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It is about time I write in this journal again. I haven't done so since August. Shame shame...
The end of August found the Fall 2011 semester starting. I did all independent study classes last semester in various areas of assistive technology. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. I took twelve hours and came out of it with seven good-sized papers to show for myself. I also, as said in an earlier entry, helped out with the braille course leading the reading sessions for one of the sections (there were two classes this semester instead of the usual one due to the greater number of students). I was glad to be able to help out with that again as it really is fun.
I spent the holidays in Delaware with my family, which was very enjoyable. My Christmas and New Year's were quiet and spent with family and friends. My goal for next New Year's, though, is to spend it in TIme Square. It's just oe of those things that I want to do at least once, even if the experience is horrible and I don't end up liking it. I want to figure that out for myself by actually going there. Call me crazy if you want, it's perfectly okay!
Last Saturday found me packing a few things, leaving Delaware and heading to West Haven, Connecticut to complete my last semester of grad school in the form of an internship at the VA hospital here. I have survived my first week, which is a good thing. I am an intern in the blind rehab department. There is another intern who started the same time I did, and it is nice that I am not the only one in that same boat. She is really nice and I'm glad to have the chance to get to know her more. She is an O&M intern while I am doing VRT.
I like what I know of this area so far, and the house where I am staying is very nice. The woman from who I am renting has two dogs and two cats of her own, and all animals get along, which helps. I do miss Illinois, but I will be back for graduation. Flight prices are kind of high, (I looked just for the heck of it today), but I will be there, believe me, in some way or other. I will not miss graduation that is for sure!
Today has been a very lazy Saturday, and I am perfectly okay with that. Laundry is getting done as I write, though. Tomorrow shall consist of groceries being delivered, (yay Peapod!), football and a conference call. Monday it's back to work. I am excited for that, though. I am slowly but surely learning the route to work and my way around the building. I must thank my dog for his help in all of that. He seems to like the new routine, too. (He is currently on the floor chewing a bone, no doubt glad to rest. Maybe it's a lazy Saturday for him, too!).
I hink that is all I have to update on. I can't think of anything else to add at the moment. I will be back with more as it happens. It really is good to write in here again.
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I am not going to even pretend I remember when the last time was that I wrote in this journal, because, honestly, I do not. I actually just went and looked, and it was back in May, after the end of the spring semester. I am not as neglectful of this as I first thought. This is a good thing.
Things in my corner of the world are going well. I am currently home in Delaware visiting family, where I have been for the past two-and-a-half weeks or so. I return to DeKalb on Sunday, and then the semester starts on Monday, August 22nd. It has been really good to see family as I have missed them being so far away. That is really hard sometimes, but it's only one more semester in Illinois and then I will do my internship in Connecticut, and so I will be closer to them. Last Wednesday until Sunday I was at my grandparents' trailer/the beach, and I enjoyed myself there, too. Our family has also acquired a new puppy, a 13(ish)-week old chocolate Lab who was named Reese. She is a super cute puppy, although full of energy that's for sure. Reese and Dalton get along, although she will sometimes bite my dog's jowls, which he will usually tolerate and then let her know when he had has had enough, although perhaps not as often as he could. As time has gone by, they are getting more comfortable with each other and I think things have evened out now. Reese is growing quite a lot and has definitely done so since I have been here. It's really cute to see. I can only imagine how big she will be when I come back here for Christmas.
Dalton is very much liked by the family, which I wasn't at all surprised about. While at the beach, I was able to meet up with his puppy raisers, Jim and Linda, which was truly fantastic. They are truly a wonderful couple and I am glad to have met and keep in touch with them. I do believe that Dalton recognized them, and so it was a happy reunion for all. I for sure want to meet up with them again sometime in the future. They did a super job with him and their dedication and love for this dog and what they do definitely showed upon meeting them. Dalton was their first dog and they are now on their second, who will be going back for his IFT in September. I will be keeping fingers (and Dalton paws) crossed that all goes well! Dalton will actually cross his paws sometimes, anyway, so it shouldn't be hard for him! I was given a book of Dalton puppy pictures from my raisers which are suuuuper cute that my mom had wanted to scan, and so if that happens, I will upload them to Facebook, and perhaps also to LJ. I am usually more apt to upload pictures to Facebook, though, I will say.
In terms of school, I have one more semester in Illinois, as previously mentioned, and then my internship semester in Connecticut, and then I am done - yay graduation! (I will most certainly be returning to DeKalb to walk in the ceremony). This semester will be all Independent Study classes covering various topics in assistive technology. I am excited about this. I will also be putting in Graduate Assistant hours helpng out with the braille course as I did last fall. It's crazy to think that it has been a year since I started... I have successfully applied to and been confirmed an intern slot at the Veterans Administration in West Haven, CT, pending hire approval, (passing both a physical and background check). I do not foresee any issues here, so I should be good. I should be contacted as far as intern arrangements sometime in October. I just have to be patient until then. The three months between then and January, when I would start, seems like a very short time to figure out relocation, find housing, etc, but it will be okay. I am starting to figure out as much as I can early on so that when October comes, I will be all that more prepared. When I do get the final go-ahead, I intend to fly out to CT to get a look at different places to live and perhaps also the facility at which I will be interning. I can't just decide on an apartment solely looking it online; that does not work for me at all. I have to actually walk through the potential place and get a feel for it to decide whether or not it will work. It will all be fine and work out, though, I am sure. Patience is a virtue.
I think that is all I can think to update on. A congratulations goes out to [livejournal.com profile] mektastic, who is receiving her new guide dog today at Guiding Eyes - so exciting! You'll do great! The rest of the day shall consist of some errands, a visit with my aunt and then I am not realy sure what. Either way, I plan to enjoy whatever occurs. Thanks for reding, and more when and as it happens.
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It has been forever and a day since I have written in here. I shall now attempt to fix that.

I still do exist, as does my little corner of the world. Things have been going fine enough. When last I wrote, it was spring break. I am now here to report that Spring semester 2011 is officially over as of this past Friday. I survived the semester with straight A's. I was honestly a little shocked at this. I am very pleased, though, for sure.

I have this week off and then class starts next Tuesday, I believe. Summer session officially starts on June 13th, but a class that I am taking is meeting for a few days prior to that start time. After next week and the one after, I again have a week off and then summer session starts. I am first taking a Home Ec class, and Advanced Assistive Technology will be the class I will take during the regular summer session. Add to that my Practicum hours - observation and direct teaching - and it's no rest for the weary over here, or something.

Dalton is doing well, he and I growing more as a team each day. I have been to the vet with him three or so times this month alone, which is a little crazy. The first time was to get a weight, the second for an exam, and the third for another exam as a precaution after some idiot decided that it would be great fun to run into my dog while riding his bike last Wednesday evehing. Isn't that such a good idea? I'm thinking not! No apology out of the guy, either; only an "It's good." Again, how about not! DDog is fine, though, receiving a clean bill of health, and so that is a good thing. I am in need of a new vet as this one I have gone to in the past I did not have good experiences with; that, and their prices are on the high side. ($20 for a *nail trim*!). I'm sure I will figure it out.

I have no idea when next I will be back East to visit family and friends, which makes me sad to think about, so I try not to. Classes end July 7th, and so I want to be done everything by then or close to it - including my Practicum hours - and then go home for a few weeks before the fall semester starts on August 23rd. I miss my family, and want to show off my new boy! I am most positive they will approve of him - I definitely do!

It's nice to have some time to breathe after running around like crazy these past few weeks. I am in the middle of getting my Practicum placement figured out - slight miscommunications do not really help in doing that, but I think everything is cleared up now. The lack of transportation in DeKalb and $60 or so in cab fair alone, (with I am sure multiple train fares on top of it) to get to the nearest town that has a train station also frustrates this process a little more than it otherwise would. (I definitely cannot afford that the multiple times per week that I would need to, let alone once!). The only real feasible way of getting to the agencies to put in hours, (in Chicago), is to get a ride with another one of my classmates who is also doing hours. That is I'm almost positive doable, which is good, I just can't help feeling stuck sometimes. I would love to be able to get to places on my own and maybe even get to more than one agency to do hours, but it doesn't look like that can happen. As it looks now, I think I will be doing direct teaching hours at the Lighthouse. I don't like this stuck feeling, I really don't. It cannot be helped, a fact that all involved are aware of, I do believe, but it still doesn't make it any easier.

I took a nice walk with my dog to the grocery store earlier and it felt good to get out and work with him. He did very well with no major errors to speak of. Dale (my friend and one roommate) also went with me with his dog, and I did some follow work with Dalton in the store. His 'follow' work was fantastic! I was carrying one of those store baskets, too, and it wasn't a big deal. It was more of a deal trying to position the dang thing in a comfortable enough way so that I could hold it and still work my dog! ALl in all, the trip was a success and ended well. I do think I will end this, post it, go downstairs and get a small eat/drink, take out the dog and read for awhile before bed. I have been able to put more time into reading than I previously could, and I really am grateful for that. It's the little things, really it is.

Take care all, more when it happens.
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Calling all IOS device users:

I have been asked to make a list of the most commonly-used and recommended apps on the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch by blind people. If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them!
Thank you!

I do realize I have not made a post in this journal for ages. Blame my crazy busy schedule, and also I have been getting random spam comments on my journal as of late, which I think I may have mentioned before, which is a little annoying. Not posting publicly would most likely fix that, but it's still not appreciated all the same. That kind of thing never used to happen.

Take care, and I do hope all are well.
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So much for updating regularly... It was a nice thought, anyway.

Things have been going fine in my corner of the world. The Illinois AER conference that I mentioned in my last entry was good. Dalton did very well navigating around the hotel, the keynote speeches and breakout sessions were informative and interesting, (some more than others), and it was really fun to be able to spend some time with many of my classmates just hanging out.

School continues to go well. I had a midterm last Wednesday, which I think went relatively well. I can think of one part that I messed up on, but my philosophy is that you are allowed one total mess-up on a test. It shouldn't kill me, in any event. I think that I have another test next week, (this week is spring break), but I need to check on that to be sure. I am in the midst of applying to the center in Connecticut where I hope to do my internship next spring. There was a bit of a fiasco with that, but I think it has all been sorted as of now.

Speaking of spring break, I just got back to DeKalb yesterday evening after being in Chicago since Friday afternoon. I had a seminar to attend that was put on by the Illinois NFB on Saturday, and then afterwords, I went and visited some of my cousins who are in the area. It was so nice to be able to spend the past few days with them. I had a lot of fun, majorly enjoyed myself, and their kids are adorable! As for the rest of break, I'm not entirely positive what is in the cards. I do have some work that needs to get done, but as part of spring break is the word "break", I should probably take some time for myself. I don't do that nearly often enough.

I'm not entirely sure what else to update on, so I think I will end this and post. I do notice that I have been getting a lot of spam comments on my entries lately. Has anyone else experienced this? I am not a fan! I also apologize for not keeping up with Friends' page lately. If there is anything important that I should be aware of, feel free to comment or contact me and let me know. Regardless, I still do care. Life has this habbit of getting in the way. I'm sure many if not all of you can understand.

Take care all, more when it happens.
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I wanted to come in and report that all is more or less well in my little corner of the world. Classes continue to go well, Dalton and I continue to learn about each other and grow as a team each day, and a long story short, (although it really isn't a long story; I just needed a way to end this sentence), I really can't complain about anything.

Aside from school, not too much has been going on. I did go see a play two weekends or so ago on campus put on by the theater department with a friend, and I really enjoyed it. It was the first play I have seen while here, and I am interested in seeing more of them. After class tonight, I, and many of my classmates, are headed to a two-day conference for professionals and consumers in the blindness field. It's put on by the AER organization. [livejournal.com profile] braillereader has informed me that she will also be in attendance, and so we will meet up. I'm looking forward to doing so. I'm also looking forward to the conference. The agenda has all kinds of interesting sessions, and I'm interested to learn what I can, network and see what there is to see. Working a dog in a new environment is also part of the fun, at least in my opinion. There is a mall near the hotel where the conference is held, and I have been informed that there is a Lush store in said mall, and so that will have to be paid a special visit. Last but not least, all work and no play makes for no fun at all!

I'm blanking on anything else to add, and so I shall end this, finish packing and get ready to head to school sometime later. I hope all are doing well. More soon.

An Update

Feb. 7th, 2011 02:55 pm
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It has been some time since I updated last, s I thought I would fix that. Things in my little corner of the world have been fine enough. Aside from a massive blizzard which swept through this part of the country this past Tuesday, life has been slowly and surely taking on the routine of the new semester. Dalton is settling in nicely, which is a good thing. [livejournal.com profile] musicman3315 came home from Guiding Eyes on Friday, and so The Dog House now has all of its members back living inside it. It's a nice feeling for sure. I spent much of this past week home by myself as both roommates weren't there, but then I guess that's obvious given the first part of this sentence. Oh well... Friday was really the first day that I had gotten out of the house since Monday, due to the storm, and even if it was only for a quick bite to eat at McDonalds and a trip to school, it worked. I was half afraid that Dalton would forget how to work in the few days of not doing so. Okay, so I overexagerate, but still. We're a very new team all things considered. He showed his true colors on Friday, though, so those few days of not doing much didn't create a problem. It was also really really fun to work doubles! I did the obedience routine and played with him each day that we were snowed in, and so that helped in the activity department.

I didn't have classes at all this past week, and so I will be glad to get back at them tomorrow. The time off from school has allowed me to get a good bit of work done, though, and I look at that as a positive thing. I am actually writing this entry from school as I came in today to help someone with the VoiceNote, which is part of the Assistive Technology class that I am taking this semester.

I'm not too sure what else to update on in all honesty. This morning was the first morning of starting Dalton on a new food, that being Blue Buffalo Whitefish and Sweet Potato. He ate it with no problems as it was mixed in with some of the Iams, and so I'm not anticipating any issues at all. I have noticed that I seem to get really tired earlier in the evenings as of late. It may have to do with getting up around 6:00 in the morning, which I really don't mind doing and actually prefer over getting up later, and so by six or seven in the evening, I'm ready to start winding down. I'm not too sure how that will end up working out as far as classes being done at twenty to nine, but I'll manage, because it's what I do. It may also just be that for the past month or so, I've been on-the-go pretty much constantly, and continue to be so since I have come back to school. It could be that I'm dealing with the effects from that. It is what it is, in any event.

I think I'm going to end this here, because I'm blanking on anything else to add, and I don't want to ramble more than I already have. Take care, thanks for reading, and more soon.
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I was too tired to post an entry yesterday, and so this entry pertains to the events of Friday, January 28. I tried to figure out how to backdate this from within the client, but it doesn't seem like it wants to cooperate. I can always try from the website if it's that crucial, which I'm not all that sure it is.

Yesterday was a very good day, and an excellent end to training. All routes were awesome. I worked Dalton in his booties to see if he would be more willing to go through the slush and puddles and the like, and those made all the difference in the world. I'll have to remember that from now on when it's not so nice outside. We orked the route from hom eto school, and he did fine with that. We then worked to the student union, (I had to go the bank, anyway, to deposit a check), and he did fine with that, too. At one point in the wide, open area, to signify a needed turn, I noticed that Dalton flicked his head in the direction really quick before proceeding forward, and so I need to be more intune with that as that is apparently his way of giving me heads up. We came back and grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant that was within walking distance. I had never been to it before, and so the only orientation to the route Dalton and I had was in going there. On the way back, though, Dalton showed his true colors in that he reversed the route with no problem and was all proud of himself whe we reached the building where my classes are in. It was a fantastic feeling, really it was! From there, we worked home, which also went without incident.

Last evening, the field rep and I gave a presentation on guide dogs to the Advanced O&M class, and I think it went very well. Everyone seemed receptive to it, and I enjoyed doing it, too. Speaking of dog guide or guide dog, that's one thing I'm really trying to figure out as people say both. Is there a real difference, and if so, is it really that crucial? I have heard that guide dog is a term for dogs from Guide Dogs for the Blind, and if that's correct, then I guess the more generic term *would* be dog guide. I've been saying "guide dog" for years, though. It's a hard habbit to break. As I said countless times in class: They don't call us retrains for nothing. Haha!

The rest of my day will include doing some more schoolwork, (I spent the morning reading), a conference call and hanging out with a friend. My energy level isn't at its highest today, but I guess you have that coming off of about a straight month of being busy. Relaxing is also a good plan, I think, and luckily the weekend affords me the opportunity to do some of that. This is officially the end of my training updates, but I hope to update more frequently than I have in recent history. I appreciate all who have taken the time to read and/or comment. It means a lot. More soon.
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I actually almost forgot to write a blog entry for today. It's hard to believe, I know, but there it is.

Today was so-so. There were good parts and not-so-good/stressful parts, but it all ended well, which is what counts. The weather today was ridiculous, snowy and cold. Working in said weather wasn't too fun. I could tell that for some of the routes that we did today, Dalton wasn't as on-task as he could have been. He was on task when I needed him to be most of the time, though, including getting me through two traffic checks all within the span of five seconds or so. In the first one, the people in the car admitted to me that they were in the way. Well...if you know that you're in the way, then get out of it! Jut sayin'. Crazy weather brings out crazy drivers, or something. Both traffic checks weren't even in the street, but rather in driveways.

All in all, though, Dalton's work was fine. I mention Prince Dalton, because he had a strong aversion to the slush and puddles that were on the ground. He even went so far as to jump some of them. I'm going to work him in booties tomorrow to see if that does anything. I really can't have him jumping things like that, especially at down curbs, which did happen once. All of the mounds of snow that were on the ground made for interesting travel, too. Is it Springtime yet? I say that, and then I really don't mind the winter too too much.

We again visited the pet store, and he did fine there. I am in the midst of deciding whether or not to switch his food or keep him on the Iams which is fed at the school. I'd like to get a better quality food, but a lot of them are pretty expensive, and he does do fine on Iams. The other issue is if he is switched to a different food, what if it isn't available when I travel? I might have to pack a whole suitcase just with food! Things to think about...

Class tonight went fine enough. I'm still trying to get everything sorted for this semester, but it's slowly and surely coming together. I had a meeting with my advisor today, and that left me with some relief on things as some were straightened out and/or clarified. I have no classes tomorrow, which I am very appreciative of. This weekend will be devoted to I hope relaxing as well as doing work. Both are of crucial importance. I really feel like I have been running nonstop for the past month, and in a way, I guess it's true. It's all good, though. I can't think of anything else to add, so I will end this. My brain is tired, and I need sleep. Take care, thanks for reading and more tomorrow.
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With each day, I don't think that I can get any more tired, but lately that seems to be the theme here. This is nuts...

Today was a very good day, both in training and also as far as class was concerned. Training included working the route from my house to school, (which went very, very wel and actually left me in shock when we reached the class building, because it meant that I had crossed CrazyIntersection and was still alive to tell the tale; okay, so maybe I'm exagerating a bit, but still, it was big for me!), trips to two pet stores, a walk downtown and practice lying quietly in a restaurant. We also worked the route to the student union and practiced turnstiles again. Dalton is still a little hesitant on them, but I'm thinking with practice, say in a subway station and such, (when there is reason to use them and a destination on the other side), he will be fine. I definitely wouldn't blame him; I would be a little skiddish, too, if I went through one of those and got caught on it. Poor boy! The route to the student union is very wide open, though, and it's still not my favorite, but with practice, I think it will be fine. At least the route to class is set up nicely, and we have that, which is the most crucial thing of all, in my opinion.

The trips to the pet stores were fine. Dalton behaved himself very wel. I even included some obedience into the deal, and he was fine with that, too. In Petsmart was when we came across this really weird salesclerk guy. He first said something about his grandmother being "that way", (in reference to my eye condition; I didn't know I was any particular "way" - To All Blind People: We Are "That Way!" Didn't you know?). He later referred to my dog as a "seeing blind eye dog" or something. That's definitely a new one in my book! People never cease to amaze me. Just when I think I've seen it all...

Class went well, as I said. Dalton laid quietly at my side, being a good boy. I think of all of my classes, Low Vision will be the hardest, at least in terms of conceptual things. I shall try my best, though, which is all one can ask. I understood everything that we went over tonight, so that's a good start.

I don't know that I have anything else to add, so I'll end it here and post more tomorrow. Take care, and thanks for reading.
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Today has been exhausting, both mentally and physically, although in a good way. Not only did I put in a few hours of training with Dalton, but I also had classes to attend to. All of that combined makes for a very long day.

Training went very, very wel today, all things considered. Dalton seems to already have down the route from my house to the building where my classes are, the classes themselves, and the route home. He was much more controllable today as far as pace went, save for one time when he was just being silly. I thought he had to park, and so stopped and took the harness off, but he then just proceeded to play in the snow. Crazy dog! I worked him some of the time with his booties on, because of the salt that was put down on the paths and such. After doing the route to school, we then went over to the student union. He did well with this route, too. A good part of the route is in wide, open space, and Dalton will take the initiative in picking out which way to go. I really don't like to depend fully on him like that, but sometimes it can't be helped. To me, I feel like I'm in the middle of nowhere. I am getting an idea for distance in relation to the various turns and such, which does help. Inside the student union, in the bookstore, there is a turnstile to get into it. There was an unfortunate incident the first time he and I went through, in that the turnstile came back and caught on Dalton's harness. He was then a little shy of it, but some counterconditioning made him less so. We plan to go back to the bookstore tomorrow to try and reinforce positive associations with that.

Classes themselves went fine and without incident, unless you count for whatever reason Dalton deciding to pick up a classmate's braille eraser that had dropped to the floor in his mouth. Can we say awkward and slightly embarrassing? While apologizing profusely, I was able to extract the eraser and all was well. I have no idea why that happened; maybe it was a sign of stress? Who knows. Dogs... My first class was Activities of Daily Living, and then I had Assistive Technology. Both seem like they will be fun. I started to target one specific chair in the classroom that I nine times out of ten sit in, (there is one classroom for 99% of my classes - it's a small department), and he picked up on that quickly. It really is amazing to me how quickly he picks up on things. When I was doing the route from school to home for the first time today, he was fantastic at knowing just what to do and when.

I'm honestly at a loss of what else to write about. Oh yes: we did some practice with the 'follow' command in various places, and Dalton did a good job with that, too. He also had no problem settling in while classes were happening or while I was getting coffee prior to said classes.

I think I'm going to call this an entry and do I'm not sure what. I'm utterly exhausted, and so the better idea for me would probably be to sleep, but I do have some reading to finish for tomorrow - the same from the other day. The other side of that, though, is if I read now, how much of it wil I retain? I may be making more work for myself by trying to read now versus later when I'm in a better, more awake frame of mine. I shouldn't be this tired! Alas...

The plan for tomorrow is to do more work with my dog in the morning and then eventually end up at the pet store. I need a few things, and what a great place to practice dog distractions! I have Low Vision class at 6:00, which ends at twenty to nine. Hopefully I'll be more rested and can get through that class more alert than I did tonight. It's a nice thought, anyway. Right, I'm rambling; more tomorrow.
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The rest of the day after I last wrote has been...I'm not even sure. I'm feeling incredibly exhausted, which might have something to do with it. The field rep did finally call, and so we got some work in today, which was awesome. It went amazingly, too. Dalton and I worked up to the class building, which included crossing CrazyIntersection, and al went splendedly. Dalton picked up all of the curbs and the island that comprised the intersection like a pro. It was really reassuring and awesome at the same time. Upon arriving at the class building, (yay for targeting, which proved helpful in pointing out the building), and worked inside, showing Dalton the rooms that I will be needing to go to in there. He was spot on with everything. The only thing I can say that needs to be worked on is steadying him down, although I think some of that has to do with not working in two days or so. We'll see what happens tomorrow when we go over things again. He was definitely proud of himself, that's for sure. I could tell by his work. We reversed the route, and he actually took me to the correct house door, this without showing it to him or targeting it at all first. I expected that I would have to do it on the way back, but no. He found it for me right on. It will be interesting to see if he does it again tomorrow. All in all, I am very pleased with how the first day of home training went. We start again at 9:00 tomorrow morning. I also have two classes tomorrow, one from 1:30-4:00 and another from 6:00-8:40. To be honest, it hasn't really sunk in that another semester is starting. Perhaps that will change tomorrow once I have attended classes.

I'm exhausted, (I really really hope that this time change thing evens out soon, because otherwise class will be interesting), and so I think I wil end this here and go wind down. I should eat dinner and maybe try for sleep early. The thought is at least nice. More tomorrow.
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To sum up yesterday in one word: surreal. A little bit of stress was mixxed in there, to, but it happens. A good night's sleep has helped with some of that and improved my state of being for now. I hope it continues to hold.

As yesterday was the first full day back at school, away from the sanctuary and routine that is Guiding Eyes, that took a little bit of getting used to. Breakfast was...oh wait, I didn't end up eating breakfast. I was waiting for someone to come take my order for what I wanted. Kidding! That can spoil a person, it really can! Things were kept pretty low-key, the highlights being a trip to Walmart by myself, (I left Dalton at home as I didn't want to work him in the store, it was a quick trip, and it's easier having more hands than fewer for carrying items) and a conference call. I had meant to unpack, but the fact that my suitcase is stil where I left it should tell you where I stand with that. The plan really is to get to that today as more times than not, I end up tripping over it when I go into my room. You'd think I would remember where it is, and I guess I do, but that apparently doesn't make a difference.

As far as Dalton goes, the only real structured thing he and I did yesterday was the obedience routine, which he did fine with. Said routine was repeated this morning, and he tried to cheat on his heels/recalls in not coming all the way behind me to sit, instead choosing to just sit where he was supposed to in coming when I told him to heel. Does that make sense? I'm not so sure it does... The field rep out here gave me a call earlier and said that due to his not feeling well, training would be postponed most likely until this afternoon. I definitely hope he feels better, and health comes before training, regardless of the fact that DDog and I are both really anxious to go out. I actually just took some time away from this entry, (after watering and parking him - it's just after 11:00) and put the harness on him and worked him a little bit around the house - practicing stairs and the "to the door" command, using both the front door and door to my room. I could tell that he was very appreciative of this in the enthusiasm with which he greeted the task. I worked him down the stairs, through the first floor and to the front door first, and then worked him back through the house, up the stairs and to my bedroom door. When I said "too the door" upon reaching the top of the stairs, he went for it and targeted the doorknob with his nose with such vigor that it was really amusing and awesome all at the same time. Granted, it wasn't much work, but it was at least something, and something is better than nothing, is it not?

The trip to Walmart yesterday went fine. I was a little nervus before going, (I'm not one for shopping, especially by myself), but I really needed a few things. I got to the store and found help and all was well. I was also a little anxious in leaving Dalton alone so soon after being home in what is a new environment to him, but he was in his crate, and seemed fine upon my return. It had to be done, and I really didn't have much choice. *insert random comment: I despise squeaking trains! it really gives me the creeps! There are train tracks right outside of my house.

I have yet to figure out why nighttime can bring about the most stress, (perhaps it's because nothing is going on then, and so you have time to think), but I experienced some of that last night. It wasn't too fun, but as I said earlier, sleep has helped. It's amazing the restorative powers sleep has, it really is.

I have spent the morning making various phone calls and such. I have a call into Social Security, and I even called a local vet here and got the fax number so that I can fax Dalton's records over to them. He doesn't eed an appointment as he just had one at GEB, but the woman I spoke to on the phone said that I could fax his records over and they would create a file for him that they would have for when he does need to come in for a checkup. I like that approach, instead of dealing with the paperwork when I need to go there the first time.

I mentioned doing some reading yesterday, but that, too, has yet to be done. I did read on the plane, (granted, it was only three or so pages, but it's something! - it was too loud on the plane and hard to concentrate. I actually slept some, too, which surprised me as I don't usually do that. I guess I was just that exhausted), but just need to finish what's left for this week's class. I have put e-mails into all of my professors and am slowly but surely getting the preliminary things for this semester in order. If I just continue with the "one thing/day at a time" approach, I should be good. No sense in taking too much on at once and stressing myself out unnecessarily. It will all be okay and work itself out.

I think that's all for this entry. I'm off to do...something. I should get lunch. The three-meals-a-day thing is really a good thing. A busy semester isn't exactly always conducive to such, but it is what it is. More soon.
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I, (and Dalton - of course!), am, as of time of writing, safely back in my house at school. The trip yesterday turned out well. I had actually packed most of my things on Friday night, after doing laundry, and so the last-minute Saturday morning packing job took no time at all. Breakfast was a rather sad affair as it was my last with the class. I was very touched in that the class sang Happy Birthday to Dalton as his Birthday is today and I wouldn't be in class to celebrate it. I said the necessary goodbyes to instructors and classmates and then was off to LeGuardia.

Miranda from the Special Needs department drove me, and I enjoyed getting to know her as I don't think I had before. We arrived at the airport and started to check in, only to realize that there are two Delta terminals and we were at the wrong one. We then had to take a shuttle from that terminal to the correct one. Even before getting to the shuttle, Dalton encountered an escolator and a revolving door. How's that for your first day on the job, and not even being on the plane yet? He handled everything like a champ, though. When we arrived at the shuttle, the driver first asked if my dog could fit in the trunk. Uh...how about no, not at all? Who puts a living thing in a trunk! Seriously! Once we arrived at the correct terminal, I completed check-in and went through security. The only thing I was asked is whether I could take my dog's leash off. Again...how about no? People sometimes!

Dalton and I waited at the gate to board, and he did very well. Once on the plane, he was excellent and didn't have any problem at all with it. I was expecting slight hesitation, but none of that at all. The plane ride was fine, and then a friend met me at O'Hare. Major props and much roommate love to [livejournal.com profile] c_for_chaos in finding me a ride straight back from the airport! It's totally appreciated! I think it helped that Dalton and my roommate's guide dog met at the airport, in that it was neutral territory. Dalton let out one single bark, but after that was fine. I wasn't worried about it. After all, it was a new place, and I'm sure he was somewhat stressed.

I came back to the house yesterday and just relaxed. I looked through the mail that had accumulated while I was gone, and there were a surprising number of communications from Social Security. There is a slight issue as far as that is concerned, but at least I don't owe them money, which is the most positive thing ever. It would be ten trillion times more stressful if that were the case. I will call the local office tomorrow and hopefully get things straightened out.

My roommate came back in the evening from a day in Chicago. She and I sat and talked for awhile and introduced our dogs. The dogs did fine, and the catch-up time was very crucial. We decided to order food from a local restaurant for dinner. I'm not sure how her meal turned out, but I ordered a grilled cheese, and what I got was the saddest "grilled cheese" in the universe, if it can even be called that. I don't even think it was grilled! The bread was still soft! It was more like warmed bread with cheese in the middle of it. It wasn't even melted all the say. Sad sad times for sure! I miss the grilled cheese at Guiding Eyes. They know how to make it right!It's funny, the kitchen staff had wanted to know if I wanted them to make me anything to take with me yesterday, but as I was getting on an airplane, I didn't get anything. If not, though, I definitely would have! On top of the sad grilled cheese, we had made French fries in the oven, and the smoke alarm started going off! No clue... It wasn't like anything was really smoking. I'm going to take the racks out of the oven and clean them. Welcome home, I guess.

Dalton seems to be adjusting well to the new environment. One of the first things he found when he came in the house yesterday was the toy box. I was amused. I will use this day to relax, and then will start working him tomorrow. The field rep who will work with me this week is coming tomorrow morning, so that helps, too. I may make a Walmart run later as I could use some groceries and things. Reading for class should happen today, too. I also have a conference call to attend, but that isn't until 6:00. Speaking of time: I am still on Eastern time, and it's driving me slightly crazy. Going out East isn't a problem, but coming back is, for whatever reason, and it never fails. I was up around 5:00 this morning, I assume thinking it was 6:00. Oh well. I hope I can adjust soon. It usually takes a week or so. Classes this week should be interesting. They end around twenty to nine, and if I think that it's twenty to ten... One last thing: today is Dalton's second Birthday. I parked/fed/watered him when I got up this morning, and then came back upstairs, and he proceeded to go back into his crate. He's allowed to be lazy on his Birthday if he wants. Speaking of crates: I think I am going to have to get a new one as the one I have here seems a little small for him. He goes in regardless, though.

That's all I can think of for this entry. More later, tomorrow for sure.
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Today was full of activity from the moment of 6:00 AM park/feed/water/park until current time of writing. It snowed some here, and so we class stayed at the Yorktown campus for daily activities. Obedience and distraction practice this morning went well. Said distraction was actually two dogs which the instructors enticed into playing in Alumni Hall. After breakfast, (more on food later), we had a free-for-all in terms of all of the dogs getting to free play in Alumni Hall together. We practiced off-leash recalls, and Dalton did really well with that. He also did very well in having fun playing with the other dogs, which included lots of running around. At one point, I think he was even leading the pack. After doggie playtime, we practiced targeting with the Clicker, which was also a fun exercise for him. Shortly after that, we three ACTION students headed to the Jefferson Valley mall with Graham to do some indoor work. When we got back to the school, lunch was had, and then photos. As ACTION students, we normally wouldn't be in the class picture, but since our departures were put off for another day, (I have a flight out of Le Guardia tomorrow that lands into O'Hare around 12:30 or so Central time), we were able to make that happen. I actually do remember getting a class picture from last time and not seeing me in it, which would explain why. I'm not sure if I knew at the time that I wouldn't be in it, although I must have, because you think I would remember it if I was. Fried brain, anyone?

After the class photos, we took individual photos of ourselves and our dogs and then any other special photos we might want. The environment was, I think, somewhat stressful for the dogs for whatever reason, but Dalton did great. Getting him to sit still for the pictures was somewhat of a challenge, (he kept moving back when we wanted him more in the front of things), but he did finally cooperate, photos were taken and all ended well. I got two special photos, one of myself, Dalton and the ACTION instructor, and another of all three ACTION students, dogs and instructor. I hope they turn out well.

After photos, we had the vet lecture. The rest of the class also had vet physicals for their dogs during the time people were getting photos. That lecture went well, with the customary information being provided and some questions being asked. Dinner was then had, and then lecture, except that ACTION students weren't required to go, as the lecture was on country travel and we had done that already, (last night, in fact). I must tell you that it did seem weird not having to go to lecture.

Food for today was a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich for breakfast, (with coffee), lunch was supposed to be some kind of sandwich, (ask anyone and they will tell you that lunch was the most confusing meal as far as finding out what it was), except it didn't turn out to be a sandwich; something about the bread order not coming in? No clue... I was served some kind of pasta dish thing, which I didn't eat, because...well, I just didn't eat it. Dinner was gumbo with velvet cake and tiramisu. I chose the tiramisu.

I am now doing laundry, (it's in the dryer), and am about to go take my dog to play for awhile. Tomorrow will be a day of travel. I wasn't able to land a ride straight from the airport, and I'm not exactly sure when I'll get home, but the fact that I will is all that matters. It was funny: I wanted to practice revolving doors with my dog, just because of his length; I knew how to do it. One of the instructors, Karen, helped me with it, and it was fine. He had no problems. When we were leaving the Campbell Lounge--I mean Alumni Hall--I told him "to the door", and he took me to both corners of the room with toy baskets before we got to the door. Silly boy! I guess that is his way of saying, "I want to play, Mom!" I shall go oblige him. Oh yes, I got my take-home packet today, and I assume information for the puppy raisers is in there, so I will figure out what that is and be in touch soon. As tomorrow is a travel day, I might not post an entry, or I may post just to say that I made it home, if anything at all. Entries will resume on perhaps Sunday, but definitely Monday, as I will meet with the field rep then for the next week. Take care all, more soon.

Again, I am so glad that people have gotten what they have from this blog. I can assure you that I have enjoyed writing it as much as you have enjoyed reading. I also enjoy the fact that you read, too.

Oh yes, one last thing: answers to questions. I think the only one I had was about chips and snacks being in the coffee room. They are still there, only they're on a table and not the refrigerator. The candy machine is still there, (much to my delight), but I haven't tried to use it. I think that covers everything.
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Today was a very good day of training. Obedience and distraction practice this morning went fine, (the distraction in question was a dog, which was very tempting, but Dalton did a good job with it). Morning and afternoon routes went well. We went to White Plains again. The route in the morning was outdoors, and that in the afternoon was a combination of outdoor and indoor. I had the same doubles partner for both. As I said, things went well. I remember in the morning slipping a bit on some ice, and when I came across another patch of ice, Dalton did a fantastic job in slowing down and making me aware of the ice patch before proceeding forward. I do believe that I also slipped on that same first patch of ice in the afternoon, too. Crossings were good, as was his indoor work. I wish I could expound more on the routes, but I'm currently blanking on anything to really expound on. My dog and I continue to learn and bond as a team, which is important.

Food for the day was eggs and toast for breakfast, a Cuban sandwich and lentel soup for lunch, (I wasn't crazy about the santwich), and it was roasted chicken with rice and beans, I think, for dinner, but I opted for a grilled cheese instead. To drink I had coffee with breakfast and dinner and an iced tea with lunch.

After dinner, the three ACTION students went on a country travel (sidewalkless) route. All three dogs did very well and were excited to be out and doing something different. We took turns taking lead as you would in doubles, except we were obviously in a tripple. It's interesting, because the lighting conditions are different, as are the scents in the air. There was one dog distraction, but things were fine with that. The dogs worked hard, and mine is currently asleep. I need to wake him up to water/park him, though. Speaking of sleep, that sounds like an awesome plan. I'm exhausted... I really need to do laundry, but need to figure out the machines. If I don't get it done tonight, that will be on tomorrow's list of things to do. I'm not really even sure what we will be doing tomorrow due to the impending snow. That about wraps up this entry. It's shorter than some, perhaps, but you have that sometimes. Take care, and more tomorrow.
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Pathetic subject, I know, but it is what it is. Today went very well. It was hard getting up after having a much-needed and long-overdue conversation with a good friend that lasted until late, (my definition of 'late' has changed dramatically over the past six months or so; in truth, we probably got done around 11:30PM or so Eastern), but coffee soon fixed my 'not-awake' state. Full class obedience was fine and there were no incidents of not being obedient. It's funny: at dinner, one of the classmates at my table mentioned that his dog had finally started 'obediating'. It had apparently been a rough few days for him in that regard. I thought that word was fantastic and deserved mention in the blog. Consider it mentioned, then.

The morning route I went out on as a single. Said route consisted of a multitude of different kinds of intersections, some long stretches where we could just fly, and obstacles in the form of snow mounds and puddles. Dalton was a champ throughout all of it. There were a few minor things, said things being so minor that I can't really think of what they were now. He handled the one intersection, )two turning lanes to the left, a straight crossing and two turning lanes to the right, I think, all bundled into one intersection - three for the price of one, I guess?) like it wasn't anything at all. I'm serious. I told him 'forward', and the next thing I knew, I was across the street, no problem. This gives me hope that CrazyIntersection at school will, indeed, be surmountable. I do believe that there were also a few traffic checks, which also posed no problem for us. There were puddles on the ground due to the crazy weather we have been having, and he treated them like obstacles, slowing down considerably to go through or past them. Snow mounds were also seen as obstacles. There were even some either in the streets or on the curbs, and so he would at times have to pull me around a mound and then take initiative to get us back on course. It really was amazing to see.

The afternoon route was a double, and it, too, went well. More of the same things were experienced on this route as in the morning, and again, no major problems. His pace picked up somewhat in the afternoon from what I can remember in comparison to the morning. We, (the three ACTION students), returned to the school around 3:00, and so had some chill time before 4:00 feed/water/park. Dalton spent some of that time having fun running around with his bone. He would come to me and drop it at my feet, wanting me to throw it, which I would do. This occurred for several repetitions.

Food today was eggs and toast for breakfast with coffee, a ham, salami and cheese sandwich for lunch with coffee, and tortelini for dinner with no drink at all for whatever reason.

There was no lecture tonight, as puppy class is taking place in Alumni Hall. I actually went in and observed for a little while. It was interesting and very valuable to see what the puppies go through on their way to becoming guide dog canidates. There were stations set up with hula hoops and toys, and the puppies would have to practice different kinds of stays - sit stay, down stay, sdanding still - with the toys being thrown and hoops being put over them and around them and such. When I left, the puppies were doing an exercise with the booties. The raisers first touched the booties to different parts of the puppies bodies. After that, the booties were touched to the puppies toes and then put halfway on their paws. As I said, I really enjoyed it. The older puppy class was first, (there were Labs and Shepards both), and then a class of younger puppies will be happening later on. I will go back in a little while to see if I can't observe that one also.

My trip back to DeKalb has been delayed a day, and so I will leave here on Saturday instead. I am not sure of the exact time that my flight lands, but it is a direct flight into O'Hare. I will be sure and find out times and such tomorrow. One cool thing about staying the extra day is that we get more training, and also get to be in the class photo that will be taken which would not have happened otherwise. Once again, the universe provides.

Oh, one more thing, and I only mention it to mention it: a second dog switch took place in our class. The handler is seeming to do well with a new dog, though, which is all that counts. As I think I mentioned previously, this could have happened to any one of us. If I didn't mention it, I feel that I would be leaving out a detail that does sometimes happen, and I want people to get as full an experience from my blog as possible.

I also forgot to mention regarding yesterday's entry abut the vet visit: didn't get to see Dr. Sandler while there, but Dr. Brown did the examination, and I really like her. She was very nice, thorough and kind and willing to explain anything and answer any question I had. I believe she is a new vet, unless I am wrong, which I could be.

Answers to some questions that people asked me: GEB is currently feeding IAMS food, and my field rep will be John Dettloff. He called me today, and we are all set to begin training in DeKalb on Monday.

That brings me to the end of this entry. I'm off to relax and wind down. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation are making themselves very well known as of late. It will take some adjustment, (both mentally and physically), in returning to school and figuring out a routine with Dalton, but I'll get through it. I have learned that that's just one of the side effects of class. It's all good, though. These things take time, and patience and perseverance will pay off in the end. At least I would like to think so. An interesting side note: writing daily in my blog has gotten me in the frame of mind to do it more often. It is my hope that I will continue to write more frequently, even after training is over. Grad school will not get in the way of that. Thanks for reading, and more tomorrow.
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Due to the weather, we spent most of today inside at Yorktown. Before I forget: breakfast was scrambled eggs, toast and Cheereios with coffee, lunch was a turky rubin sandwich and garlic soup with iced tea, and dinner was actually the turkey rubin which I was too full from the soup to eat at lunch and so saved it for dinner. I forget if I had a drink or not. I actually have half of the sandwich in my fridge. I don't know why, but I wasn't very hungry at dinner.

We did group obedience this morning, and that went well. I forgot to mention yesterday about distraction practice, but if not, there was a toy that was used, and Dalton did fine. Today's distraction was a squirrel on a fishing pole, and he was curious and got up a few times to look at it, but all in all, he did well. He was responsive to my asking him to sit and then treating him for doing so and paying attention to me/being good instead of being distracted by the squirrel. Tomorrow starts full class obedience; I'm looking forward to it.

This morning, instead of doing a route, we were inside and went over how to use the booties we are issued, the Clicker/targeting and the Haltie. Dalton did well with everything. He was a little unsure of the booties at first, but with practice, it should be okay. We practiced heeling them up and down the halls this morning. He isn't totally resistant to them, which is a good thing. I had them on him a little while ago again, and heeled him and also worked him some in them, and he did fine. The booties will definitely help with ice/snow/salt/hot temperatures. They are also very well made, too. The clicker/targeting was awesome! He picks up on that fast, and I'm looking forward to using it when I get to school. To explain: when you want the dog to show you something, the clicker is a good way to help the dog learn that. You first practice with the 'touch' command, having the dog touch your hand and clicking and treating each time this is done. The most important rule of all: if you click, you treat, even if the click is on accident. 'Touch' is then replaced by whatever word you want - chair, elevator, door, curb, etc. If that explanation is still a little confusing, let me know, and I can try to clarify.

The haltie, while I'm not sure I will use it much, is a good tool to have. It replaces the Gentle Leader, which used to be issued. The haltie is similar, except that it has a few more straps and connecters. I'm not even sure I know how to do a good job explaining its physical make-up. The idea of the haltie is that you have more control over the dog's head. You have more command of the dog as opposed to doing the snap-correction. The slip collar is a training tool, whereas the haltie is not. Again, if that explanation didn't make sense, let me know, and I'll see about fixing it. Other people can feel free to chime in and correct anything that may be...well...incorrect.

After lunch, the three ACTION students went and worked our dogs in a KMart that was close by. We worked them outside through an icey, slushy parking lot that wasn't all that fun to navigate, but we did make it, which is all that matters. It was fun working in the store, going around the perimeter and through aisles. All ended well, and there were no injuries or broken merchandise.

There was no lecture tonight, and so I haven't been up to too too much. I am really tired, and so may go to bed early. With the possible snowstorm that may hit New York on Friday, I may end up leaving on Saturday instead of Friday as was the plan originally. I'm not totally sure. I need to figure out when I will be arriving in Chicago and then a plan back to DeKalb. I'm not so sure that I want to brave public transit by myself so soon with a new dog. If I have to, fine, but I want to see if I have any other options first.

I'm blanking on anything else that I may have wanted to add, and so this is where I will end it. Oh, wait..no, I almost forgot: Dalton had his vet physical today. He weighs 81 pounds, and his second Birthday is on Sunday, January 23. How cool is that! He did fantastic at the vet, being a very good boy and not putting up a fuss whatsoever, even when blood had to be drawn. The draw was just as a precaussion, just to make sure that nothing was wrong. His target weight was listed at 86, and so he's a little under. I'm sure things are fine, though. I think that's all of the pertenant information regarding that.

I really think that that is everything. If not, whatever it is can wait until tomorrow's entry. Take care, and thanks for reading.
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Today was another good day all around. I did figure out that during obedience, if I don't at least finish my first cup of coffee, (there's the C word again!), my dog is with it and performs better than I do! Sad, but true. Routes both in the morning and afternoon were fantastic. I went doubles with the other ACTION student, the one who had gone in a single up to this point. Our dogs enjoyed working with each other, passing one another and even steadying down and walking one behind the other. I really love how Dalton will go full-out pace-wise when it is a wide, open area and then slow down considerably when in a narrow place or when encountering obstacles so as to avoid them. There was one crossing that I had to rework, but I think I identified what the issue was, and there was no reoccurance of said issue, so I think all is good. Our pace when first crossing was a little fast, causing veerage, and slowing down seemed to solve that. It was funny, at the end of one of the trips - I can't remember which one - the handler of the other team asked if I was preparing for a 10-K race. Something like that, anyway. I said that no, I was not. I walk fast; what can I say? At least I won't be late for class!

Speaking of class, I was talking to a friend from school, and it came up that one of our class sessions possibly meets on Tuesdays *and* Saturdays. Not 24 hours after I get home, I get to be in class. How's that for a test! Oh grad school...how I miss you! :-) I have already made the executive decision not to cross CrazyIntersection that soon, though. I want to do it with the field rep a few times first, until I feel comfortable. It may even be that Dalton and I would be fine, I'd just rather not test that theory right off the bat, either way.

One of the students here made dinner for our class tonight - Tuscan shrimp - and it was fabulous! So was the wine that was bought to go with it. After the usual evening lecture and before 7:30 park, I played with Dalton in Alumni Hall, (I think I still like 'Campbell Lounge' better - just sayin'!), and he enjoyed it a lot. He ran around with toys and would retrieve them when I threw them, sometimes with me not having to even call him back. I'm going to have to figure out a place at school where I can take him to play.

I'm trying to think of other things of note to write about, and am drawing a blank. The weather forecast is uncertain for tonight and tomorrow, and so the morning may consist of staying inside and working with booties, halties and Clicker. I'm hoping the weather isn't too too bad, though, because I would like to get out also, even if it's inside work. I think that's really all I have for an entry tonight. Pictures have been taken of my dog and I, and I will figure out how to post them when I get them.

Oh yes, I completely forgot: last night I spent a few hours up in the old living room, just relaxing. That has to be my most favorite place in this whole building. The energy in there is so much different from any other place; it's hard to explain, but anyone who has been inside of that room should have an idea of what I'm talking about. It can really relax and mellow a person out, or at least that's been my experience. It's also very quiet up there, which also helps. I may go up there again after I've posted this as I could use some more chil time. Things are fine, it's just these long days can sometimes be hard on one. More tomorrow.

PS: I completely forgot to mention what the food options were; well no, I did mention dinner. Breakfast was eggs, toast, yogurt with granola and coffee. Lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, carrot ginger soup and coffee. (The main dish was a chicken and vegetable rice dish). Dinner was, as mentioned above, Tuscan shrimp. I had more coffee with dinner, but also a glass of wine. I think it was a Yellow Tail marlot (SP?). It was very tasty. There was another type of wine, (I forget which), that I did try, and that, too, was good.

Now that I have made a point to include the food for today, (it wouldn't be an entry if I left that out!), I do believe that I have covered everything. I was actually putting my netbook away, on which I wrote this entry originally, when I remembered that I failed to mention food, and so took a trip upstairs to the computer lab to add this postscript. I do apologize for any typos that may be apparent. More tomorrow, for real this time!
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Today, being Sunday, has been very, very chill here at Guiding Eyes. *insert news bulletin* I have just been informed that two pounds of Duncan Donuts Duncan Dark coffee have been purchased and will be put into the coffee machine in the coffee room on the first floor. The only real word I have for that at the moment is fantastic! Life is good! Speaking of coffee and donuts, I currently have a Boston cream donut and a cup of coffee next to me as I write this. Well okay, so it's atop the fridge, and I am here at the desk, but enough with technicalities!

Moving forward (no pun intended): as I said, today has been very low-key. Part of me is glad about that, and another part isn't really okay with the time off. Yeah...don't ask! We had individual long-line play with our dogs today, where we went into Alumni Hall A.K.A the Campbell Lounge and had our dog on a 40-foot line to play. I kidded some classmates earlier in that I hoped I wouldn't be my dog's playtoy, because he is a rather big dog and I am a rather small person. He had a super fun time with long-line play, and chose to play with other toys and not with me (ha ha!). I had a Wubba that was Olivia's toy, but she has six or seven toys as it is, and so I don't think she misses one. Even if so, Liv, it's called sharing, which I know you know how to do. You'll get to see Dalton sometime and I hope you'll like him. Dalton loved the Wubba. I had it in my hand on the way down to the lounge, (they don't call us retrains for nothing, I guess), and he was fascinated with it all the while, bopping it with his nose. I had to put it away, because when we came back into the room after play, I put it on the bed and he proceeded to take it off of the bed, (yes, he is that tall that he can manage that!), and bring it into his crate with him. His recall is awesome! It took a few times for him to realize that he should come back to me with the toy when called, but it could also be that it was his first time playing in awhile, and he needed to get his squirrley-whirley's out, which he definitely did by running around and playing with toys. He had a fun time nosing around in the milk crate of toys and taking out different toys and having me throw them. There was one toy that wasn't in the crate, (it was somewhere in the room - I have no idea where), that he took the liberty to find on his own and bring back to me. It was a long, flecey toy of some sort with squeakers in it. He didn't try to squeak the Wubba, but mabe he will at another time. He just liked to run with it in his mouth, carrying it by the string-line things on the ends of it. It got to the point during play where I would throw a toy, or he would find one, and come back to me, dropping it at my feet to throw again. I treated him each time he came back when called. I'm not even sure that he was that motivated by the treats; I think he just loved to run around and play. Either way, it works.

While looking through the comments to my blog entries, I noticed that I received one from Dalton's puppy raisers, Jim and Linda. I'm not too sure how you found my blog, (enquiring minds and all that), but I'm super excited you did! (I have no way of contacting you directly, which is why I'm writing this here. I hope you read my blog again and find this). Anyway, I do think that GEB will give me your contact information if nothing else. I'm not positive if they will arrange a phone call between us, but I will definitely ask. I would love that! Regardless, I am all for exchanging information and keeping in touch. I'm sorry a visit can't happen while I'm here, but I would love it if something could be arranged later on. Okay, so this is a little longer than intended, especially on a blog. The long and short of it is thank you so so so so much for contacting me, Dalton is a fantastic dog, and I would love to stay in touch!

Obedience happened prior to breakfast, and we went in groups of three. Dalton did fine with it. Speaking of food: breakfast was a sesame seed bagel with cream cheese and coffee, (I was contemplating wearing my pajamas to breakfast - it's just been that kind of day - and I actually did do it!), lunch was a salami, ham and cheese sandwich with baked Doritos and iced tea, and dinner will be lasagna. After breakfast, I took an hour or so and managed to read a chapter of school reading, so I feel a little better and not like I'm slacking. True, school hasn't even started yet, but I do want to stay on top of things. I'm not done the first week's reading assignment, but I started it, and considering life's circumstances at the moment, I think the three chapters that I have read should definitely count for something. Lecture I believe will take place tonight after dinner, although on what I have no idea. I hope I'm awake enough for that. The chill atmosphere around here is very conducive to my brain being sluggish. If not, there's always coffee! Wow, I have mentioned coffee way too many times in my last few entries. I really am not an addict, and it's not as much of a problem as it may seem from the outside, I swear! Actually, depending on which of my classmates you ask, they may beg to differ, but if you consider the source...

In sports news: last I knew, the Bears were beating the pants off of the Seahawks 28-0 or something like that. The Jets/Patriets game should be interesting, too.

I'm not really sure what else I can update on. I think I have covered everything. Thank you again to all who have been reading and/or commenting. It means a lot that you do so, and I am glad that my blog is enjoyed. More soon.
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