Archives for January 2012

Slogging Along

The passage of time continues to leave me befuddled. Nearly two weeks into the new year and I feel like I’ve been occupied enough for several months while still being amazed that it’s actually near the middle of January. I’m pretty sure this is considered a sign of being old and that it supposedly only gets worse. I find that incomprehensible as it already seems that time is rushing by me at a breakneck pace and I’m constantly and increasingly incapable of keeping up with it.

While I’ve been a busy me, I can list an almost equal number of things that have been neglected from my normal routine. I haven’t been keeping up with the usual blogs and in fact a look at my Google Reader nearly caused my heart to stop as the number of unread items was staggering. I have hardly updated any of my usual haunts, including and certainly not limited to my own website. Social networks have been likewise ignored for the most part with the minor exception of noting the books I’ve read so far this year on Goodreads. Suffice it to say if you’ve had incredible news you’ve posted about, I’m most likely completely ignorant of it.

I’m still playing a bit of catchup with the holidays, too. I did take down all the decorations and everything is neatly packed up and stowed away. But I still have rather a lot of gifts that haven’t made it into the hands of their intended recipients. Frankly, I ran out of time and coupled with a few surprises that required money I didn’t intended to spend I just didn’t have the ability to get everything down. At this point I figure that late is late so I’m beyond feeling pressured about the whole thing, though I would like to reclaim the coffee table as it is currently groaning under the weight of many boxes and packing supplies.

So, what have I been doing?

Well for one, Uschi and I have been taking turns being sick. Me from what started as a head cold and morphed into a stomach flu type thing and for a bit there I thought I had the actual flu and Uschi has twice now gotten into something she shouldn’t have and the end result has made my house smell rather offensively.

I’ve also, as I alluded to above, been reading. Quite a lot. Of note, I’m nearly finished rereading the Harry Potter books, which I attempted last summer and ended up starting over when coursework did that thing where it saps all my free time from me. I think the next reread will be The Hunger Games.

Unfortunately, most of my time has been taken up by the usual pre-semester school issues. Seems fruitless to even entertain the fleeting thought that I’ll finally be done with such aggravation, but without fail I am greeted with a new issue each semester. I’m rather numb to the concept as it is hardly a new dilemma and has been a constant since my undergraduate studies. Anyway, I believe things are finally resolved and thankfully there’s still about two weeks before the semester officially starts. I won’t bore you with the details because it just exhausts me thinking about it all. The short of it is that most of my time these last two weeks has been spent with my cell phone glued to my ear trying to wend my way through academic obstacles that have quite literally nothing to do with my actual classwork or my performance as a student.

Not exactly how I wanted to ring in the new year and truly it’s all far less exciting than it appears, but it’s been a very full, busy and fast few weeks.

One Year!

Time is an odd and bewildering thing. In equal parts I find myself astounded by the length of time that has gone by and disbelieving that it is truly a year to the day that Uschi and I became a team.

In thinking over our time together I find myself at somewhat of a loss; the events that truly stand out seem so far removed from the present. Perhaps that’s a blessing because it seems to have eased some of the less pleasant recollections I have of our past events, such as training during the most horrendous weather while I was incredibly sick and the fiasco at a local bookstore. Though, I don’t I find there’s any less distance between other memories and can hardly fathom that it was so recently we went to the Tulip Festival and the Great Escape!

Me sitting with Uschi in front of a bed of roses at Schenectady Central ParkStanding in sharp relief within my memory is a resounding feeling of trepidation. I didn’t know what to expect of this partnership. I was optimistic that it would prove equal to my previous experiences, but realistically knowing it could be a failure. And while I was quickly smitten with this adorable shepherd and her childlike personality, I found that truly bonding as a team did not come as easily or quickly as with the dogs before her. I’m not positive of exactly when I felt us gel into a team, but I do remember that I had a bit of an epiphany around Easter and realized I had been distancing myself. Maybe I was subconsciously trying to protect myself from the possibility of the partnership failing, however remote. But I think mostly I was preoccupied with concerns over Yara’s well being and it was seeing in person that she was thriving and that both dogs got along so well that seemed to clear out the emotional clutter I wasn’t even aware of.

Reflecting on this last year the most intriguing thing to me is that in many ways Uschi and I have surpassed my previous guide dog teams. Whereas I would generally build up to certain experiences and expectations, I never had much of a need — and more often no opportunity — to ease Uschi into certain tasks. Honestly, upon realizing this I was mildly horrified that I had been so lax about this, but Uschi’s risen to every challenge without fail, including several instances I would consider far more stressful than necessary and would have liked to avoid completely. Much like Yara, she’s had no need for settling into her role as my guide dog. A fact I still find astonishing given her antics when out of harness!

If anything, she certainly keeps me young with her limitless energy and exuberant personality! Every morning she practically throws herself at me for a bit of cuddling and then speeds around the house, bounding over large stretches of floor and flinging herself onto a piece of furniture or one of her numerous beds. Sometimes she will loudly toss her toys about or prance through the house proudly showcasing her dressage mimicry and it’s all I can do to keep from rolling with laughter. She’s nothing if not unique.

Truly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Favorite Photos of 2011

For a number of reasons I’m rather fanatical about checking stats here, but other than noting new comments I don’t pay much attention to the activity on my Flickr stream. I’m hardly anything above a pure amateur so I guess I never really have cared, but I was poking around the other day and was pleasantly surprised to see that there’s been quite a lot of interest.

I don’t normally do posts recapping the year because (a.) it’s tedious and boring for me and (b.) I usually note the yearly partnership anniversary of me and my current guide dog so it seems redundant at best. But after digging through the 750+ photos from last year I thought I’d share some of my favorites. These aren’t all photos I took personally, though the majority are, just a smattering of the ones I’m particularly fond of.

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