2015 In Review:A Quiet Blogging Year

It’s the end of 2015 and it’s been a quieter year for me in blogging. Life hasn’t been quiet, but there hasn’t been as much to blog about as in previous years. I love doing these posts because it means i can reflect and look back and how and what i’ve actually posted.

I didn’t really start posting until February, when i posted about the upcoming Glitter ball that Angel eyes organised which was
A great success
The fundraising for Angel Eyes NI has really taken off, and we have lots of events planned, like the
That i will be taking part in in March. I’m wondering what i’m letting myself in for lol.

Going back a bit again to February, i’d been getting some comments on Twitter about the way traffic worked by some of my american friends. I’d been meaning to post about traffic for a while, so i posted
This post
About how traffic worked so hopefully that helped people a bit.

Next, i talked about
And how i became involved. I still go most weeks to the parkrun, but don’t take Ushi most of the time. I find that Ushi likes to dilly dally and it effects my time. She likes to stop on the parkrun and check out all the peemail. My times improve slightly each week, but mostly i do it for the craic. I have done 61 parkruns so far which has earned me my
50th parkrun T shirt from Tribesports
Which you get when you complete 50 runs. I must say the t shirts are incredibly comfortable. They are red and are made of that really nice sporty breatheable material. I actually prefer these types of t shirts now though. The t shirt is also reflective which is good. I haven’t actually ran a parkrun yet and i thought for a while that the folks at parkrun didn’t want me to walk, but nobody seems to mind me walking so i hope they continue to let me walk rather than run. I still have no intention of running as i never enjoyed it at school. I would like to try it as an adult now just to say i’d tried it. If i still didn’t like it, at least i’ll have tried it as an adult.

The year was quite a big year with campaigning for guide dogs because
udio and visual anouncements
Became available on the metro busses in Belfast. So far the technology has only been installed on the Metro busses, which only work in Belfast. It’s a start though as it has taken a long time for this to happen. Now to get it on the Ulster busses and Gold liners. That’ll take some convincing though as apparently the Ulster busses and Gold liners don’t have the infastructure that the technology needs to be installed on, whatever that means.

I learnt
T touch
Which is like doggy massage. Fair enough, it is only the basics, but it is still something. I sent the documents to be put in to an alternative format, but i think they got lost in the post as i haven’t seen them since. At least i know the touches though. I don’t know if Ushi benifits from them as she doesn’t react to them when i do them. She seems to tollerate them though which is good. It really is a fantastic thing to learn. I hope the woman does more bespoke courses like the one i attended for guide dogs and their stock though as it was such a good thing to learn. She does for pet dogs though.

I had thought about getting an Apple watch, but
Decided against it
In the end since i can do everything the watch can do on my phone. I have heard voice over on the watch since writing that entry, and i am glad i didn’t go for it, as cool as it would have been. Voice over sounds really crisp or something. It’s hard to explain, but the S sounds are really pronounced, if that makes sense. I did however get a Fitbit, but i will write about that further on down this post.

I was truly humbled when i
Met two women
In need of a chat one day while waiting for a train. I hope they eventually got the help they needed, or sounded as if they needed.

I took part again this year in
The 8 mile walk
As part of the Belfast City Marathon. I am not doing that in 2016 as i am doing the abseil i have previously mentioned and i fancied doing something different.

I took part in another taster session ran by the Blind sports network and Disability Sports Northern Ireland. I have been on quite a few of these taster days, but haven’t found anything that really peaks my interest. I would love for Goal ball to be introduced, but it hasn’t taken off here like it has over across the water. I think there are a couple of archery days coming up in the new year, so i’ll have to go for those. I really enjoyed the archery and was quite good at too which always helps.

I was tempted to run at the
Running blind event
For Path Finder dogs, but decided to walk it instead due to circumstances beyond my control.

I got myself a
Which i mentioned earlier in this entry. Initially, i wondered why i baught it, and could really feel it on my wrist. I thought about it all the time and began to obsess a little over it. Now though, i have got used to wearing it, and only think about it when i want to check my steps or at night when i use it to track my sleep or wake me up in the morning. I must say, i do feel pretty fresh after it wakes me. I think it’s because its’ vibrations are really gentle, so don’t jolt you awake like a traditional alarm clock would. In fact i don’t use an alarm any more and just set a “silent” alarm on my fitbit. I am disappointed sometimes at how little it shows me walking, but i always thought i walked more than what i do. Still, it’s good to see how far i have walked each day. It’s harder than you think to meet the recommended goal each day which is 10,000 steps. You can set your own goal though if you want to but i just keep it at the recommended goal. I am amazed at how something so tiny can do so much, but then again, most of what you can do with it is through the app. I’ve even got my mum to get one as she has started a new fitness program, so i’ll be good to add in a bit of compitition between us lol.

I had a bit of a scare with Ushi sitting down while working, but thankfully, that came and went. It was me who got all in a tiz about it though.

Now that i have linked back to all the important entries, it seems my blog wasn’t as quiet as i thought it was throughout the year. Of course that’s not all i have done.

I became a branch organiser for our local guide dog branch which has been interesting, but isn’t too bad as we all chip in with booking different events and such. I still do a lot of talks too with guide dogs which is good although i always wonder do the audience think the talks are interesting and such. I still do a lot of campaigning with guide dogs too.

I am still involved with the board of Angel Eyes NI. The charity have seen a lot of changes throughout the year, but they have all been good changes. I still take the minutes on the board and attend events that they organise as often as i can.

I am involved with the disability consultation pannel for our trust. This year, we have been focusing on the new health and care centre that is being built here in Ballymena. In fact, we are going to have a look at it to make sure it is accessible and such before it opens to the public, so that’ll be exciting.

Ballymena is currently undergoing a public relm scheme, so i have been involved in making sure it again is accessible. I think we are going to have to meet with the architects and that again though as some things are still worrying. Unfortunately the town is a mess and when the road works start up again in January, it’ll cause chaos. The thing that is worse is that although they put up barriers and things, it really confuses you when you’re walking on the makeshift walkway as you don’t have the same clues you once had. Plus they do a bit, then move on somewhere else, instead of focusing on one place. I’ve been enjoying the break since before Christmas though. Poor Ushi just treats them as obsticles. It takes me ages getting her to walk forward. Especially as there are bouncey ramps put up going in to shops, and Ushi does not like walking on them at all. So i’ve been needing a lot of patience for getting her through the roadworks.

I’ve been enjoying my art class that i’m still attending on a Thursday morning up in Belfast. I now know the route both too and from the community centre where it’s held, so that’s a good 20 minute walk each way plus 20 minutes too and from the train station at home. We’re having an exhibition in February so it’ll be all hands to the pump when we go back.

We’re in the middle of selling my uncles house, so that has involved a whole heap of stuff we don’t have a clue about. Thankfully, it’s just all legal stuff between the celicitors as it has been sold. I must say, it did feel weird initially going up to his house and knowing he wasn’t there though.

All in all though, it’s been a good but busy year. I’m looking forward to the year to come and no doubt things will be just as busy. I hope to blog more in 2016 as i feel i’ve neglected this blog lately. I’m in the middle of putting tags to catigrees and have got to 2010 or so so only another 4 years to go on that front.

I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful new year. See you on the other side, no doubt :).


Still Hasn’t Sunk In

It’s been three days since i got the word that i would be going on guide dog class in
What is now 23 days!
And it still hasn’t sunk in. It still feels as if i’m just waiting still.

I was thinking the other day that it was approximately 2 years ago when i first
For the guide dog. I have come so far since then. I can still remember the amount of questions I had that first night. I have done so much in these past two years. From the initial application, to the mobility assessment, the
Guide dog assessment,
Guide dog Further Assessment
Spent about a year torturing everyone and worrying about
My Rolling gait,
Which thankfully i have managed to forget about for the most part lol, Have done some
Short Handle Work,
Reflected on
A year from my guide dog assessment,
Did some more
Short Handle work,
In which I gave my rehab worker the wrong direction lol, Worried about going to
The Hotel,
In which we did the pre class training to get us used to the hotel in case we did go for training, spent three days at
That Hotel,
Where I loved it, Tortured practically the whole district team who happened to come up about the gait, tried out the Trekker Breeze GPS system on the Thursday, which i hated, had a brilliant walk with
A Guide Dog called Opal,
Found out she was matched already to someone, Gradually being able to forget about the gait, carried on learning my route to the college and getting it polished off, being on the waiting list for a year, having a
Bad Mobility Day,
In which i got all upset When I said the wrong direction, and burst in to tears as i thought i was just deliberately making mistakes, worried about how that would affect me getting a guide dog, worried i hadn’t enough routes, worried about not being motivated enough to use the cane and wondering how to get more motivated, asked many questions, constantly asked when there was a guide dog class, worried about what kind of guide dog owner i would be, and how i would
With the dog, got loads of great comments and advice concerning it, asked some more questions, waited, waited a bit longer, asked some more questions, waited, got excited about the dog, waited, went on a walk
Last Wednesday
With Ushi, got a phone call on Friday saying that the instructors wanted to use the wider harness, walked with them and Ushi on
Found out that more dogs would be coming over in September, found out on Tuesday that the instructors would be coming out again on Wednesday as they thought that Ushi was a “Potential” match, Went on that matching walk, and found out that I would be going on class on the 30th of August.

So now i am sitting here with a “self declaration medical form” to fill in, and still not believing that i really will be off to class in 23 days approximately. I can’t believe that i have been waiting for approximately 15 months.

Is it normal to be thinking that i am still waiting and not believing that i will be on class on the 30th August? I have got so much to do before then. I am going off on Holiday on Tuesday down to Fermannagh, for three days, and then back again. My rehab worker is going to show me the hotel about a week before class, and I want to get my hair cut/buy new shoes/remember my commands/anything else i can think of really. I bet the time will fly in!

That’s basically my guide dog experience in a nutshell, and that’s not the end of the journey yet! I have a tough road ahead, both for me and Ushi, and hopefully it will all go well. I want to enjoy the class, but i hope that i can focus and remember everything. I’m feeling quietly confident though, since i know all my commands, and have remembered them so far.
There isn’t really much point in this post, i’m just reflecting and anticipating really.

When ever I get more information about Ushi, i will be sure to publish it here. Thanks again to all those people who have sent me congratulations/let me worry/been excited/anything else. Also thanks for everyone over the past two years! I also have to say a huge thank you to our district team, who have just been amazing!!!!

Let’s hope that it will feel real soon!