Holy crap, where did my year go?
Seriously, I misplaced it and it’s very upsetting. Any knowledge of its whereabouts would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
It’s been quite a while since I wrote in this thing. In my defense, classes and a new dog and the holiday season kept me pretty busy. But now, since I’m on break from classes until next Monday and my dog is curled up on my bed with me and the holiday season is winding down, I figured I’d take a moment and update all two of you who still read this on what’s happening with me.
Fawn is a full five months younger than Dora was when I first got her, and her puppy antics prove it. While in harness, she’s a great worker, though she still doesn’t like lying still for long periods and makes the occasional lunge for food under the table at restaurants. Off harness, she enjoys picking up and chewing on a lot of things she shouldn’t, like leaves, pieces of clothing, and on one memorable occasion, rat poison. (I took her to the vet and she’s find. She didn’t actually have time to eat any of it.) She also chews on her own paws a lot, though I’m doing all I can to stop this. So in other words, I’m having the usual trials and tribulations of the owner of a new dog. None of these things detract at all from how wonderful it is to have a warm, furry child again.
Classes are also going well. I’m not quite as far along in my writing speed as I’d like to be, but as I’m a huge perfectionist that really doesn’t mean I’m doing badly. For this semester, I’m required to pass speed tests in three different categories: jury charge, which is basically the judge or an attorney addressing the jury; Q&A, which is, predictably, a two-voice question and answer session; and literary, which can pretty much be anything from a presidential speech to a current events article to a children’s story. To move on to the next speed-building class, I need to pass a five-minute jury charge at 80 words per minute (which I’ve done as of my midterms), a five-minute Q&A at 80 (I’ve completed my 3 minute), and a five-minute literary at 60 (which I did at the end of last semester). What I’d really like to do is get ahead a bit and pass some of my 100 WPM’s this semester too, but we’ll see.
Well, I think now would be a good time to end this and go wish Amber a happy birthday. I’ll write again soon … ish … with details of my holiday adventures.
I would just like to state that I am tired and will continue to be tired until the end of forever. OK. now that that’s out of the way…
Wow, it’s been a while. In my defense, though, I have been very busy. The days start at 5:30 A.M. here and don’t end until after 8:00 in the evening. During that time, we take the dogs on long walks so we can practice street crossings and make sure they avoid all the obstacles on the sidewalks. We also take them on trains and busses, lead them through busy malls, hike with them, and anything else we or our instructors can think of. We learn to groom them, clean their teeth and ears, apply flee protection, give them pills in case they ever need to take them, and learn obedience exercises to make sure they behave themselves.
I would also like to state that anyone who assumes Seeing Eye dogs come to their new owners as docile, perfect angels are sadly, sadly mistaken. When Fawn first met me, she thought I was fun to play with, but she was completely in love with the woman who’d trained her for the past four months and didn’t transfer her affections or respect right away. Getting her to realize I’m her person now has taken and will continue to take lots of work. But for only being together about ten days, we’re making amazing progress. Fawn listens to me now, and is starting to learn that her silliness is fine when she’s off-duty but is a major no-no when the harness is on. I have to be ready to correct her right when she makes a mistake, because a dog’s sense of timing is different from a human’s. I also have to praise her and pet her a lot, which isn’t too hard because she’s very pettable. She likes to jump on me and lick my face, and sometimes in her exuberance she tosses her head around and smacks me in the cheek with her bone. In case you don’t know, those things hurt!
That being said, though, she’s not even 20 months old yet (her second birthday is February 25th), so she’s still learning. Her former trainer told me she was a “sweet, sensitive, yet stubborn little girl,” and apparently that’s the “combination from hell.” but I am just as sweet, just as sensitive, and even more stubborn than she is, so we’re totally going to make it work. Every day is an adventure, that’s for sure.
Well, I should probably do some homework. Cause, oh yeah, my classes at CCR started on Monday. Someone at the dinner table the other day, upon finding out I’m doing training and school at the same time, asked, “Is that smart?” Of course it isn’t, but when has that ever stopped me from doing something?
Honestly, it’s not so bad; I’m just very tired at the end of the day. And… the beginning and middle of the day too. but I wouldn’t change a thing.
So… it’s Wednesday morning. Where’s my dog? Am I being an impatient annoying brat? Very possibly. Do I care? Very possibly not.
This has to be one of the longest periods of waiting ever. But it’t's okay because (hopefully!) within a few minutes, the instructors should be coming up the stairs with newly-bathed, excitable dogs barely out of puppyhood. I wonder which crazy furball will be mine …
We had a few interesting lectures, and while I’m waiting I might as well describe them a bit. Last night we talked about the fact that just because this is an emotional time for us, it doesn’t mean the dog is going to feel the same. Their reaction upon meeting us is going to be something like “… Hi, strange new person. You’re gonna feed me, right?” Which I already knew, but it was amusing to think about again.
This morning we talked about praise, correction, and possible fears the dog might have. Praise is very important, especially right after they correct a bad behavior. Also, when the dog is scared of something, you generally shouldn’t coddle or correct them because that just reenforces the fear. You should just matter-of-factly encourage them, then praise them when they calm down. I think we went over this in my first class back in 2007, but the refresher was nice.
I have the new leather leash all ready. Now I just need a dog to go with it. Still waiting …
And now, I am the proud new owner of a golden retriever/lab mix named Fawn. She’s beautiful. Life is beautiful.
Well, here I am about a thousand miles away from where I was this morning. I’m in Morristown, New Jersey, counting down the days until I’m introduced to crazy dog number two. My instructor says he has several prospects in mind for me, all of whom are female. We’re going to take some long walks downtown tomorrow and talk about my lifestyle and things, and then he’ll make a final decision by Wednesday morning. The room I’m staying in has a window that looks right toward the kennels. It’s both exciting and frustrating to know that my future dog is literally RIGHT THERE and I can’t see her yet.
Believe it or not, though, I’m not going to spend the rest of this post talking about dogs. There’s still a major life decision I made this year that I need to bring up instead.
So when I first started going to college a few years ago, I picked one of my many interests, interpreting and translation, and I ran with it. I was all set to graduate with a major in Spanish after I completed my study abroad requirement, then go on to get my master’s degree out of state. But the trip to Spain kept getting delayed for one reason and another (which I do believe I mention in a blog entry or two). And while I was in a sort of limbo, waiting for everything to straighten itself out so I could move on with my life, I had time to do a lot of thinking. And the conclusion I came to was that I wasn’t all that enthusiastic about my career path anymore. Interpreting is a great field, don’t get me wrong, but it just wasn’t right for me.
And now KD’s supreme nerdiness is about to be revealed. Around the time I was having these realizations (late August last year), I was listening to an episode of MuggleCast in which a court reporter wrote in and described what was involved in her job and why she thought it was the best thing ever. Then I remembered that the field of court reporting was actually on my giant list of interests when I graduated high school, and I’d never chosen to look more deeply into it. Well, thanks to a Harry Potter podcast, I was finally inspired to do the research. Now I’m attending classes full-time at the College of Court Reporting, and I have an enthusiasm for school I’ve never had before. Ever.
I might go into more detail about how my classes work later, but this entry is getting long and I really am exhausted. New Jersey’s time zone is only one hour ahead of the one at home, so I don’t know why the jetlag is hitting me so hard, but it definitely is. ZZZZZZZZ …
In conclusion, life is good.
I should be sleeping, but I can’t. Time for another blog post!
As promised, here are some details of my time away. This is probably going to take at least two entries, as this year in particular has been marked by some important life decisions. I originally planned to do one per entry, but since the two I’m thinking about relate so much to each other I may as well just put them in one.
First, I had to put Eldora to sleep in the beginning of February.
She went into stage 4 kidney failure, followed by the worst emotional rollercoaster ride of all time as she improved and relapsed again and again. I talked it over with my vet, and we decided to let her cross the rainbow bridge into puppy heaven with some dignity left. I didn’t want to wait until she was too weak to walk and hardly recognized me; it wouldn’t have been fair to her. So she sat on the operating table, serene and peaceful, while I whispered that she was a good girl and it was OK and I loved her, and then she lay down and drifted away to the next great adventure. She was seven and a half years old.
I’m not going to elaborate a whole lot about how I felt; anyone reading this who’s lost someone close to them already knows. But I will say this: It was all totally worth it, and if I’d known what I was getting myself into with that dog I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Also, experiences like that give you a deep appreciation for the people who care for you. I look back on that time and remember the pain, but I also remember how my dad made me lunch, and my mom let me cry on her shoulder, and Mel and Lydia distracted me with one of our many writing projects, and Karen and Tony gave me words of comfort along with temporary custody of their sweet poodle to help with the dog withdrawal. I remember how kind and understanding every person at my vet clinic was. I remember how the Seeing Eye paid all the final medical bills and called several times to check on me. I don’t think I can ever express how much all of that meant to me, at least not without smothering this blog with obscene amounts of cheese.
And now for the closely-related important decision: my journey with Seeing Eye dog number two begins tomorrow.
I honestly thought when I could tell Dora was nearing retirement that I would wait longer than this before starting the whole crazy adventure all over again. After all, guide dogs aren’t just travel tools; you develop a pretty strong relationship through the years. But I’ve thought about it long and hard these past months. I’ve made sure I know emotionally as well as intellectually that this new dog will not be Dora and it would be unfair to compare them. I loved Dora and of course I always will, but there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll love my new dog, and all those that come after, just as much. every dog is different, so naturally every relationship will be; but to me, that’s part of the fun. I can’t wait to see what quirks this one has.
Believe it or not, I still have more stuff to talk about. but since this entry is dangerously close to novel-length (and my flight leaves pretty early in the morning), I’ll stop here for now. I’ll post soon with more news and puppy updates. I might even be motivated to figure out how to upload photos on this thing…
I thought naming this post with a quote from Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows would be appropriate because (A) I will always have an undying love for that book series; and (B) it applies to this situation. … I think. Not that I’m secretly a creepy thirty-year-old dude who’s held on to his unrequited love for a married woman or anything. I’ve just realized I’ve missed blogging lately and wanted to get back to it, even though it’s been over two years. Was using that quote a bit of a stretch? Most likely. DON’T JUDGE ME.
Anyway, as is usually the case with me, I’ve picked the most inconvenient moment ever to be struck by this inspiration to write a blog entry. I should be packing right now. I leave for New Jersey in two days and I have laundry to do and I really should not forget to eat lunch again. But I was inspired in a moment of nostalgia to look over old blogs, both mine and those of other friends, and I realized it would be fun to start writing more, whether it’s original fiction or role playing with my friends or even blogs like this. Writing is stress-relieving and it can really help me to organize those crazy annoying things known as feelings.
Of course, since it’s been over two years, there are a lot of things I need to update you on. I feel like I’m a very different person than who I was when I started this thing, and this past year more than any other has had a lot of changes. I won’t write them all in this entry in a giant info-dump like I usually do, though. first of all, it would be boring; and second, that laundry is not gonna do itself. I lost my domestic-chores-doing robot, you see. But I’ll try to throw something together tomorrow. in the meantime, you can check my newly-updated glossary if you’re really interested.
At this point, I would usually commend myself for writing 2 entries so close together. However, through bitter experience I have come to learn that 2 blog posts in quick succession does not mean I’m back into any sort of regular pattern. We’ll just have to see this time, I suppose.
Anyway, I just returned home from my summer adventures this past Sunday. These adventures included, but were by no means limited to:
- Attending the NFB national convention in Orlando
- Working as a counselor for the Buddy Program, a camp for children ages 9-13 put on by Blind, Inc.
Yes, there were only 2 items in that list, but believe me, they were a very eventful 2 items.
The convention was, as usual, a fun time. I made new friends, caught up with old ones, got lost in the hotel, bought and sold things to support NFB divisions … the normal stuff. I also worked on a collaborative writing project with some friends while I was there (Translation: Role-playing with characters from our respective pieces of original fiction. Yes, I really am that much of a nerd …), which meant that I was very sleep-deprived by the end of it. That was unfortunate, because I went directly from Florida to Minnesota to begin my next adventure.
Well, what can I say about Minneapolis? I love the city and the public transportation. I love the fact that a lot of my friends live close by. I therefore may end up moving there sometime in the near future for grad school. You never know. As for the buddy program … it was hard work with some difficult children. There was bullying, tantrums, injuries, and all manner of challenges. Especially since the other counselors and I were with the kids almost 24-7. Of course there was also teaching and learning and watching them grow in confidence and maturity. There’s just something about hearing a little girl who was terrified to ride a horse begging to do it again after she actually tried it, and a boy teaching the other kids how to search for videos on Youtube using skills I’d taught him, that makes it all worth it. But the main thing this adventure has made clear to me? I am not having children anytime soon, thanks.
Anyway, after visiting some relatives who lived nearby and attending my sister’s bridal shower (yeah … she’s getting married. More about that later.(, I am back in my lovely apartment, getting everything together for classes to start in October, and my upcoming trip to Spain. (Yeah, it got postponed. Again. More about that later too.)
Be on the lookout for another entry with a list of things I should have mentioned in the entries I should have been writing. For now, though, I’m gonna go see about some lunch. Hopefully I’ll write more soon! Hopefully …
Yeah, yeah, it’s been forever. I know this. I’m aware of this. I acknowledge this. Moving on.
Why do I always do this to myself? I don’t update for ages and ages, and so much happens between updates that filling everyone in on everything would involve writing a novel. For this reason I must once again encourage people to follow me on Twitter, as that takes much less effort to update. So I naturally update it more often.
Anyway, it’s about 2:30 in the morning and I can’t sleep, so I decided to read over old entries in this blog. Back when, you know, I updated on a regular basis and people actually read my entries and commented on them. I kind of miss those days…
Anyway, here are some thoughts I had while reading over the entries. In days of old I’d have put these in a list, but I kinda sorta forgot how to do it. Remembering how to correctly make a hyperlink was enough of a challenge. So you just get a series of thoughts in paragraph form. Here goes.
I can’t believe I was able to survive without an accessible cell phone. Or an iPhone, for that matter. Yes, I completely drank the Kool-Aid that is the iPhone. It’s delicious.
Beyonce and Kelly both have albums out again! I just, er, haven’t listened to either of them enough to write reviews as I did in previous entries. I’m a terrible DC fan…
Yeah, that shiny new computer I was ranting on about? It only lasted a year. Dad got it repaired and Mom uses it now. Hey, at least she likes it…
The BrailleNote MPower? The greatest thing ever? Not so much.
Whoa, I listened to CD’s back then! Like, actual round plastic things! That does not happen nowadays. I went digital.
That Iowa job I had back then? Total child’s play (no pun intended) compared to the little monsters I worked with in Minnesota this summer…
OK, this entry is geting ridiculously long, so I’m ending it now. I may write tomorrow with actual updates on what I did this summer and what I’m doing now and what I will be doing in the near future… but we all know how that goes.
Is anyone still reading this? For serious?
If so, how about a comment for old time’s sake? Come on!
Oh, am I late? My bad. Happy 2010 anyway, everybody!
So yes, it is now February, my mother’s birthday, in fact. I am nearing the end of my third week of class. This semester I’m taking Culture of Spain to prepare myself for my upcoming excursion there (Oh, I didn’t tell you about that? My bad again.), French stage 4, music theory, fiction writing, and women’s choir, in which we sing a song about a boy named Johnny who is a scumbag. Have any of you noticed that the boys in a lot of old folk songs are named Johnny, and they’re either off to war or scumbags? Just a general observation.
In other news, it’s snowing! This would fill me with great joy if anyone around here knew how to clear off crosswalks. Unfortunately, no one does, so the snow does not make me happy. Sad day.
Wanna know a secret? It’s like 3 weeks later, and I haven’t posted this entry yet. This is because I had to run off to class before I could finish it, so I saved it to my drafts folder and promptly forgot about it. Oh well.
Anyway, as I previously mentioned, I’m going to Spain next spring! I have to study abroad to graduate, and Spain looks like it will be the most accommodating and accepting for me and my little monster–er, dog.
That is the biggest news I have to share, although I did get a 96% on my latest French test! Woot!
And with that, I’ll go and post this now so I don’t get distracted again. See y’all later!
Good evening, chums! I am writing 2 days in a row. Do I get a gold star? Didn’t think so…
Anyway, I promised an update, as it’s been ages since I wrote in this thing regularly. So I shall do my best. Here is a list of stuff that has happened to me in the interim between entries!
- I have a new computer! My previous one decided to break right after the warranty expired, so we figured, instead of fighting about repair costs with Dell, it would be easier to just tell the insurance company I dropped it so they’d buy me a new one. And they did! It is small, black, and shiny. It’s about 3 pounds, which is much easier on my poor back. I have decided to name her Belle. And before anyone gets any ideas, the name has nothing whatsoever to do with Bella Swan from the Twilight series.
- I have a new, beautiful, and most of all, ACCESSIBLE cell phone! I can now surf the internet, send text messages, check my missed and received calls, and add and organize contacts, all by my very own self! I can also take pictures of things like documents and currency, and a special little program, which you can learn more about right here, identifies them for me! And know what’s even more amazing? I got all this for freeeeeeeee! Which brings me to my next item.
- After 4 years of applying, I finally won an NFB scholarship! I got to go to the national convention, meet lots of awesome people and hang out with awesome people I’d already met, and attend a scholarship banquet in a sparkly orange dress I borrowed from Amber! OK, so maybe “borrowed” isn’t the correct word, since I didn’t think to ask her if I could have it until about 45 minutes before the banquet… but hey. Who lives and dies on technicalities, anyway?
- I acquired several more new toys, which include:
- A new, tiny book player that will play anything from Audible books, to specially formatted audio textbooks, to plain old Word documents and MP3 files. So basically, an iPOD for the blind. It is called a Booksense and I adore it, only I haven’t named it yet.
- After having multiple problems with my new BrailleNote (and by new, I mean less than a year old), I finally persuaded the people at the Commission for the Blind to purchase me a more reputable one from a different company. Hence, my new baby (which I’ve had for less than a month, but am loving so far) is called a BrailleSense. His name is Tommy. (And yes, the BrailleSense and BookSense are made by the same company.)
- But what is more important to me than all of the things mentioned above is the fact that I still have a healthy puppy! She’s on medication still, and probably will be for a while, but The Seeing Eye is helping to pay for the expenses, which is completely and utterly awesome of them.
That’s all I can think of for now. I know I’m probably leaving things out, but therein lies the problem of only updating once every million years. I’ll try to write more frequently. For now, though, I need to see where my dog went, and if she happens to be hording one of my tennis shoes. Talk atcha later!