Saturday, July 28

Random stuff

Greetings. Here I sit on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Its been raining a ton here over the past few weeks, and while I like the rain, its beginning to grow tiresome even to me. However, as long as it mainly rains when I’m inside, I don’t mind it too much. And anyway, when was the last time it rained like this in July in Austin, or on a larger scale in the south? Then again, I live in a pretty good area; not close to any rivers or lakes, and in a place where it doesn’t flood too badly. I live on flat ground and the apartment complex’s parking lot can flood easily, but the apartments themselves are a little raised up from the ground so that water doesn’t flood the sidewalks too often. If it ever did, then it would be raining a lot. I may have slightly different views of the rain if these conditions were different.

On another issue, I don’t believe I’ll purchase any of the System Access software, at least not for now. I’m still experiencing the problems I wrote of a week ago and Serotek hasn’t really offered any solutions for me. In the Word problem, where System Access was losing focus in Word XP, the only thing they said was, “We don’t support that version of Word for Windows.” I know that, and I even replied telling them that. I however also asked them why this happened, since it’s a notable issue that needs to be addressed bys someone. The response I got back went something like, “We don’t’ know why it happened.” Oh well. I’m not knocking Serotek or their products by writing all of this. I’m sure that my issues are more the exception rather than the rule. And, hopefully whenever I get my new Vista computer and try these packages again, the same things won’t happen. However, they’re happening to me and I’m not willing to pay several hundred dollars for faulty software. I’ll still keep rooting for Serotek and support their endeavors in what they’re trying to do.

I indirectly received more complements from one of the July graduation students from the training Center. He asked someone to pass along a message to me from him, that according to the graduate, I had made a large impact on him; that he enjoyed having me as a computer teacher. That made me feel pretty good. I had made an impact on him. He was one of the students that I really clicked with and really got along well with. There were many times when I asked the students in class how they were doing on a particular task, and this student would say something like, “Already done,” much to my surprise. I’d give him another few tasks to do and he would finish those in short order as well. These are the times that give me great satisfaction and help confirm for me that I’m in the right place as a tech teacher at a rehabilitation center. These are the times when I think back to that award I received two months ago at another graduation ceremony, for excellence in teaching and dedication to the students.

I’m beginning horseback riding again. I’ve had a secret passion and love for horses. Many people are surprised when I tell them that, but its true. Just being around horses, petting them and giving them treats gives me a recharge, much less taking regular lessons and spending hours at a time with them. This all began when I participated in a therapeutic horseback riding program for the disabled back in the late eighties. I had liked horses before that time, but those 10 weeks over a semester was the thing that really did it for me. I found a place in south Austin that offers horseback riding lessons, as well as horse/dog boarding and dog training lessons. The lessons themselves are very affordable and I’m glad to be at a point in my life where I can pay for my own lessons and easily afford to do so. The horse that I’ve been paired up with, coincidentally has a little bit of vision loss, but is a red roam color with some white. I think the owner said that the white spots are on the horse’s mane. Anyway, the horse is named Rye and he is about 16.5 hands at the withers. For those that don’t know, a “hand” is about 4 inches, or about the distance from your pinky to your index finger when your fingers are together. So 16.5 hands is pretty tall, about 66 inches. I’ve only been on one lesson thus far but hope to go weekly. My next lesson is tomorrow night. That time might pose problems as we get into football season if the Cowboys play on a Sunday evening, which happens a few times this season. That will be a hard choice: go horseback riding or watch football. Though there is that deep passion for the equine, football in general and the Cowboys in particular might win that contest.

I think the plan is to have me do some training with Rye. The owner was asking about my horseback riding experience, the types of saddles I’ve ridden in (both English and Western), and if I’ve done Join Up with a horse before, which I haven’t. Join Up is a means of getting a horse used to the rider and to a saddle. Some would call this “breaking a horse..” It was largely brought into the mainstream by
Monty Roberts,
as a means to build trust with the horse in a nonviolent way. Though I’ve read how this is done and read Monty’s book (available through the National Library Service on talking book), I’m not sure how I as a totally blind person would do it. Anyone who has experience with this is welcome and encouraged to comment on this entry and explain how this can be done, so I can pass it along to the people at this facility I’m going to. Though they are not an official
North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) stable, they do seem willing to work with me. I think that the owner has worked with blind folk before. Horseback riding is one of the few things that I’ve done over the years that I’ve truly gotten a lot from, been able to relax while doing, and truly enjoyed. I’m glad that I found this place and can get into it again. I’d love to own my own horse or two someday, along with that dream home of a ranch, with stables near the house in easy walking distance, and a bus stop at the end of the sidewalk or driveway. That may be a little unrealistic, but then again, who knows.

Well that’s all for now. The training Center is supposed to get a large group or intake of people, as many as 30 or more, coming in a few weeks. So my weekends and week nights will become a lot more enjoyable and hopefully restful shortly. Speaking of which, I’m off to enjoy this one. I’ll attempt to get some pictures of Rye that I can put up on my website for you to see, and will post more about my riding experience. Until then. (Hey, …, you, …, pssssssst, football’s coming!)

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