whenever I dream of traveling far away, I think of doing it with someone I love. I thrive over the shared experience of new places. While I most likely could travel alone, it’s not something I prefer. I yearn to hold someone’s hand and pull them down a street in Denmark or Fifth Avenue in New York, singing Hamilton songs and being my cringy nerdy self. I dream of standing on the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset, just existing and watching everything around me. Of laughing and splashing in sandy beaches and warm water, appreciating that the ocean is much different from home. I don’t need fancy hotels or big attractions; I desire quiet inns and secret spots in foreign countries where all I must worry about is how much coffee is too much. Falling asleep on the sand at night, feeling alive just to be somewhere new. These are experiences I could do alone, but things I don’t want to do alone, for fear that my anxiety will turn these great experiences into nightmares. I’d rather be lost in France with someone close by my side and my dog, than just myself and Dodson. It lends a new layer of love for those memories that I will forever cling to.
My big dreams have been in part what has led me to feel like I don’t quite belong anywhere. When I think of where I’d like to live, the city is not one of them. I thrive on quiet and peace. I am mostly me when I am in nature, on a mountain or by the sea. I love the noises I hear being nature and myself and the people around me, not trains, buses, cars, and planes. California is not a wonderful place to be all the time, but it is my home, even if it doesn’t feel like home. Trust me, it doesn’t feel like home most times. But moving across the country by myself… does not hold the same joy as I would like it to be.
The song that I quoted earlier captures that notion for me; that I am simply traveling with a suitcase full of sparks to the place where I truly belong. Wherever that is, I only ask for my person to be there, because Lord do I have a lot of hugs to make up for. I am more reflective in this post and you must forgive me, but I am simply the blue-eyed dreamer that I’ve always been. I’ve just never had the chance to let most see where my mind goes to. I do hope that I haven’t completely frightened you all by my big dreams and my inner reflection for a post today. I think I am just writing what my heart is saying and letting time speak for itself. We’ll see. Remember this blog, future me. Also remember that you love kites ridiculously and snow. And water in general. Okay, time to go! ?

CW: This post might contain spoilers for the movies Speed, Booksmart, Unfriended: Dark Web, Soul Food, and Whiplash.
It’s raining and I am still stuck in bed. Welcome to my makeup blog post for day… 6? 7? All the days are blending together, I tell you! I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe and entertained during this weird time.
For those who have asked, Dodson is doing a lot better! He took a trip to the vet and they ran some tests, which came back negative! Unfortunately, they did find some ulcers in his mouth that may be stress related and in part from excessive chewing, so that’s the downside. Some meds and a consideration for a food change later and my boy is still his ever-present energetic pup. He’s recently acquired a new Kong Rambler toy and a Planet Orbee treat dispenser, so those things, along with his Buster Cube, are keeping him entertained. We’ve moved to playing fetch indoors, (sorry Mom), and he’s really gotten better with his recall and dropping the ball in my hands. I’m so proud that he continues to learn new things while we stay inside like the true hermits we’re meant to be.
As for me… eh, I’m alright. The antibiotics that were used to treat the earlier infection I had didn’t do their work, so I was prescribed a more aggressive antibiotic in the hopes that it’ll clear it up. The bad news is that is potentially not a bacterial infection as previously thought to be, but rather a viral infection. The good part? All these meds have me catching up on my sleep, which I suppose is great, right? Besides sleep, I’ve had the opportunity to watch a bunch of movies, even getting my friendMeka and Brandon in on the action. Let me just tell you… friends shouldn’t let friends watch crappy movies alone.
In the past couple days, I’ve convinced them to watch:
• Whiplash (Brandon’s suggestion)
• *Unfriended II (unfortunately my selection)
• * Booksmart (mine!)
• *Soul food (Meka’s choice)
• * Speed (Meka’s choice)
• * Monster’s University (Brandon and my joint picks)

o Not all these movies were winners. In fact, we often tease Brandon about not letting him ever pick which movie to watch, because he undoubtedly chooses movies that have ambiguous endings, include characters dying in slow, sad ways, or just leave us with a sense of being misled. Don’t get me wrong, he has fantastic picks sometimes, but the probability of me being sad at the end of one of his picks is almost 9 to 1. Whiplash’s ending was so… unsatisfying and literally ended on a down note that I was positively enraged with the fact that I sat through a 3-minute drum solo just for it to end the way it did. Let’s not forget that the car that was totaled probably didn’t have car insurance… these things stress me out, okay?
Meka’s choices were simultaneously fun, stressful, and full of moments where we had to pause so all the viewers could turn on her for her picks. Speed, while funny at times and full of action, let one of its characters die, not including the old lady that unfortunately “just had to go”. The high intensity of the movie had me fully invested and doubly anxious. Let’s not forget that for some reason, this movie loved to point out that Los Angeles just had unfinished freeways and subways all over the damn place. In turn, Soul Food was a heartfelt movie about togetherness, the importance of tradition and family, and oh yeah, did I mention that one of the REASONS for this fictional family’s strife is because THE MATRIARCH DIES? Not just that, but the narrator, who I might add is a little boy, is the last to see his beloved grandma before she suddenly dies AFTER WAKING UP FROM A FIVE WEEK COMA. What, the, actual, f**k, Meka? What, the actual.
I convinced Brandon to watch Unfriended: Dark Web with me, and let’s face it, that movie was awful. It was supposed to be horror and thriller, but sometimes films deserve a category specifically dedicated to really crappy plot, action, and conclusions. We were, to put it mildly, disappointed about how this came to a head and let’s just say, I’ll take Unfriended versus its sequel any day. In sharp contrast, Booksmart featured NO ONE DYING and a plot where two Yale and Columbia bound high school senior girls try to have a wild night before graduation to prove that they can party. Needless to say, everything bad that could have happened, did happen. It was sentimental, funny, cringy, and all around really made me smile. There’s no point mentioning Monster’s University, because if you’re a kid at heart, you’d know the smile this Pixar movie gave all of us.
o At the end of the day, I really love watching movies that are cringy, fun, slightly romantic, and paranormal and horror. (Not all at once, don’t get the wrong idea!) I’ve not found anyone who is willing to sit through horror/thrillers, so I find them less enjoyable then watching with a fellow nerd. I need to convince the one person I do know who likes horror to watch movies with me sometime. But these two have made being sick as enjoyable as it could be. I’ve planned to have Meka watch all the Twilight movies and take a shot for every cringetastic moment that is guaranteed to make us all recoil. I hope everyone is well and that you find the one good thing during this chaos. I’ll work on feeling better, whereas you all work on staying awesome.

Boy am I behind on the #UltimateBlogChallenge! Howdy everyone! I apologize for the late post, yesterday was a whirlwind of spoiling Dodson for his fourth birthday, learning how to use my new Instant Pot, among other things. I wanted to post another post that never made it online. To celebrate my furry love’s very special birthday, here’s the story of when I met my first guide dog, Dodson!
Hello everyone! I am back after a much needed break while I worked on my studies and took care of my mental health. For the most part, my life has been extraordinarily boring, except for the latest (and greatest), change in my life. So without further ado……
Welcome to the family, Dodson! Dodson is a 57 pound, 2-year-old happy go lucky, fluffy, cuddly golden retriever. He also happens to be my guide dog. Yep, your girl finally went and did her long awaited, (approximately 18 month waiting), formal two week training up in San Rafael with Guide Dogs for the Blind. I recently graduated with Dodson on Saturday, June 23 on GDB’s campus, surrounded by friends, love, and SO MANY EMOTIONS, AHHHHHH!
There is much I want to talk about, including the school, my experiences, everything. I will save all of this for later. Right now, I want you to just get a glimpse at the marvel of my life with Dodson, (so far).
On Monday, June 11, 2018, I waited in Suite 112 of GDB’s San Rafael campus with bated breath. I was on the phone with my (then) boyfriend and frantically chatting messages to my friends on Skype, telling them that my instructor was on his way with my puppy. CUE PANIC! Every three minutes or so, I would glance at the clock, fiddle with my digital recorder, and twist the brand new leather leash that my RA had given me to do the CEREMONIAL LEASH CLIP when my dog was introduced to me.
I glanced at the clock: 1:10 P.M. I knew my instructor had said he would be coming around 1:00, so where was he? He only had to give another guide to my classmate and myself, so what was taking him SO LONG!!!!!! (I know, overdramatic, right?) In the Skype group, my friends were taking bets on gender, name, and sex. I was desperately afraid of getting a guide named Fred. I mean really… I couldn’t imagine myself on a street corner going, “Good job Fred! Good boy!” I couldn’t do it with a rolled up rug that was in a harness called Juno, I wasn’t going to do it with a Fred. I know, high maintenance.
I glanced at the clock again: 1:15. COME ON, WHAT IS TAKING YOU SO LONG! As I paced my room, feeling frantic as my hands worried over the leash and I stopped paying attention to Skype and my phone, I began to worry. What if, after all those Juno walks and obedience training from this morning, my instructor couldn’t find me a match? What if he was taking so long because he didn’t know how to break the news to me? And what if, the overwhelming fear that I had been feeling for almost two weeks prior to class… what if my dog hated me? These were some of the things swirling in my mind as I decided to change my shoes. Now, I fondly remember waking up at 5:30 that morning and while getting dressed, I said out loud, “I wonder if my dog will think I look good in this?” I KNOW, THE CRINGE IS REAL. It was like auditioning for the Bachelor, you guys. VERY HIGH KEY EMOTIONAL.
After plopping down on my bed, I placed my binaural mics behind my ears, fiddling and pressing buttons until I was all set up. And then….
THE.
KNOCK.
I hung up the phone, jumped to my feet, and even before my instructor could get through his whole sentence, I wrenched open the door. Then… I heard nothing. No panting, no claws clicking on the ground and no tags jangling. I immediately began to despair. But my despair was cut short when my instructor asked me to take a seat in my low armchair before he brought a surprise in. With bated breath, I hurried across my room and sat, expectant. Suddenly, this great big flurry of fur, tail, and tongue exploded into the room and headed towards me. I just remember my jaw dropping and my instructor laughing as this great big fuzzball collided into me, nearly rocking my chair backwards. “Meet Dodson, 57 pounds, 23 and a half inches, golden retriever and son of Maureen and Partner.” But I could barely hear my instructor anymore. I was overwhelmed. I was getting kisses and love and just… this amazing buzz of energy through my veins from the presence of this four legged creature. With trembling hands, I clipped my leash to the live ring on his collar as my instructor knelt to unclip his. Then I threw my arms around Dodson, the best thing of my entire life. He was so excited, tail wagging, tongue lapping at any opportunity, just this burst of sunshine that blazed into my room. I was in love.
After my instructor left to give us some alone time, I cuddled and snuggled with my brand new pillow puppy. He was so energetic, that I decided to heal walk him around my room, giving him pets and loads of love along the way. I think we were so entranced with each other because neither of us realized that the closed door was fast approaching. We both unwittingly slammed into it, and I burst into laughter and tears, because this dog was for me. He was equal parts calm, quirky, sassy, and just all around the best thing ever.
And so it began our adventure. For two weeks, we trained, got to know each other, got comfortable with each other’s likes and dislikes. He loves tug toys and interactive play. He doesn’t run around a lot. He knows when I want business and when I want cuddles. We get each other. Now I am not going to say that this wasn’t challenging. It is hard to blindly (quite literally), put your trust into a dog. It’s weird when you do your first walk together and you feel the way he moves and the harness handles in your grasp. It was also hard to give him corrections or to pattern stop or passable clearances that he still managed to run me into. No matter what he did, incident or not, I couldn’t find a flaw in Dodson. We were often found snuggling with each other in GDB’s downtown lounge in San Rafael, or with him patiently at my feet as I did homework while I waited my turn to do routes. Nonetheless, Dodson is my main squeeze.
Above all, what was hardest for me with Dodson was getting comfortable enough to set my introverted, shy and easily embarrassed self aside to kneel down on the street corners to give him some love. I would give him a food reward and a few pets and “good boys” here and there, but I was soon taught that Dodson needed a big red carpet event as his praise. (I told you he was a diva) This boy needed chest rubs, butt rubs, and some kisses and ear scratches to get his tail wagging and his confidence booming. And I wasn’t comfortable with that. I am shy, so putting myself out there and making me be obvious to other people was what was hindering me the most. I was used to giving dogs love, but not to a Dodson extent. After several reminders from my class instructor and supervisor though, it got better. It got immensely better.
By the time graduation rolled around, I felt like I had been with Dodson my whole life. When I went out without him, I found myself reaching out for his warm, comforting presence and was immensely sad when I didn’t find him. Graduation was amazing, full of lots of tears, happiness, and just… wow. You could feel the emotion in the air. Everyone who held that mic cried, not joking. This just goes to show the power and care and just… overwhelming love that Guide Dogs for the Blind provides. I can say with certainty that GDB was my Great Miracle of 2018. They gave me love, support, strength, confidence, and most importantly, Dodson.
I will continue to write, including my experiences with GDB, their services, and my continued adventures with Dodson. I would like to publicly extend my wholehearted gratitude to Guide Dogs for the Blind for taking such good care of me and my pup as we trained, and for having such a loving, caring community that I am proud to be a part of. I would also like to extend a warm and heartfelt thank you to Dodson’s puppy raisers, Chloe and Tyler. I wouldn’t have him without you. And finally, thank you to everyone at Guide Dogs for the Blind for being the place where not only long-lasting partnerships, but also long-lasting friendships are made.
If you’d like to learn more about Guide Dogs for the Blind and their amazing team and community of volunteers, visit their site. And if you happen to find yourself in Austin Texas, give a shout and a wave to the Austin Texas Puppy Club and Dodson’s raisers for the loving sweet boy they’ve raised. Happy birthday, Dodson!

Hello! Welcome to day 2 of the #UltimateBlogChallenge! I am reposting a blog I wrote a while ago as today has been one of those days of sheer exhaustion. Dodson has an upset stomach and waking up in the middle of the night is draining on my already minimal sleep. For your reference, the Lee in this post is in fact the same Lee who helps with my Facebook page. He adds photo captions for my blind readers, as well as being the designer of the logo! I love him dearly and you’ll see he has never stopped being a wonderful friend. Please enjoy these memories I share with you in all their endless joy.
Ah, college. For most, these are the four golden years of youth, debauchery, and perhaps most memorable, student loans. Many think that being visually impaired, this would mean that my experiences are far and few in between. I can tell you, they certainly were not. The blindies can party hard, (and hardly party, but that’s beside the point!)
when I think of college, I fondly refer to my brief stint at UC Santa Cruz. I attended that beautiful; green campus for two quarters. Through torrential rain, demonic turkeys, and rising house prices, that campus embodied many things for me. It embodied a new chapter of my life, one filled with independence and problem solving of my own. I was living 320 some odd miles away from home, so I literally put myself in the middle of nowhere. And I loved it.
Whilst there, I became friends with this amazing human named Lee. He was everything you wanted in a college best friend: quirky, spontaneous, adventurous, and a Gilmore Girls fan. (he never finished the series, whereas I have watched it about four times now.) it was Lee that accompanied me in almost all my favorite college memories. I’m forever grateful to have him in my life. I’ll see if I can find that picture of us with the infamous Squiggle up on social media somehow.
The Night of the Slurpee
So, it looks like we’re starting backwards in storyland. The Night of the Slurpee happened two nights before Lee left UCSC, a whole week before I could leave. (he only stayed for two quarters as well.) one of his best friends from back home came to help us pack up his things, so instead of making this a sad, let’s-all-cry-and-pretend-our-lives-are-ending, we turned it into a party. We camped out in his cramped dorm room on the sixth floor, cramming three humans with WAY too much stuff and WAY too many energy drinks into a space that could barely fit one person. We gossiped and ate junk food, playing our favorite songs and generally not giving a damn about what was going on outside of room 611. we wanted to give Lee the best possible sendoff ever. we had PLANS! But those plans 1ladies and gentlemen, did not curb the sudden, unquenchable craving for Slurpee’s.
You would think that the time being 2:30 A.M. would have deterred me from my best, yet worst, idea ever, right? Apparently not. I suggested to my two sighted, no car possessing friends that we make a trip to 7-Eleven in downtown Santa Cruz. It’s a twenty-five-minute walk in shady, unlit areas with tons of hills and plenty of terrors for two young women and their male friend. But hey, Slurpee’s, right? (we have priorities!) Either way, I convinced my friends to get dressed, (of course in our fluffy PJ’s, with one of us going so far as to wear reindeer fluffy slippers.) Those slippers defined us, I swear.
When we finally made it down to the ground floor, (we had to stop to “what are thoooose!” the iconic slippers. We were very much in 2017, I tell you. We quickly realized that buses stopped running, so that PROBABLY meant that our favorite bus driver was NOT driving Route 16. We quickly decided to catch an Uber, which would have been the safest thing to do, were it not for the fact that our driver was A: completely eerily silent, but B: sped off, leaving us in his literal dust when we arrived. (side note, at no point during this did we stop to consider that 7-Eleven might have been closed. The Slurpee cravings are real.) Needless to say, we got our Slurpees. The power of the reindeer slippers and our over energized entrance and complete takeover of that shady 7-Eleven was the only thing that deterred the store owner from possibly calling the cops on us. As most SC residents called it, we were “the problem slugs”.
Redwoods, Ghosts and Bongs
Another of my favorite memories occurred earlier in that same month with Lee. I may or may not have ditched class for the first day of spring. By this point, I had lost most of my vision, so I relied on him to tell me when to duck, dive, or otherwise avoid the treacherous terrain. We took a walk through the marvelous redwoods, and it was perhaps the most down-to-Earth experience I’d ever had. Being newly and completely blind, I was exposed to the many gifts that our redwood forest had to offer. The ground was thick with moss, everything was green, and it SMELLED so beautiful and clean, something living in Southern California for my entire life never offered me. I got to feel the dappled sunlight and hear the scurry of animals that are so often found in fantasy books. I felt like I had been transported to an entirely new world.
We trudged through the forest for what felt like hours but what was only about two. when we emerged in a clearing, we found ourselves in Porter Meadow. This meadow is not only famous for being haunted, but it’s also famous for being the den of most parties, drug exchanges, and hippie fun times. Being from a relatively drug-free lifestyle, I’d never really been exposed to weed, bongs, vapes, and all the other paraphernalia. So, when we stumbled across a shirtless hippie dude lounging with a boom box and a bong about two feet tall, boy was I amused. He was higher than possibly the nearest mountaintop, so he didn’t realize we were there, but he was so utterly calm, that the meadow itself felt somehow different from the rest of the forest.
From there, we somehow made our way back into downtown Santa Cruz, where we caught a bus and stumbled our way to the beach, where choppy waters raked the sandy beaches and tumbled rocks and wood haphazardly. So, in true Nat style, this meant that I had to roll up my jeans as far as they could go and charge into the ocean.
It’s at this point that I’d like to point out that I may have been very courageous, or just high on life. I like the latter, personally. I splashed around, getting myself completely soaked in clean fresh ocean water. Lee and I took pictures, grinning like idiots and simply…. lived. No phones, no worries about school, no expectations. Just the idea of living in that moment, basking in the sun and enjoying each other’s company.
I could go on and on about my adventures in Santa Cruz. Although I missed my family very much, including the birth of my nephew and several other personal things, my time away from SoCal taught me that certain parts of life were, ultimately, good. Wholesome. Meaningful. It taught me to not only appreciate my newfound independence, but to appreciate nature, friendships, and most importantly, it taught me to appreciate myself and to nurture my adventurous side. always, a banana slug, albeit more turtle now. Perhaps I will one day write about the time I ended up in a knee brace at UCSC, or my two no good, terrible, really bad roommates, or even my one really great roommate and her partner, but that will have to be for another day. Advocacy never stopped, not even in dreamy Santa Cruz, but I had an amazing support system ready to welcome me. But alas, another story for another day.