People love habit. Having the feeling of knowing what comes next is comforting. But you can’t fix problems or grow from a place of complete safety. You have to take risks, spend resources, embrace the insecurity of undetermined outcomes, and dream of better things that might be.
Some of my favorite bloggers haven’t been writing much on their sites, for the best kinds of reasons. Jennifer Ketcham (Blogroll ->), my original source of inspiration, hasn’t even been “tweeting”. She finished work on a Baccalaureate degree, something I’ve tried and failed to do several times, and she’ll be continuing into grad school. That’s an accomplishment I’m very impressed by. It requires a level of discipline I didn’t develop until I was in my forties. Jennie has talents useful for service work, and degrees lead to licenses.
Cat (Blogroll ->), my invisible “internet daughter”, who poured out her angsty wittle heart so brilliantly for years about her struggles with bipolarity, has similar reasons for not blogging. She’s entering a doctoral program!
Lisa (Blogroll ->) is bravely building an independent life, Myra (Blogroll ->) has been concentrating on her semi-fictional comedy series, and Dianne Gray (http://diannegray.wordpress.com/) is still improving the charming Rugby club building she moved to her farm. Dianne kindly invited me to join Linkedin, which I might consider if I had any desire to actually be “linked in”. I’m linked in enough. I upgraded my ISP, got a simpler, dumber (cheaper) phone, and purchased an external drive for the DVR so I can take recordings over to friends’ homes for movie parties.
We moved ahead on another landscape improvement. Dom Smith, the artist who designed and built our Asian-influenced front enclosure, worked from our ideas and created a low power, recycling water fountain at the corner of our property. He set the position of the rock enclosure at an angle that reflects the sound of the water back toward the house, cancelling out traffic noise from the road out back. There are places to sit, and the water attracts the wildlife, with enough movement to prevent algae and mosquitoes.
Working with service dogs is still a constant joy. We hosted a retired guide dog named Rickles for a few days. He’s twelve and he worked for ten years, longer than most. Now he’s an old, jowly, slow-moving, sweet guy who wants to lie in the sun. He’s earned his retirement.
We still work with the new batches of guide dog trainees at the puppy club. In a group, you can see which ones understand the commands to what extent. The dogs teach each other, and so do the puppy raisers. We expect to start another puppy of our own in the fall.
True to his word, Jeremy Jeffers, who owns Spice (our first certified guide) has kept in touch. At first the noise levels and population difference between our town of 9,000 and Los Angeles County (9 million-ish), was giving her some difficulty. The “normal” sound level there is about 25dB higher than where she was raised. Jeremy also plays in some loud groups, and she was stressing. But he bought her a pair of Mutt Muffs, noise-canceling headphones designed for dogs, and he says she’s much calmer.
Spice was sometimes pausing, reluctant to continue into unfamiliar places. Guide Dogs for the Blind sent a local master trainer to help, and Jeremy now knows more ways to encourage her. He says she’s improved enormously, and that he and Majanaye are very happy with her. It’s tricky to reinforce a service dog for doing the job correctly, while refraining from overt affection if they are in harness. She’s so gregarious that her main distraction may always be a desire to go all lovey-dovey with people instead of working. The trainer told Majanaye she can only be “mama” with Spice one day a month. It will help Spice always look to Jeremy first for instruction and confidence.
OH – almost forgot. Made my weight-loss goal of thirty pounds. I can eat a sensible amount of pub grub and drink a beer when the Blues Festival comes to town at the end of the month. I’m loving this summer!