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Aquarius in 2009

I thought a change to a more light hearted mood in an entry would be nice. I wandered onto astrology.com to look up my sign. I was raised to not believe in zodiac signs, but as I’ve gotten older, I find following my sign entertaining, and sometimes eerily right on. What follows is a summary of the year 2009. I’ll try to get around to posting general sign traits at some point.

Aquarius for the Year 2009


Aquarius is all about a new vision in 2009, and working to move our planet toward the highest and healthiest quality of life.

You are highly energized with this wonderful alignment, and your inspiration is rekindled to move energy in grandiose ways. You are able to utilize these high frequencies in order to create new structure and value in people's lives.

This is no time to sit back and let anything slip through your fingers. Express yourself and move forward with your visionary ideas. As you forge ahead, you find a reworking of meaning on a deep level, and discover possibilities as you connect with your highest star.

Your ideas have always been ahead of the times, and now you are a shining example of what the Earth force can assimilate into everyday living. You realize that the world was created with structure, and outdated modes of living that no longer serve mankind are being recognized around the world. It's time to let go of anything that holds you back. New thinking is on the horizon, and people are ready to align with the quickly changing energies of the planets. Your leadership skills will help humanity make these shifts, and you will feel supported by those who understand the need to create peace and harmony.

Be inventive in channeling your dreams into reality. As you find a place to manifest this energy, it will become easy for you to usher in a better world. The time to realize your highest ideals is here!


Your imagination needs a creative outlet for you to do your best at work. Trust that you have a place in the world that welcomes your gifts of awareness and altruistic vision. Your career will bring about transformation, as you realize it's all about manifesting universal principles of truth.

Your associates give you the space and support you need to do your work, and they're prepared to make the necessary shifts for change in their lives as well. You may need to push beyond your own boundaries, and identify with the universal source.

Your personal confidence and brilliance shine. You are tremendously motivated as people applaud your inspirational ideas. You are ready to manifest the highest potential for your children and the future. The high energy you're working with will result in material prosperity, which helps you continue to make forward shifts in your own life, as well as bring hope to society. As you continue to be connected inwardly and outwardly, you truly make an impression on those around you.


You have an innate talent of attracting like-minded people, but sometimes you can be reluctant to express affection individually because of your broad love for mankind. You are often more energized by people responding to your positive ideals rather than to who you really are. You are so enthusiastic in serving mankind that you sometimes leave yourself out of the equation.

This spring, you're likely to encounter someone who appreciates you in a way that injects enthusiasm into your life. As the year progresses, share that deepening of yourself and you may find that you're actually ready to having an intimate relationship. The energy between you two may lead to a passionate -- as well as idealistic -- relationship.

As you start trusting and accepting that your inner desires are just as important (if not even more so) as helping others, you'll begin to have a deeper understanding of who you are. Tuning in to your partner's spiritual outlook is a great opportunity to align yourself with becoming more expansive as a couple. Being in a close relationship helps you heal and transform your fear of closeness. Together, you and your partner can radiate idealism, leading to a new and better future.


So…I started out with the intention of righting a serious entry about the state of people with disabilities and consumerism as it pertains to service dogs. But then I kind of got side tracked by a barista named Nate.

Today just keeps getting better and better. Last night was a super fun night. Carlie and I went to the symphony to see a one night only performance by Mariza, an amazing Fado singer. Fado style music is like a hybrid of American Blues and Spanish Flamenco. She told us that in Portuguese, Fado means “destiny”, sometimes in the happy sense and sometimes in the unhappy sense. It was a fantastic experience, and would not have been the same had it not been live. Sitting in a concert hall with hundreds of other people that are experiencing the same thing as you, and trying to interprete music that is in a different language, was nothing short of a cultural experience to say the least.  

 Then I woke up this morning and dug out a cute springesque outfit since it is 78 degrees here today. Well, I was running across the catwalk when a classmate told me that developmental psych had been cancelled. Hallelujah! So I altered my course of travel and have landed at Starbucks. The guy behind the counter started chatting with me and then offered to bring my drink to me so I wouldn’t have to wait. How often do you get that kind of service at Starbucks? For $5, the drink should walk itself over to you. But, the brutal reality is that all of us gather around a tiny counter in our over sized satchels and stand indefinitely in heals, hoping with a fervor similar to that of over eager parents that have had their private school aspiring toddler waitlisted, that the next drink up will be ours. But, today, I skipped this ritual and was booted up before you could say, “grande light ice caramel macchiato”. He brought my drink to me, and as I removed my white ear buds from my ears, he asked me if I was using JAWS on my computer. (JAWS is a program that makes computers fully functional to the blind). A genuine smile splashed across my face as I asked him how he knew about JAWS. He explained that he had a blind friend growing up. He lightly touched my shoulder as he set my drink down at the table beside me. He introduced himself, and all I have to say is…same place, same time tomorrow ;)  

I’m at one of my favorite places. The Starbucks on 21st is notorious for having hot baristas.
I come here to get my flirtation fix along with my caffeine fix ;) There is a small grouping of deliciously comfortable velvet chairs clustered around a fireplace. I’ve passed a lot of thought provoking time in these chairs. This Starbucks is kind of special in the sense that this is where I had my interview for Vandy, a year ago next week actually. In so many ways, it doesn't seem that long ago. Time has flown, which is a new phenomenon for me since I feel like my life drug for 20 years. However, when I think about whom I was a year ago and who I am now, they are different people.

Now I'm not going to go on and on in some existential sense about how I've “changed” and I'm so much “better” now. All I know is that now, consistently, when I wake up in the morning I do not immediately feel a pang of deeply rooted discontentment with where I am and what I am doing. I'm finally happy. Of course I ride the emotional train that sometimes derails, but my baseline emotion defaults to happy and somewhat optimistic. This just goes to show that I've finally made the right choice for me. What may ultimately make it right though is that it is the first decision I've made, and worked tirelessly to achieve. Ending up here, even if for only a while, was my Fado.



When life gives you lemmons, go to Lime

So, I just wanted to take the time and reflect on what a chill week it has been. I stayed in Nashville for spring break, and after some apprehension, am glad that I did. I got a lot of work done at the beginning of the week, but had a lot of fun for a change. Yeah…going to have more to do than I would have liked once classes resume though. My master plan was to actually get ahead in a couple classes, but instead I opted for lazy shopping trips with friends where we primarily just hung out and had plans almost every night this week.

Housekeeping hasn’t come by in a couple weeks, and my place is a bit out of sorts. Funny thing is though, I don’t even care all that much. Usually, the cleanliness is a reflection of my current state of mind. But, this week, it has not been a glass ball revealing my inner state of turmoil. I just haven’t had a maid come in and I’ve been too busy and happy to care.

I’ve broken out of routine this week. I’ve met some awesome new people that I like very much and hope that friendships will grow, and most importantly, strengthen. So, there is this “new experiences” theme that has always run through my journal. The first was probably saying peace to my family and really and truly being 100% on my own in a city that I’ve grown to love. What I’m currently working on is making new and interesting friends. As a consequence of this more gregarious personality, the desire to try new places has been raised. (Time out-I’m  very much a creature of habit. Once I find a coffee place, bar, sushi restaurant, etc, that I love, I am a regular.) I’ve recently felt the desire to hit City Search and get outside of the Vanderbubble more. (PS, The Vanderbubble refers to how Vandy kids sometimes never get out of the immediate area surrounding campus.) I used to laugh about it as being a joke, but it really is true, and I ultimately got sucked in.

In an effort to try something new, this leads me to my fave memory of the week. Carlie, Alex and I ended up with a reservation at Lime. Which is this Latin fusion place downtown. There is no way to describe it other than “hyper trendy”. But, me being me, I thoroughly buy into and enjoy that kind of stuff. They make the most amazing drinks, which of course is the most important part ;) They hand squeeze the juices, which means I think I’m spoiled when it comes to drink mixes now. I am a Denver Jamba Juice girl, and can taste the difference between fresh and concentrate from a mile off. So, Lime’s cocktails were a pleasant treat! But here is the funniest part, or maybe it was just to me since I’d followed a golden apple martini with a banana cocktail. What we had thought was parking originally turned out to not be free parking. Or so said the chains that had been put up around all the exits. Well, they hadn’t been there before, and none of us knew what to do. It turns out it was parking reserved for Arbys. So while we were driving around the lot thinking, I had just decided that we’d have to figure out some way to obtain Arby’s to avoid getting ticketed and get out of the lot, when Carlie decided fuck it and took her little yellow VW bug named Gretel around the chain over a curb and onto the street. Who says cute little cars weren’t meant for off-roading ;) What would I do without fun and innovative people? These girls are great, and kept me happily occupied on a break that could have been super lonely. There has also been some other friend related drama that has taken place lately, but it has been mere background noise this week. Just goes to show, when life gives you lemons, go to Lime ;)  Love Ya’ll!




Angels in the Form of Bus Drivers

Writer’s Note: I wrote this entry last November when I was really struggling against firmly held departmental beliefs about the place of teachers with disabilities in education. This was a very special experience for me that helped me regain perspective on the bigger picture. In my first journal entry ever, I pointed out that what I’m doing here is not just about me. I just had to be reminded by this amazing gentleman.

I’ve wavered on issues of faith since childhood, but one thing I’ve always held to be firmly true is that we meet Angels every day. Those people that do or say something that resonates with us and causes us to pause and gain insight to a situation causing us Burdon.

My most recent encounter came this morning while flying out of the apartment in heals with one hand in the Lucky Charms box while grabbing my computer bag at 6:48 am. I’m obnoxiously perky in the morning and nothing quite puts a spring in my step like heals and a set agenda for the day. The driver and I got into a lively conversation about politics, which somehow turned into a conversation about being glad to just have a job in today’s economy.

He shared something he wished he would have known when he was younger. He said that sometimes people just have to agree to disagree. Knowing when to agree with someone, but still remaining true to your own beliefs is an art. He pointed out that when we are young, we are feisty and think everyone has to agree with us, and if they don’t, by God they’re wrong and we’ll get them to our side eventually.

I perked up, because of course this is what I’ve been going through lately. There is no room for Federationism at Vanderbilt. I’ve began to compromise on the type of cane I sometimes use and change the way I refer to blind students in my academic writings. I’ve been deeply concerned that I’ve not just been compromising at an academic level. These tools and alternative techniques of blindness make me who I am as a Vanderbilt student, a Theta, a Christian, and yes, as a person that happens to be blind. Using a longer cane, acknowledging my blindness openly and honestly, and becoming adept at the necessary skills were a process by which I became comfortable with myself. Changing these aspects of me I fear may change my fundamental outlook on what I can accomplish and what blind people in general are capable of.

The last thing he said to me was that "Its all about survival." He looked right at me when he said this, and there was an expectant pause. I looked back at him for a second, vowed to remember the advice of this very wise man and walked into TSB, heals clicking, cane waving, and ready for another day. Hoping that by getting up and bringing my beliefs about blindness with me, I might help a child in some small way. Sure enough, I did.


The Steve Entry

Here it comes, the Steve entry. It has been nearly two months since we hugged and said goodbye in the parking lot on that frigid January day. After nearly four years of being close friends and not having dated since 2006, he informed me that he could not be in communication with me what so ever until he can “get over” me.

I granted him his space without ever being upset. I know this is what he needs. He had an image of marriage in his mind, whereas I went as far as best friends. It wouldn’t be fair to me to have clung to him through a period he so clearly needs to grow as an individual, on his own. However, I do expect him to not be a child about it. Which he proved today that these glimpses of immaturity are one reason why he and I are ultimately incompatible.

I was checking Face Book after Jazz this afternoon. I noticed that Steve had modified his profile a few minutes before. He hasn’t been on Face Book for over six months, so needless to say I was surprised to see him pop up on my feed. I saw an update towards the bottom of the screen that said, “Steve went from single to in a relationship.” I felt a sort of tightening in my chest. Not anger or sadness or fear, but a sort of anticipation mixed with surprise. It is a feeling I rarely get because it is so palpable, but usually occurs right before reading an email of foreboding or great promise, or some type of event like that. This response gave me pause. If I’m having involuntary emotional responses, he is not out of my life and mind. Not that I’ve particularly tried to emotionally expunge him. He said he would come back, and I believe him. However, he is making a fundamental assumption in all of this. He is assuming that he will be able to take all the time he needs, call me when it suits him, and I will still have the same amount of room for him in my life. To an extent, I think that is unfair. He filled a significant need in my life for friendship, for compassion. Him suddenly walking away from me leaves a gaping hole in that regard. He can’t really expect me to suffer through the absence, just waiting for him to “deal”. When he does finally make that call, I’m not so sure things will ever be the same. In an attempt for him to deal with his feelings so radically, I’m afraid the nature of our long term relationship will be irreversibly altered.

He had changed his status to “Steve is going out for his favorite wings with some of his favorite people.” I was struck with this sudden feeling that he was so close. I mean..I haven’t gone this long without as much as a text from him in years. I wanted to let him know somehow that I wasn’t angry. A lot of girls would have gotten in the car that day, and gotten bitter over time and just decided fuck it and move on. I do not feel that way. I want him to be OK, and know he can come back to me whenever he is ready. I didn’t want to post on his profile or do anything that would be too direct in order to respect his wishes. I changed my status to “Carrie is thinking that one of her favorite people is missing.” Later, he made a direct status comment on my profile that said, “He is…but it isn’t his fault.” Damn. Well, congrats, he made me feel another emotion today, pissed off.

When people are bad for one another, it is easy to make a clean break. Looking back isn’t a problem, because I intellectually know that it is destructive and will in no uncertain terms end badly. However, when someone is just not right for me, that is different. “Right” is a relative term. What is right for me now will probably be different than what will be in ten years. These are not necessarily positive or negative characteristics that make up Mr. Right. Whereas relationships that are bad are easily quantifiable and therefore disposed of. Jerry, Marco and more recently and sadly, Joseph…. bad. Steve … just not Mr. Right, Mr. Right now.

In a moment of frustration, Steve has accused me of being disconnected and independant to a fault. Well, Steve, that isn’t true. I wish I were strong enough to let you go entirely, but I’m not. Actually, I’m glad I’m not. Strong is often a word others have used to describe me. If we are being real though, a lot of that “strength” is lack of feeling. I do still care, regardless of why or if it should be. Even in your absence, you are a reminding force that I still have the capacity to care.



Extroversion in Colorific Clash

So, I felt the need to take a quick time out and say a bit about the recent theme change. I’m a little torn about it. It is so far from the delicate designs and harmonious colors I prefer. But there is something about the screaming colorfulness of it all, the bold hard lines, the abrupt and somewhat unexpected changes in the pattern progression that are the perfect expression of my life in this exact moment. But mainly, the overall sense of happiness is what leaves an impression, for the first time in 21 years.



The Fine Art of Ringtone Selection

I was ringtone shopping today, and yes, ringtone shopping for Joseph too. I came across a ringtone called “Miss Independent" by Ne-Yo. It occurred to me that that is what I want my boyfriend to pick out for my ringtone. The song basically says that she is independent, and that is why he loves her. He wants her to spend time with him, not because she has to, but because she wants to. When I find a guy that thinks about me like that, then we’ll be on the equal playing field that I will never find with a lot of guys. If they expect to do  for me all the time just because I am blind, or even just because I’m a girl, that will never work for me. All guys want to take care of girls to an extent. And I do like to be taken care of. I’m the kind of girl that can go all day in 3 inch heels, drink Starbucks with one hand while applying make up with the other while making it between classes in record time. But, I like having someone at the end of the day that likes me with or without the constant upkeep and so called “look at me” accomplishments and is just fine hanging out in the evenings in a t-shirt. Not all the time, but just an occasional evening in is nice. I am not “super blind” 100% of the time. Super blind basically means having above average accomplishments in the non-disabled world, and making it look like a disability doesn’t impact me in the slightest way. Basically, I have overcome, listen to me roar. I’ve found that some guys are attracted to that, but it doesn’t go any further than my ability to apply perfect make-up or maintain a 4.0.

At least I know what I want, but I think in some ways it limits me too. However, if anything, I’ve become more open to life lately rather than closed off to it. I’m like Benjamin Button, kind of living things in reverse. I was such an uptight 40 year old woman from childhood on. At 21, I’m finally feeling like a teenager a bit more; open to new things and actual weekends out.

Writer's Block: Titular Heroes

Kurt Vonnegut's books have great titles, like Breakfast of Champions and Slaughterhouse Five. If your life was a novel, what would the title be?

So the problem with starting a journal in a turbulent part of my life is that I’m overwhelmed with what to write about. It is times like these when reverting to the writer’s block section is a good idea.

Is it wrong I’ve actually thought about this before? When I hopefully come out the other side of all of this with an advanced degree, a sliver of sanity and people who love me, it will be one hell of a story of overcoming obstacles.

The trick with a book title is that you don’t want to be a shock jock, but you want it to be sufficiently gripping or mushy to interest those that peruse the shelves at Davis Kidd.

The title of my autobiography would be “Soaring with Clipped Wings” A little dramatic maybe, but the best I could do for the mood I was in when I actually sat down once last year and did a chapter outline. And no, I’m not that egocentric as to think anyone would ever want to read about my life. I was just out of the habit of journaling and found some sort of comfort in getting the buried memories out of my mind and on the screen. It just felt like they were real and I wasn’t just carrying them around inside of me anymore. Then it got shoved to the depths of my hard drive and I’ve not really even thought about it until I saw this writing prompt.

While I’m thinking about other things that have gotten forgotten, I started writing a “novel” according to my 9 year old mind called “A Blazing Heart of Hope”. I think I was channeling Danielle Steel, (smile). It began with a teenager waking up to her house burning. She was making her way out and had vivid memories of emotional significance of things that were burning and we learn that her mother lived with her in that house her entire life until her mother passed away a few years ago. When she makes it out, we met her dad who is just arriving home and then the story progressed into her taking time at a ranch and healing from her mother’s death while growing into a strong young woman. Not bad for a nine year old. But yet another thing that got started and never finished.

I guess on some level I’ve always been a bit fascinated with people that have survived situations beyond their control. My whole life I’ve been telling myself that other people have done it, so I can too. I don’t consider myself a survivor by any means. But I do think of myself as highly resilient. The problem with growing up in such an abusive environment is that my resilience knows no limits. My resilience escalated into guardedness and even stand offishness at times. Defining normal social behaviors and my own age appropriate personality has been an ongoing process. As long as I can remember, I’ve always heard that I was so mature for my age. I always took it as a compliment, but now I’m not so sure it was a good thing at all. I missed out on a lot of things in my youth that were supposed to be “fun”. I often feel myself judging other people’s silly moments as immature rather than joining in. It has been such a long time since I’ve taken this giant stick out of my… I’ve not figured out the balance between getting a little crazy and then getting down to business. I would probably be a lot happier individual if I did. But to be completely honest, I’ve not really tried due to fear of making a mistake I’d have to live with. Up until this point, I’ve never once done something that would be followed by the remark, “I was young and stupid”.



One Girl Revolution

I feel this journal will become the resting place for many experiences over the next three years during my time at Vanderbilt University. Let's cut to the chase, what makes my journal different from the hundreds of thousands of others out there? OK, STOP! You are not allowed to read any further until you've read my bio and looked over my interests. Got what you think I might be like in your mind? OK, well now throw in one more little detail, I'm blind. This journal is not about blindness. It is about overcoming the odds and with what I hope is a sufficient amount of courage and some unbelievably supportive people in my life, doing something that has never been done before.

I’m earning my degree in special education with an emphasis in visual disabilities. That’s the official title. I call the position “teacher of blind students”. What is fascinating about this little sociological study is that there are deeply divided positions on how blind people should be educated. Time out, there is a camp that believes the word blind is a dirty word and that visually impaired is more appropriate. Let’s call it what it is. If you don’t drive, don’t see everything the way someone with 20/20 does, you are legally blind. Blind isn’t that much of a stretch. People hide behind labels such as visually impaired to feed their denial of their situation. Which, there is nothing stopping someone that is blind from travelling to India, going to Yale or earning a M.D. These things are being done all the time by blind people

However, one thing that has not yet been done is the graduation of a blind person from the special education department at Vanderbilt. There are some in the field that believe blind people have no business teaching blind people. They adamantly oppose my even being here and would love to see nothing more than for me to fail and leave Vandy with my 61 inch cane tucked between my legs, to never be heard from again. Because heaven forbid anyone contradict their opinions (no matter how researched) with real life experience that has been proven effective in the blindness community for generations.

It has been an extremely challenging semester. It would be a lot for anyone to come into a program where some of the professors firmly believing that a student is not worthy of the degree. Talk about hostile environment. However, whenever I get discouraged, I have to remind myself this is not about me, no matter how much I’d like to think it is. The day I got that admissions letter, it wasn’t just me being admitted to Vandy. The time tested practices of alternative techniques of blindness and sincere belief in blind people were admitted into one of the top TVI programs in the world along with me. So, here is to shaking it up and helping give blind people their voice in the field of education.

I’m sure I’ll come back and expand upon this entry, and details will follow in subsequent entries. For right now, I’ve pasted some lyrics below from one of my favorite songs. We all have that little playlist that we dance to in the car or clean the house to that we find inspiration or a little afternoon pick up in.


I'm just your average Jane
The super doesn't stand for model
But that doesn't mean I'm plain
If all you see is how I look
You miss the super chick within
And I christen you titanic underestimate and swim
I've got the rifle gonna be myself
I've got the rifle gonna be myself
I've got the rifle gonna be myself
I've got the rifle gonna be myself
And I'll be everything that I wanna be
I am confidence and in insecurity
I am a voice yet waiting to be heard
I'll shoot the shot, bang, that you hear round the world
And I'm a one girl revolution
I'm a one girl revolution
I'm a one girl revolution
Some people see the revolution but most only see the girl
I can lose my hard earned freedom if my fear defines my world
I declare my independence from the critics and their stones
I can find my revolution I can learn to stand alone...
And I'll be everything that I want to be
I am confidence and in insecurity
I am a voice yet waiting to be heard
I'll shoot the shot, bang, that you hear round the world...,