Sunday, December 21

2008 year end review

Greetings. As I sit here and reflect, I’ve just finished listening to The Seeing Eye’s holiday message, which they send out each year about this time. This year though, they sent it on CD. I don’t know if this is a recent change or something that they’ve been doing for a few years, sending the message on CD that is, but it’s great! I love being able to listen to the message on my computer, and then file the CD away for later remembering. I’m glad that they’re making the transition from tape to digital forms of communication and look forward to future mailings on CD from them. As always, it was neat listening to some instructors that I already knew along with many people I haven’t even met that are all apart of The Seeing Eye’s family. It’s this launching point that I begin my year in review. As a loyal blog reader, you likely know what I’m going to say here, but come along anyway and let’s remember the year’s past events.

Another year has gone in my job. I can’t believe that I’ve been working at the state training center for nearly 3 years. February 1 of this year saw my 2 year anniversary date, and a milestone of sorts, for it’s on the 2 year date point that you get 9 hours of annual leave each month, up from 8. I’ll have to wait a little while until I get 10 hours of annual leave, that comes at the 5 year point, but it’s been nice to get 9 hours. I’ve also grown as an instructor and coworker. I can look back at how I was when I started this job, and even how my teaching was back in 2003, and see some definite changes and improvements. Though, I’m not to the point of being a perfect teacher yet. Honestly, I don’t’ know if anyone ever reaches that point. There’s always something you can learn or improve upon, whether it be in how you teach, how you reach and motivate students, or something else.

Some work related highlights, in no particular order, include: The Louis Braille celebration we had last January, the river tubing trip which thankfully wasn’t rained out this year back in June, White Cane Day activities and preparations in October, all the various graduations for students I attended this year, and other things. This year also saw one of my tech department colleagues move to another department, but a new employee join our ranks in September. The new person is Jeanine Lineback, having previously worked at the Colorado Center for the Blind for a number of years. She has a wealth of experience in technology and brings a lot to our department. It will be great when her probation period is over in a couple of months and she can fully be part of class rotations. And, more to the point, we can be a full department again. It’s amazing how one or two absences can make a difference when you’re used to having 6 people available to teach.

This year also saw me make another big change in my personal life, and that was back in March when I decided to apply for another Seeing Eye dog. As I went through the application and interview process again, and as I got a “penciled in” date for when my class “might” be, it was neat going through that anticipation all over again. Of wondering what kind of dog you’ll get, what the dog’s doing right now, and so forth. Things really became real when I found myself sending numerous emails to my work team of instructors on various aspects of technology training. Anyone who knows me, or has even read this blog for any length of time, has picked up on the fact that I’m very detail oriented. Imagine if you will how these emails must have looked then. Anyway, as the date got closer more preparations were being made. Then I went to the summer NFB national convention in Dallas and got to meet up with several people from The Seeing Eye and attended their graduate breakfast. Unknowingly, I actually met one of the instructors that would be in my August 30 class at that graduate breakfast. Though she wasn’t my instructor, we did develop instant comrodderry in class with one word: “Sausage!”

Then the date came and I was up at 4am, getting ready and then being picked up to go to the airport. Class was a blur looking back on it, but then again, I knew it would be. It never goes as slowly as we want it to. I enjoyed every minute I was there though and enjoyed getting to know the instructors, the staff, and the various students from around the U.S. and Canada. I had some good times there, and for the first time, I was able to blog about most of them while in training. That was really a neat thing to do and something I’ll likely go back to read from time to time, to help me remember.

Oh yeah, how could I forget? Getting Gucci. Gucci came to me on September 1, which happened to be the exact date that my prior guide, Tony, died in 2006. It was and will be a good date to remember. What can I say about Gucci that I haven’t already tried to say in my blog? Not much, just this: Gucci, I’m glad I gotcha!

I think I got spoiled from being away from work for 3 weeks, since when I came back, I was already missing the time off. That first week seemed endless for me, mainly because I had to adjust to my normal schedule, not the SeeignEye schedule. As the weeks went by though Gucci and I have become more of a team. I was initially concerned about her navigating around canes and other things in the training center environment. She’s done great though. There have been tight spots, but she’s always aware of things, and when she’s not, I’m quick to remind her that she’s working and to keep her mind on what she’s doing. That seems to solve the problem.

In the last couple of months, I’ve upgraded my radio scene, going to Sirius Satellite radio and gaining lots of commercial free music stations, sports play by play channels, and other great things. It’s always been hard for me to project ahead, but as it stands now, I don’t think that I’ll ever go back to “normal” radio. I’ve also gotten a newer cell phone, the Nokia N82, and am still in the process of getting used to it and getting things the way I want on it. I’ve enjoyed the journey so far though, and really love surfing the web with Talks, listening to music I’ve transferred, and using some spiffy programs, such as Wayfinder Access for GPS and others.

The last 5 months of the year have also seen me addressing various medical items that I have to deal with. Though you probably won’t read about those specifics here, I do appreciate the family and friends that have offered their support to me during these processes. There’s more medicals to come in the next few months, but I know that God, my family, and my friends will be right there with me. I know that Gucci will also be there with me, and that counts for a lot too.

So that’s about all for this year. I’ve got to go and pack. I’m usually the one to get all my packing done early, but here I sit writing this entry when I could be getting ready to go home tomorrow. I’m going to Dallas to be with family for about a week, and then I’ll return to Austin on December 30 for a few days to myself before going back to work on January 5.

Here’s to what’s left of 2008. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Season Greetings to you and yours. May 2009 be even better for you then 2008! And Hook ‘em Horns!

1 comment:

  1. Shout out to Jenny from Darrell and Karen Shandrow! Glad to hear about you after so long. Happy to see you're doing so well. Merry Christmas!