Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Working and listening to the song "Tuesday Afternoon", *on* a Tuesday afternoon. :-)
Skyped with Betty. The hurricane appears to not be an issue there. The sun is out there. Now, back to working and Radio Manilow-ing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

Never Stop Learning

I have got two major personal self-education projects that I am working on. One involves taking some online courses so that I can create accessible iOS (iPhone/iPad) apps. The other one is something that I became able to do last week, as the result of finding a VERY reasonably-priced braille notetaker device on eBay. To be fair, the first thing I did when I saw this Extremely Inexpensive Device (by comparison to its price from the manufacturer) was post about it to a deaf-blind techies mailing list I belong to. But there were no takers -- no one contacted me for additional information, and no one jumped onto eBay to track it down and bid on it in their own right.

So, with hours remaining on the auction, I put in a bid and wound up being the only bidder. That's how I came into possession of a PacMate QX400 with a 20-cell braille display. Refurbished versions of this item from the manufacturer, Freedom Scientific, cost about $1800 more than the closing price of that eBay auction, to give you an idea of what kind of saving we're talking about.

This is a used item and it's an older model of device, which is part of the reason WHY its price was low. But about 99% of it works just fine, and the VERY few glitches I've found so far are simple to work around. I can't get online with it yet, though, but I'm getting some advice on that from a PacMate mailing list I joined.

Anyuway, the long and short of it is that my second self-education project involves learning computer braille, which has some differences from the braille that appears on paper. If I intend to become an assistive tech trainer at some future time, then I am going to have to know this information. And I'm taking it one step farther. I created a text file, containing the text from this news article and then proofread it... tactilely. Yes, I am not satisfied with just being able to read braille visually. I feel like if I am going to really know a tactile alphabet, then I am going to have to have at least a passing familiarity with what it feels like. So I typed the article into a text file, muted the voice (which would have read the file contents aloud to me), and painstakingly went through the article letter by letter.

I know there are legit training courses for blind people who are learning to read braille, and there are exercise drills that, should I figure out how to track them down online, would make my life TONS easier. But I decided that proofreading a short article was still a valid form of practice, and guess what? I was able to identify some typos I made, via this method of proofreading. In fact, I found ALL of the three mistakes I'd inadverdently introduced into the document. I'm certainly nowhere near ready to run out and read War and Peace in a tactile fashion. Not even close. Not even CLOSE to being close. But I still feel like I've accomplished something by bringing some significant brand-new information into my brain. It's information that will help me, should I venture into the field of assistive technology, but beyond that, it's supporting my desire to Never Stop Learning.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Exercise earbuds in place. Chilly Towel on neck. IT'S ON! Treadmill time!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Two self-education projects ongoing. One, learning computer Braille. The other, learning to write iOS apps. Working on the latter goal now.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Well, we have survived a brutal week

Well, we did it. We survived a three-funeral week, including two funerals where Mark and I were among the next-of-kin. I never want to see another week like this again in the entire history of the universe. God forbid. In fact, I'll even include LAST week in the "never want to experience this again" declaration, because it was during the previous week that Mr. R., Aunt Rita, and Mark's dad were all in dreadfully failing health, leading us all to understand that their passing was imminent. But I'm glad that my friend J got to see his dad, and we got to see Aunt Rita and Mark's dad, in the days immediately prior to their passing. J saw his dad hours before he died, and we got to visit Aunt Rita and my in-laws within 2 or 3 days of their passing, at a time when it was obvious that their health was failing but right before everything started to go into crisis mode. I feel shell-shocked after this week, though. Three funerals in five days is a lot. Mark's Dad had military honors at his funeral, which were well-deserved as he was a WWII veteran and had fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Because of that battle, he never spent another Christmas without remembering the one that he spent being shot at by enemy solders. He earned a Purple Heart during that battle, as well. So his casket was draped with a flag, which was ritually folded and presented to his widow after Taps was played by a bugler. I had tears streaming when the officer knelt and presented the flag to my mother-in-law, with thanks from a grateful nation. At least I got to meet my niece's two newborns yesterday. They are a beautiful reminder that life goes on.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

So now you know why I haven't posted

As you can see by the obituaries, it's been a really terrible time for both sides of our family. But in a way, the Lord was merciful to both Aunt Rita and Mark's dad to take them both, once their health had failed terribly. Aunt Rita was in the final stages of pancreatic cancer, where pain was beginning to appear, and Mark's dad had suffered a series of debilitating strokes in the past month, the last of which left him barely conscious. So I understand that having them with us longer would have been a case of extending suffering, and of course we wouldn't want that. I'm just sad that their respective illnesses happened at all. and it's unfortunate that we lost them within days of one another. What a week. Aunt Rita and my friend JR's dad passed away within three hours of one another. Then, on Tuesday morning, I was at his dad's funeral in Allentown and a few minutes before the 10:30 service was about to start, my phone (in silent mode) vibrated. The caller ID said Mark's name. Knowing that Mark was aware that I was AT a funeral, the fact that he called me anyway instead of waiting didn't bode well at all. I was right. He was letting me know that his dad had passed at about 9 AM. So Aunt Rita, Mr. R., and Mark's dad all passed within three days of one another. I'm starting to wonder if that old wives' tale about deaths happening in 3s has some merit. Fortunately, that same tale also tells us that BIRTHS come in 3s. And that is also the case. My nephew's wife had a baby girl in about the 3rd week of July, and at the very end of July, my niece had twins, a boy and a girl. Thank God for the new life in our family. It will help us focus on the OTHER end of the circle of life, its beginning. But right now, we are dealing with our losses, as best we can.

Mark's dad

LAWRENCE ADAM MOMORELLA, 90, died peacefully in his home on Aug. 7, 2012, his loving wife of 65 years, Lydia "Lee" Momorella (nee D'Isidoro), by his side. Born on January 29, 1922, in Chester PA. Larry spent most of his 90 years in Willow Grove PA. He attended Upper Moreland High School, and played on their football team. He is a veteran of World War II, and served in the US Army, from 1942 to 1945. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was a tank Crewman in Company D 41st Tank Battalion in the 11th Armored Division under General George S. Patton, receiving a Purple Heart Medal.

Larry and his older brother Jim, owned and operated "Jim's Market" for more than 20 years.

He is also survived by his children, Lawrence Momorella (Judith), Anne Stieber (Francis) and Mark Momorella (Donna); his 5 grandchildren and his 5 great grandchildren. He was preceded in the death by his beloved grandson, Luke Momorella. Relatives and friends are invited to his Viewing on Saturday, August 11, 2012, from 9 to 10 A.M., at JOHN J. BRYERS FUNERAL HOME INC., 406 N. Easton Rd., Willow Grove PA 19090. Funeral Mass to follow at 10:30 A.M., at St. David RC Church, 316 N Easton Rd., Willow Grove PA 19090. Interment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions would be appreciated to St. David Church, which he attended and loved for his entire life.

Monday, August 06, 2012

USA and CAN women's soccer teams are conspiring to give me a HEART ATTACK. Good grief.
Logged on, working from home on two different devices, plus Viggle Trivia is running on a third device. Technology FTW.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Aunt Rita

Rita L. Campitelli, 86, of Brigantine passed away on Saturday August 4, 2012. Rita was born in Philadelphia. She was a member of the Brigantine Elks, Brigantine Lions Club and Catholic Daughters of America. Rita was a founding member and held many positions at the Brigantine Sons of Italy Pat Campitelli Lodge and she was the Sunshine Girl and senior representative of the Brigantine Republican Club. Rita was a member of the Brigantine Historical Society and the Saint Leo’s Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order.

Rita was the beloved wife of the late Patrick A. Campitelli. She is survived by her son Joseph Campitelli and his wife Christine, her brother Joseph Gabriel, his wife Jeannie, and her nieces Donna, Maryanne, and Michele. Rita is also survived by her great niece Mary and great nephew Connell.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend Rita’s Life Celebration and viewing on Friday, August 10, 2012 from 9:15 to 10:40am at St Thomas Church, 8th Street and Brigantine Ave., Brigantine. Elks Service 10:40am. Mass of Christian Burial will follow at 11am. Entombment at Holy Cross Cemetery Mausoleum, Mays Landing.

To share your fondest memory of Rita please visit www.lifecelebration.com. The family requests in lieu of flowers to please make donations in Rita’s memory to the Brigantine Sons of Italy Scholarship Fund, PO Box 113, Brigantine, NJ 08203. Family services by Keates-Plum Funeral Home Brigantine.

Friday, August 03, 2012

I want a reset button on this day.

Today has not gotten off to an auspicious start. I want to go back to bed and start it over.

My dad called with an update on my aunt. She had started pain medication earlier in the week, because whenever she had to move, her bones hurt. At least she wasn't in pain as long as she lay still.

But now, hospice has stopped her insulin. We are probably looking at losing her within the week. :-(

I really hate this. But maybe this is God's way of ensuring that she doesn't hang on until major pain begins. It's really a shame, though. I can't believe how rapidly this disease has progressed. It has t even been four months since the diagnosis.

So I called Mark to let him know, and then JFM, who told me that our close friend JR's dad is nearing the end, as well, and probably will pass today. ARGH.

Like I said, this day desperately needs a reset button. We're looking at a multi-bereavement week coming up.